2010-11 Record: 62-20 (best in the NBA, thanks to relentless effort on defense every night)
Head Coach: Tom Thibodeau (you can thank him for the defense)
Key Departures: Rasual Butler, Kurt Thomas
Key Additions: Richard Hamilton — a big upgrade at the two.
Best case scenario (that does not involve a highly unlikely Dwight Howard trade): The Bulls continue to be the league’s best defensive team and the deepest team in the league, Derrick Rose builds on his MVP award by taking his game to yet another level, and Richard Hamilton helps take some of the scoring load off of Derrick Rose. The team once again gets the team’s best regular-season record, makes some crucial offensive adjustments in the playoffs, and brings the NBA title back to Chicago for the first time since Michael Jordan left.
More likely scenario: The Bulls have another great regular season thanks to their depth and Derrick Rose being incredible, but disappoint in the playoffs by losing an instant classic of a series to either the Heat or the Celtics because of Rose’s difficulty scoring when he can’t get to the basket at will and the Bulls’ lack of a true #2 or #3 option to take some pressure off of Rose. (Until proven otherwise in a key playoff series, Carlos Boozer does not count.)
Prediction: 46-50 wins and a deep playoff run.