In what was supposed to be a lost season with former NBA MVP Derrick Rose recovering from a torn ACL, the Bulls exceeded many expectation to finish the regular season with a rather impressive 45-37 record. As a testament to the coaching of Thom Thibodeau, the Bulls earned the #5 seed and advanced to the second round of the playoffs before losing to the eventual NBA Champion Miami Heat by playing unrelenting defense and team basketball. Although the Bulls success came as a pleasant surprise, the Bulls really had one goal coming into the season- to have superstar Derrick Rose complete his rehab, make his return and regain his confidence so that the Bulls would be ready to compete for a NBA Championship in 2013-14.
Although Derrick Rose disappointed fans (and likely Bulls management) by never returning to action and accomplishing those goals , Bulls fans still have plenty to be excited about heading into the season. The biggest reason for excitement is simply the return of Derrick Rose. All reports seem to indicated that, 17 months after surgery to repair his torn ACL, Derrick is stronger and more explosive than ever before. Adding a healthy, MVP caliber Derrick Rose to the same Bulls mix that provided the Miami Heat a pretty tough challenge may be enough for them to finally topple Lebron James and the Miami Heat. It may take a little bit of time for Rose to shake the rust off and jell with his team mates once again but the Bulls have proven that they can win without him. They just need “MVP Rose” ready to go come playoff time.
In addition to the return of Rose, there are several other factors that should have Bulls fans optimistic for the upcoming season. Perhaps most notable is the development of Jimmy Butler, The former Marquette Golden Eagle made major strides last season – especially in the playoffs. Butler has always been known for his defensive prowess and his ability to guard 3 positions (point guard, shooting gaurd, and small forward) but he also developed into an excellent scoring threat as well. Butler turned into one of the few Bulls who could create his own shot while averaging over 13 points per game in the playoffs. Butler is expected to start alongside Derrick Rose at guard and will likely benefit from all the attention paid to Rose. Likewise, Butler will be able to take some of the scoring pressure off Derrick Rose as well.
The Bulls biggest weakness over the past few years has been on offense. Although the offense should be much improve with Rose and Butler now working together, the front office also added a few pieces to help with scoring after the departure of Nate Robinson and Marco Belininelli. The Bulls signed veteran free agent Mike Dunleavy who should desperately help out with 3 point shooting situation. The Bulls also drafted Tony Snell (forward from New Mexico) and Erik Murphy (forward from Florida). While they are developmental projects much like Jimmy Butler was, they are both excellent shooters and should be able to immediately contribute on the defensive end.
Although no one knows what the future holds for the Bulls, the buzz is certainly back in Chicago. The United Center will be rocking when Derrick Rose makes his return to the court against the New York Knicks on Halloween 10/31/2013. Bulls tickets do not go on sale to the general public until October 4th. However, if you are eager to reserve seats now, they are already available on the secondary market at places like this.