One of my favorite columnists on the ESPN Chicago website is Nick Friedell. I read his work on the Chicago Bulls as often as possible and I agree with most of his opinions on the team as well. Mr. Friedell recently wrote a column that was puzzling to me to say the least. In the column, he gave a number of reasons why he felt the Bulls were going to win 50 games in 2012-2013. To say that I was surprised by this notion, would be an understatement. Here is my take on why the Bulls will not reach 50 wins next season.
As everyone knows, Derrick Rose will not return from his ACL injury until at least February or March. Yes I know the argument here is the Bulls were 18-9 during the 27 games that Rose was sidelined last season. However, they were just 1-4 without Rose against the offensively challenged Philadelphia 76ers following their Game 1 victory. In addition to that, Luol Deng will more than likely miss some time during next season as well, due to the torn ligament in his left wrist. With the team's top two players out for chunks of the season, it is very doubtful the Bulls will duplicate their win total from this year.
Another reason why the Bulls will not win 50 games is because of the overhaul of their bench. This unit was the deepest bench in the league over the past two seasons with regards to both scoring and their ability to play at multiple positions. While they were not superstars individually, they played very well collectively and you always knew what to expect from this group on a nightly basis. As of right now, we cannot say the same about their replacements. The additions of Vladimir Radmanovic, Nazr Mohammed and Marco Belinelli help to fill out the roster at a low price tag, but each player also brings a question mark to the table with regards to playing defense, a huge reason why this team has been successful under Tom Thibodeau.
The fan side of me obviously wants the team to do well next season. When I look at all the uncertainties though, predicting 50 wins would be unrealistic. I expect them to be very competitive because Thibodeau is too good of a coach for that not to be the case. When it's all said and done, they will probably win somewhere between 41-45 games and as Jeff Van Gundy stated "even that total, along with making the playoffs, is a heck of a year."
James Tillman III is a resident of the Chicago-land area, who has followed the Bulls since the 1987-1988 season . James is also a Featured Sports Contributor for Yahoo Network and a Sports Journalist for Sports Rantz Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @jtillman9693 .