Re-Bull’t and Better than Ever

“We can rebuild him. We have the technology.”

Oscar Goldman, The 6 Million Dollar Man

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With Derrick Rose’s health issues and his role on the team in question, it was time for the Bulls to make a change – a big change: Rose was traded to New York, and in another interesting twist, the Knicks also managed to get Joakim Noah to leave the Windy City for the Big Apple.

In the end, one of Chicago’s finest returned, just in time to remind Chicago how great Dwayne Wade still is.  This post-season, with Chris Bosh out indefinitely, Wade racked up 21.4 points a game, 5.6 rebounds and 4.3 assist per playoff game.  He also solidified himself in NBA Playoffs history as the best shot blocking guard the league has ever seen.

Now, let’s go back down memory lane – back to the Anderson Varejao dunk, back before the times in Miami when Wade helped break the Pacers’ hearts when ‘Bron needed him to get it done.  When the Miami Heat were Public Enemies #1-#15, and you couldn’t stop D-Wade – you just hoped he would disappear.

Back to all of his amazing plays throughout the years.

A couple of months ago, when the 2016 NBA Playoffs kicked off, Dwyane Wade’s seek and destroy mentality was apparent against his foes, and was a joy to watch:

He had his health, and Miami’s fortunes looked promising for his last few seasons and one last final chapter.

After 13 years and 3 championships, those memories were not enough to keep The Flash in Miami.

The Heat’s initial offer of $10 million was not substantial enough for his talents, insulting D-Wade into leaving Miami for the Windy City.

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Jimmy Butler is the new face of the Chicago Bulls, and with next year’s revamped Bulls, Chicago is hoping that next year will be the season which propels him into the superstardom.  In contrast to the Bulls’ often injured former franchise player, Butler averaged 36.9 minutes per game, and averaged 20.9 points per game, 4.8 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game.  Butler has the opportunity to learn from one of the best shooting guards in NBA history how to be a leader, and how to get a bucket when the team is in need.  No one knows the ins and outs of being a team leader than Dwayne Wade.

Both Wade and Rondo consistently facilitated their teams’ offenses, which will lead to growth in Butler’s 45.4% shooting percentage last year and/or a rise in the amount of points he scores.  Expect passes to Dwayne Wade and an increase in his court vision and assist percentage.

Jimmy Butler’s transition into the leader/face of the Bulls is complete with the addition of an older Marquette great in Dwyane Wade. While showing Jimmy the proverbial ropes, D-Wade helps him learn to carry the scoring load from a similar player who has had an extremely successful career:

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Dwyane Wade brings a championship pedigree to the Bulls and his stellar career averages: 4.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.9 block and of course his 23.7 points per game – and he’s not coming alone.

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The Chicago Bulls also signed the crafty veteran point guard in free-agency.  With the addition of Rondo and his 11.7 assist, 6.0 rebounds, 11.9 points, and 2.0 steals, averaged last year with the Sacramento Kings, the Bulls replaced Derrick Rose with a traditional point guard and provided a way to get Jimmy Butler, the newly acquired Dwyane Wade, and the rest of the Bulls, easier points. His ability to help others on the court through his excellent basketball I.Q. which allows him to run an offense with very little assistance from his team’s head coach.

It’s well documented that Rondo can’t shoot a jump shot:

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Still – he has never in his career averaged more than 12 shots a game; it’s his 11.7 assist per game last year with Sacramento that will help Jimmy Butler – and everyone else on the Bulls – score more efficiently that prompted the Bulls to acquire Rondo.

After a year of Rose and Butler arguments over which player is first in the Bulls’ pecking order, Chicago was ready for a new point guard – one that wasn’t trying to get back on the right track after suffering through an identity crisis.  Meanwhile, the talented Jimmy butler developed into the Bulls’ next superstar through it all.  In Rondo, the Bulls now have capable floor general with little interest in scoring as long as other capable scorers are on the floor with him.  In Boston, he played alongside 3 three Hall of Fame talents in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen, all of which needed a facilitator to be effective – that was Rondo.

Along with the ability to distribute the ball to teammates on the offensive end, he has a reputation for intelligent and aggressive defense.  Last year, Rondo figured out Atlanta’s inbound play call before it even started, and shutted it down by directing his teammates into position:

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While in Sacramento, Rondo averaged 2.0 steals a game against elite point guards the likes of Kyrie Irving, John Wall and Isaiah Thomas.  With Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade playing alongside him, all Rondo needs to do is play shut down defense and distribute the ball.

Defense will once again define Chi Town basketball: Jimmy Butler averaged 1.6 steals per game and was a lock-down defender, Dwyane Wade logged 1.1 blocks along with his own 1.6 steals, and Rondo averaged 2.0 steals per game.  The East is packed with elite perimeter play, and the Bulls are ready for it.

Last year, the Bulls shared the Central Division with three playoff teams: Cleveland, Detroit, and Indiana. The revamped Bulls join this mix in competing for Eastern Conference Playoff spots, and yes, the Bulls will compete.  The Cavaliers are the champs, the Knicks had a rebuild of their own, the Celtics added Al Horford and lottery pick Jaylen Brown, the Raptors managed to keep their All-Star back court, and the Hawks brought Dwight Howard back home to Atlanta.  

Now, with the additions of Rondo and Wade, the Bulls are back in action.

By Russell Johnson