Coach Scott Skiles lead the Baby Bulls to the playoffs, a feat that would appear to be impossible had he not done it. With Eddy Curry refusing to get a physical, the Bulls considered his heart complication a serious problem and traded him to the Knicks. How much left of that playoff team remains with Curry gone?.
So far Skiles hasn't been afraid to tweak the starting lineup, with most bench players appearing in the starting five. 10-9, they are staying close to the #8 spot. However Milwaukee, Indiana, Detroit and Cleveland are all substantially better and will push Chicago down bigtime even if they do make they playoffs. One problem has been filling the platoon of Power Forward, where Darius Songalia, Malik Allen, Othella Harrington and Michael Sweetney have all started.
Another problem is that they don't have a go-to guy. They have 6 different players scoring 9 or more a game, but both of their leading scorers are coming off the bench. They are 28th in the NBA in Free-throw attempts, which means that Kirk Hinrich hasn't been driving to the hoop as often as he should. As young a team as this is they commit a slew of turnovers, 15.2 a game (23rd in the League).
Hinrich isn't a conventional PG but he doesn't needs to be, since the Bulls are an impressive 5th in the NBA in Assists Per Game.Ben Gordon is a great shooter and does the job coming off the bench. Last year he was a Rookie of the Year candidate coming of the bench, winning the 6th Man award. With Eddy Curry gone, the Bulls don't really have a direction to who should be their leader, but it should be Gordon. Skiles should place Gordon in the starting lineup over Chris Duhon.
Gordon has the potential to be an all-out scorer, but he needs to receive more than 20 minutes a game.The Bulls may have remade the playoffs, but they have to completely reestablish themselves as Eastern contenders. The Bulls are a slightly older team this year and are relying on fundamentals alone to get them scores. They certainly aren't as deep as last year, even though Deng and Gordon lead the team from the bench. When Chicago faces a daunting presence like Shaquille O'Neal, they'll struggle to hold him off.
Their chances of postseason nirvana are slim right now, we'll have to wait and see just how much more they can develop..Visit Basketball Betting Systems for more expert articles on sports.
By: David Pincus