I’m endeavoring to do a post for all 30 teams before the season starts on why if I were a fan of that team, I’d be excited and nervous. I’ll talk about the great, the good, the bad, and oftentimes, the really ugly.
The Bulls are on pause. After Derrick Rose went down with an ACL tear against Philly in Game 1 of the first round of the Playoffs, not only were Chicago’s hopes for a 7th Championship dashed in the short term, but it quickly became clear that this season would be a placeholder for those hopes going forward.
Clearly, the future of the franchise depends on how Rose is able to come back from that devastating injury, although not as devastating today as it was in the past. For a player like Rose, however, who depends so much on athleticism to make his game work, there may be more question about what he will be like when he returns than there would be for most other players. There’s really no point right now in speculating on what a post-ACL-repair-Derrick-Rose will look like on the court. What we know for sure is that without Rose, the Bulls are not going to be competing for a title in 2013.
The Bulls didn’t just lose Rose, though, as if that wouldn’t have been enough.
They lost Brian Scalabrine to retirement. (Seriously, how did he last that long?) Houston paid big bucks (some would say overpaid, but I’m not one of them) to steal Omer Asik away and give him a go as their starting center. That’s a huge blow to Chicago’s bench, even if Rose eventually returns at 100%. Chicago was going to have to reward Taj Gibson or Asik with a big contract, and they chose Gibson. You can question whether Reinsdorf *needed* to choose one of those bigs, or whether he was simply choosing to save money (which wouldn’t surprise anyone), but putting that aside for the moment, it’s difficult to argue that they made the wrong choice in going forward with Gibson. Gibson is currently sporting a gaudy +4.0 RAPM rating compared to Asik’s +0.7. Both players are huge positives on the defensive end of the floor (although Gibson looks even better playing behind Boozer), but Asik’s defensive strength is almost completely negated on the offensive end where he isn’t able to do much at all.
To replace Rose this season, the Bulls brought in Kirk Hinrich and drafted Marquis Teague out of Kentucky. You should be excited to see if Teague…ah, hell, who am I kidding. I can’t honestly sit here and say you should be excited by these guys. A rose by any other name does not smell as sweet in this case.
The truth is if you’re a Bulls fan, you’re going to be nervous until Rose gets back, and that’s pretty much all that will be on your mind this season.