ESPN: Bulls to finish 6th in the East

According to ESPN’s Summer Forecast: ’09-10 East standings, the Bulls are predicted to win 43 games and finish sixth overall in the Eastern Conference: “Our voters have the Bulls winning as few as 30 games and as many as 55, and perhaps it comes down to what they think of reigning rookie of the year Derrick Rose, whose scintillating playoff performance was followed by a tumultuous summer. In any case, most of our panel is bullish on Chicago overall.”

I think 30 games is a gross underestimation of this team…while 55 games seems like a pretty far-fetched overestimation. The 43-win average among the voters feels right. Personally, I think this team has a max of about 47 games in them, but the final tally will depend on how well they deal with their brutal early-season schedule.

The teams predicted to finish ahead of the Bulls are Cleveland, Boston, Orlando, Atlanta and Miami. The first three are gimmies. Atlanta added Jamal Crawford and Joe Smith, which supposedly will make them better (even though Crawford’s a remorseless gunner). As for the Heat, well, Dwyane Wade trumps Derrick Rose in Superstar Factor (for now), but the rest of their roster is pretty “meh.” And, of course, Michael Beasley is a very troubled young man. (Have I mentioned how glad I am the Bulls selected Rose over Beasley?)

So I could definitely see the Bulls finishing ahead of the Heat this season. The one thing that troubles me about ESPN’s predictions is that they seem too reliant on last year’s standings, with the top teams staying on top and the lower-tier teams improving slightly. The predictions didn’t seem to take the Surprise Team Factor into account. That is, each season one or two teams either made some huge and unexpected leap up in the standings (like last year’s Magic squad)…or drop down the standings like a rock (like when last year’s Suns didn’t qualify for the playoffs).

I wonder who this year’s Surprise Teams will be…?


20 Responses to ESPN: Bulls to finish 6th in the East

    Jan September 2, 2009 at 12:49 pm #

    Those polls are always pretty boring, because the vast amount of “experts” will cause the parity and the lack of surprise teams.

    Personally I’d rank Miami, Chicago and Toronto on the same level for now or between 5 and 7 like the ESPN poll already said.

  2. Anthony September 2, 2009 at 12:57 pm #

    Firstly, i think the bulls are pretty underrated, especially after the surge they had coming out of the all-star break. I read the articles these ‘panelists’ wrote and thought just how much and how easily i could do their job better than them. Personally i think Dwayne Wade was deserving of the MVP last season, and a repeat of such a season is incredibly unlikely, if you also factor in the Heats roster including the loss of Beasley then the Miami Heat are grossly over rated.

    On a side note the panelists prediction for MVP, Derrick Rose received 1 vote, equaling Dwight Howard and Kevin Durant.

    Hypothetically, Derrick Rose does not play for the whole season. Where would the Bulls finish?

    twalter September 2, 2009 at 3:14 pm #

    I think the bulls finish about 42/42 wins as the article thinks. The East is top heavy, so the Bulls have some built in losses, but with their schedule they also have some stretches where as a young team they might drop 4 of 5 or somthin. – New NBA Blog

    Brad S. September 2, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

    I read this article as well from ESPN. I think the Celtics will finish higher than the Cavs this year in wins, but it is probably a toss up in a seven game series. As for the additions of Joe Smith and Jamal Crawford in Atlanta, I don’t see that as a big upgrade over their rosters the last couple of years. Jamal has not improved any team that he has been on yet. (Only a few teams left, eh Jamal?) Joe smith is a nice player, but as the Bulls found out 2 years ago, he is not a difference maker. However, unless the Bulls rookies are a pleasant surprise, this is a very similar team to last year. Minus some shots by Ben, more from Deng, but no major upgrades. That means we are all banking on our guys gel-ing and playing more comfortably together until management gets more pieces. All in all, not a bad place to be coming into a big year for trades and free agent signings.

