The Chicago Bulls end their successful preseason slate on Friday against the Denver Nuggets. The Denver Nuggets feature new head coach Brian Shaw, who will finally get his long awaited chance to prove that he belongs.
If Shaw brings the same intensity and focus that he brought as a player, then the young Denver Nuggets may be onto something. They have a player in Javale McGee, a player that still has room to grow. With a coach like Brian Shaw who will stress discipline and making the right plays, McGee might finally become the center the Washington Wizards always hoped he would be. Denver also features a speedy point guard in Ty Lawson, who can break just about anyone down off the dribble and get into the paint with ease. However, the player that is fun to watch and can turn himself into an all-star this year if healthy is Kenneth Faried. Faried can change the game in many ways, whether it’s controlling the rebound advantage or delivering an electrifying dunk that can silence any crowd. I expect big things out of Mr. Faried this season, as his abundance of energy and willingness to do anything to help his team win will make the Nuggets a dangerous team in the Western Conference.
The Bulls enter this game limping into their preseason finale. Three of their core players have had injuries this preseason, as Jimmy Butler (knee), Joakim Noah (groin), and Kirk Hinrich (concussion/shoulder) are already banged up. It’s hard to believe that the one player at this point in the year heading into the regular season that has cleared doubters wrong is Derrick Rose. D-Rose has shown everyone in the preseason that he has the confidence, swagger if you may, that he has had in the past. But this is on a whole new level. He’s taken over against the Pacers and Thunder in the fourth quarter, which the Bulls were sorely missing last year. He’ll have a challenge in this game against Ty Lawson, as it’ll be a test to see the improvements he’s made on defense.
One player that has been benefiting from Joakim Noah being out and receiving extended minutes in the preseason is Taj Gibson. The power forward has shown everyone who has watched any preseason games that the contract extension they gave him last season was not a mistake. Gibson has improved his jumper as well as his post game. Gibson will have his hands full with the lengthy McGee and the energetic Faried, but Gibson’s defensive prowess will help keep the Bulls close in what will prove to be a highly contested preseason finale.