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NBA Executives predict the Bulls-Cavs series

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NBA Executives predict the Bulls-Cavs series

Several NBA scouts and executives were asked their opinions of the Bulls-Cavs series, who they thought would win and what would be the difference. CSNChicago.com granted them anonymity to ensure the most genuine observations. Of course, it came out a dead heat among the six front office personnel, with different reasons for all.

Eastern Conference executive: Cavs in 6

If you’d asked me prior to suspensions and history, I might’ve picked Bulls. Watched Bulls and Milwaukee, I think everybody knows everything isn’t clicking for the Bulls. I don’t think they can do it consistently. I’m a Derrick Rose man, but I think it’ll be too hard for him to be consistent. Missed too much time. Game 3, then struggled in 4 and 5, that’s just the reality. You can’t miss the reality. The extra couple games in that series could help them. In the playoffs, you gotta be able to adjust. I’m not sold (Tom) Thibodeau brings you any advantage from that standpoint, although he’s a better option than David Blatt. LeBron (James), Kyrie (Irving) and Tristan Thompson will be huge. Kevin Love, they can win without him, they won with him out in the fourth quarters and through the season when he missed time.

[MORE BULLS: Jimmy Butler faced with task of slowing down LeBron James]

Eastern Conference scout: Bulls in 6

In short, the difference will be Bulls winning Game 1 with Cleveland's long layoff, J.R. Smith out, and Kevin Love injured. The Bulls at full strength have the best 8-9 man squad in the NBA. Bulls at their best is better than (Cavs) at their best. They have been waiting for this moment for four years. Cleveland not having that stretch big is vital. They will shore up Tristan Thompson's offensive rebounding. Bulls will be revved up for every game, unlike in Round 1.

Eastern Conference executive: Cavs in 6

Can Rose be consistent enough offensively especially when he is going to have to expend so much energy guarding Kyrie? Obviously stopping LeBron is an issue. Interesting development is how Cleveland manages to create space on floor without Love. I think you see a lot of small ball with LeBron at the 4 and Chicago will have to counter that by beating Cleveland up on the glass. Going to be interesting.

Eastern Conference scout: Bulls in 6

No Love for the whole series and no Smith for first two games going to be too much for even LeBron to overcome I think. Would have said seven but if it does go back to Cleveland for a Game 7 LeBron won't let his team lose that.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Western Conference executive: Cavs in 6

They have the two best players and I think J.R. Smith will play well once he gets back.

Western Conference executive: Bulls in 6

Bench depth. (Asked about Rose) I think he and Kyrie cancel each other out.

CSNChicago.com Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill: Cavs in 6

As tempting as it is to claim otherwise, it's hard to imagine the Bulls winning two games in Cleveland this series, which in all likelihood they'd have to do. They'll steal one of the first two (a must) then give one away back at home. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are the two best players in this series and conventional reasoning says you take the team with those two. Derrick Rose will have his moments, but it's tough to expect the Bulls to play consistently for an extended stretch when they've been chasing that all season. Hard to predict the Bulls being great at what they're "good" at, which it will take to overtake not having James or Irving. No magic button.

Coby White focused on development, winning for Bulls, not All-Star weekend

Coby White focused on development, winning for Bulls, not All-Star weekend

On Friday, Coby White will find out if he makes the Rising Stars Challenge as part of All-Star weekend in Chicago.

“It would mean a lot,” White said Tuesday. “Hopefully, I’ll be one of the ones selected. But like I always say, if not, it's not the end of the world for me. I won't let it define who I am. But to represent Chicago in Chicago for All-Star weekend, it would be a big deal for me. It would be a blessing for sure.”

White said he hasn’t spoken to Lauri Markkanen or Kris Dunn about the experience, which pits prominent first- and second-year players in a Team USA vs. Team World format. Both of those Bulls have played in the contest, which is scheduled for Feb. 14.

“We’re just trying to focus on winning right now,” White said.

White has produced several memorable scoring binges this season, although the Bulls drafted him with the No. 7 pick in last June’s draft to eventually play a lead guard role. Coach Jim Boylen said White’s decision-making is “developing,” which is typical for young players.

“I’ve seen some terrific improvement from Coby in his decision-making, his ability to get us organized,” Boylen said. “We all know that he knows he has room to grow there. But he has focused on it, he’s been pounding the film. He watches the film with the assistant coaches and then he watches film with me before every game. We have about a 20-minute spot on game day that him and I sit and watch film, talk about situations.’’

Bulls' Jim Boylen on Victor Oladipo's return: 'It's good for the league'

Bulls' Jim Boylen on Victor Oladipo's return: 'It's good for the league'

One year and six days after rupturing his right quad tendon, Victor Oladipo is scheduled to make his return Wednesday against the Bulls.

The Pacers All-Star guard was averaging 18.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists when he went down.

“I'm very happy for him. He's a terrific kid, a terrific guy. That injury he had was a really tough one. I'm sure he's worked as hard as anybody, from what I know of him,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. “As I've said before, injuries in this league are heartbreaking. But he's a competitive guy and it's good for the league that he's back.”

The Pacers not only surprisingly weathered the storm of losing Oladipo to win 48 games and qualify for last season’s playoffs, they currently sit fifth in the Eastern Conference at 30-17.

The Bulls, who are vying for their first three-game win streak of the season, are two games out of the playoffs as they begin a three-game trip.

“We had a moment in Orlando where we were playing a team that was close to us in the standings, that we were trying to catch, and we fell short in that moment,” Boylen said of a Dec. 23 road loss. “Now we're going to be in another situation where, first we've got a division opponent, then we have a team that we're chasing in the standings. So we'll see how we handle those situations.

“The beauty of this is we have a young group that's going to play some meaningful game. That's what we hoped for, that's the situation we're in and we'll see how we handle it. I expect this group to play hard and play together and we'll see what happens.” 

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