Bulls Have Questions Early This Season That Need to be Answered


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Currently, the Chicago Bulls are in the middle of the pack in the Central Division. But after watching their previous games, their performance on the court raises questions for this team. What’s up with their defense? Should Joakim Noah be in the starting rotation? Is Rose “the guy” that will make an impact during the regular season and into the playoffs?

Yes, the Bulls have some questions after five games, but every team does. It is alarming to see a playoff team, like the Bulls, give up 130 points to the Charlotte Hornets, a team that was not in the playoffs last season.

Defense wins championships, and we did not see that out of the Bulls Tuesday night in Charlotte. According to ESPN.com, Jimmy Butler told reporters that the defense hasn’t been there the last few games.

Jimmy Butler is one of the best two-way players in the NBA, we all know that, but Joakim Noah should be in the starting lineup if they want to solve their defensive problems.

Noah has been the key to Chicago’s defense over the last few seasons. In 2014, Noah won NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the Bulls. In 2010-2011 Noah made All-Defensive NBA 2nd team. In 2012-2013 Noah made All-Defensive NBA 1st team, as well in 2013-2014.

According to basketball-reference.com, Noah is averaging 18.8 minutes per game. Noah has never played under 20 minutes in any year in the NBA. His rookie season he played 20.7 minutes per game. Last season Noah played 30.6 minutes per game. In 2013-2014, when Noah made All-Defensive 1st team, he averaged 35.3 minutes per game. The year before that he averaged 36.8 minutes per game.

With Noah not in the starting lineup and playing sparingly, the Bulls are 20th in the NBA giving up 102.0 points per game, according to ESPN.com. In 2014-2015, Chicago finished ninth in the NBA giving up 97.8 points per game. In 2013-2014, the Bulls were first in the NBA giving up 91.8 points per game. In 2012-2013, Chicago finished third in the NBA giving up 92.9 points per game.

You could make the argument that the Bulls have had great defensive teams during the past few seasons because former coach Tom Thibodeau was a defensive-minded head coach. This is true, however, Noah was the key to those great defensive teams.

Noah has had injury issues. Last season Noah had issues with his knee, but played over 30 minutes per game. Head coach Fred Hoiberg knows that Noah has had injury issues over the last few years, but he should be playing more than 18.8 minutes per game. The Bulls are not the same team with Noah on the bench, from a defensive standpoint.

Another question in Chicago is if Derrick Rose is “the guy” that can lead the Bulls during the regular season and perhaps into the Eastern Conference Championship series. Rose is not off to a good start. There’s a new system in Chicago with Fred Hoiberg as the coach and Rose has been dealing with an injury to his eye. Rose has been basically playing with one-eye after he was elbowed in the face in training camp.

There has been a lot of talk about Rose and Butler. Is this Rose’s team? or is this Butler’s team? Can these two play together?

Well, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst came out Thursday morning and had his opinion on Rose. In the video, Windhorst says that he can already see that the Bulls and Rose have moved on from each other. I don’t know if I see that. It’s only five games into the season so it’s hard to agree on a comment like that when this team still has time to get with the new system. Here is the video to Windhorst this Thursday morning.

There are alarming questions early on this season, but it’s way too early to be criticizing this team.