2013-14 record: 48-34
Second place, Central Division
Lost in first round to Washington
2014 Draft Picks: Round 1 - Picks 16, 19 | Round 2 - Pick 49
Areas Of Strength
The Bulls under coach Tom Thibodeau have shown an ability to play lockdown team defense regardless of the individual parts, while getting near-complete buy-in from his players. Joakim Noah's game blossomed offensively as he served as Chicago's "point center" and put up a series of triple-doubles, even as he was being named NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Taj Gibson is ready to take over as a starter at power forward, with Carlos Boozer a likely amnesty candidate in the final year of his five-year deal.
No one, Derrick Rose included, knows how the 2011 MVP is going to recover from his season-ending knee injury in as many years. The Bulls are hoping for the best, but Thibodeau and others have talked about playing with Rose next season rather than leaning completely on him. That means finding help, ideally a wing player who can create his own shot. Can you say 'Melo? Some in Chicago would like to see Carmelo Anthony move from New York as a free agent, but it's a long shot that would be pricey in salary and in assets tossed overboard to accommodate the Knicks' free agent.
Two Stats That Matter
36 -- The Bulls won more games after Jan. 1 than any other team in the East, finishing the season 36-16 (.692) and were better after trading away two-way All-Star and Thibodeau favorite Luol Deng than with him (33-16 vs. 15-18).
9 -- Joakim Noah, with 431 assists and 121 blocked shots, became only the ninth player in NBA history to log 400 and 100 in the same season. Only five centers have done it, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (twice), Sam Lacey (three times), Alvan Adams (once) and Kevin Garnett (six times, if you count Garnett as a center). The Bulls hope that Noah's increased use as a playmaker might ease some burden from Derrick Rose or make them doubly dangerous.
The Way To Go
NBA.com's Draft expert, Scott Howard-Cooper, offers up his suggestions:
The Bulls want to count on Nikola Mirotic for the real rookie impact of 2014-15. They're hoping the 23rd choice in 2011, who has grown into a top-10 talent at 23 years old while playing in Spain, will finally come to the NBA. Still, Chicago should find value at 16 (from Charlotte) and 19. With Kirk Hinrich about to become a free agent and the health of Rose a continuing unknown, Tyler Ennis at point guard would make sense. He showed the kind of steady play and composure as a freshman at Syracuse that indicates he could handle playoff pressure right away. That would put the Bulls, already with the possibility/hope of two rookies, in position to make another stash pick for a future payout. Swiss power forward Clint Capela and Latvian power forward Kristaps Porzingis would both get looks.
2013-14 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank)
Offensive: 99.7 (28th)
Defensive: 97.8 (2nd)
G: Derrick Rose
G/F: Jimmy Butler
G/F: Tony Snell
F: Taj Gibson
F: Mike Dunleavy
F: Carlos Boozer
C: Joakim Noah
G: Shane Larkin
G: Kirk Hinrich
G: D.J. Augustin
G: Jimmer Fredette
C: Nazr Mohammed
Recent Draft History
2013: Tony Snell (20), Erik Murphy (49)
2012: Marquis Teague (29)
2011: Norris Cole (28, traded to Miami); Jimmy Butler (30), Malcolm Lee (43)
2010: Kevin Seraphin (17), traded to Washington
2009: James Johnson (16), Taj Gibson (26)
-- Steve Aschburner