    Jb September 2, 2009 at 4:55 pm #

    I agree with the posts. Seems like a lame, “play it safe prediction” from the “experts”. I’m not sure what to make of Toronto, but I think if you look at the rosters they have to be a slightly better team than the Bulls, but that may not mean anything. Same with the Hawks, but I have a bad feeling things will fall apart for them…Jamal Crawford doesn’t improve teams, he improves his stat lines. As for the Heat, again, a herculean effort from Wade nets them 5th in the East. That is unlikely to occur again, especially if they don’t improve his teammates. I could see Wade “checking out” around the All-Star break if he’s carrying the load like last year again. Why bother, he’s a max contract guy no matter what, why kill yourself for that garbage team? I like the Bulls for the 5th spot and 46 wins.

  6. Mike September 2, 2009 at 8:41 pm #

    They definitely did not make any bold predictions just reiterated last season’s standings. Every season teams are plagued with injuries and that hurts their record, for example: when Wade was out all season Miami won 15 games, Gasol was out for Memphis they won under 20, and Pierce was out half of the season when they drafted Jeff Greene and pulled off that blockbuster trade for Allen and signed Garnett. I’m surprised they weren’t willing to take a chance on teams like the Pacers or Raptors. The Pacers beat every Division leading team at Conseco Fieldhouse and played most of the season without Danny Grainger, who is one of the most underrated players in the NBA. The Raptors seemed to be in a lull all season similar to the Bulls after losing in the second round to the Pistons. I figured they would be high on the Raptors with the acquisition of Hedo Turkoglu.

    Also, I know the Nets got rid of Carter, Jefferson, and Kidd, but honestly, I think they made great moves getting younger talents like Harris and Lee that have already performed well and shedding cap space. I’m sure in 5 years we’ll be looking at that Carter trade a whole lot differently. I fail to see how Orlando helped themselves in the long run getting rid of Lee and Alston, a great back up.

    Seriously though, Knicks and Milwaukee are going to be BAD especially with the usual Michael Redd out for the season injury.

    malefax September 2, 2009 at 9:47 pm #

    I think the 76’ers will be the surprise underachiever in the east. Losing Andre Miller with no 1st string replacement is huge, huge, huge. I expect them to be in the lottery.

    As for big upswings, I expect the Wizards and the Raptors to both be in the playoffs this year, barring injury. I think both teams will finish ahead of the Bulls — I see those 2 plus the Heat as competing for 5 and 6 behind the Hawks, with the Bulls and Pistons fighting for the 8 seed. It’s hard to predict, though, since there have been so mny offseason changes.

    Brad S. September 3, 2009 at 2:27 pm #


    If the battle for playoff irrelevance comes down to the Bulls and Pistons, then the Bulls should win that last spot. I don’t think the Pistons are built to win with this team. Their peices don’t fit together very well. What I beleive JoeD is trying to do is gather valuable peices, and then package them later into trades that turn them into a real team.

    There are going to be teams that lose out in the 2010 sweepstakes. I think Dumars figures that Detroit would be one of those losers, and so he is playing a different game.

    Max power September 3, 2009 at 3:36 pm #

    I also agree with ESPN predictions, but I would not rank Miami that high in the east, calming the 5th spot in the playoffs this year. Miami just lost their rookie Beasley by going crazy ending up in rehab for now. They also did not add any good players except Quentin Richardson, which he not a huge upgrade because when he played for NY all those years were they even close of becoming a playoff team? No!. The only talented player miami has right now is D. Wade, but he can easily go down with sum injuries, if he has to carry his team again on his back because other teams will put even more pressure on him and play more physical defense on him. I would rank Miami maybe in the 8th spot or them not making the playoffs.

    Max power September 3, 2009 at 3:44 pm #

    If anything, Toronto has a better chance now of making the playoffs then Miami this year because they added a good key player like Hedo Turkoglu and his team made the playoffs and played again the Lakers for the championship in the finials last season!

    granville waiters September 3, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    very close call for 1.2.3.:

    fighting for the 4:

    the rest:

    if NY retains lee and robinson and attains sessions, then they could fight for the 8th.

    felipe garcia September 3, 2009 at 8:44 pm #

    granville waiters, you are crazy to even think that NY has a good chance of making the playoffs this year! (Please don’t make my laugh lol.) New York is still a team that has a lot of missing pieces to fulfill, in order for them to make the playoffs. I will give you a better prediction of teams that I think have the better chance of making the playoffs this year.

