Top 7 hopes for the 2009-10 season

Vince Carter. Shaquille O’Neal. Rasheed Wallace. Hedo Turkoglu. Ron Artest. All of these players were acquired by teams intent on making major improvements. Heck, even the New Orleans Hornets dealt the oft-injured Tyson Chandler for Emeka Okafor. Meanwhile, the Bulls lost their leading scorer and then signed Jannero Pargo (back from Europe!) and Lindsey Hunter (kept alive by the dark arts!). Oh, and they bought out Tim “The Human Waste” Thomas. Not exactly an extreme makeover.

Unless something fantastic happens — like mass exposure to cosmic rays — the Bulls won’t be great this season. However, they might still be pretty good. For that to happen, though, the following hopes will have to be fulfilled.

1. Derrick Rose makes The Leap: It seems like a pretty safe bet that Rose will continue to improve, especially if he keeps seeing the shot doctor. The question is: how muchwill he improve? Is Derrick ready to shift into the All-Star gear, or will running the show without the Ben Gordon crutch turn him into the next Allen Iverson (as Steve Aschburner suggests)? I’m going with the former, because this kid’s better than the Answer. Yeah, I said it.

2. Luol Deng has a comeback year: That 20 points per game Ben Gordon took with him to Detroit will have to be replaced by committee, but the Bulls are probably hoping that most of the scoring slack will be picked up by The Seventy-One Million Dollar Man. For that to happen, Luol has to get healthy, stay healthy, and party like it’s 2006-07. Fortunately, he’s skipping the European Championships in favor of rehab. Now if we could just find him a good training montage

3. Tyrus Thomas has a breakout year: Thomas is by far the team’s most polarizing figure. Some fans love his potential (Tyson Chandler 2.0 anyone?) while others hate the fact that he can’t seem to live up to it. Not consistently anyway. Well, Ty’s contract is up next summer, which means that the future of his career (not too mention his wallet) is on the line this season. Will the Contract Year Phenomenon kick in or will his Never Gonna Get It syndrome earn him a one-way ticket out of Chicago next summer (or by the trade deadline in February)?

4. John Salmons can play shooting guard: Well, we know he can play the position. But can he play it full time? Salmons broke out last season, setting career-highs in points (18.3) and three-point shooting percentage (41.7). Not bad for a 29-year-old who had never averaged more than 12.5 points before. On paper, John looks like a perfect fit at the two-spot: he’s tall (6’7″), plays tough defense, shoots well from deep, takes it to the rack, and has chunky facial hair. All things being equal, there’s no reason why Salmons shouldn’t be a better SG than Ben Gordon. But if all things were equal, the Bulls would have made the 2008 NBA Finals like all those experts predicted.

5. The rookies develop quickly: James Johnson and Taj Gibson: the front court of the future or a waste of draft picks that could have been packaged for a veteran player? I guess we’re going to find out.  Johnson averaged 16.6 points and 7.0 rebounds in the NBA Summer League…but his shooting percentage was dismal and there are those nasty rumors concerning his lack of focus. Meanwhile, Gibson missed the final three Summer League games (out of five) due to a foot injury. Oh, and did I mention that he committed 19 fouls in the two games he did play? I guess what I’m saying is: don’t expect someone on the Bulls to win Rookie of the Year for the second season in a row.

6. That seven-game series versus the Celtics was no fluke: The team really gelled at the end of last season, making it into the playoffs and pushing the defending (but injured) NBA champions to seven games in the first round. Of course, Kevin Garnett didn’t play and the Bulls’ leading scorer will be filling baskets for a division rival. This begs the question: does that stirring postseason performance mean anything at this point? Let’s hope that, at the very least, it developed some chemistry and sense of trust in the players. It would be a shame if all that series did was provide a few more games for ESPN Classic.

7. John Paxson and Gar Forman know what they’re doing: John and Gar — whom I will hereafter refer to as John-Gar the Barbarian — have a plan in place: develop the core players and save money for next summers free agent bonanza. They might even be able to use a few assets and/or expiring contracts to swing a midseason deal or two. But if they can’t make a trade or sign a hotshot free agent, the Bulls might be virtually the same team next summer that they are right now…which isn’t a thrilling prospect. After all, if the 2007-08 season taught us anything, it’s that a team can’t remain “young and up-and-coming” forever.

37 Responses to Top 7 hopes for the 2009-10 season

    Colin July 31, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    Great quote from the SI article that states my argument perfectly. “In fact, the former UConn star averaged 29.0 in the four games the Bulls lost, 18.0 in the three they won.”

    Enough said.

