The new look Chicago Bulls have been very exciting to watch these first several games of the 2016-17 NBA season. With some familiar faces from around the league in Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade joining forces with Jimmy Butler in Chicago, this experienced “Big Three” is poised for success in the coming months.
Many people have been skeptical about how much D-Wade really has left in the tank, and I’m here to tell you he’s still all there. He has been showing signs of youth, and has improved his outside shooting immensely. Wade only shot seven three-pointers all of last season, and in this year’s opener against the Celtics he connected on four shots from beyond the arc. Through eight games this year, he has hit 12 three-pointers. He didn’t even attempt that many all of last season! It is safe to say Wade is adjusting his game to his age and physical ability, and it seems to be working. He’s currently averaging a respectable 16.9 points per game. Though it is still very early in the season, the production is clearly there so far for 34 year old Dwyane “Flash” Wade.
Floor General Rajon Rondo is coming off a league high 11.7 assists per game last season, but what he brings to the Bulls doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet. He creates many opportunities for the other guys out on the court. He is currently averaging 6.8 assists per game, but I’m certain that will be elevated as the season progresses. Rondo has been criticized over the years for his attitude toward coaches and teammates, but seems to be meshing well with his new situation in Chicago. He passes first, which is exactly what the Bulls needed at the point guard position.
The young leader of this Bulls team, Jimmy Butler, is on an absolute offensive tear so far this season. In tonight’s loss to Atlanta, he put down 39 points in 39 minutes of play. He’s currently averaging the number he represents on his back every night, in points per game (21). In my eyes, Jimmy Butler has not yet hit his prime. His game is improving offensively, especially shooting wise. His outside shooting ability has grown, as he seems to be very comfortable launching from deep. Though this is the case, he doesn’t try to force it. The Bulls have enough players off the bench in Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott that pose a threat from deep. Butler’s defensive presence has not waned, but the team as a whole has struggled defensively, which has led to these early season losses. The Bulls have allowed 100 points or more in each loss of this young season.
At this point in the year, teams are figuring out their identity. This Bulls team looks to be one that will put up big numbers on the offensive end, and has a strong defensive core in the starting five, but lacks depth defensively off the bench. The Bulls are certainly exciting to watch. Folks have to remember that eight of the men on the roster are new to Chicago, excluding RJ Hunter, who was sent down to the D-League earlier today. It takes a good amount of time for a team of players with all different levels of pro experience to get acclimated to one another. It is a very long season, and I’m sure they will grow into a great team in all facets of the game.
The Bulls current record sits at 4-4. They are on the road again tomorrow night in Miami for Dwyane Wade’s first trip back as a member of a different team. Bulls look to grab a win in the second game of a back-to-back.
By: Noah Osen (@NoahOsen)