|2013-14 Team Rating|
|28th Overall||2nd Overall|
Stats Through Jan. 20
As if demanding equal time with backcourt woes, the front line lost All-Star Luol Deng via trade. Carlos Boozer is predictably 15 and nine and Joakim Noah has been at his best.
Nothing prepared them for Derrick Rose's second knee shutdown. Jimmy Butler's progress hobbled. Still, D.J. Augustin has found new career life and rookie Tony Snell benefits from PT.
Scoring fewer but giving up fewer, too. Defense under Tom Thibodeau is a Chicago constant right up there with posthumous voting and sewer-cover-sized pizza. But Mike Dunleavy isn't Deng.
When the starters (what's left of them) are healthy, the first three off the bench -- Taj Gibson, Snell, Augustin -- are tight. But there's a drop after eight -- and this team needs more than eight.
Thibodeau is half-immovable object, half-unstoppable force. You'll play defense for him, you'll log long minutes and you will be part of more victories than you might otherwise expect.
This is one of those occasions where someone's overall grade is greater than the average of its sub-grades. Why? Consider how much worse things could have gotten. Ten games in, their MVP goes down with another season-ender. At 32 games, they trade away their All-Star forward and "glue" guy for no help in return. A team with legit championship ambitions was undergoing amputations on the fly.
And yet, the Bulls went 8-2 through the first three weeks of 2014 to claw to .500. Their opposition wasn't the fiercest, but their rotation has firmed up, Noah has found his edge, Snell is this year's Butler, Gibson should be a Sixth Man candidate, Augustin is winning games off the scrap heap. All this upsets some Chicagoans, who must think that Rose-in-2008 lottery vault was the norm. But of course, there's no tanking in Thibodeau.
-- Steve Aschburner
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||A-|
|Los Angeles Clippers||A-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||D|
|New Orleans Pelicans||C-|
|New York Knicks||D|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||A|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|