Chicago Bulls: Great Start Leads to High Hopes
- Updated: November 1, 2016
The Chicago Bulls have started this year with three straight wins for the first time since 1996-97 season. The record looks good, but they look even better.
The Chicago Bulls are sitting at a record of 3-0, one of the remaining six undefeated teams. Two of the wins came against tough competition in the Indiana Pacers and the Boston Celtics, both of which expected to be top seeds in the Eastern Conference.
The one thing that most experts had against the Bulls was their lack of three-point shooters. Well the Bulls have silence them by shooting .425 from the three-point line in the first three games, that is the third best in the NBA this season.
The next biggest issue most had with the Bulls was too many alphas, too many dribble to create guys and their ability to mesh together. Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo were the focus of those negative stigmas and they have all been as impressive as you could ask for, thus far.
Butler has led the team in points per game with 20.7, minutes per game with 30 and free throws per game with 6.7. Butler has played excellent defense both on the ball and with help-side defense.
Wade was a career .284 three-point shooter prior to this year, but he leads the team in that category this year at a stunning .556. Wade has shot the ball incredibly well, but has also been a very good passer as he is second on the team in assists at 3.7 a game. He has not missed a free throw and has really embraced being back in his hometown.
If I were to have a three-game MVP vote, I would give it to Rondo. He leads the team in assists at 8.7 a game. He is the floor leader, that is evident in the way he runs the offense and his ability to direct the offense. He has been our best defender by applying non-stop ball pressure, tied for the lead in steals per game at 1.67 with Wade, and has done all of that while just committing one foul per game.
All of that for Rondo, and that does not include the best part of Rondo, which Stacey King highlighted beautifully. His ‘I have got your back’ attitude has been on display twice this season already. Once in a scuffle between Butler and the Celtics, then last night between Doug McDermott and Luis Scola of the Brooklyn Nets. He has been the most valuable player on and off the court.
Butler, Wade and Rondo are not the only ones playing incredibly well at the moment. Taj Gibson is averaging 14.7 points per game while shooting a team leading .636 from the field. Isaiah Canaan has been really good throughout his career on catch and shoot situations and he has shown that in shooting 6-for-12 from three-point range this year. Both big men, Robin Lopez and Christiano Felicio, have played well with blocking shots and getting offensive rebounds.
As you can see, the Bulls not only have shot the ball well, but they have done everything you look for in a good team. They own the boards on offense and on defense, first and fourth in the NBA respectfully. They are second in the league in assists per game. They are scoring the most points per game and giving up the seventh least points per game. The Bulls have started off so hot that they have been able to limit the start trio’s minutes and give the remaining to bench players.
It is only three games, but fair to say this team is dramatically different from last year. The credit for the difference is still up in the air. Some goes to second year head coach Fred Hoiberg getting comfortable, some goes to the experience in the front court, while some still has to go to the players coming off the bench.
This is Bulls basketball and this is fun.