Quick thoughts: 1) November is brutal. The circus trip is the worst one I can recall in recent memory: All West Coast teams, tons of back-to-backs, and not one slouch. (Sacramento comes closest, but it's the last game on the trip and the second of a back-to-back following a game at Denver). Honestly, even the new-and-improved Bulls squad will be doing a pretty good job if they go 2-5 on it. What's worse, things don't get much easier when they get back home: They get Orlando, Boston (away), Houston and OKC all in a row, then a possible gimme on the road against the Cavs, and then back at home to face the Lakers. They could play pretty well and still easily
go 4-9 during that stretch. Like I said, brutal.
2) But things improve considerably
directly following that stretch, with 13 out of their next 14 games coming against opponents who should struggle to even sniff .500. (And the 14th, Milwaukee, while good, isn't an elite team.) Any ground lost in November can definitely be made up here.
3) The flipside to the nasty Circus Trip is that their second West Coast swing (which takes place in early Feb.) appears much easier than normal, with no back-to-backs, less fearsome opponents, and only five games in two weeks. Manageable.
4) All told, using my super-scientifc method of going through the schedule and tabulating their record by "Think They'll Win/Think They'll Lose," I had the Bulls going 51-31. I was fairly conservative---despite my deep
desires for it to be otherwise, I didn't pick them to win against Miami once, and I usually gave them a loss on the road in the 2nd of a back-to-back, regardless of the opponent---so I could easily see them winning 55 games or so. It probably depends on how quick they can gel, but they're going to get a baptism by fire at the start of the season, which you would think might help the hardening process.