    Playoff spots for 09-10:
    1-3 spots: Cleveland, Boston & Orlando.
    4-6 spots: Atlanta, Chicago & Toronto.
    7-8 spots, (it could be any of these teams): Philadelphia & Washington or Miami & Detroit maybe.

    felipe garcia September 3, 2009 at 8:48 pm #

    Every other teams in the east that I did not mention, they still do not have a chance of making the playoffs this year.

    andres Lopez September 3, 2009 at 9:29 pm #

    I totally agree with Garcia comment, he also nail it on the head lol. The Bulls could end-up getting the 4-6 spot in the playoffs this season, with a record of over 40 wins at least. It all depends on their keys players, if they are healthy and developed playing at a higher level.

    EAM September 4, 2009 at 4:38 am #

    The espn poll has it right for the most part. The Celtics, Cavs, and Magic will finish with the top three spots. I think that Miami is definitely overated. I don’t even see Miami making the playoffs. I think the Wizards could take the 4th spot maybe even fighting for the 3rd seed if Areanas is anything near pre-injury form. Atlanta will take the 5th. Adding Turkoglu will give the Raptors the 6th spot. Then there is the 7th and 8th…that’ll be a fight between the sixers, pistons, and the bulls. Philly will most definitely miss Andre Miller’s leadership and experience so we’ll have to see how well they do; but they do get Brand back. The Pistons won’t be as bad as people think. I mean the suns didn’t play defense and they made the playoffs year after year. I am not comparing the two teams just the style of play will be similar. Dumars wants to play uptempo, fast break ball and they will do so. In order for the bulls to have any success this season it is mostly dependent on Luo Deng. Rose is going to put up numbers but this is his sophmore year and he can’t do it alone. Besides Rose, who else can the bulls depend on. It makes me laugh when I read or hear about Rose and how he’s going to carry the bulls but he can’t do it alone. Rose isn’t even an all-star yet. I like Rose but he still needs to improve his leadership and defense before he can be the franchise savior. Salmons (a six year veteran) will have to repeat his career highs of last season. Salmons is best when driving to the whole and so is Rose. That doesn’t blend together so well. That’s why Gordon and Rose worked better than Salmons and Rose will. Thomas and Noah also need to continue their development and I do believe they will improve. Power forward problems are diminishing in my eyes. I think the bulls have good pieces but nothing too exciting. More mystery than anything. I guess everybody’s waiting for Wade to come to Chicago but that’s not even a guarantee. The Heat will have more salary cap room than the bulls next year so we’ll have to wait and see what happens. The Heat can sign Wade plus some. In order for the bulls to get Wade next year means they have to get rid of some big contracts like Hinrich and Miller. I like Hinrich but the bulls are known for getting rid of talent. The bulls did have a good run last year after the all star break and into the playoffs but that was with Gordon and without Deng. Deng is on the hot seat. He is getting paid like he’s the team leader and main contributor and now it’s time for him to prove it. The way Chicago starts off the season will be the way they finish it. This is a different Bulls team from last season’s. If things get rocky in the beginning look for a trade or two. It will be an interesting year for bulls fans alike.

    felipe garcia September 5, 2009 at 12:30 am #

    Well see, only time will tell…

    DJ September 6, 2009 at 6:53 pm #

    I think the Bulls rank between the 4th-6th seeded in the playoffs. I don’t see them ranking between the 7th or 8th spots again because they are a bigger and better improved defensive team this year without Gordan. If everyone is healthy, does their part and develops their game. Their is no question of a doubt that Cleveland, Boston & Orlando will take the 1-3 spots in the playoffs again. But the 4th-8th spots are still unsure in the east.

    insane packer mauler September 8, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    The bulls are a question this year! Will salmons be a consistent scorer to replace gordon (20-30points a game) will kirk become the olympian gaurd he was before he deferred the big shots to gordons ball hogging? will rose and tyrus take the next step? Losing ben gordon’s big shots is a gamble that could go either way and may be a step back or forward but i look forward to seeing rose take the big shots and hope loul deng not only returns to form but takes a step-up and becomes a slashing force. Some say the rookies were steals but i don’t expet them to contribute yet

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