A Layout of The Chicago Bulls 2015-16 Regular Season

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Feb 21, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21), center Joakim Noah (13), and guard Derrick Rose (1) during the second half against the Phoenix Suns at the United Center. The Bulls won 112-107. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports


There was plenty of blame to go around for the Bulls losing in the second round to Cleveland this past May. At times, the Chicago Bulls felt more like a living soap opera than a NBA franchise. According to reports, an assistant under Tom Thibodeau felt his office was being “bugged” by Bulls officials. Along with the “beef” rumors between Rose and Butler after the year, the experiment of playing newly-acquired Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah together failed miserably.

Gasol had a career year in his first season with the Bulls, but Noah’s knee after offseason surgery never fully cooperated with him and the reigning defensive player of the year had one of the worst seasons in his pro career. And yet, despite another knee injury to Derrick Rose, more ankle issues for Taj Gibson, and a shoulder injury for Jimmy Butler, the Bulls still managed 50 wins and racked up the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Not only are the Bulls learning a new offensive system that’s more free-flowing and open, they’re learning a new defensive system that will help preserve themselves for the later months of the year.

So, can the Bulls duplicate their 2014-15 success with a little less chaos this time around? Let’s take a look at some projections from around the league.

More from Bulls News

  • Bulls columnist Kelly Scaletta of Bleacher Report projected that the Bulls win 50 games again this season, along with finishing second in the Eastern Conference standings. His best-case scenario for the Bulls? A spot in the Eastern Conference Finals. His worst-case scenario? The Bulls struggle to win 40 games thanks to more injuries and fail to make the playoffs.
  • ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight analytical site projected the Bulls to finish 47-35 with their CARMELO system. At 47 wins, the Bulls would have been seeded fifth in the Eastern Conference based on last year’s standings.

Some may find win-loss projections a little silly, but it appears that many around the league expect the Bulls to take a step forward, regardless of record. Many feel that Hoiberg will take into account of minutes being played by his core guys — which was the downfall of Tom Thibodeau in Chicago — and that those core players will remain healthy for a postseason push. That may ring true, but it’s a long 82-game season. There’s a lot that can happen.

When you factor in two new systems, a schedule full of intriguing match-ups, on top of the Central Division being one of the tougher divisions in the league, the Bulls will have their work cut out for them. When fully healthy, you can make the argument that this is one of — if not, the best — team in the Eastern Conference.

But, this is always one of the older rosters in the league at the same time. Injuries aren’t controllable, but the Bulls have had their share of injury issues already and the season hasn’t started.

Projection: 48-34, second in the Central Division behind Cleveland, No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference

Next: Depth Chart