Bulls

NBA Power Rankings: Breakout stars re-shaping the league

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USA TODAY

NBA Power Rankings: Breakout stars re-shaping the league

As we near the 15 games played mark, the league's top teams (and some of the struggling ones too) are being aided along by new developments in the playing styles' of their talent.

The Bulls have struggled mightliy with a large batch of regulars missing time but have seen tremendous growth from Zach LaVine, as well as rookies Wendell Carter and Chandler Hutchison. 

Over in the West, the Houston Rockets found out that success is not so easy to translate over to the next year. Their defensive efficiency has fallen and their offense has been largely ineffective, and it is no doubt connected to the loss of their defensive-minded wings in Luc Richard Mbah Moute and Trevor Ariza. It is not all on his shoulders, but the Carmelo Anthony experiment seems to be coming to an end just as quickly as it started. 

With the Bucks, Nuggets, Raptors and Sixers—following the massive news of the their Jimmy Butler acquisition—all looking to be real challenegers to the Golden State Warriors, the regular season wins race will be a little more interesting than usual. Home-court advanatge in the NBA Finals could be the difference between taking the Warriors 6+ games or being swept. 

So keep an eye on who is maintaining contol of the NBA's overall No. 1 playoff seed as the Dubs head into a tough three-game road trip in Texas. In this week's NBA Power Rankings, we take also take a look at which player has been on the verge of a breakout season for each team here. 

A letter to Timberwolves fans about Jimmy Butler

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USA TODAY

A letter to Timberwolves fans about Jimmy Butler

Hello Minnesota Timberwolves Fans, 

It's us, the Bulls Fans. We don’t know how to say this... we just hope you’re doing okay. We know this weekend was bitter for some of you and maybe sweet for others...if only there was a word to capture that feeling! Us Bulls fans hope you know that we love you and we’re here for you. “Why?” You might ask….

We have been burned by Jimmy Butler before. 

While it seems like a thousand forevers, the wounds just started to heal. We thought Butler was our guy. A superstar. The ONE. We had so much hope. But hope is the liquor of fools.  

We thought we had a good thing going but then things just were off. You know? It started quiet, little rumblings here and there about how Butler “wasn’t happy with his situation” and “wanted to play for a contender” then all of sudden, on one desperately humid night last June: BOOM! He was gone. Out the door. We were his past. Sure, we got Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and Lauri Markkanen but it hurt. It hurt bad.

But Minnesota, you will get through this. Trust. Us. In a weird way, you will be better off without Butler. Maybe not better as in more wins per se but better as in healthier, happier. Our advice is to practice self-care; drink water, exercise, listen to Prince while power walking the Mall of America or whatever you do in Minnesota. DO NOT fav that inevitable tweet where reports say he screamed at Markelle Fultz for not knowing a Kendrick Lamar song because it won’t feel good. You’re going to want to dissect the last 17 months... wondering if YOU did anything wrong. Don’t. It’s not you. It’s him. In every “Who done it?” in literature, one thing is certain: the Butler ALWAYS does it. 

Look, Butler is like that guy you thought was your boyfriend even though he never put any pictures of you on Instagram and gave you his burner cell phone number. Don’t mourn him because he isn’t mourning us... I mean you. This is about you. 

We are here if you need anything. Think about how good KAT is going to be now. Think about how wonderful DROSE has been playing for you. Do not think about how good you would’ve been if LaVine, Dunn, and Markkanen were still on your team. You WILL get through THIS!

Love Always, 

Bulls Fans

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