2014 Bulls Season Preview: Power Forwards
Finally….the NBA season is upon us. The preseason is winding down and rosters are set. The Bulls’ season officially starts Oct. 29, on the road, against the New York Knicks. Before that game, we will preview the Bulls’ depth at each position.
Last time the weakest position on the Bulls was examined. The Bulls strength is in the front court, where they have the most depth. The Bulls have two players that are capable of starting, and a young player that can take over the starting role for years to come. The Bulls can rebound and defend anyone in the post with these players.
(Photo credit nba.com)
The replacement to Carlos Boozer is a 2-time NBA Champion with the L.A. Lakers. At 34 years old, Gasol is not a player that the Bulls are building around, but he is a key piece to the team. Gasol averages 18.3 points and 9.2 rebounds a game. Those numbers will help the Bulls improve their worst place offense stats from last year. The Bulls are a perfect fit for Gasol, because the Bulls offense is ran at a slower pace than Lakers last year.
Gasol is 7-foot and has the ability control the paint with his sheer size. He will be able deter players driving to the rim. Gasol is also one of the best of the big men passer in the NBA. He can easily attract double teams, and then find the open man on the perimeter for open shots. If Gasol can give the Bulls around 15 points per game, he will be a great contributor in the playoffs.
(Photo credit bigstory.ap.org)
Gibson had his best year of his career, and his reward for that is being a backup on the depth chart. Gibson scored 13 points a game coming off the bench for Carlos Boozer. He earned the trust of Tom Thibodeau, and was on the court the majority of the time at power forward in the fourth quarter.
Gibson is a high quality post defender, but he does struggle against the more physical big men in NBA. At 6-foot-9 225 pounds, Gibson can switch pick and rolls better than Gasol, so his playing time depends on the matchup. Gibson also has improved his offensive game. When he first entered the league, he was only know for being able to dunk, since then he has added a midrange jump shot, and post moves to make his playing time in the fourth quarter justified.
Mirotic will play both forward positions this year. Thibodeau can rotate Mirotic and Gibson at the power forward depending on the other four players on the court. Mirotic will be paired more with Gasol, because Gasol can get him the ball on the perimeter more than Gibson could. Mirotic will struggle to get a lot of playing time at power forward early in the season, so he has to make the best of his opportunities.
At the half of the Bulls vs Knicks game on Oct. 29, the centers will be examined.