I know the Bulls just came off a bitter end to the 2015 season. Losing to the best player in the NBA and his merry band of travelers, the Cleveland Cavilers. We won’t know how good the Cavs really are until this next series, and possibly the NBA finals. We do know, this series was up for grabs.
Perhaps it was the fact that Derrick Rose never really had much time to play together with the rest of the starting lineup. It was his first post season play in 3 years. I think he did the best he could. Heck, even MJ failed when he came back from playing baseball. Some of it could be on the swirling rumors that have almost surfaced every day this season, about head coach Tom Thibodeau and his future with the Bulls. How hard to do play for a coach who might not be around next year? I know, right now the wounds are raw.
Things Bulls fans have to look forward to next year:
- A healthy Derrick Rose going into the off season. For the first time in about 4 years, Derrick Rose gets to go into an off season without a major injury. He can rest and work on his game without the grind of rehab. This will be huge.
- Jimmy Butler. Not only has Butler been the most improved player in the NBA, he cemented his all star status and should be rewarded with a max level contract. He proved he was legit by elevating his game in the playoffs. He now should be the player to build upon for the future.
- Nikola Mirotic. Despite his defensive shortcomings and the fact that he “lost his shot” in the Cavs series, Mirotic’s arrow is pointing up. Way up. He proved he can score vs some tough defensive players in the playoffs. He’s gotta improve his technique and defensive awareness a little. I think he is ahead of the curve going into year 2.
- Tony Snell. Tony had a nice season. He wasn’t used as much in the playoffs but he showed flashes of what he could be. A better shooting version of Jimmy Butler. Not nearly as tough as a defender, but he has length that should give players he is defending fits. Another offseason should help him up his game. He proved he is willing and motivated.
There are a lot of questions to be answered. First and foremost, the future of Thibs. Will he stay or will he go? I love what he was done over his tenure here. You can’t argue that he has contributed to the development of players like Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic, Tony Snell, and a host of guards that have come through while Derrick was out. Jokim Noah had a defensive player of the year under him. That said, his playoff record is not so great. He has beaten teams like the Nets, when he shouldn’t have. The series against the Cavilers though, should have went down a lot differently. I’m hoping he and the front office can put aside their differences for at least one more year. I need to know beyond the shadow of a doubt. A full season with Derrick Rose healthy, going into the playoffs; I need to see what they can do. I’m staying away from the knee-jerk reactions. There is no better coach sitting out there. No Phil Jackson waiting in the wings.
Pau Gasol and Jokim Noah are not getting any younger. Noah was never fully healthy all season, at times he was a shell of his former self. He still gutted it out. If Gasol can put together one more year, it will be worth fighting for.
Taj Gibson is a really nice defensive player. I’m not sure his offense is where it needs to be. At his age, I’m not sure that is going to suddenly going to develop. It might be time to move on from him.
The bench that has been pretty solid, failed to come through in the playoffs. Outside of some burst from Mirotic, they lacked in the production.
Kirk Hinrich needs to go. Thanks for the years Kirk, but you are done. It’s time for Tony Snell, E’Twaun Moore and Doug McDermott to step up.