Wednesday, October 13, 2010


So I caught my first glimpse of the Bulls last night and only saw the first half, and keeping in mind the rather huge caveats that it was a) only a preseason game that was b) against the Raptors, who look like they might be the worst team in the league, I was really, really impressed. Some scattered thoughts:

1) Kelly Dwyer has it exactly 100% right: The difference between VDN and Tom Thibodeau is night and day. The Bulls offense looks like a thing of beauty, with lots of movement, cutting, backscreens, and quick passes. And I love how much of it is being run at the top of the key through Noah, who looks like he's going to average at least 5 dimes a game this year. Taking advantage of his height and passing ability is really, really smart, and I also liked how they let Noah take the ball upcourt if the Raps tried to double team Rose on the inbounds pass after a bucket. He's got both the handle and the court vision to make teams pay for that, and it's that type of diverse skill set (along with his rebounding, and his improving offensive game) that make Noah, barring injury, worth every penny of his new deal.

2) Yes, Asik is extremely rough around the edges, but he looks like a legit rotation player to me, if not now then relatively soon. The shotblocking was great to see (coming as it did from both on the ball and from help defense), his defensive rebounding looked solid, and he seems to have a nice, innate sense of positioning/off the screen movement on offense. And though I know his 3 of 4 night from the charity stripe was an anomaly, I have to say that I thought his form from the line looked pretty good; seemed to be using his legs and it looked like he had a decent follow-through on his release. WE CAN BUILD ON THIS!

3) Between Korver, Bogans, Watson, Rose, and Deng, it appears as if the Bulls three-point shooting, which looked to be a potential Achilles' heel coming into this season, should be adequate. There are obviously still some question marks, but Rose and Deng each look to be improved enough to the point that they are now viable threats from that range. Neither will put the fear of God in opponents, but both seem to be confident that, if left open, they'll hit it. And the type of open looks from three-land that Bogans is consistently getting (coming largely courtesy of Rose's unstoppable penetration and kick) should be there all season. Indeed, in a way, it seems like Bogans might almost be the perfect type of 2 guard to pair with Rose: a nice defender, doesn't need the ball on offense, but dangerous enough from distance to provide the spacing Rose needs to operate effectively. And I love the way they're using Korver as a Ray Allen/Rip Hamilton-type threat, running him all over the court offensively through a gauntlet of screens.

4) Overall, it looks like this Bulls team has the potential to be much better than the sum of its parts. A lot of their regular rotation players have significant flaws in their game, but it seems to me that not only are many, if not most, of these weakness largely offset by the strengths of their teammates, but that the strengths of some teammates can play directly to the strengths of the more limited players (a la Rose and Bogans). The Boozer injury had really bummed me out, but after seeing what I witnessed last night, I can't wait for this season to start, even without him. And then to think what they might be with him...well, it's exciting.