2016-17 Chicago Bulls Season Predictions

Despite some of the big moves made by other teams this offseason, The Chicago Bulls may be the most changed team in the league. There are a lot of questions surrounding the Bulls this year. Will the new personal be able to grasp coach Fred Hoiberg’s offense? The personnel they had last year had issues with the style of play. Will their new veteran backcourt be able to gel quickly?

This typically leads to uncertainty, even for Vegas.  According to Boyds Bets, the Bulls win total was set at 38.5.  That would leave them out of the playoff picture again this season.  Here are five predictions I have for Chicago this season.

1. They will start slow – Their roster is starkly different than last season. Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah left for New York. Pau Gasol is now wearing black and silver in San Antonio. Chicago added former all-league guards Rajon Rondo to the roster. It will be interesting to see how they gel with the teams’ star player, Jimmy Butler. On top of that, Hoiberg’s complicated uptempo offense is going to present a tough learning curve for the team.

2. They will make the playoffs – If the Bulls had these players when they were in their prime, they would contend for the conference title. Hometown hero Dwayne Wade and Rajon Rondo used to be considered the best players in the league at their positions. They have slowed in their later years. Their experience and remaining talent should be enough to garner the Bulls a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

3. The Bulls will struggle on offense – This may be a surprising notion to some of you considering the big names on the Bulls roster and their coaching. There is a glaring weakness in the offense of this team, 3-point shooting. Wade and Rondo are both under the league standard for guards when it comes to outside shooting. Below average outside accuracy wouldn’t have been such a big problem earlier in their careers, but the NBA today is all about speed and outside shooting. I think it will be tough for the Bulls to score on pace with some of the high-powered shooting teams they will be facing.

4. Denzel Valentine will be a good draft pick – The Bulls selected Valentine with the 14th pick of the draft in June. It was obviously a response to the departure of Derrick Rose. I think this will be a high-value pick for the Bulls. Valentine stayed all four years in college. The young point guard should be more ready for the NBA than other younger players taken in the draft.

What I love most about Valentine is that it isn’t all talent with him. He produced in college in a big way. He averaged nearly 20 points per game and over seven assists, and seven rebounds a game. He is also a gamer. Just look at his game-winning shot against Ohio State last season. A couple of years studying under Rondo, one of the smartest players in the game, one hurt him either. He is poised to be a long time starter for the Bulls if he pans out.

5. Wade will be productive in spurts – The Bulls have been trying to get Dwayne Wade on their roster since he entered the draft. The Chicago native is finally there in what is probably going to be the twilight of his career. He can still be productive and put points on the board. He won’t be able to do it for as long of stretches as he used to, though. I still look for Wade to be an active force in the backcourt for the Bulls despite his increasing age.

Best Chicago Bulls Teams of All-Time

The Chicago Bulls are a team that has had a very storied past there have been a number of players that have contributed to the success of the Bulls. In their past, there have been a number of players that have formed teams that will go down in history as being some of the best that have ever played. These teams have been what made the Bulls a team that stands out from all of the others of years past. Names like Pippin and Jordan are names that have put the Bulls in a number of playoff spots as well as winning a number of titles under the coaching of Phil Jackson.

1990-91 Bulls
This would mark the second season that Phil Jackson was head coach and the beginning of what would be a great era in the Bulls legacy. This was the team that featured the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippin, Horace Grant and Will Purdue to help and excel the team to a record of 61-21 for the year and place them first in the division. In addition to this, they would also win their conference final and would go on to win the NBA finals beating the Los Angeles Lakers 3 games to 2. This would be the first season of 6 out of eight seasons that they would win the NBA Finals making them one o0f the most dominant teams of the 90’s.

