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High hopes

Offseason moves have Bulls observers thinking big

Posted: Monday August 7, 2006 2:37PM; Updated: Monday August 7, 2006 4:11PM
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With a playoff team already in place, Tyrus Thomas should have the luxury of developing at a slower pace than most high picks.
With a playoff team already in place, Tyrus Thomas should have the luxury of developing at a slower pace than most high picks.

Over the last few years we've witnessed a slew of NBA-related weblogs making their way through the dot-com world's many Internet tubes, producing some of the most interesting, insightful and entertaining hoops coverage on the Web. Often fueled by little more than a rudimentary knowledge of Web design and a love for the game, some of these bloggers have changed the way the average fan follows the sport. For the next few weeks we'll talk to some of the scene's best and brightest and eke out an answer or six regarding the teams they cover.

Matt Bernhardt has been documenting the ups and downs of the Chicago Bulls on his Blogabull site since 2003. With Chicago reeling in Ben Wallace for the next four years, and looking to move up in the Eastern Conference, we sent a six-pack of questions his way regarding the team's outlook.

SI.com: After years of either looking forward to potential cap space or having cap space and not being able to do anything significant with it, how does it feel after the Bulls made the biggest splash of the summer?

Bernhardt: It was an impressive statement from Bulls management in going after the best available free agent and actually landing him. During the season, any thoughts of Ben Wallace leaving Detroit were far-fetched, so for the Bulls not only to put forth a competitive offer but to succeed so quickly was pleasantly surprising. It also showed the progress the team has made over the past couple years. In previous summers the money alone (and the infamous greetings at the airport by Benny the Bull) was never enough to land the big fish, and Bulls fans were stuck with the Ron Mercers of the world. But now, having the money and a winning environment made Wallace's decision much easier.

SI.com: Is this team going to average 70 points a game?

Bernhardt: Hey, they averaged almost 98 per game last year. And while they acquired one of the worst offensive players in the league, he's essentially replacing Tyson Chandler, another player where offense goes to die. Depressing free-throw mechanics aside, Wallace will be an upgrade offensively due to the substantially fewer turnovers he commits. Assuming the Bulls' perimeter scorers continue to progress, they'll be adequate offensively, which, coupled with a dominating defense, will enable them to win plenty of games.