Grantland's Zach Lowe has put up his annual unscientific yet compelling League Pass Rankings, and in a change from years past the Bulls are well up there.
They finish #8 overall, behind only Cleveland and Washington among East teams. They're also behind the Sacramento Kings, in case you thought this was totally correlative of team success.
The Bulls feel unsteady, and that's part of the appeal. Hoiberg figures to introduce more passing and 3-point shooting, and he'll give Doug McDermott a chance. Chicago's vaunted defense slipped to 11th in points allowed per possession in Tom Thibodeau's last season, and it will be a struggle to climb the defensive rankings if the Hoiberg Bulls can't maintain the classic Thibodeau opponent shot selection: no corner 3s, tons of midrange jumpers.
Lowe likes Nikola Mirotic a lot (though adds: "do we actually know if Mirotic is, like, good?"), and that certainly helps the subjective ranking. The Bulls logo and court design are big plusses too.
He also likes Neil Funk and Stacey King, to which: no. I suppose if you're an NBA junkie like Lowe and are resigned to all announcers being insufferable homers, than maybe the Bulls crew isn't so bad by comparison. I personally just can't even.
I should also add that I don't doubt this team's watchability rating would take a nosedive on games Derrick Rose isn't playing.