After seven games of the 2016-17 NBA season, the Chicago Bulls find themselves with a 4-3 record, good for sixth in the Eastern Conference.
They started off 3-0 with two hard fought victories at home against the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers, and a rout on the road of the Brooklyn Nets. Leading the way in those wins were the duo of Jimmy Butler and new addition Dwyane Wade, who have been good for nearly 37 points a game. Joining them when it comes to scoring in double figures have been the trio of Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic.
Some of the success enjoyed thus far by Chicago might have some fans thinking that this rebuilt squad could be strong enough to stand toe-to-toe with the Cavaliers. Especially after the team’s 3-0 start was their best in 20 years, which happens to coincide with the Bulls’ fifth title in a seven-year span. Those fans might want to consider a reality check.
Prior to becoming the Team of the 90’s, gauging Michael Jordan’s teams by how fast they started was a sketchy proposition. For example, the year of the Bulls’ first title in 1991, they lost their first three games and then followed that up with a 1-2 start the next season. The 2016 bulls followed up their 3-0 start with three straight losses.
A number of factors offered clear indications that the 2016 start was unsustainable for a team that underwent such a drastic offseason makeover. The insertion of Rajon Rondo and Robin Lopez into the Chicago starting lineup have thus far served as the Bulls’ answer to replacing the fragile Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol, but still need time to develop together.
Rondo has shown very early on that he can still dish the ball, but even his best offensive seasons don’t match Rose’s numbers. Plus, he’s on his fourth team in less than two years, which suggests it’s only a matter of time before past baggage resurfaces.
Lopez has been a serviceable center who has also bounced around the league. Chicago is his fifth stop, and in the NBA, his mediocre numbers will earn him $13.2 million this season. Given his past history, it’s not likely that his production will get any better as the season goes along.
Wade was the centerpiece to the offseason maneuvering, but he’ll turn 35 in January and his health can be shaky. Expecting him to turn into Ponce de Leon and somehow get past his good friend LeBron James come playoff time isn’t in the cards anytime soon.
Written by Marcus Williams
The Bulls will face the Cavs on December 2nd here in Chicago. Guess we’ll see then. #TalkIsh