Chicago Bulls Need Small Improvement With Roster


It’s that time of the year; the time of the year when your team isn’t playing, and management is either looking to the draft to make improvements to the roster, or looking into possible trade scenarios that can improve the team in particular areas.

More from Bulls News

The Chicago Bulls have a very talented roster, but with a few improvements in certain areas, the Bulls will give themselves a better chance at winning it all next season.

According to Bleacher Report columnist Adam Wells, the Bulls are considering trading both Joakim Noah, and Taj Gibson.

In the last two seasons, Noah’s production has dropped. After averaging a double-double (12.6 points and 11.3 rebounds per game), along with 1.5 blocks per game in the 2013-14 season. This year, Noah averaged just 7.2 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per game; his worst point/rebound stat line since being a rookie.

Since having knee surgery last May, Noah hasn’t been the same energetic player that Chicago Bulls fans have been accustomed to seeing. This season, he seemed slower in movement, it seemed he was favoring his left knee, and it has shown up in his performance.

Gibson had a solid season, despite some injury issues of his own. Gibson had his moments off the bench, but didn’t seem like the same player from the 2013-14 season either.

By trading Gibson to potentially free up cap room, it will be easier on the Bulls to offer Jimmy Butler a max deal in July when he hits restricted free agency.

One of the primary reasons the Bulls struggled last season, is that their defense simply wasn’t the same. Last season, the Bulls ranked second in the NBA in defensive efficiency, and this season the Bulls dropped all the way to 11th.

Through the month of November, the Bulls also ranked as one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the NBA. The Bulls grabbed just 68.6 percent of their potential defensive rebounds, which was the second-worst mark in the NBA.

Gibson and Noah used to be the heart and soul of the Bulls defense on the interior, and two of their best rebounders, based on their statistics in the past few years.

But, the defense hasn’t been the stifling Chicago defense of previous years. What was once a defense that prevented second chance points, held their opponents to one shot, controlled the boards, and prevented teams from scoring 40+ points in the paint, was a complete shell of itself in 2014-15.

During their first round series with Milwaukee in the playoffs, the Bulls gave up an average of 37 points per game in the paint. In their six-game series loss to Cleveland, the Bulls gave up 35.6 points per game in the paint.

If Fred Hoiberg is going to turn this team around, and if the Bulls are willing to keep both Gibson and Noah, then the frontcourt, especially those two players, will have to commit themselves to protecting the basket, and rebounding the basketball at a more efficient clip.

Some of the other concerns the Bulls may have with their roster, is a lack of backup center and adding a legitimate backup point guard, as Aaron Brooks is more of a scorer, than a facilitator. Brooks averaged 11.6 points per game and just 3.2 assists per game. Kirk Hinrich was also a non-factor this past season, averaged just 5.7 ppg, 2.2 assists per game and 0.7 steals per game.

The Bulls will also have to find a legitimate small forward to replace Mike Dunleavy if he isn’t re-signed, and may want to find a more athletic, and bigger small forward that will be better suited to slow down LeBron James.

The Bulls have plenty of adjustments, and decisions to make, and one of the biggest is re-signing Jimmy Butler. Butler became the NBA’s Most Improved Player this season, and averaged a team-high 22 points per game this season. He should be at the top of John Paxson and Gar Forman‘s priority list, then you work from there.

It’s not crazy to say that the Bulls aren’t far away from competing for an NBA title next spring, but a lot of issues need to be corrected, and defense and rebounding will be most important for the team to improve upon, along with maintaining certain players.

The Bulls also have players that are currently apart of the roster that rarely received playing time last season: Tony Snell, Doug McDermott, E’Twaun Moore, and Cameron Bairstow.

It would also be in the Bulls’ best interest to see if these players can fit into Hoiberg’s system, before they make any changes, one of the biggest responsibilities is what the front office does with two key guys in the frontcourt.

Next: What's next for Tom Thibodeau?

More from Pippen Ain't Easy