After a tough weekend of sports for the City of Chicago the Chicago Bulls start their playoffs on Sunday at the UC against the Washington Wizards in the four-five seed matchup in the Eastern Conference. Chicago finished the regular season with a 48-34 record which was good enough to land them home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The matchup for the Bulls appears to be ideal with the Wizards lacking playoff experience on their roster, and on paper it should make for a relatively easy series for the Thibodeau-led Bulls. The Bulls have one of the premier front courts in the NBA as led by Joakim Noah. Along with Noah the Bulls have a good supporting cast in the paint with Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson. The back court is good, but it’s still not as good as it could be if Derrick Rose were running the point and slashing to the basket. DJ Augustin has really solidified the PG position, while also providing a good wingman to Jimmy Butler who’s leading the team in minutes while slowly turning into a pretty good fit for the Bulls.
The Bulls have a very good bench and solid role players led by Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson. The Bulls are definitely led by their team defense which ranked first in the league at 91.8 OPPG. Coach Thibodeau is seen as a defensive guru, and with Noah at the helm his scheme is run to perfection.
On the other side of the baseline there’s the Washington Wizards who’re making their first playoff appearance since 2008 when they lost to Lebron James and the then Cavaliers. In fact, Washington lost in three consecutive years to the Lebron-led Cavs and haven’t won a playoff series since 2005 when they defeated the Bulls 4-2 in the opening round. This year’s Wizards are led by former overall top pick John Wall who averaged 19.3 PPG and 8.8 assists. The Wizards have a pretty dynamic backcourt with the pairing of Bradley Beal and Wall who together led the team in scoring. Beal was a former number-two overall pick from Florida a few years back and is averaging a little over 17PPG.
The big inside presence are Nene Hilario and Marcin Gortat. Gortat started his career in Orlando and is now on his third team. Hilario played the bulk of his career in Denver before joining Washington a few seasons back.
The Wizards finished four games worse than the Bulls at 44-38. Chicago, if they’re planning on making a respectable run into this years playoffs, should quickly dispatch the Wizards based on their up-front star power and their playoff experience.