Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

December 12, 2009

On tap: Bulls-Celtics

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bradford Doolittle @ 7:03 pm

After 12 years of living in a non-NBA town, returning to Chicago has been awesome. During my dozen-year stint in Kansas City, I was lucky if I saw one NBA game live in a season. Once, I think, I saw two. This season, I’ve already been to five. However, the last of those came nearly a month ago, when I was on hand to see the Bulls edge the 76ers on Nov. 14. Since then, I’ve been derailed by Chicago’s “Circus Trip”, a holiday vacation of my own and a prolonged bout with a couple of seasonal illnesses.
Things have changed since I’ve turned out to the area, in a big way. The Bulls dropped nine of 10 before beating Golden State last night in an ugly game. Meanwhile, the Sixers beat Charlotte after leaving Chicago but have since lost 12 straight. When I last put in some face time at the United Center, Philadelphia and Chicago were a combined 9-10. No great shakes, to be sure, but that sounds pretty good compared to the three wins and 21 losses those teams have managed in the last four weeks.

Despite the horrid stretch, the Bulls are only one game behind the Bobcats for eighth in the de facto East playoff pecking order so it’s way to early to be writing off the current season. My preseason projection of 45 wins might prove to be overly optimistic for Chicago, but I feel confident in stating that the Bulls are better than the 31 wins they are currently on pace to win. (Not to mention the 20 wins their point differential suggests they’ll finish with.)

For Chicago to prove me right, embattled head coach Vinny Del Negro must solve the myriad offensive problems that have limited the Bulls to a 101.1 Offensive Rating, better than only two other teams in the NBA. The rumor mill has been churning out Del Negro speculation at a lightning rate the last couple of days. Last night’s overtime win over the Warriors probably did little to boost Del Negro’s job security, as the Bulls managed just 96 points in 53 minutes in a fast-paced game against the league’s 25th ranked defense. Locally, indications seem to be that Del Negro will get a chance to right hte shipi.

I’ll be delving into the Bulls’ offensive woes tonight for an upcoming Basketball Prospectus piece, so watch for that. Meanwhile, join me at Twitter for some real-time reax to tonight’s tilt.

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