After a season filled with title aspirations and disappointment, Tom Thibodeau was fired by the Bulls. Now, with the new coaching search starting, it’s time to look at potential replacements for the defensive mastermind.
Now that the Bulls core players have been covered, it’s time to look forward to young talent ready to be acquired in the draft. The Chicago Bulls have a gaping hole at Small Forward. Mike Dunleavy is a solid role player, but he is not the guy the Bulls will need if they want to make a deep playoff run in the near future. Not to harp on age, but Dunleavy is an experienced 34 years old. His potential for improvement is not very high. In fact, he is more than likely on the decline of his career. This makes it all the more important for the Bulls to find a rookie in this year’s draft who will be ready to produce immediately.
You might say that with the 22nd overall pick the Bulls do not have much chance of landing a great player. Before you think this is the case, remember that Jimmy Butler, an all-star in 2014-2015, was taken with the 30th pick in the 2011 draft, Monta Ellis was drafted by the Warriors with the 40th pick in 2005, Kyle Korver was taken with the 51st overall pick in 2003 and the Suns’ Isaiah Thomas was taken with the last pick in the draft, the 60th pick in 2011. The before listed players are excellent players, even all stars. Each player makes a significant impact to their respective teams. With the 22nd pick, it seems that the Bulls should have no problem in acquiring a top talent in this year’s draft. It all depends on how they play their cards.
With the Bulls’ window for a championship quickly growing smaller and smaller, it is essential for the Bulls’ front office to draft a player who will make an immediate impact. As they stand, the Bulls have the pieces to compete for a championship, however not for long. Joakim Noah continues to age and is now 30 years old. The former Defensive Player of the Year saw his numbers drop across the board during the 2014-2015 NBA season. This season he averaged 9.6 points and 9.5 rebounds, his lowest season averages since the 2009-2010 campaign. Not to mention Pau Gasol, who next year will enter the season at age 35. While still producing stellar numbers (Gasol led the NBA in double-doubles this past season), there is no debating that his years of producing at a high level are limited.
A much promising season for the Chicago Bulls was quickly derailed by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the offseason quickly approaching, It's time to look at what burning questions the 2016 season has in store for the Chicago Bulls.
1. New coach?
It's the elephant in the room for Jerry Reinsdorf and the rest of the bulls front office. Will Tom Thibodeau's time as a Chicago Bull carry into next year, or will he be finding himself a new home? The Bulls seem to be holding on to Thib until all coaching vacancies are filled, which would leave him unemployed for the 2016 season. However there has been interest outside of the organization in the coach, especially from the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans. Bottom line is that we should not expect to see Thibodeau on the sidelines in Chicago come 2016.
2. Will Jimmy Butler be around?
Second to the coaching issue comes the fact that Jimmy Butlers contract ended this past season. After being named the NBA's most improved player of 2015, its likely he will be expecting a max contract. Sources say that Butler would be receiving a max contract from the Lakers, however in an interview with Sportsnation, Butler expressed interest in staying in Chicago due to the "chance" the Bulls have given them.
3. Healthy Rose?
Now, this one is hard to report on, because nobody knows what in the heck is going to happen to Derrick Rose. Signs are pointing in the right direction after a good postseason bout. Rose averaged just under 38 minutes a game, and, coming off of injury, there is little more to ask for. While recovery has certainly been far from fast, look out for a much more productive point guard in 2016.
4. Who to draft?
The Bulls hold the 22nd overall pick in the 2015-2016 NBA draft. Look for them to draft a guard. Many mock drafts have the Bulls selecting Tyus Jones.