Previews

NBA season preview: Chicago Bulls

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STAYING: Jimmy Butler, Cristiano Felicio, Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis and Tony Snell.

ADDED: Isaiah Canaan (Philadelphia), Spencer Dinwiddie (Detroit), Jerian Grant (New York), Robin Lopez (New York), Rajon Rondo (Sacramento), Denzel Valentine (Michigan State), Dwyane Wade (Miami) and Paul Zipser (Bayern Munich).

GONE: Cameron Bairstow (Brisbane Bullets), Aaron Brooks (Indiana), Mike Dunleavy (Cleveland), Pau Gasol (San Antonio), Justin Holiday (New York), E’Twaun Moore (New Orleans), Joakim Noah (New York) and Derrick Rose (Chicago).

STRENGTHS: Star power … Wing scoring should not be a problem with Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler in Chicago … Those are two bona-fide stars who perform on both ends of the court … Specifically, Butler is among the top perimeter defenders in the NBA … Expect improvement from Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott, both tremendous outside shooters … Robin Lopez is not going to make you forget about Good Joakim Noah, but he’s more durable than the Florida product and brings a similar approach to the game (minus the passing) … Starting or coming off the bench, Taj Gibson is always productive.

WEAKNESSES: Outside shooting is going to be a major concern in a lineup featuring Rajon Rondo, Wade and Butler … Obvious questions about spacing … Will ball-dominant perimeter players like Rondo and Wade take away from Butler’s game? … Rondo has been a disinterested defender lately … Bigger name than game by now? … Not much depth in the backcourt … Pau Gasol‘s departure leaves a hole in the paint … None of the bigs is much of a low-post scorer … The Bulls took a big step back defensively the last couple of seasons and need to bounce back there … Is this the right personnel for Fred Hoiberg‘s system? … Can a sophomore NBA head coach get his message across in a locker room with so many big-name players?

PREDICTION: 2nd in the Central Division, 4th in the Eastern Conference.

SALARIES:

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