|2011-12 Team Rating|
|5th Overall||2nd Overall|
2011-12 Season Stats
The Bulls' most important competitive advantage -- after Derrick Rose -- was length and depth of frontcourt. That's gone with Omer Asik to Houston now. Taj Gibson is due starter's minutes but Carlos Boozer won't be adding vertical.
Kirk Hinrich will be back as a Rose stand-in while The Rehab continues, as third guard once the 2011 MVP returns. Worries about luxury tax might have Richard Hamilton moving by the trade deadline.
Asik is bigger, protects rim more aggressively, moves better laterally than Nazr Mohammed (signed to replace him). Tom Thibodeau faces his toughest challenge preaching defense to Vladimir Radmanovic, Marco Belinelli, Nate Robinson.
Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer all helped Chicago win games and endure Rose's (and other's) injury absences. All are gone because of payroll. Draft pick Marquis Teague will take time.
Even the Bulls' coach has financial issues encroaching on basketball. Talks for his contract extension haven't landed on the right number yet, and soon Thibodeau might lose that "most regular-season victories" leverage.
Salary-capologists have defended the Bulls' offseason approach, based entirely on writing off 2012-13 as meaningless due to Derrick Rose's absence until March or beyond. Chicago is said to be focused on next summer, even 2014. Yet no one knows how soon or effectively the Bulls' star might come back -- what if he's ahead of schedule? Also, team management, so determined not to pay luxury taxes, won't be offering discounts on pricey United Center tickets.
Rose's torn ACL was rotten luck for Chicago but giving up on what had been the makings of a championship-caliber team sends all the wrong signals to players (Bulls or elsewhere) and the public. Dallas tried to anticipate a down year, dismantled a championship team and, gee, really reaped rewards this summer, right?
-- Steve Aschburner
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||C+|
|Los Angeles Clippers||B|
|Los Angeles Lakers||A|
|New Jersey Nets||A|
|New Orleans Hornets||B+|
|New York Knicks||C|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||C-|
|San Antonio Spurs||B|