BasketballBoards Fat Cat
ESPN.com just put up a column featuring the Bulls in their tour around NBA training camps. It's a nice, well-balanced article by David Aldridge. It's got some old quotes, but some new as well. Some points of interest:
"So," Bill Cartwright says as he walks over to you, "how many wins you got us down for? Sixty? Sixty-one?"
We would be less than honest if we'd put half that many Ws in Chicagoland's column this season. For, although the Bulls finally have some stability after three years of disappointments and turnover, they're still years away from competing in the Eastern Conference. But at least with Cartwright firmly in charge, the Bulls have a head coach that players respect and that has a plan.
The Bulls should have stability this season. They likely won't fire their coach or make a midseason deal this year that changes half the roster. And for the first time since the end of the Jordan Era, just about all of the players in Chicago's camp actually want to be there. Jay Williams embraced going to the Bulls instead of trying to force a trade before the draft. Donyell Marshall took less money to play here than stay with the Jazz. And even those who would rather be competing for a title somewhere like Jalen Rose understand that they have a role to play, and are willing to play it.
Aldridge didn't make a straight-up prediction... but his opening lines indicate he thinks the Bulls will struggle to hit 30 wins. I guess I just have a little more optimism than him."We don't have a guy out here that's going to get 10 free throws a game," Cartwright said. "We're not developed yet, so we don't have a Karl Malone or an Allen Iverson. Whatever we get, we're going to have to earn ... we're going to guard somebody this year. That's our focus in this camp. We're going to be the Chicago Bulls. When you think of the Chicago Bulls, what do you think of? You think of a tough, hard-nosed basketball team. We're not going to complain to the officials and cry about calls. We're going to be the team that gets up, pressures, dives on the floor and plays tough basketball."