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Bulls still long way off

November 15, 2013

After being tagged a consensus title contender, the Chicago Bulls have shown they still have a long way to go after the first two weeks of the young NBA season, acquiring a 3-3 record. The Bulls have Derrick Rose on the floor again after sitting out the entirety of the 2012-13 campaign. Despite the absence of their star point guard, as well as nagging injuries to Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, Chicago fought to 45 wins and the fifth seed in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. With the 2011 MVP rejoining the team this year, it finally seems like the Bulls have a chance of reaching even higher in the standings with the likes of the Heat and Pacers. The defense is third in the league, only allowing 91 points a contest but if their finals dreams are to become a reality 3-point shooting needs to improve and Rose will need to shake away the cobwebs.

One of the major differences between this team and the team that two years ago was top of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference after a lock-out shortened season is 3-point shooting. In 2011-12 the team shot .375 from the arc, largely helped by sharpshooters off the bench, Kyle Korver, John Lucas III and C.J. Watson all who play elsewhere now. Right now the Madmen on Madison are shooting .263 from three. Kirk Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy are the only two shooting about .300 leaving us all waiting for Rose, Deng and Jimmy Butler to find the stroke. Without the threat of deep ball, defenses won’t be drawn to defend the perimeter and those lanes that Rose likes to slash down are suddenly filled up. Until the shots start falling the Bulls won’t get near the top of the east.

Rose looks like a really good player who hasn’t found his way back into the rhythm yet with 14.7 points a game, 2.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists. The player efficiency rating is a formula developed to take all of a player’s statistic contributions and amalgamate them into one number. Currently Rose’s is 6.7 which is the worst on the team among those who play significant minutes. In fact, most of the Bobcats bench is better than 6.7. He’s turned the ball over 4.2 times a game, all his stats are underwhelming including a .333 field goal percentage. He says he’s completely healed from the ACL injury but getting adjusted to full game tempo will take some time. Rose is questionable for Friday’s game against the Raptors after sustaining what the team believes is a minor hamstring injury. Coach Tom Thibodeau says they’re taking it day by day although Rose did not practice on Wednesday.

The Bulls have two games this weekend: Friday traveling to 4-5 Toronto, who have competed in games with the Heat and Rockets and on Saturday will host the Pacers who are undefeated so far this year.

Cameron Line
Sports Editor

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