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Comprehensive guide to the big offseason changes for Bulls

Updated on July 14, 2016

The big news a couple weeks ago was that Derrick Rose, Chicago's own, was traded to the Knicks. Since then, more and more Chicago players have left through free agency, or have been traded; More and more have been traded to Chicago, as well. In the last few weeks they've become a completely different team.

In the 2015-16 season many players were becoming increasingly a part of each game and were showing improvement and potential, not just the starting five. Not in the way that all of the Golden State players were, but it's not fair to compare the two. From Tony Snell to Bobby Portis, E'twaun Moore, Cristiano FelĂ­cio, and Aaron Brooks -who, even though was a promising and talented player, was traded. Remember that back in the day Jimmy Butler wasn't even a starter? It's mesmerizing how far he's come, and I see the aforementioned players following in their fellow Bull's footsteps.




Obvious Challenge

Last season was the first season the Bulls haven't made the playoffs since 2008. This season there's many changes being made- which is a problem in itself for making the playoffs because there is a lot of adjusting and experimenting needed to be successful, because they have to figure out a new offensive structure. Not to mention that there's a challenge insdide of that, but I think it will actually cause the Bulls to eventually, eventually not miss the first round of the playoffs for a while. It is that we now have Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rando- two big stars. This is adding to Jimmy Butler's offense, so all of these 3 experienced, key, talented guys will have to work together equally, when they are each used to being the guy the majority of others have to work around; They're most valuable to the plays, scoring, and overall offense, except now they're not the only main one. This may be difficult, or it could be great having so many teammates able to greatly contribute. That's what we saw in Miami- not only greatness, but championships. Better yet, Dwyane Wade was apart of it, so he's used to adapting his role (by stepping down- or up, doing more passing and less scoring, or vice versa depending on how James and Bosch were playing) with other stars to benefit the team as a whole. I think the three will mesh very well, because although they are all dominant players, they do have different main skills: Rajon Rondo is mainly the passer, and JB and Wade mainly will both be on the other end scoring, a little bit part of the playmaking, as well.

Everyone seems to want to say whose team it is. Last year, was it Rose's or Butler's? This year, "Is it Butler's or Rondo's or Wade's? There's no way that 3-time champ Wade is going to let it be Butler's team, and that's a disaster in the making." Honestly, though, there's no way 1st year Wade, not experienced with playing on the Bulls at all, should lead a team he's not comfortable with yet, whom Butler has been on since 2011. I'm sure Wade realizes that Butler has earned his spot as the representative of the team, and the leader, especially now that Rose is off. But it doesn't even matter who gets to be labeled the leader, anyways.




Now let's get to the core of this article, and talk about the important Bulls who are joining Chicago or have been traded/left in free agency, which include Mike Dunleavy, Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, E'twaun Moore, Aaron Brooks, and Derrick Rose and Justin Holiday (both part of a trade to the Knicks) are leaving Chicago.

Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo, Denzel Valentine, Zipser, Dinwiddie, and Calderon/Lopez/Grant (all from NY) will be joining the Bulls next season.

Dunleavy goes up for 3
Dunleavy goes up for 3

Mike Dunleavy was injured for a majority of the 2016 season, but he has proven to be a valuable Bull in the past few years. Since Kyle Korver, Dunleavy was the only player on the Bulls with a magic hand from outside, so that's a big loss. Jimmy Butler is a more all-around guy and can shoot some 3s, but it was Mike's thing. With him off to Cleveland Chicago has no one to consistently fill that role. Mirotic is a good bet, though; He's made a good amount of shots on the wing and even a couple past 24-ish feet. Doug McDermott's also a great 3-point shooter, but he's not quite at that level just yet to be considered a primary player- he lacks a little bit of aptitude in making quick decisions for important situations. In other words, as far as intangibles go he has more improvements to make than others, but as a shooter I have a lot of confidence in him. Still, he is nonetheless really young and will someday be a consistently great player. Honestly, I'm assuming that he'll be a consistently great player with improved clutch-IQ this year.

Also, Denzel Valentine has shown that he has outside range on the college court, so we'll see what he can do once the season starts.

That need someone to shoot a lot of 3s. It would make the team considerably better. If someone has lethal outside shooting then a pump fake from anywhere near the arc will have any defender jumping, and then they can dribble right by and pull up from wide open mid-range, most likely causing another defender to cover, leaving someone else open for the pass who might be in the position to make a layup (or just a closer shot). But the fact of the matter is, absoutely nobody in Chicago is a consisten 3-point shooter, so we'll need to be patient for McDermott and Mirotic to get there.

Joakim Noah was also injured throughout the majority of the season, but again was a key to the team's success in the past. Noah is an incredible point guard. Now of course he's not really a point guard, he's a center, but that doesn't mean he doesn't dish out polished, dexterous, slick assists all the time. And I do mean all the time. He plays superb defense, which the Bulls will also definitely miss. (Butler is the only man left who can play more-than-average D). In 2014, starting all 80 games he played in, he was awarded Defensive Man of the Year award, joining guys such as Gary Payton, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Ben Wallace, Dikembe Mutombo, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dennis Rodman, and Michael Jordan. That year he also averaged a double double of 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists (having a 14- assist game), 1.5 blocks, and 1.2 steals in 35 minutes.

