The Chicago Bulls are back and feeling stronger than any year in recent memory for the 2013-2014 NBA season. Opening the year going undefeated in preseason, finally playing without the loss of their injured star player and having something to prove after a playoff run cut short last year, the Bulls are certainly a team to keep your eye on moving forward.
The Bulls got their 8th-straight win over the Denver Nuggets to remain the only undefeated team this preseason. While some pundits easily dismiss this impressive feat as simple exhibition games against opponents not playing at a 100% level it is in fact a great indicator of things to come. With the return of Derrick Rose after having recovered from his knee surgery many questions remained about his, and thus the Bulls’ in general, performance this upcoming season. Any notions that Chicago will fail to be a contender have quietly faded as their superb preseason performance, as a team and on the individual level, has moved them to center stage.
Derrick Rose missed the entire 2012-2013 season with his knee injury and subsequent surgery and healing/rehabbing. Although cleared by team doctors to play the star point guard did not make an appearance all season which caused plenty of controversy both from fans and critics alike. Opening the preseason this year and looking like the Derrick Rose of the past this criticism is quickly waning and rightfully so; he’s healthy, he’s back and he is stronger than ever for the year to come. Some may say he is on pace to be playing even better demonstrating a markedly improved three-point shot.
Although the Bulls were playing without their MVP point guard Rose and without the kind of depth many other teams possessed they still crushed the Nets in the Eastern Conference round one. Heading into Miami, Chicago put up an impressive performance and stomped the Heat 93-86 in game one of the semifinals. While a stacked Miami team would ultimately pull ahead to eliminate Chicago the result could have been quite different with a healthy Rose available to play. Knowing this and coming so close to winning it all the Bulls are back this year and playing for a repeat where they can crush the Heat and position themselves to take it all. In fact much speculation revolves around Derrick Rose earning the league MVP honor this year over Heat star LeBron James which is another motivating factor for the Bulls, and especially Rose, to play at or beyond their already talented level in their inevitable playoff run.
The 2013-2014 NBA season is the year of the Bulls. Chicago is looking good from the get-go, finally healthy with a little bit of depth and feeling extremely motivated to make all of the right moves this year.
Zac Linzmeier is a lifelong Chicago Bulls fan. After hometown (Juneau, AK) hero Carlos Boozer joined the team the Bulls have become something of a home team as well.