The Bulls are 1-0. This seems like a relatively insignificant feat in the grand scheme of things, but last night’s 108-95 victory over division rival Milwaukee made Chicago over .500 for the first time since the ’06-’07 season. Luol Deng led the charge with 21 points, and rookie sensation Derrick Rose chipped in with 11 points and 9 assists.
The Bully boys announced their presence with authority, out-rebounding the Bucks 40-32, and registering 9 steals. Chicago’s youthful legs ran for 4 quarters, and although there were anticipated lapses on the defensive end of the floor, solid efforts were put forth, and a desirable outcome was achieved.
We obviously won’t know too much about this team’s capabilities for a few more weeks, but tomorrow night’s trip to Boston should adequately raise or plummet my personal optimism meter for the ’08 season. The C’s have returned with an unrivaled swagger, and you can bet your bottom dollar they will be out to establish themselves as the team to beat early, trying to demoralize opponents along the way in front of a raucous home crowd. I’m curious to see how the gregarious Ty Thomas handles the early pressure.
Speaking of Ty, I truly feel this will be his breakout season. He has shown flashes of prominence throughout the last two years, and a 15 point, 10 rebound contribution last night should be the first of many double-doubles for the young star. Talk of TT being involved in multiple trade scenarios greatly discouraged me in ’07, and look for #24 to silence critics and quell all trade rumors early and often in ’08.
With the ceiling relatively low for the Bulls, making the playoffs would be quite an accomplishment. Not too many of the so called “experts” have them higher than a possible 8 seed, and a playoff push will be hinged on the rookies, coach Vinny Del Negro, and guard Derrick Rose.
The two point guard split Chicago threw at Milwaukee seemed to work in last night’s home opener. Rose and veteran pointman Kirk Hinrich both had respectable games, and combined for 16 assists. I like the idea, as long as both can continue to distribute the ball identically to keep the pace up tempo on offense. I hate the idea if Vinny tries to run with Rose, and slow it down with Hinrich, completely throwing a crap covered pipe wrench into everyone else on the court’s game.
Chicago certainly has the horses to make some noise this year, and if the big boys (Drew Gooden, Joakim Noah, Thomas) can score down low, watch out NBA. There is no reason this team can’t make the playoffs, and that would be a nice way to Vinny Del’s coaching career.
Fearless Prediction: 43-39, 3rd in Central, 7th in East
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