It’s back. After an exciting, though at times long, offseason the NBA is officially back and the Chicago Bulls get to tipoff the season against their rivals- the Miami Heat. The NBA schedule makers knew what they were doing when drafting up this year’s schedule as there isn’t a game with as much narrative that is as heavily anticipated as tonight’s matchup against the defending champs. The following are some of the key story lines to track throughout the duration of tonight’s game and going forward through this season.
The Return and Performance of Derrick Rose
While Rose has technically made his return this preseason, he will now officially play his first game that actually matters. In preseason games Rose dominated as he scored almost a point per minute spent on the floor. He looked bigger, faster, stronger, jumped higher, and had a significantly improved jump shot. However questions still remain. Will Rose be able to put up that kind of performance night in and night out against starting units? How will his body hold up throughout the course of the season? We won’t get all the answers tonight, but we’re about to start finding out.
How Will Chicago Handle Seeing Lebron James and Company Get Their Championship Rings?
This offseason Mike Dunleavy commented about how intense and focused the team was on winning a title and how the ferocity of the team day in and day out is nothing like he’s seen before. There is no doubt that the Chicago Bulls want to win a title and they want to win it now. Unfortunately they get to start off their season watching the team they hate the most get what they want so desperately. Undoubtedly that little pregame show will ignite them for the game, but how will it affect them throughout the season?
Can the Team Stay Healthy?
The biggest issue for the Chicago Bulls the past 3 season has been one thing- injuries. For some reason the team is always missing one person or another and has to play with somewhat of a handicap. The biggest obstacle for the team (other than the Miami Heat) remains their health. If they can overcome that the sky could be the limit for this team. However the team is off to a bad start. Tonight’s game may already be missing a few players in the form of Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich.