Bulls early season review

The Bulls were back at home on Wednesday after a grueling end to November. Coming off a seven game road trip primarily out west, the Bulls want to look reminiscent of their 4-2 start, not their 1-6 road trip.

The Bulls find themselves in the middle of the pack in the Central Division after the first 16 games of the year. With a 7-10 start to the year, the Bulls do need to elevate their play, especially Derrick Rose, the catalyst of the offense.

Rose is averaging about 15 points per game and about 5 assists per game, which is good by most standards. The problem is that Rose has the high standards that come with being the number one pick in last year’s draft. Though he has been slowed by an ankle sprain, this is the year in which he needs to elevate his game and improve both himself and the team. Expect Rose to look among the league’s best by the end of this year.

A pleasant surprise on the Bulls roster this year is former fan enemy, Joakim Noah. When he came into the league, Bulls fans thought he was a joke, all hype from Florida’s NCAA championships. He is proving those fans wrong this year as the NBA’s second best rebounder. Yes, that is not a typo, Noah is second in the entire NBA in rebounding with 12.3 rpg, trailing Dwight Howard by a tenth of a rebound.

Preseason predictions had the Bulls as high as fourth and as low as eleventh. They are a team that when playing well can compete with some of the top teams, as we saw in the first round matchup against the Celtics last year, but a team that can and will play down to their opponents. Throughout the month of December, the Bulls have a pretty winnable schedule, where they face teams such as the Knicks, Pacers, Kings, and the 1-19 New Jersey Nets. The December round-up is not too soft because the Bulls have to face the Cavaliers, Celtics, and Lakers, but all but four December games are home games.

When Tyrus Thomas and Kirk Hinrich are 100 percent, the team should be ready to make a run. Currently seventh in the Eastern Conference, despite having a losing record, the Bulls are seemingly in good position to make a run. Teamed with a friendly December schedule, Chicago needs to make its move in the upcoming weeks. Rose and Luol Deng need to carry this team like they should.

Like Noah, Deng was criticized for being overrated after several injuries and sluggish play since his fine first couple seasons. Deng is averaging 18 point per game this year, which is exactly what Bulls fans like to see.