  2. mikejonesss July 31, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

    AI is a top 50 all time….relax on the Rose comparison until he takes a team to the finals himself like AI did….its crazy how people already forget how great iverson was

    Gregory J Amani Smith July 31, 2009 at 3:38 pm #

    John-Gar the Barbarian is the best line of the day for me. You seem like a comics geek, you need to check out and the League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen.

    felipe garcia July 31, 2009 at 8:51 pm #

    I agree as well, great quote from the SI article, see these guys know their shit about what I been talking about these past few weeks about the Bulls making it into the playoffs again. If everyone can stay healthy and develop. See he even said it: they are not a great team on paper right now but they are still a pretty good team to make it into the playoffs. If Tyrus Thomas does not play at that high level we know he can, then the Bulls should make a trade for an All-Star PF player like: Chris Bosh, David Lee or maybe Carlos Boozer which I hope not. If this deal happens during the middle of the season, the Bulls will be a much better and improve team to make it into the second round of the playoffs. GO BULLS!!!

    mike July 31, 2009 at 10:28 pm #

    garcia wow you really cant read 7 hopes you idiot thats what i have been saying to many ifs you are a loser

    mike killer August 1, 2009 at 12:48 am #

    I can’t read??? yah if those 7 thing happen then the Bulls are a playoff team dumb ass

    mike killer August 1, 2009 at 12:54 am #

    o0o thought you were talking to me may bad gay mike lol

    andres Lopez August 1, 2009 at 12:58 am #

    what??? Man just when i thought he was gone (gay mike) lol. Yah i agree as well, if the Bulls could do those thing basically stay healthy and develop them self they are a playoffs team again

    felipe garcia August 1, 2009 at 1:16 am #

    What are you talking about mike killer? lol I can c u hate mike so much that you thought he was talking to 2 u lmao, you were reading the wrong comments section lol. (what can i say get minds think alike) Beside I know that lil ‘mike’ jr lol, that is what i was basically saying in my comment to sum it up, what the SI article was talking about: if the Bulls can stay healthy and develop them self they are a playoff team again.

    mike killer August 1, 2009 at 1:17 am #

    shut-up garcia! you mean great minds think alike lol

    mike killer August 1, 2009 at 1:25 am #

    1st of all garcia, mike is not my son so fu and 2nd he wishes he was my son lol Go BULLS!!!

    Boppinbob August 1, 2009 at 3:18 am #

    I have to agree with this analysis for the most part. I would add an eigth hope, that Hinrich gets 35 to 40 minutes a game in various roles of pg, sg and 3 guard rotation. John-Gar earns their money this year with solid analysis of teams early performance and making the necessary moves at the trade deadline to prove that last years move/success was not a fluke. Nice to see you guys showing a little restraint.

    Brutha Skullz August 1, 2009 at 4:00 pm #

    I am not concerned about James Johnson shooting % in the Summer League. He was testing his range. During the season, he will become a fan favorite,

    mike killer August 1, 2009 at 6:34 pm #

    I agree Brutha Skullz, I think James Johnson was just testing he shooting range as well in the Summer League, but not so bad for just averaging 16 pts per game with sum rebs, ast. and steals. I think he is going to be a really good player if he works hard and build more muscle mass then fat.

    Boppinbob August 1, 2009 at 7:13 pm #

    James Johnson showed a lot of skills during the summer league. He will be inconsistent as most rooks are. He showed he can pass, he can rack up assists, he played a little d. I think he will contribute some this year. Taj on the other hand looks like a long term project. It looks like this year he will only be useful in the hack-a-shaq defense.

  16. chris August 1, 2009 at 9:29 pm #

    I liked this article as well i think clearly Rose is the future and will continue to get better, Deng has really gotta step up and stay healthy, as far the rookies James Johnson is a keeper taj gibson he’s a bust no doubt about it i don’t why they drafted this guy 19 fouls in two games that’s just stupidty, but maybe he can somehow push the guys ahead him on the depth chart

  17. chris August 1, 2009 at 9:32 pm #

    Mike i have to say i like reading your comments they always seem to make my day a little better, i guess it’s true you are always bound to find that guy that just makes shake your head, thanks for being an idiot

  18. wtroy@pioconcom'
    Labs August 2, 2009 at 10:30 pm #

    These are high hopes. Derrick Rose is the only playmaker. They will be lucky if they wind up in the playoffs. My hope is Chicago finally learns how bad Kirk, Tyrus, and Deng are this season. Kirk is a mental midget and plays like a chicken with no head – running around dribbling for no reason. Tyrus is just plain dumb and will never take off. Deng is a no show who will never get any better. Basically, Deng and Kirk are overpaid, over-rated players! Salmons and Miller are good but it won’t be enough.

