Welcome to “Pretty Much Screwed,” our definitive guide to the upcoming NBA season. This team-by-team preview details why it’s probably not your favorite team’s year. Today we’ll talk about the Chicago Bulls and an ACL.
From 1991-1999, the Bulls (more or less) kept the Knicks, Pacers, Hawks, Hornets, and Magic from the NBA Finals. From 2010 on, the tables will be turned, and Chicago will see what that feels like to incur the wrath of an NBA dynasty in the making. It’s quite possible that Derrick Rose will never see a Western Conference team in a seven game series for close to a decade. You can thank LeBron James for that.
It’s true. The Bulls are at the beginning of chapter in their history where they’ll play exceptional basketball and have nothing to show for it but anguish. Your hearts will feel the pain that the rest of us NBA fans felt during the 90’s. Glad to return the favor.
Don’t get me wrong, the 2013-14 Chicago Bulls are excellent, top to bottom (which is why it’s going to hurt so bad when you repeatedly make the playoffs and lose to the Miami Heat). Noah seems to get better every year. Jimmy Butler is an excellent spot up shooter. Deng is Deng. Boozer is consistent as hell (though the holes in his game are glaring). Taj Gibson is a top notch defensive power forward. Mike Dunleavy can give you offense and veteran savvy off the bench. Kirk Heinrich won’t mess anything up when Derrick Rose isn’t on the floor. And of course, Marco Bellinelli and Nate Robinson give you instant offense.
What’s not to like?
Well, for starters, Marco Bellinelli and Nate Robinson aren’t around anymore (27 combined PPG last season).
Then there’s the fact that this team still doesn’t have an All-Star caliber second scoring option. That puts a lot of pressure on the defense going into a season where the Pacers, Knicks, and Nets offenses all improved.
But the Heat are still better, so it’s a moot point.
Now to Derrick Rose’s knee…
If he doesn’t blow it out this season, I’ll eat my favorite pet: Don Cattingly. That’s right, I will consume my one true love — a cat named after Yankees first baseman and current Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly — if Derrick Rose plays an entire 82 game NBA season and doesn’t miss a playoff game. That’s how sure I am that the guy who barrels into defenses like an ADHD pitbull on mushrooms, will get hurting doing just that at some point this year. Who cares if he’s gained five inches on his vertical since we last saw him? That’s just five more inches he has to fall onto that infamous ACL.
Seriously, for every insane Derrick Rose highlight this season, the chance that he’ll get injured grows exponentially. You can’t tell me that driving, jumping, and landing like this — in a preseason game — lends itself to sustainable knee health.
With him, you’re screwed because the Heat exist. Without him, you’re just a ponytailed shot blocker, some tepid offense, and three rookies from the wrong end of a crappy draft class. Good luck!
Actual Season Prediction: 49-33. Lose to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.