It was an okay performance by the Chicago Bulls in the preseason. The team went 4-4, and they concluded the preseason with a win over the Dallas Mavericks.
That game was key for the Bulls as it signaled the return of Derrick Rose. The point guard only played for 10 minutes, as he is coming back from an orbital surgery, but he showed flashes of the speed we saw last year and he looked comfortable in Fred Hoiberg's offense.
Like last year, Derrick Rose will be the X-Factor for the Bulls offense. His role has changed drastically compared to years prior. He doesn't need to take the majority of Chicago's shots, and he doesn't need to be the top scorer for the Bulls every night. It will take a while for him to adjust, as he might not be getting all the attention on offense like he used to. But he will be available for opening night, and it will be a huge boost for the Bulls.
The key matchup for the Bulls against the Cleveland Cavaliers will be the frontcourt.
Like in years prior, Chicago's frontcourt is extremely deep, as they have the likes of Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and Pau Gasol defending the paint. Although Noah and Gasol would be the assumed starters, don't be surprised if Hoiberg chooses to start Mirotic over Noah.
Mirotic played well in the preseason and showed signs of improvement from last year. He has played well with Gasol in the preseason, and it could be a duo that Hoiberg could use against Cleveland.
Having Noah coming off the bench wouldn't be the worst thing for Chicago. It would improve their bench depth and Noah would still be the emotional leader for Chicago.
But if there is one thing to worry about for Chicago, it will be their defense, especially against a LeBron James led team. Under Tom Thibodeau, Chicago couldn't score but they were the best defensive team in the NBA. Their defense kept them in games they were not suppose to be in.
But this year, it's the complete opposite. The Bulls under Hoiberg have shown a drastic improvement on offense but the defense has regressed compared to last year. It will be something to look forward to.
It will be the start of a new era for the Bulls. Thibodeau took this team as far as he could take them. He made them a great team that played exceptional on defense and worked hard every night. Injuries and the lack of a consistent offense was the biggest problems with Thibs. Now it's up to Fred Hoiberg to lead Chicago. He will bring an offensive change to the Bulls, but the defense might not be as good as it used to be.