The 2016 Bulls have a new look. During the offseason, the Bulls traded away hometown hero and former MVP Point Guard Derrick Rose, and said goodbye to 2014 free agent signee, Power Forward Pau Gasol. Then in free agency, the Bulls added former star and NBA champion, Point Guard Rajon Rondo.
Following the Rondo signing, the Bulls made one of the biggest splashes in NBA free agency, landing future Hall of Famer, Chicago native and three time NBA champion, Shooting Guard Dwayne Wade. Unfortunately for the Bulls, Rondo (age 30) and Wade (34) are both past their prime. Wade and Rondo will join Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler, newly acquired Center Robin Lopez, and long tenured fan favorite Power Forward, Taj Gibson.
While the Bulls have definitely added some excitement to the roster, what can we realistically expect from this team? In a league where being able to shoot the three ball is everything, the Bulls will be abysmal from three. Rondo, Wade and Butler combined last year to shoot an abysmal 32% from three. Therefore, the Bulls will have to rely on players such as Doug Mcdermott and Nikola Mirotic to provide three point shooting off the bench. The Bulls will have to be able to shoot the three with some success so that lanes to the rim open up.
Spacing is key. In the Bulls first two games (and wins), they shot well from three. Highlighted by Dwayne Wade’s 22 points on four for six shooting from three in the Bulls opener against the Celtics, and Doug Mcdermott’s 23 points on five for six shooting from three. While, these performances are good signs, we will have to see if it can continue.
It will be interesting to see how Head Coach Fred Hoiberg will bring this team together, considering his offensive philosophy revolves around shooting threes. At the end of the day I expect the Bulls to finish with 43 to 50 wins, and finish around 5th in the Eastern Conference, barring season ending injuries to key players. No matter what happens, the Bulls should be fun to watch this year, which is more than I expected going into free agency.
Quick NBA Predictions:
MVP- Russel Westbrook, PG, OKC
Rookie of the Year- Brandon Ingram, SF, LAL
NBA Finals- Golden State Warriors over the Cleveland Cavaliers… Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green versus Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. If this is not the finals matchup, barring major injury, I would be SHOCKED.