2008 NBA Preview: #17 Chicago Bulls

Offseason Movement: The Bulls were relatively quiet this summer, but they did manage to sign Luol Deng to an extension. They were unable to sign Ben Gordon to a long-term deal, so it looks like he’s on his way out of town. He’ll be motivated for his next contract and would be a good candidate for an in-season trade. The team also signed Vinny Del Negro as its head coach.
Keep Your Eye On: Derrick Rose, PG
The #1 overall pick should see lots of action in the backcourt with Kirk Hinrich sliding over to shooting guard. Physically, he’s ready to play in the NBA and has the makings of an impact point guard not unlike Chris Paul or Deron Williams. He needs to work on his jumper, but once he gets that going, watch out.
The Big Question: When is this team going to fulfill its potential?
For the last few seasons, the Bulls have seemingly been on the verge of putting together something special. They shot themselves in the foot when they (way) overspent on Ben Wallace and sent Tyson Chandler to New Orleans where he’s now emerging as a star. With a starting lineup of Rose, Hinrich, Deng, Drew Gooden and Joakim Noah, along with a bench that includes Andres Nocioni, Larry Hughes and Ben Gordon, the team has the talent to compete with anyone in the East. The question is chemistry.
Outlook: The same old same old. Once again, Bulls fans look at their team’s roster and see a group of very good players. Deng is the closest that the team has to a star, so in a way, the Bulls lack an identity. Until someone emerges, whether it’s Deng or Rose (or someone else), the Bulls will be a mediocre team with the potential to be a contender. It’s not clear what Del Negro will bring to the table in his first season, so come April, it seems likely that the Bulls will be fighting for a playoff spot down the stretch in the weaker Eastern Conference.

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