Behind enemy lines: Chicago Bulls

Behind enemy lines: Chicago Bulls
August 16, 2014, 10:00 am
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(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

This is a series to look at how the Wizards stack up against their opponents in the East, where they finished 44-38 last season for a No. 5 playoff seed and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in nine years. Today:

Chicago Bulls

2013-14 finish: 48-34, 2nd in Central Division and 4th in the East. Despite home-court advantage, lost opening-round playoff series to Wizards in five games.

Season series vs. Wizards: Lost 2-1 in the regular season, with both defeats coming at United Center and Nene being a dominant force as he posed serious matchup problems for Joakim Noah, league defensive player of the year. In Chicago's only win, Nene was out because of a knee injury.

Key losses: PG D.J. Augustin, PF Carlos Boozer. 

Key additions: SF Doug McDermott, PF Pau Gasol, PF Nikola Miortic. 

Outlook: After missing yet another season, PG Derrick Rose's health will go a long way in determining just how good this team can be. Can the Bulls rise to the No. 1 seed in the East again? They certainly have the talent to do so. McDermott was the most impressive rookie at the Las Vegas summer league and Gasol is an aged All-Star who is definitely past his prime but still a better option than Boozer. Like Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah, Gasol is an excellent passer fromt he  low post. All of this adds up to supplanting the Indiana Pacers in the division and competing with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for the top spot. It's going to be a long season. Losing their leading scorer in Augustin, who came off the bench, won't matter much because he wasn't a long-term solution. 

[RELATED: DeJuan Blair on finding fun, joining Wizards: 'Dream come true']