|2010-11 Team Rating|
|17th Overall||1st Overall|
Stats through Jan. 15
Tom Thibodeau wisely courted Luol Deng from the start and has gotten some of his best play. Boozer is a serious low-post threat but a mediocre defender. Joakim Noah (thumb surgery) should be fresh when he returns.
Derrick Rose took a giant step forward to become a legit MVP candidate but has had to handle playmaking and scoring given Chicago's weak production at shooting guard. More Kyle Korver shooting, please!
Considering the new faces and Noah's long layoff, it is a credit to Thibodeau's system, honed in Boston, that the Bulls are getting such stingy results.
Ronnie Brewer has brought energy and athletic ability at off-guard. Forward Taj Gibson slipped offensively after a concussion but is a defensive force. Veteran Kurt Thomas was a game-saver stepping in for Noah.
Thibodeau has let a few games slip away and confounds fans with his loyalty to Keith Bogans as a starter. But he commands respect and the players understand he can (and wants to) make them better.
The Bulls would have preferred to avoid the injuries to Boozer in training camp and Noah in December. They needed the full regular season to probe just how good they could become. Now they will have to learn that in the final two months, will have to come in the final two months, assuming they finally get their preferred rotation in place.
This team still needs better outside shooting to open more space for Rose to attack the rim and to spare him some of the scoring burden. Deng's inconsistency is what keeps the Chicago talk shows on his back. Boozer and Thibodeau presumably will find middle ground in their respective offensive and defensive leanings. Somebody -- maybe someone from the outside, by the trading deadline -- needs to step up at shooting guard.
-- Steve Aschburner
Explanation of Marking System