1995-96 Bulls
This was a team that was destined for greatness before the opening tip-off of the season. Giving some power from the likes of Dennis Rodman helped in the area of having someone that could rebound the ball when it was needed. While Rodman was the man to rebound the ball and get it in the hands of people like Jordan and Pippin, it was these players that would finish off the deed when it came to scoring. We all know that Michael Jordan is a legend in his own right, and Scottie Pippin was his backup there were others that made this team that helped to propel them to a world championship that year and one of the best records the team has ever seen.

1997-98 Bulls
1997-98 would be the last season that the Bulls would win the NBA finals as this was the last team that had the kind of dominance that the team had enjoyed for such a long time. Again names like Jordan, Pippin, Rodman were at the front, but it was Ron Harper and Luc Longly that would back these players up and help to drive them to yet another NBA title. Phil Jackson had a special way of coaching these players that helped them to understand and relate to him without a lot of the dramatics that other coaches tend to use on a regular basis. While this was the last time they would see the NBA finals, there was still some good left in the tank in years after the greats hung up their jersey.

2014-15 Bulls
The 2014-15 Bulls were a good team and while they did not live up to the hype that the Bulls of the 90’s did, they were still a powerhouse that needed to be contended with. Players the like of Jokim Noah, Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol were the names that helped the Bulls begin a resurgence that they had long since been in need of. Few Players could have met up with the kind of power that the three of these players did unless it was in the 90’s and you were talking about Jordan, Pippin and Rodman. What will the next great team era of the Bulls be, only time will tell and we will have to wait and see.

Trade Analysis of Tony Snell for Michael Carter-Williams

The Bulls and Bucks swapped former 1st round picks last week, with Chicago sending fourth-year small forward Tony Snell to Milwaukee in exchange for fourth-year point guard Michael Carter-Williams. Despite the risk of accidentally helping a division rival, the teams likely felt comfortable swapping the underwhelming bench players in what can be considered a classic trade of players that perhaps need a change of scenery.

Michael Carter-Williams (aka MCW) was selected 11th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2013 draft, and surprised many pundits by winning the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award on the strength of a well-rounded offensive game. Carter-Williams led all rookies in scoring (16.7 PPG), rebounding (6.3 RPG), and assists (6.2 APG) that year, and his length and athleticism at the point guard position made him a capable defender as well.

However, MCW hasn’t quite lived up to those gaudy first year numbers, and in 2015 he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks as part of a three-team deal. Though he did see a bit less playing time in Milwaukee, his numbers continued to fall each season, with his 3-point shooting percentage being a particular sore spot. Since joining the Bucks, Carter-Williams has hit just 19 of 83 three point attempts, “good” for a pathetic 22.9% from behind the arc. Given the Bucks’ position as one of the ten worst three-point shooting teams in the NBA last season, it’s easy to see why they were willing to part with one of their worst outside shooters.

It’s also easy to see why the Bulls wanted a player like MCW, given that they went after two other guards who can’t shoot threes this summer in Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade. I kid, of course—the Bulls had nothing to lose in giving up Tony Snell, who was never able to earn significant playing time under either Tom Thibodeau or Fred Hoiberg, and for good reason. This is the guy who once spent 8 minutes on an NBA basketball court and managed to avoid recording a single trackable statistic.

Still, Snell is worth taking a flier on for the Milwaukee Bucks, who will welcome his career 35% three-point shooting percentage. Unfortunately, shooting is the only thing Snell has proven to be good at, and he’s far from prolific, never averaging more than 6.0 points per game in the NBA. Though blessed with prototypical NBA-wing length and athleticism at 6’7” with a 36” max vertical, Snell hasn’t put on the necessary weight and muscle needed to compete in the post with other NBA players. And his sub-par offensive output isn’t simply due to lack of opportunity; Snell seems to be the classic shooter who doesn’t know how to score.

