NBA: Distinguishing The 2014-15 Contenders And Pretenders

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Oct 11, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Chicago Bulls guard

Derrick Rose

(1) drives past Milwaukee Bucks guard

Brandon Knight

(11) in the first quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls– Contenders

One cannot stress enough how important depth is in any sport, even more in the NBA. The more quality players on the team, the better, right? Well, in terms of team depth, the Chicago Bulls have the most in the entire Eastern Conference. The most important commodity for this team is how healthy Derrick Rose will be this season. Can he return to his old MVP self?

Even if Rose doesn’t recur his MVP years, he has more pieces around him than he ever has. The emergence of Joakim Noah has definitely put this team in great position for the future. While Rose has been out with the back-to-back knee injuries, behind Noah, and the defensive genius of head coach Tom Thibodeau, Chicago has still managed to maintain itself on the top of the East. The key additions of Nikola Mirotic, Pau Gasol, and rookie Doug McDermott will help solidify their top spot in the East. All offseason long, I sternly stated that the size of the Bulls will cause problems even for the Cavaliers. Not to mention, their bench also includes potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate Taj Gibson. The depth and size this team posses will be tough match for any team.

PROJECTED STARTERS (with 2013-14 NBA statistics)

PG: Derrick Rose — 15.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists a game
SG: Jimmy Butler — 13.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.9 steals a game
SF: Mike Dunleavy — 11.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists a game
PF: Pau Gasol — 17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 blocks a game
C: Joakim Noah — 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.5 blocks a game