STAYING: Cameron Bairstow, Aaron Brooks, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson, Kirk Hinrich, Doug McDermott, Nikola Mirotic, E’Twaun Moore, Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose and Tony Snell.
ADDED: Jordan Crawford (Fort Wayne Mad Ants), Cristiano Felicio (Flamengo) and Bobby Portis (Arkansas).
GONE: Nazr Mohammed (Free Agent).
STRENGTHS: Roster is stacked with talent … They have a plethora of scorers, shooters, rebounders and defenders … It’s not that hard to picture Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah making the All-Star Game … Butler has evolved into a full-blown star that delivers on both ends of the court … Gasol has looked rejuvenated lately … With his size and skill, he’s almost unstoppable for Eastern Conference bigs … If Noah is healthy, Chicago has perhaps the best big man duo in the East … Both pass the ball real well … Taj Gibson is an outstanding backup … Expect Nikola Mirotic and Tony Snell to contribute more consistently this season … Defense has been Chicago’s calling card for many years now … You would think they remain elite in that regard … Excellent rebounding, shot-blocking and free-throw shooting squad … Bulls seemed to have tuned out coach Tom Thibodeau recently … Will a new voice help them get over the hump?
WEAKNESSES: Health … Both Rose and Noah are injury prone … Feels like there’s been a black cloud hanging over Rose for the last few years … While he looked terrific from a physical standpoint last season, he never fully put it together … We have yet to see if he can get his mojo back … Noah’s game is about intensity … If he’s not 100 percent healthy, he’s not nearly as effective … There’s always a risk when you hire a rookie head coach … Bulls were not exactly offensive juggernauts under Thibs … Can Fred Hoiberg upgrade the team’s offensive efficiency?
PREDICTION: 2nd in the Central Division / 2nd in the Eastern Conference.