Atlantic Division Outlook: Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks

Mar 23, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) controls the ball as Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) defends during the first half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 23, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) controls the ball as Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) defends during the first half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports /

To wrap up this week’s Atlantic Division previews for the Chicago Bulls, we’ll take a look at the new-look New York Knicks with some familiar faces to Bulls fans.

The Chicago Bulls … er, the new New York Knicks team are basically the sleekest veteran run-and-gun, rim-attacking NBA team on paper.

Former Bulls point guard Derrick Rose‘s game last season shows that even at 80 percent, he still can play like an MVP at times, while the beloved Joakim Noah will try to redeem his former self by playing a smarter minute count in New York.

Noah can and probably will play point center if the Knicks run a triangle offense allowing his monster teammates to outmuscle the opposing team on offense. Carmelo Anthony had a stellar Olympics stint, while Kristaps Porzingis promises more of the same difficult matchup problems to stretch the floor for Rose and Anthony to run their game.

On defense, Justin Holiday and Lance Thomas (Phil Jackson’s favorite sixth man) should complement the starters nicely, while Brandon Jennings can spell Rose nicely off the Knick bench.

The Bulls should not be a pushover this year. They won the Las Vegas Summer League’s title by relying on defense, rebounding and a better-looking flow offense.

Jerian Grant and Spencer Dinwiddie should negate any advantage Rose, Jennings and even Courtney Lee may have on paper if they play stellar defense and attack the Knicks back court on offense. Denzel Valentine might have some tough games against Justin Holiday, but he should fare well just using smarts and not just his limited athleticism.

Bobby Portis and Cristiano Felicio should match up nicely against Porzingis and could potentially get him in foul trouble from making him playing tough post defense.

The Bulls’ “Three Alphas” may cancel out the “superteam” Knicks. Robin Lopez and Noah will match up evenly protecting the rim. Dwyane Wade will exchange buckets with Anthony. Jimmy Butler may get the better of anyone on the Knicks assigned to defend him if he plays smart and shares the ball with guys on the wing like Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic.

Everything with the Bulls-Knicks matchup is even-steven until we see the teams play on the court to see if the paper outlook matches what we see.

Coaching: Jeff Hornacek vs. Fred Hoiberg

Jeff Hornacek utilized the small ball, run-out, gun-the-three offense with the Phoenix Suns in his coach of the year run before being fired last season.

Unfortunately, the Suns torpedoed his team when they shipped out his best small-ball players like Goran Dragic and Gerald Green and left him with a team unfit for the system.

With the Knicks, Hornacek may redeem himself and have another coach of the year run with the best veteran superstars he’s ever coached, running variations of the triangle and his own Phoenix-proven fast game.

Fred Hoiberg will face his acid test when the Chicago Bulls play the Knicks.  The Bulls on paper are the better defensive team and according to the eye test — at least my own — the Bulls also have just enough lights-out shooters to outduel the Knicks in an Eastern Conference shootout.

Next: Atlantic Division Outlook: Bulls-76ers

The Former MVP and Carmelo vs. the “Three Alphas”

The fans want to see how the Chicago Bulls’ “Three Alphas” fare against the Knicks’ own Alphas in Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah.

Will each team’s superstar live up to his billing? Will the Bulls’ “Bench Mob” steal the limelight from the starters and win the series against a team that has less depth after the seventh guy?

It’s safe to expect Anthony and especially Rose to play explosively if they get into rhythm early in the game and carry that into the fourth quarter. Both are virtually unstoppable by any team or player once they get into rhythm.

The way for the Bulls to beat the Knicks may also be the same way — a shoot-out fueled by whatever defensive advantage Fred Hoiberg can gain from the “Bench Mob”.  These games this season should make for some fun in primetime whenever these two teams are scheduled on television.

It may also be a preview for Gar Forman in whether or not he should chase Carmelo Anthony in the 2017 free agency recruitment wars, while Melo himself checks out the Bulls and reconsider if he wants to play out his days with the Knicks or attempt to win a ring with the upcoming Chicago Bulls.