(This is my first fanpost on Bab. I've been reading for awhile but just made an account. Lemme know how I did. )
Before the season even started, I believed, as did most people on BaB, that this season would amount to be a first round play-off exit, maybe a .500 team at best, or at worst being a complete bust in the hopes for a free agent in the summer. Surprisingly, so far, and I say so far, the season has been a pleasant surprise. Derrick Rose has become a beast who can dominate teams offensively at will (I.E. the Portland game last night). Joakim Noah turned out to be a rebounding beast and defensive mainstay. Even Deng, who I never really liked, has been playing smart recently. When his jump shot isn't falling he's getting himself to the free throw line. The play of these three has really gotten me excited not only for free agency, but also for the playoffs. I want to see if they have another level of play the competitive aura of the playoffs can bring out in them and make a Chris Bosh go, "Holy shit. They're pretty good without me. I can get paid, and get a shot at a ring there!"
On another positive note, I think everyone has been surprised by our new tradees. Warrick pretty much kept our team alive late in the first half of the Portland game, even though Flip Murray really didn't do much that game besides giving us an entertaining trip to the free throw line. They've both been consistently decent, which is more than I could say about Salmons, A.K.A. the swirling vortex of play stoppage. I mean seriously, you'd think the ball was glued to his hands. Anyways, Murray is definitely a better player and isn't afraid to shoot a clutch three ( I'm going to reference the Washington game even though we lost because Kirk was scared to take the open three and gave it right back to Murray, who drained it.)
On the critical side though, the Bulls need to get rid of those scary few minutes when it looks like someone is moving the basket every time they take a shot. It's usually late second or early third quarter that this happens, but it's enough to give bad teams the hope they can come back and win it. Is there an easy solution to this besides saying go for the easy shots? The ball movement usually stops in these times with either Pargo or Hinrich sitting at the top of the key dribbling it out until there's 8 seconds left on the clock. Then they either force up a bad shot with a hand in their face or they turn it over. The scary part is that it's not rare for this to happen. It happens for at least a few minutes every game. This type of thing has to go away if we want to have a shot of leaving the first round as a winner.
Overall I'd say it's a pretty good time to be a Bulls fan right now. The Bulls have problems, namely the fact that our bench is filled with Pargo's and Hunter's and Brown's and James's (the bad kind of James) who somehow are still being payed to play a game they fail at. But if you overlook these things, the Bulls are actually playing like a good team right now. Ask me how I feel in two weeks and my answer might be completely different.