    Boppinbob August 3, 2009 at 2:45 am #

    Captain Kirk had better 3 point shooting % then BG during the playoffs. The offense worked better when Kirk was on the floor unless he was paired with BG.

    Tyrus Thomas showed significant improvement in Feb, Mar & Apr once he started getting some PT. It is now SOGOTP (the pot) time for Tyrus in 2009/10. If he doesn’t he will be gone at the trading deadline.

    Luol Deng has had two injury plagued seasons, but still played more games than Boozer did this past season. Unfortunately, they were not worthy of his salary. If he can get healthy and begin to regain most of his 06/07 form the Bulls and the fans should be happy. If not the trading deadline beckons.

    James Johnson showed all his skills in the summer league but only put them all together in one game. He will be inconsistent this coming season but will contribute.

    Taj Gibson sure seemed a little excited in the summer league games he played in. He had double/doubles in both games. I seem to remember Horace Grant fouling out a lot when he was a rookie. Taj may be a project but he will be a keeper.

    Andres Lopez August 3, 2009 at 4:48 am #

    You see mike & Labs? who ever u r??? lol. Boppinbob, chris, mike killer, felipe garcia, myself & other pplz comments: we r all true die hard Bulls fans. We all understand the negative things about our Bulls team this year, but we also see a lot of positives things about this new team. That is why 4 most of us, we don’t see y the bulls should not be a playoffs team again this year? The Bulls are still young & getting better each year. GO Bulls!!!

    Andres Lopez August 3, 2009 at 5:00 am #

    And people, lets not forget that the east is still not that strong yet. The only teams that are really good right now in the east are the: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic & maybe the Toronto Raptors. That being said, the rest of the spots in the playoffs are up for grabs, for any teams in the east that want it badly like the BULLS!!! They are going to take 1 of those spots in the playoffs this year Baby! GO BULLS!!!

    Reggie McGlory August 3, 2009 at 3:15 pm #

    Ok I am going right into this melay of words I have just read fact (1) the bulls are just as good without Ben ala Gordan sure he will be missed but lets face it if he scores 30 and gives up 40 what has he really done for the team , fact (2) If the bulls want to make sre there team is good next year then they must do something about it this yeah or next year free agency will not matter no sure thing they will get a big time player then they may all decide to resign with there former teams fact (3) Paxton if yr reading this like the Idea of getting kobe would of loved it if you got him stop the waiting pull the trigger make it happen go and get the job done Rose needs help. fact (4) if the bulls do not improve they may also risk losing derrick rose so there are alot of reasons to pull the trigger now, and all players I believe want to win and well as get paid so make sure when yr done reading this paxton you hit the ground running with Gar .Last but not least the bulls cannot rely on rookies to make them better only gonna be so many that can do that give them a chance but its gonna be later than sooner keep kirk he is hard worker trade tyrus now while he has some value his head is not always n the game trade deng also a player that keeps getting injured cannot help his team only himself when he goes to the bank do not wait for his next injury trade deng now mabe he will become great but key word is mabe the bulls need a great player now no more mabe’s so get the msge out the time for waitng is now like Obama said ( YES WE CAN ) just do it change is now and as far as playoffs go the goal is to win it all not just make the playoffs when can we say we are going to win it all again geez I wish for the bulls to make that a reality today tommorrow may never come if they do not take care of things today peace I will be waitng just hope it is not til next year hollar!!!!

  23. chris August 3, 2009 at 9:00 pm #

    i don’t know labs alot of dribbling kirk dose helps find open shots for guys, deng i think this is his year to show up or go elsewhere me peronally i think he’ll show up, as far tyrus goes i think he may be a lost cause guy can’t seem to put it all togther, if they keep him around on the cheap then i say do it more of backup role, he’s always reminded of stromile swift just with more hops, sry ty, i do love he’s toughness and body guard mentality

    felipe garcia August 4, 2009 at 12:05 am #

    I do agree with sum statements that Reggie made, (1) I agree that the Bulls do need to make sum changes sooner or later to their roster. If things don’t work out during the beginning of the season. (hint: the PF spot or maybe even the SF spot as well. Trade Ty Thomas and replace him for: Chris Bosh, David Lee or maybe even Carlos Boozer. Y not people, lets give him a shot only for this season. Trade L. Deng and replace him for: Rudy Gay, Gerald Wallace, Jeff Green or Kevin Durant if it is possible lol. (2) I do agree that losing BG was not that much of a big lost. Sure he was an explosive scorer for the Bulls, but he also gave up a lot of big shot to other teams. If anything, hey should be a much better improve & defensive team without him right now. (3) I don’t agree with the Kobe trade or move b-cuz he is worth a lot of money, with good players if you trade for him and he is starting to get a lil bit old now. If anything, I would take D-Wade in a heart beat b-cuz he is still young, he is as good as Kobe is right now and he is a lil bit more cheaper. (4) I do agree that if the Bulls don’t improve their team sooner or later, they will lose D-Rose when he becomes a free-agent and he will leave Chi-town for good. So please Bulls GM Paxson & Gar, make some changes soon!!! we waited a long time for the Bulls to win their seven championship title!!!

