Will the Bulls have the Best Record in the NBA Again?

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The Chicago Bulls led the NBA in wins last year, but like their #1 seed counterpart in the West, the San Antonio Spurs, they failed to reach the NBA Finals.

Chicago returns the same nucleus as last year, with some upgrades. On paper, they should be better. Then again, so will the Miami Heat, who eliminated them last year.

“I think the longer you are together, everything improves. Our goal is to be a well balanced team, those are the teams that do well in the playoffs, I believe we finished 11th in offensive efficiency, we were first in defensive efficiency, we can’t be one-dimensional,” Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau said.

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2012 Chicago Bulls Look to Avoid Glass Ceiling

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Of all the questions surrounding the Chicago Bulls this season, only one truly matters- can they get past the Miami Heat this year? Because of what happened last season (4-1 Eastern Conference Finals loss despite the Bulls having home court advantage), what could happen this year (many NBA experts predict the same outcome this year) and how this script could occur repeatedly in the future, that’s what this season is all about.

Only breaking through that playoff “glass ceiling “matters. Miami will probably have their big three in place for awhile, and that could create a situation commonly referred to as “NBA Hell” for the Bulls and everyone else in the Eastern Conference.

“NBA Hell” and the “glass ceiling” are kind of the same thing.

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Chicago Bulls Camp Opens: Notable Quotables

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Chicago Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau described what happens when his team plays the Miami Heat: “each possession is a war.” Yes, the NBA is actually back now, even though it may seem hard to believe. Training camps are open, media days have been held, including the session for the team with the best regular season record in the league last year.

The reigning MVP Derrick Rose spoke about possible slights by the national media. “We hear everything,” he said and he talked about motivation for the Bulls.

“We had the No. 1 record in the NBA last year. I guess people forgot that.”

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Rip Hamilton Will be a Chicago Bull in the Next Couple Days

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The Detroit Pistons still haven’t officially waived shooting guard Richard “Rip” Hamilton. Waivers take 48 hours to clear. Barring any unforeseen issues, Rip should be at Chicago Bulls trainingcamp by the middle of the week.

Today was Bulls media day, and of course free agency, trades, acquisitions were all hot topics. As you might expect no one said anything publicly to reveal the next transaction (Rip Hamilton to the Bulls). But if you read in between the lines, there’s was enough said to verify that this will soon be a done deal.

“Rip? Did we get him yet? Or..I don’t even know. If we were to get him I think he’ll be great, he’s always in perfect shape, running around especially for his age,” said the reigning MVP Derrick Rose at today’s presser. He sounded a bit confused at first, like perhaps he revealed too much.

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Detroit Pistons Need Off-Season Therapy

Like we are currently seeing in the NFL, the 2011 NBA off-season is up in the air with a lockout looming.  Free agency could be delayed and completely restructured depending on the new agreement reached by the owners and players.  Still, The Sports Bank continues to break down all thirty NBA teams to see what areas they need to address in the off-season.

As if their record was not awful enough, the Detroit Pistons 2010-2011 season was filled with more drama than a Real World episode.  Led by Richard Hamilton, several players  staged a walkout on first year head coach John Kuester.  Now, the Joe Dumars and the Pistons enter a critical off-season without a whole lot of cap flexibility.

By: David Kay

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Detroit Pist-ing Their Money Away

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By: David Kay

Heading into the NBA free agency period, the Detroit Pistons were one of the few buyers in the market willing to shell out the cash to sign a big name free agent.  As the clock struck midnight on July 1st, Joe Dumars wasted no time in courting his desired targets as both Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva flew to Detroit to meet with the Pistons general manager.  Reports have now surfaced that both former UConn Huskies will indeed call Motor City home for the next five years.  Detroit and Bulls free agent shooting guard Ben Gordon have reportedly agreed to a five-year, $55 million deal while Villanueva’s contract is for the same length at $40 million.

Personally, I am not in love with either signing.  Gordon, who turned down a similar offer from the Bulls last off-season, is developing into a big-time scorer, but has yet to show consistency in his game-to-game performance.  He was one of the top free agents in the 2009 class and it is now evident that he had little desire to return to Chicago.  But where does Gordon fit in Detroit?  Rip Hamilton is already on the roster and sulked last year when he was forced to come off the bench.  And it’s not like Rip is going anywhere as he has four years, $49.5 million left on his currently deal.  That poses a dilemma as that contract will not be easy to deal in a market where most teams are looking to dump long, expensive contracts than take them on.

My biggest concern with the Gordon signing is the fact that, in my opinion, Piston starting point guard Rodney Stuckey is a poor-man’s version of Gordon.  Neither has the capability to be a true point guard and are more shooters than creators.

charlie20072As for Villanueva, I have seen him play in Milwaukee for the past couple of seasons and I’m not a fan of his game.  Chaz V. can light up the scoreboard every once in a while, but for every 40-point game, he has four ten point performances in a row.  He was not a favorite of Bucks head coach Scott Skiles, moving in and out of the starting line-up partially because of his minimal effort on the defensive end (and partially because he likes to tweet during games.)

Detroit has always been a defensive-minded team which makes Villanueva’s signing a bit perplexing.  Plus, for a 6-11 “power” forward, Villanueva is softer than Lance Bass at the Playboy mansion and spends most of his time on offense wandering around the perimeter rather than trying to be a factor underneath.  With Chaz V, Tayshaun Prince, and Austin Daye all in Motown, the Pistons now have three tall, lengthy but physically inferior forwards who have similar styles of play.  Interesting.

The re-building process has officially begun in Detroit with familiar faces like Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace (who almost certainly will not be re-signed) being shown the door in the past few months.  Now Gordon and Villanueva will be faced with the task of ushering in a new era of Piston basketball.  Next up; find someone to coach these guys…