Starting the NBA season off with a win was a godsend for the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls have remained in the conversation all summer with their offseason moves. Much of the talk has been more about how interesting of an NBA team they can be if only they added an important element — a shooting touch.
Watching the Chicago Bulls connect on 11 of their 25 three-pointers, as reported by NBA.com, in their 105-99 win over the Boston Celtics, questions arose. Is that the new Dwyane Wade, who matched Jimmy Butler, making four of his six long-distance attempts. Can the Chicago Bulls do it again? Can the Bulls stay that hot from the long distance stripe?
As the NBA season continues, the answer to that question will be revealed. If the answer becomes a resounding yes, the team known to have a couple of poorly mixed parts could become a legitimate dark horse in the Eastern Conference.
Beating the Celtics was only a mild surprise. How the Bulls did it was inspiring. The Bulls were ahead the entire game with the exception of one possession. Every time the Bulls built a double-digit lead, the Celtics would make a run and draw closer. Then the Bulls would make a key shot, oftentimes a three-pointer, that would steady the ship.
A strong shooting Chicago Bulls team is a dangerous Chicago Bulls team. The Bulls will have to shoot well for a stretch of about a month. If that happens, the expectations for their season will change.
Dwyane Wade is good enough of a pro to keep working on his three-point shot. And if he continues to make it with any regularity, it will open things up for him when he takes a defensive player on.
Wade looked rejuvenated in his first game with the Bulls. The domino effect of that was a more relaxed Jimmy Butler. He rushed fewer shots against the Celtics because of the veteran presence of Wade and Rajon Rondo.
Wade and Rondo reflect part of the Bulls’ change.
Change is something that the Bulls seem used to over the past four months. Many of the moves the Bulls have made up until the start of the season have been done with the purpose of retooling, or reinventing, themselves. The additions of Michael Carter-Williams and R.J. Hunter have solidified the backcourt, if not made it crowded.
The Bulls acquired a shooter when they signed Hunter to a one-year deal. If he can nail down some shots, while other Bulls’ players make some buckets, this Bulls team will be a tough out.
No one will confuse the Chicago Bulls for the Golden State Warriors, but that does not mean they cannot turn some heads and give the elite teams of the East trouble. All the Chicago Bulls need is a legitimate low-post player who can either defend, score, or both.
That player could come in a trade later on in the season. Most Bulls fans will want DeMarcus Cousins to fill that role, but someone such as Serge Ibaka is a name to keep an eye on.
Ibaka, now with the Orlando Magic, could become available if the Magic struggle early on. Another thing to factor when it comes to Serge Ibaka is the fact that he is in the last year of his contract. So if he is available, the Bulls would not have to fork over one-third of a team almost.
Someone of Ibaka’s skill set would help the Bulls tremendously, and give their roster some balance. In a perfect world, second-year power forward Bobby Portis will turn into that player. The ability is there to be a solid option in the post. Portis can also knock down a few jumpers to go along with his improving hook shot. Bobby Portis must get some regular minutes in order to gain some confidence and consistency. He never saw the floor against the Celtics.
This Chicago Bulls team could be closer to being a really good team than most people realize. Can the Bulls shoot? That will be answered over the course of a month or so. Whether the Bulls can be a good team or not will hinge on their shooting touch and the ability to get a low-post presence.
[Featured Image by Stacy Revere/Getty Images]