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The NBA is back in action, and I can’t wait to see this Bulls team get after it. My last memory of this team is a somber one. Was I proud to be a Chicago Bulls fan as they gave the Heat all they could handle in the playoffs last year? Absolutely. But, just knowing that we were without two of our three best players, and an important role player, it was always just a thought of what could have been. Not anymore though. The Bulls are back, and for the most part as healthy as can be. In case you don’t follow too closely, here’s what has changed roster-wise:

Additions: Mike Dunleavy, Tony Snell, Erik Murphy (stoolie)

 

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Departures: Marco Bellinelli, Nate Robinson, Richard Hamilton

 

Overall, it’s nothing major for this year at least, until we see how Snell and Murphy develop. The main thing that I didn’t totally understand is why we took Dunleavy over Bellinelli, considering they both got almost the same contract. That’s not to say that I think MDJ is a bad player. He will most likely be our most consistent three point shooter, but I really liked what Marco brought to the Bulls. He struggled against the Heat last year in the playoffs, but he was a big driving force into us beating the Nets in the first round. He was a gamer, and his ability to take it to the hole was nice to have. In the end GarPax must have just really wanted to focus on a three point shooter I guess. Thibs has a way of getting the most out of all of his players too, so maybe we will see something of a career year out of Dunleavy.

 

I liked the Snell pick. I originally wanted someone who was more of a pure scorer like Glen Rice Jr., but with Deng’s future in limbo it makes sense to restock at SF with a guy who’s younger, cheaper, and has a similar skill set. Snell’s going to have his growing pains, but I can see him progressing at the same rate Butler did under Thibs. The Murphy pick I thought was a standard Bulls pick taking a good college player from a big program with a good coach. Murphy can shoot for a big man with the thought that he will be able to stretch the floor, and open a lot more up for the Bulls on offense.

 

 

Here’s the most interesting storylines going into the Bulls 2013-14 Season:

How will Rose bounce back?

Where does Butler’s production go after a breakout second season, and entering this season as full time starting Shooting Guard?

Will Jimmy Butler ever wear this shirt again?

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Is this Deng’s last season in a Bulls uniform?

Can Noah repeat his All-Star performance?

Can Noah stay healthy in general?

Will the Bulls see progression in Teague?

How big of a role is Snell going to play as a Rookie?

And most of all: Do we have enough fire power to beat the Heat in a Seven Game Series?

Predictions:

Rose finishes in the Top 3 of the MVP Voting

Butler doesn’t take any steps back due to his playoff experience/playing a ton of minutes last year

This IS Deng’s last year in a Bulls uniform

Noah plays less than 60 games

Teague improves, but doesn’t surpass Kirk as backup PG because of defense.

Snell works his way little by little into Thibs rotation, and becomes the sixth or seventh man of this team.

Call me crazy but I think this is the year if healthy the Bulls can finally take down the Heat.

I think the main thing that was shown last year is that the Bulls roster does have what it takes to be a contender when healthy. It’s not going to be easy at all. The Eastern Conference 1-4 is stacked, and the West is solid from 1 through 7. But I like our chances. I’m going to say the Bulls win 57 games this year, and make a strong push at an NBA title.

Cue the “Your Best Players a Pussy, and didn’t play when he was cleared” comments. Guess what? NONE of that matter as soon as that ball tips off tonight in Miami. New year time to look forward, not backward. Hit the music.