Beyond watching the progression of Derrick Rose, several other story lines for the Bulls should emerge this season:
How about an All Star player this year?
It's been NINE years since a Chicago Bull played in an NBA All-Star game. That player was Michael Jordan. That stat alone should tell you how the team's been doing for the last decade.
Will Paxson finally make the "package of youth" for a proven All-Star trade?
The Bulls need to clear up the logjam in the backcourt and find a legitimate All-Star. If one doesn't emerge from within the roster, then it's time to go find one. The annual assemblage of youth through the draft cannot continue.
Will a consistent starting lineup emerge?
Due to Larry Hughes' injury and the lack of a true center, the lineups may be juggled nightly depending upon the matchups. Aaron Gray fills up the middle, but he fits VDN's offensive philosophy as well as Shaq works in Phoenix. Tyrus Thomas could average a double-double if he starts at power forward. But this would require moving Drew Gooden to the center position, where his size and propensity for 18-foot jumpers is less than ideal.
Can Vinnie Del Negro coach?
He's surrounded by experienced assistants, but is he going to be the one with the clipboard, diagramming X's and O's during the timeouts? During the preseason games, VDN could often be seen conferring with Del Harris on the sidelines. Harris is a good guy, but he couldn't win with teams absolutely loaded in talent in the Lakers and Mavs. So VDN better bring some creativity.
Will Luol Deng be exposed as overrated and overpaid?
When you sign a 6-year contract with over $70 million in guaranteed salary, that makes you the franchise CORNERSTONE. As it stands today, Deng would be the 4th option in crunch time after Rose, Gordon, and Gooden. Deng brings hustle and an all-round game, but he's going to have to step it up several notches this season.
Will Nocioni find himself?
Insane passion and maddening inconsistency have followed Noce since he joined the Bulls. With better shot selection and foul control, he could easily become the a hustling fan favorite and off-the-bench energizer this team needs.
Who is going to be the enforcer for Derrick Rose?
Charles Oakely always had MJ's back. Nocioni has the inside track, as his retaliation foul on Milwaukee's Richard Jefferson in the last preseason game had both teams ready to rumble.
How tolerable will Neil Funk and Stacey King be calling Bulls games on Comcast?
Why split up the legitimate chemistry of Funk and Bill Wennington broadcasting on the radio? Sure, Johnny "Red" Kerr may have wanted/needed a dimished role and Tom Dore was unbearable to hear, but Stacey King isn't that much of an improvement. King is a comedic legend in his own mind, and hearing him crack "jokes" and bust on "old" Red and Neil is mindblowingly pathetic.
What other forms of stadium entertainment do the t-shirt launching genuises in Bulls marketing department have in store for us this season?
May I suggest something involving Korean acrobats and a teeter totter?