Your team has now been eliminated but there's always next year. What will they need to do to take the next step and improve on their playoff performance from this season? Assuming there's going to be an NBA season...which is definitely in doubt.
How They Were Eliminated: With an embarrassing fourth quarter collapse. They were outscored 18-3 to end Game 5 and lost 83-80. After convincingly winning Game 1, the Heat beat the Bulls four straight times as Rose struggled with his shot and no one else consistently stepped up.
Biggest Question Marks: There are a ton of little questions -
who will be their second scorer? Can Rose develop a consistent jumper?
Will they regret giving Carlos Boozer that huge contract? But there is
the biggest question of all: Can they beat the Heat? It's clear the
Bulls will be very good for awhile but if they can't beat the Heat then
they won't be competing for titles.
Free Agent Situation: Unrestricted - Rasual Butler, Brian Scalabrine, Kurt Thomas
Free Agent Dreams:
It's pretty obvious the Bulls need a second scoring option. They need
to relieve pressure off of Rose and give him an option on the perimeter.
Jamal Crawford would fit in quite well. He could back up Rose for the
few minutes of rest he needs and could play alongside him as a
legitimate outside threat and someone that can actually create his own
SUMMARY: The Bulls exceeded all expectations. Derrick Rose
made huge strides by improving every aspect of his game. But he did seem
to peter out a little over halfway through the season. Rose was near
40-percent from 3-point range through the first half of the season but
finished at just 33-percent. In the playoffs it declined even further to
25-percent. The Bulls defense though, made up for any offensive
inefficiencies. They had the best defense in the league, holding
opponents to 91.3 points per game and got great bench play from the
likes of Taj Gibson, Omer Asik, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer. Despite
injuries to Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, they managed to finish with
the best record in the NBA.
OUTLOOK: It's easy to look at their performance against the
Heat and come to the conclusion that the Bulls have some major issues.
The biggest of course, is a lack of a second scoring option. Carlos
Boozer is supposed to be that option but he was maddeningly inconsistent
vs. the Heat. What people forget is he has been battling a turf toe
injury. It's difficult to know how big of a factor that was but it
looked like he wasn't nearly getting the lift he usually does and that
resulted in a bunch of blocks by Joel Anthony. The Bulls will need to
determine whether his performance was a fluke attributable to the injury
or if Boozer is not the player they thought he was.
Because of the troubles of his teammates, Rose was largely left off the hook by the media. It's true he has to shoulder the load and that will result in some poor shooting nights but he was awful against the Heat. He couldn't knock down jump shots and thus he became one dimensional and very easy to defend. Early in the season he was consistently knocking down those mid-range shots and 3-pointers but somewhere along the way he lost his touch. If he played the way he did in the first half of the season the Bulls probably beat the Bulls and reach the Finals. The future is still bright with basically everyone coming back (unless they look to make a trade) but can the Heat should only be better next season. Will the Bulls be able to improve enough to surpass them?