COMMENTARY | One week into the 2013-14 NBA season and people are already pushing the panic button.
Teams that were predicted to be lottery teams are winning and potential championship contenders are losing. Calm down, it's just the beginning of the season.
All eyes were on the returning Derrick Rose at the start of the new NBA season and Rose has looked, well, rusty. After a strong preseason, Rose has gone 15-for-52 from the floor in the first three games of the regular season for a shooting percentage of just 28%. Rose is also abysmal from the three-point line, shooting 26% while turning the ball over 5.6 times a game.
D-Rose struggling was kind of expected. He's coming off of a major surgery and being thrown into the fire by having two of Chicago's three games on the road, one against the defending champion Miami Heat.
Regardless, Rose cannot shoulder the blame for Chicago's slow start. The only Bulls player shooting the ball as bad as Rose is Joakim Noah (31%), who is also returning from an injury. Noah missed the majority of the preseason with a groin strain and has struggled to regain his wind.
Chicago has gone only four players deep into its bench, playing Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson, Nazr Mohammed, and newest addition Mike Dunleavy. Dunleavy, too, has struggled to find his shot, shooting just 33% from the field.
Coach Tom Thibodeau's method of playing rookies Tony Snell and Erik Murphy only in case of emergency doesn't do much for the development of the young players or the miles being put on the bodies of the veterans -- sadly, it's not likely to change.
The 1-2 Bulls have endured scoring lulls in all three regular-season games, prompting basketball fanatics to chide Bulls management for not re-signing diminutive guard, and last season's go-to scorer, Nate Robinson. There is no need for alarm. Chicago's scoring will pick up when the team gets into a rhythm.
While scoring comes and goes, defense has always been Chicago's staple. The most surprising part of the start to the Bulls' season is the poor effort on defense. The Bulls are giving up an average of 98.3 points per game over their first three games.
In their 82-81 home win over New York, the Bulls held the Knicks to 36% shooting from the floor and 37% from the three-point line. In the Bulls' losses to Miami and Philadelphia, they gave up an average of 49.5% from the field and 53.5% from three.
The Bulls turned the ball over 18 times in each of their three games. Turnovers can be attributed to poor concentration or a lack of familiarity with your teammates. If Chicago can take care of the ball and close out on long-range shooters, half the battle is won.
The one positive that Bulls fans can take away from week one of the NBA season is the stellar play of Carlos Boozer. Booz is averaging 22.3 points per game while shooting 65% from the field. A whipping boy for Bulls fans, Boozer has been the rock that Chicago can count on thus far. Bench players Taj Gibson and Kirk Hinrich have been steady as well.
All is not lost in the windy city. There are 79 more regular-season games to go. If Derrick Rose is still averaging five turnovers a game after All-Star break, and Joakim Noah continues to botch wide open dunks, then I would worry. For now, the team just needs time to jell.
"This is a team sport, it's not an individual sport, it's a team sport," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau told Comcast Sportsnet Chicago. "We have a core of guys that have been here for a long time now. So the challenge now becomes how quickly everyone can get on the same page.
"We need everyone. It's not a Derrick issue. This is a team issue. This is a Bulls issue."
Sherron Shabazz is a long-time Bulls follower and a season ticket holder for more than a decade. Sherron is in his fifth season covering the NBA for Examiner.com.
- Sports & Recreation
- Derrick Rose
- Joakim Noah