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John Hollinger optimistic about Bulls, yet has them missing the playoffs

To paraphrase for you non-insiders: Hollinger notes the streamlined post-trade rotation as a big success, respects the Gordon decision and 2010 plan, has little to say about the rookies. There's also a bizarre digression into whether VDN should've practiced with video games before last season.

He does throw in a big concern that wasn't really addressed this offseason: defensive rebounding. I hope a full season of Miller and Deng (a huge step up in Rebounding at the SF spot from Salmons), as well as physical improvements from Noah and Thomas (though is the mysterious falling defensive rebounding prowess of Thomas more of a mental thing?), can get them to near average in that department.

Hollinger's overall outlook is that Rose will improve, Deng will be back to his 'peak', Salmons will dip a bit but be solid, and it all nearly offsets the loss of Gordon.

Though he has the Bulls winning fewer games and missing the playoffs.

Not sure how he formulated his standings on statistical projections (and even if he did, some fudging would have to be done with games/minutes played), but the difference between winning 39 games and making the playoffs, and missing them with 38 wins, is huge. I truly think the 2010 free agency plan is bust if this is not even a playoff team.

Full Hollinger East Standings after the jump:

Cavaliers 63-19
Magic 62-20
Celtics 54-28
Hawks 44-38
76ers 42-40
Wizards 41-41
Heat 40-42
Pistons 39-43
Bulls 38-44
Raptors 35-47
Pacers 31-51
Bobcats 29-53
Knicks 26-56
Bucks 25-57
Nets 24-58