By Joshua M. Hicks
The Chicago Bulls are heading into the All-Star break, sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference. They have the top ranking in opponent’s field goal percentage, holding teams down to shooting 42 percent per game as early February, according to ESPN.
Roosevelt junior Dominic Dixon, former men’s basketball player, says he is proud of the Bulls’ progress so far this season, but still has concerns with the current Bulls roster.
“The Bulls have made great strides this year, but with injuries to some key players, they look to be falling into the same path as last year,” Dixon said. “Some newcomers have produced great numbers, but it won’t be enough to get past certain top teams in the East. [Rose] is also exceeding my expectations, since he has been relatively healthy so far.”
Former men’s basketball player and senior, Aaron Valerio, agrees with Dixon, and believes the future of the Bulls looks promising.
“I think the Bulls’ progress is promising considering the new coaching change,” Valerio said. “I’m hoping they peak at the end of the season and continue to beat top teams in the East.”
According to ESPN, guard Jimmy Butler is leading the charge with 22 points per game. However, the Bulls are struggling offensively, ranking 26th in field goal percentage.
Dixon suggests that the team is not utilizing their big men enough within their offense and that can be the difference to their offensive productivity.
“When everyone is back healthy, the Bulls need to pay more attention to the productivity of Noah and the big men,” Dixon said. “Running the offense through the big men will open up for the guards and relieve some of the pressure on Butler and Rose to produce more effectively.”
Valerio believes that in order to succeed, the Bulls need to push the tempo in the transition game.
“I think that they need to push the ball up the court more and wear down their opponents by playing an up-tempo game,” Valerio said. “Rose gives a glimpse of what it would look like but they need to raise the tempo of the game.”
The Bulls have struggled against sub-par or below average teams, but have excelled against the elite teams in the league. Despite their unpredictability and inconsistency, Valerio believes the Bulls will be effective come playoff time.
“I think the Bulls will be very successful, but at the end of the day they are in the East so no matter how successful they are, they are still not getting past LeBron,” Valerio said.