One of his career highlights is when he had an impressive steal for a fastbreak, and then rushed it down the court dribbling at full speed, in control, and stuffed it on Paul Pierce in Game 6 of the 2009 playoffs. It was an and-1 play, which fouled out Pierce. Altogether, Joakim Noah has talent, and lots of heart, and will continue to grow alongside Derrick Rose in New York.

Zipser is a 6'8" 2 and 3 player. From Germany, he was the 48th overall pick in this year's draft. Honestly, although he's a great player, I feel like it could be complicating to mix up Zipser with the debate about McDermott, Niko, and Portis' positions currently with where they'd best belong. But that's not a big problem when you think about how Zipser helps solve the problem of outside shooting a lot. Isiah Canaan also helps out with that, so any initial and short-term complications with lineups is worth it for that reason.

Aaron Brooks will be missed, too. A back up point guard, he had a fantastic handle and could splash from real deep when if he didn't feel like driving. He's a smaller player at 6 feet, but that didn't stop him from doing anything. He was a decent passer/playmaker, but overall I think the Bulls are gonna miss him.

D. Rose was traded away officially on June 22nd despite playing his healthiest and best season since the big, first injury. He played 66 games and averaged 16.4 points, made 45% in field goals, and finished around the rim for over half of his attempts. He still has so much talent in him, but isn't the same player he once was. The Bulls didn't want to deal with his on-again off-again health, so have finally decided to stop taking risks for him. No hard feelings. Justin Holiday went with him, so breifly this means that Chicago is sending off a shooting guard with a not-half-bad dribble. He made his debut in 2013 out of the D-league, where he scored 17.5 points a game. In the NBA, though, he hasn't yet blossomed enough to be considerably beneficial to the score board. He deserves to keep it up, though, but the Bulls don't need him.

E'twaun Moore was also a point guard the Chicago Bulls traded. He seemed like he was becoming a higher-stringed player throughout the season, but it looks as though Chicago decided to rebuild the whole PG position- by exchanging players for Rose, Brooks, and Moore. Now that they've landed Rondo they definitely have a starting point guard to fulfill the absence of the others, but they're going to need a good second string guy as well. That's pretty much where Dinwiddie comes in. The 6'6" point guard has a great handle, change of speed, good shot, and comfortableness playing- as shown so far in the summer league games. He'll serve as a great point guard, let alone for the reason that him and Rondo both have different skills so they'll compliment each other's playing by filling in the other one's weaknesses. Now don't get me wrong, Dinwiddie is still fairly inexperienced (he was drafted in 2014), but he will be an awesome addition to the team regardless.

Lastly, with Noah to the Knicks and Pau Gasol going to the Spurs, Chicago doesn't have either one of their core centers. They're going to surely need a great one for 2017. Robin Lopez is coming to Chicago and he was a starter for New York. Cristiano Felicio is another Bulls center, but doesn't yet have the skill or experience needed to be a successful starter. He is a pretty good player, though, and the Bulls are creating a new team. So, since he's young and that's what the front office is going for (with at least 75% of their players this coming season being very young athletes for the whole "new, young team" vision), once he's more experienced as he gets a little older the team as a whole will be more developed, so it'll be a win-win. Point being, not everyone has to be experienced and talented enough for championships right now, because that's not the goal this season. The goal is for every player, debuting this season or not, to become acquainted with each other in order to create comfortable and organized team play.

Anyways, Gasol contributed every game to the Bulls by having a great jump shot (frequently off of when his man quickly double teamed a driving Rose, who would then whip it backwards), and playing statistically fine defense. At the same time, he is very slow-footed on that end. It all depends on the situation for whether or not his defense looks good. To put this into perspective, read the article specifially focused on Gasol's defense found below this section. Moving on. Gasol can also grab some rebounds, and had great chemistry with the team's top player Jimmy Butler. He got some nice assists by lobbing perfect passes numerous times throughout the season. Jimmy always went upstairs to catch the fast yet soft pass, and score no matter what angle he faced. The two made a great team, but his absence cannot hold back Butler's greatness that he brought out a little previously.


Jimmy G Buckets off a "PG and J" lob. You know what the G stands for.
Jimmy G Buckets off a "PG and J" lob. You know what the G stands for.

All in all, the Bulls have Felicio and Portis to rebound, protect the paint on one side and score in it on the other. With Valentine and Butler they have both scorers and playmakers (Butler more with scoring, Valentine more with playmaking). Valentine hasn't shown his shot in the summer league yet, but he has in college, so I'm sure once the season starts it'll warm up. Rajon Rondo is in his own level with passing and assisting. Wade is doing a little bit of everything, from defense to little jumpers, and especially at this age, staying durable and playing a lot of minutes is really impressive and valuable to any team. This season since so many new things have been done to rebuild the roster, it will be a season of experimenting. But eventually, as soon as time discovers what works best with these players, the Bulls will be a very strong new team.

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