    felipe garcia August 4, 2009 at 12:10 am #

    we are waiting a long time now, for the Bulls to win their 7th championship title* If the Lakers and Celtics can do it, so can we!!! GO BULLS!!!

    mike killer August 4, 2009 at 12:31 am #

    I strongly agree with garcia comments, if things don’t start looking good for the Bulls at the beginning of the opening season. The Bulls need to make sum changes right away before it is to late! By trading players that are not helping the Bulls team. For example if these players don’t start showing any good signs of improvements: L. Deng, Ty Thomas & J. Noah, they should trade them right away and start making their moves.

    mike killer August 4, 2009 at 12:52 am #

    But, I am not that worried about these players in the Bulls lineup: D-rose, K. Hinrich, J. Salmons, J. Pargo, B, Miller & maybe even J. Noah that much b-cuz I know they will do their part. And I know that the 2 rookies are both going to need sum time and minutes to develop them selfs. And I am not that worried about James Johnson b-cuz I know he is ready to contribute to help the Bulls with his versatility and defense. I am more worried about Tai Gibson, if he is just another project player like people say he is. Maybe he will help the Bulls with he hacks against big men like Shaq or D. Howard lol (just like Boppinbob mention already)

    mike killer August 4, 2009 at 1:05 am #

    So, I hope u r listening Bulls GM’s! make sum changes soon!!! b-cuz we are going to need it, if we want to become a championship team again! GO BULLS!!!

    andres Lopez August 4, 2009 at 1:22 am #

    Yup, basically right now the Bulls look like a playoff team again this year on paper, but not a contender for a championship yet! Let’s make sum changes Bulls GM’s!!!

    chucksalot August 4, 2009 at 2:29 am #

    why’d we take taj instead of Dejuan Blair again? stupid…

    andres Lopez August 4, 2009 at 5:03 am #

    I think it was b-cuz of his leg surgeries he had in the past and b-cuz of his height as a PF being to small at 6-7. But the Bulls forgot that his legs got better now, with him feeling no more pain, he is also younger then Gibson and a better reb & scorer then him, he has a built body already of a PF and he is ready to produce in the NBA level. I would have took a shoot with him as well chucksalot.

    andres Lopez August 4, 2009 at 5:15 am #

    Plus the only reason y the Bulls went with Gibson was b-cuz of his height as a PF, quickness & long arms. But, I still wound have taken Dejuan Blair b-cuz I know he can produce in the NBA level already. We will just have to see if Gibson was a good draft for the bulls at 26

    chucksalot August 4, 2009 at 7:46 pm #

    I remember all the knee talk but it’s a shame that in a weak draft we didn’t risk it with the 26th pick. Despite his height he’s the perfect guy defensively to sick on somebody like Perkins or throw some hard fouls Dwight’s way. We need someone nasty down low to really compete in the east. Taj is definitely a project & just seems like a less athletic version of Tyrus.

    andres Lopez August 5, 2009 at 4:19 am #

    I agree as well, I just hope that we are all wrong about Taj Gibson game this coming new season. Hopefully he will be ready to play at the NBA level just like James Johnson. GO BULLS!

    joe jordahl August 6, 2009 at 8:16 pm #

    yea derrick rose will be ten times better than allen iversons selfish ass. derrick can pass, hes stronger and bigger than AI, he already plays better defense than AI. Lets face the facts, yea AI got to the finals, but did he win? no. he didnt, and the way he plays he will never win a championship. Rose on the other hand, might not score 30ppg like AI did, but he will win a championship because he is a team player, iverson is a selfish prick who only cares about himself.

    andres Lopez August 8, 2009 at 4:17 am #

    Agree, D-Rose is going to be better then A.I.

    Phil McGeever August 11, 2009 at 3:53 pm #

    AI is a “me” player, D-Rose is a team player. In all reality AI is an undersized SG, where D-Rose is a PG that can score when he needs to. D-Rose is looking to pass first, where AI’s first, second, third, and fourth options are to shoot. Which is why AI is still looking for a job now.

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