Again, the Bucks are so desperate for three point shooting that they’ll happily stick Snell in the corner and let Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker kick it out to him on drive-and-kick plays, but expectations should be tempered among Bucks fans eager to replace Khris Middleton’s scoring while he recovers from a torn hamstring this season. This is a low-risk, medium-reward for both teams, though I’d have to say the Bulls got the better player. Carter-Williams should be the primary ball-handler off the bench for Chicago, and knows how to contribute in a variety of ways. Snell on the other hand will only stay on the court if his shot is falling. Regardless, both players now have a new opportunity to take their careers to the next level, and it will be interesting to see how they respond to the trade and play with their new teammates.

Greatest Players in Chicago Bulls History

Over many years, I have seen a lot of Chicago Bulls players come and go. I was young when the Chicago Bulls played their first season in the Chicago Amphitheater in 1966. Wanting to learn more about the Bulls greatest players, I created a list of who I think are the greatest players in team history.

10. Norm Van Lier (1971-78)
Bulls Career Averages: 12.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG

Norman Van Lier (Stormin’ Norman) was one of the greatest defense players in the Bulls history. Matched with Jerry Sloan they were one of the best defensive backcourts in their time. Van Lier made five playoffs, three All-Stars, selected three times to the All-Defense First Team, and selected to the All-NBA Second Team.

9. Jerry Sloan (1966-76)
Bulls Career Averages: 14.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG

Jerry Sloan is considered to be the “The Original Bull” and the first to have his jersey retired. Sloan lead the Bulls to the playoffs and their only division title. Sloan, Van Leir and Love teamed together to create the greatest defensive unit from 1972-76.  He’s also the inspiration for the NBA logo.

8. Mickey Johnson (1974-79)
Bulls Career Averages: 15.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG

Johnson is not mentioned often as one of the Bulls greatest. His ability to shoot and attack proved how valuable he was during the 1977 playoffs. After five years with the Bulls Johnson played for four other teams.

7. Reggie Theus (1978-84)
Bulls Career Averages: 17.6 PPG, 2.1 RPG

Theus’ size and style enabled him to play multiple positions including point guard, small forward, and shooting guard. He played in the All-Star Games in 1981 and 1983. Currently, Reggie Theus is the head coach at Cal State Northridge.

6. Scottie Pippen (1987-98 and 2003-04)
Bulls Career Averages: 18 PPG, 6.8 RPG

Pippen lead the Bulls in scoring, rebounds, blocks, steals, and assists in 1994-95. Pippen had seven All-Star team, three All-NBA First teams, and eight All-Defense First Team selections, he also had six NBA Championships.

5. Bob Love (1968-76)
Bulls Career Averages: 19.4 PPG, 6.3 RPG

Love was a great all around player, matched with Sloan they made a devastating combination unit. Bob Love played both forward positions from 1969-1976. He was a three-time All-Star and selected twice to the All-Defense Second Team. With six consecutive trips to the playoffs, it’s not surprising that Love’s jersey was also retired and hangs in the United Center.

4. Chet Walker (1969-75)
Bulls Career Averages: 20.5 PPG, 6.1 RPG

The first superstar of the Bulls, in his six years with the Bulls, they made the playoffs every year. Walker, along with Sloan, Van Lier and Love helped create the great team the Bulls became.

3. Artis Gilmore (1976-82, 87-88)
Bulls Career Averages: 20.4 PPG, 11.2 RPG

Artis Gilmore is the best center in Bulls history, he was a top defender, efficient at scoring, and rebounded great. Selected for the All-Defense Second Team and four All-Star teams, Gilmore was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.

2. Derrick Rose (2008-2016)
Bulls Career Averages: 21.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG

Derrick Rose’s time with the Bulls was short, but he had a huge impact on the Bulls. Rose received Rookie of the Year in 2008 and MVP honors in 2011. Eventually, he was traded to the Knicks.

1. Michael Jordan (1984-93, 95-98)
Bulls Career Averages: 31.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG

Michael Jordan’s, career speaks for itself. Overall he won Rookie of the Year, 14 All-Star selections, one Defensive of the Year award, five MVP and six Finals MVP awards. That pretty much sums up why “His Airness” is number one on everyone’s greatest players lists.