The Chicago Bulls have been an interesting case for the last half-a-decade. The team has largely played a foil to LeBron James’ efforts to win a championship in Cleveland and Miami. For one reason or another, each bid fell short.
Derrick Rose, the cornerstone of the franchise, flew to prominence in the 2010-11 season, which saw him win an MVP award and the team go 62-20. They were soundly defeated by the Heat in the postseason and Chicago never seemed to get back to that pinnacle.
D-Rose is gone now, and his departure to New York opened up the gates for the organisation to make some moves in free-agency. They acquired both Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade during this offseason.
The question in Illinois now is: How will these pieces fit together with the team’s resident All-Star Jimmy Butler?
Here are the adjustment that each player is going to have to make for the Bulls to get back to the playoffs:
#3) Jimmy Butler
The five-year-man out of Marquette is now the focal point of everything the team does. He filled this role last year and while he performed admirably, they didn’t even make the playoffs in the east.
Both of the new additions have said that: “This is Jimmy’s team.”
That may be true but he will have to make some adjustments himself to help his new backcourt partners be the most successful that they can be.
Jimmy Buckets spent the majority of his season pushing the ball up the court and getting the team into its offence. With Rondo in Chi-Town, there is no reason for this anymore.
He needs to get back to scoring off more cutting action towards the basket to help create more flow in half-court sets that include himself, The Clinic, and D-Wade.
Out of the three options, Butler is the best shooter so he may even find some success spotting up behind the line for stretches while his mates create on the ball.
#2) Rajon Rondo
Ever since being separated from the “Big 3” in Boston, Rondo has been a lightning rod on every team he has played for. The mercurial point guard was the Celtics’ best player in their battles with James and his new teammate.
The former Wildcat’s appeal comes from his court vision and above average defensive prowess as a lead guard. Both of those traits seem to coincide with the basketball identity that has taken root in the United Center.
But, the major issue that the former All-Star will have to overcome is his shooting woes.
Last year he shot a respectable 36 percent from deep but his career average of 29 seems more apt to expect from the 30-year-old.
He will also have to contend with being on a team with two other stars who are as dynamic with the ball in their hands as he is. Fitting in and finding ways to help this team with his scoring and not just gaudy assist totals will be Rondo’s challenge for this season.
#1) Dwyane Wade
It’s still weird seeing The Flash in a jersey without the word Heat on the front. This is the world that we live in now though.
There is reason for optimism after an impressive regular season and an admirable effort keeping an undermanned team of South Beach reserves afloat in the playoffs. The 34-year-old still has some magic left in the tank.
Also of note, Wade is the only one of Chicago’s three guards that has been through a transition like this before. Sharing the ball and ceding touches became normal for him from 2010-14. But, he’s a lot older now and his range has not extended with age.
The fans better hope that the insane shooting performance in the playoffs is a sign of things to come for the shooting guard.
If he can taper down on the mid-range looks and get more of his offence at the rim then he will be a great addition. You have to wonder if his body can take the pounding of flying to the rim over an entire season.
Still, things are looking up near Michigan Avenue.