I understand that many fans believe that the return of Derrick Rose is going to catapult the Bulls back into championship contention and put them in position to knock off the Miami Heat. I'm all for being optimistic and like many other fans I am on board with this idea. However, some doubt creeps into my mind when I think about what other teams in the Eastern Conference have done this offseason.
The Heat have Lebron, Wade, and Bosh still and they were also able to keep Ray Allen and The Birdman. They still have to considered the title favorites. The Nets have a Dream Team type starting line-up and high quality depth. The Knicks added Andrea Bargnani, MWP, and Amare has to be healthy at some point right? Something tells me with a minutes limit this is the year he contributes. The Knicks also have quality depth. The Pacers have an exceptional starting five, they kept David West get Granger back and they've also added C.J Watson and Chris Copeland to improve their bench and overall depth.
The teams at the top have no doubt improved their rosters. However, some of the bottom dwelling teams have improved tremendously. The Cavaliers had a great draft, added Andrew Bynum, Earl Clark, Jarrett Jack, and they get Anderson Varejao back. Plus, they still have a promising young core. Additionally, they still have room to make improvements. The Pistons added Josh Smith and Chauncey Billups to a young and promising core. The Hawks have added solid pieces in Paul Millsap and Elton Brand and they were able to keep Korver in the fold. They also added Mike Budenholzer as a coach who is the protege of Greg Popovich. The Wizards began to show signs of cohesiveness and the young core is starting to gel with the veterans. Furthermore, John Wall is starting to put together the potential that made him the No.1 overall pick a few years ago. Even the Raptors have made moves that put them in the playoff conversation. The distraction of Bargnani is gone.Rudy Gay, Demar Derozan, and Kyle Lowry still have yet to see what they can do together. Plus, they added Steve Novak and Marcus Camby. I wouldn't be surprised if any of these teams make the leap into playoff contention
Many of the Eastern Conference teams have done a lot this off season. The activity of the other teams in the Eastern Conference do not concern me. It's the lack of activity from the Bulls that concerns me. The Bulls had a questionable draft, lost Belinelli who showed that he could create his own offense(something we need), Nate is probably on the move, the signing of Nazr and Dunleavy do not strike me as significant roster upgrades, especially Dunleavy. Do not get me wrong I like the signing I was even shocked he considered playing in Chicago but I am not sold on him being that missing piece who is going to help keep the offense fluid.
The letting go of Ron Adams is probably the worst decision of the off season.The fact that Gar let a highly respected and one of the best lead assistants in the NBA just walk is terribly disturbing. Not only was he close to both Thibs and Rose he is regarded as one of the best developers of young talent in the NBA. Without him there might not be a Jimmy Butler or a Taj Gibson. This is a move that could haunt the Bulls for years to come. The last thing that concerns me is injuries. Noah's plantar fasciitis, Deng's wrist and the overall wear and tear on his body, and the unknown of how good Derrick Rose will be once he returns from an ACL tear. These three players have been injured or hampered by injuries the past 2, 3 seasons and no matter how optimistic you are that is extremely concerning.
With all the uncertainty and with other teams making significant roster changes, I was really hoping that Gar got creative this off season and made a big move that would improve the team this year and for the future. But how can you expect that from a General Manager that has made his fair share of questionable trades and decisions.
Like many other Bulls fans i understand the acquisition of Derrick Rose is probably our biggest off season move. Although, that is a significant acquisition is it enough to dethrone the Heat? Can we compete with the teams that have made significant additions to their roster? The game has changed a lot since Derrick Rose last played will he be able to dominant the way he once did? As a Bulls fan I want to be able to answer yes to all of these questions and I hope once the season commences I will be able to. However, because of the the improvement throughout the Eastern Conference, the many concerns I have with the Bulls, and the fact that they are no longer Miami's biggest threat (That belongs to Indiana). I am nervous that this is the year the Bulls take a step backward.
Any thoughts? Comments? Ideas?