Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bulls 09-10.

Just ending their second game of the new season, the Bulls are now 1-1, with a win over the Spurs and a loss against the Celtics.

A few weeks ago, before the season started, I wrote an article for the Chicago Flame, about the Bulls and their new season:
The Chicago Bulls went head to head with the Boston Celtics this past Playoff season. Most basketball fans would agree that last season was one of the most exciting seasons the Chicago Bulls have seen in a long time. Not only did they acquire a new coach, Vinny Del Negro, and draft the number one pick, Derrick Rose, but they ended up actually making it to the Playoffs, something that exceeded the expectations of even the most faithful Bulls fan. As a huge supporter myself, I could not be more proud and will never forget the feeling that rushed over me as I stood in the United Center with minutes left of game four, praying that a game that went into double overtime will end in my favor. However, though nothing will ever take away that pride, the Bulls falling apart this season would be frustrating to say the least.

Since the Playoffs, the Bulls have made a few changes. One of their starters, Ben Gordon, got traded to the Detroit Pistons, leaving the Bulls to grab Jannero Pargo, a point guard who used to play for the Bulls from 2003 to 2006. Though I personally like Ben Gordon, and thought he was a good fit for Chicago, one person does not make a team and I do not believe that his departure means the downfall of the Bulls. And since Pargo, the Bulls have also gained two draft picks, Taj Gibson and James Johnson, both power forwards. All three of these players have thus far proven themselves to be worthy of a Playoff team. And though it is not yet known whether or not he will join us in the regular season, Derrick Byars, a guard, is also someone to look out for, exhibiting great talent.

Of course everyone knows it takes more than skill to give a team enough motivation to go after the ring, let alone win it, but the Bulls seem to be going into this upcoming season with the right mindset. Instead of letting the fact that they let the Boston Celtics beat them to the next round (or holding a grudge against Rajon Rondo for shameless fouls), the Bulls took it with a grain of salt and vowed to work harder this time around. Each player took the summer to work towards fixing their weaknesses as well as improving their strengths, and are now a better rounded team. Joakim Noah took to working on free throws, Tyrus Thomas to jump shots and John Salmons to three pointers, something Ben Gordon was awfully good at. And of course everyone is trying to get over their injuries, especially Luol Deng who sat out a good amount due to a problem with his right tibia. Luckily now the Bulls have enough forwards to cover a handful of injuries, God forbid there should be any. For now, all is well in the land of the Bulls.
In my opinion there are three things the Bulls need to do in order not to lose their current status in the NBA. First, they need to stay healthy. Obviously accidents happen, but if they can avoid broken thumbs and fractured legs, the season will go a lot easier for them. Second, they cannot lose confidence. The Bulls fell into a pattern for a while last season of letting every loss get them down, turning a loss or two into a cycle, only worsening the problem. Even the best teams lose sometimes and the Bulls need to master that idea before the season starts and they end up once again with a record of 41-41, an equal amount of wins and loses. And third is no selfish playing by the players. It is no secret that the reason Larry Hughes left was not for financial reasons or because the New York Knicks were dying to have him, it was because he wanted more playing time and Vinny refused to give it to him.

The Chicago Bulls had one hell of a season last year and I know it in my heart that they can have another great one this time around. Judging by their 2-0 preseason they are already on the right track and have lost none of the fire that fueled them towards the Playoffs only a few months ago. It will take hard work and a lot of energy but if they could do it last year, they can do it again. Plus you know what they say right? Only the Bulls.

Though I still agree with what I said in regards to the three things the Bulls should try and do in order to have an even better season than before, I have a few more things to add as well.

In watching Chicago go against San Antonio and Boston, it is clear that shot selection has become very important for us. Though we are only two games into the season, I have noticed that we have started to take more and more forced shots, costing us both points as well as ball possession. If we want to stay in the lead and take control of the game, we have to slow our plays down and think twice before shooting the ball.

Another thing I think Chicago should pay attention to are second-chance points. More often than not, when taking a long two or a three point shot, we fail to position any of our players in the paint to catch a quick rebound and reshoot, in case the initial shot does not go in. I think this is a huge mistake, especially when players like Tyrus Thomas or Brad Miller, aka players not known for their jumpers, are the ones going for the shot. Playing this way, we miss out on crucial rebounds, rebounds which would be easy for someone like Joakim Noah.

All of this aside though, the Bulls so far do not look half bad. True they got slaughtered by the Celtics tonight, but I attribute that fully to awkward tension between the two teams, still left over from last year's Playoffs. The Bulls went to work against the Spurs and came out on top, leaving Tony Parker to score a total of zero points in the entire second half. There will always be losses along with the wins, but as long as the Bulls stay focused and try to improve on their weaker points, this season should be a solid one for them.
Posted by A. at 8:36 PM 0 comments

*CBM extends its congrats to DWade for scoring his 10,00th point!