The Chicago Bulls were projected to be a title contender prior to the start of the 2013-2014 season. With Derrick Rose back and healthy, the team looked really powerful on paper. Then, after Rose went down with yet another season-ending injury, the Bulls seemed nothing more than a team that could simply enter the playoffs. Soon after that, the team decided to trade away Luol Deng and that’s when everyone expected them to tank. However, the Bulls are playing, in fact, better than they were performing with Deng on board. So what can we really expect from them this season?
First of all, the Bulls can almost be considered as a lock for the playoffs. The team currently stands at the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and it’s the only one other than the top three of the conference with a winning record. Certainly, we can’t say that the Bulls will be a title contending team. They don’t have the quality or the depth to match against teams like the Miami Heat or the Indiana Pacers. But then again, who knows?
The certain fact is that the Bulls are performing better than anyone around the league expected. When Chicago traded away Luol Deng for, well, nothing instead of a salary dump, the Bulls were expected to sink all the way to the bottom spots of the conference. Some even talked about a drastic rebuilding process that was needed and that the Bulls should aim for the last seeds in the East, in order to increase their chances to get a high pick in the loaded 2014 draft.
However, Tom Thibodeau’s group found a magical way to win games. Of course, that magic was nothing else than the team’s strong character and the solid contributions from players who didn’t have the chance to shine up to now.
Taj Gibson emerged as a solid contributor for Chicago, especially since the Luol Deng trade. The energetic forward is averaging 12.8 points and 6.5 rebounds coming off the bench for Chicago.
D.J. Augustin has turned to be an excellent acquisition for the Bulls. Augustin, who was supposed to be the backup for Rose, is putting up incredible performances. He is averaging 13.8 points and 5.5 assists per contest, while shooting 41.7 percent from the floor 43.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler are performing close what the team expected form them and that pretty much forms the puzzle for the Bulls. Right when everyone though that the Bulls were done for this season, they bounced back. They are proving that they can be a competitive team even without Rose.
Things might change soon in Chicago. Lots of rumors talk about changes the team can perform. Carlos Boozer might be amnestied next season. Chicago could end up trading one of its assets. The biggest question, however, is if and when Derrick Rose will be able to play and stay healthy.
For the moment, the Bulls are enjoying their solid course without him. For more of the Chicago Bulls, visit this Chicago Bulls news, rumors and updates page.