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Bulls Tip Off 2004-2005 Season Tonight

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 5, 2004 5:40PM

The Bulls open the 2004-2005 season tonight -- also known as year 6 AD (after dynasty).

The Bulls tip off against the New Jersey Nets tonight at the United Center. Starting the opener will be: Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich at guards, Andres Nocioni and Othella Harrington at forward and Tyson Chandler in the middle. Eddie Curry won't be in the lineup because he'll be serving the first of his two game suspension for his part in a fight against Washington during the pre-season. This lineup is likely to be fluid, however. Curry will displace Harrington once his suspension is up, shifting Chandler to forward. And if Gordon's poor pre-season play continues, look for Luol Deng to move into the starting lineup. So any way you look at it, expect two rookies in the starting lineup.

With all these rookies, along with the prep to pros Chandler and Curry, it's no surprise that the Bulls enter the season with the youngest team in the NBA, again.

To help Bulls fans through the season, Red Eye has some tips. But will we need them? Many in the media are refusing to jump on the playoff bandwagon this season, like they did last year and got burned. Everybody was expecting a breakout year from the young club, but instead saw a team slide backward in the win column. So no playoff predictions this year! Seems only Sam Smith is willing to consider a playoff run.

But Chicagoist thinks maybe the media's going to be wrong yet again. We'll go on the record as stating that the Bulls will make the playoffs this season. Yeah, they'll probably be pretty bad. But the Celtics made the playoffs last year with a 36-46 record, and the Eastern Conference will be weak again this year.

General Manager John Paxon has done a nice job of shipping off the lazy and selfish players he inherited and replaced them with gritty, hard working guys. Gone are Jalen Rose, Jamal Crawford and Eddie Robinson. Replacing them are tough, if young, players like Gordon, Deng, Nocioni, and Chris Duhon who play a team-first game. Chandler seems to be healthy this year and Curry lost nearly 40 pounds so hopefully he'll be able to be a force beyond the 1st quarter. Both are in the final year of their contracts, so if they want the big bucks they'll have to earn it...

Chicagoist's fearless predictions for this season: a 37-45 and an 8th seed in the playoffs. Your thought?