Stacey King: Bulls, not LeBron's Cavs, are East favorites

Stacey King: Bulls, not LeBron's Cavs, are East favorites
July 21, 2014, 10:30 pm
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CSN Staff

Stacey King's pick is in, and for now he's got the Bulls as his favorites in the Eastern Conference.

Though they didn't make the biggest splash in free agency this summer, a team that won 48 games without its starting point guard that brought in players that filled its biggest weakness (shooting) is cause for optimism, regardless of what the rest of the conference did.

"The Bulls are going to be good. In my opinion they've got to be the favorite in the Eastern Conference, even with LeBron going back to Cleveland," he told CSN. "I think the Bulls are deeper, I think the Bulls are better, Pau Gasol gives them something they haven't had in a few years: a good, low-post scorer that requires a double-team which will open up for the shooters and the Bulls have a lot of shooters now."

That shooting King is referring to includes first-round draft pick Doug McDermott and 2013 first-rounder Tony Snell, who both lit up the Las Vegas Summer League last week. Snell played in all five games and averaged a team-high 20.0 points per game on 50 percent shooting from beyond the arc (17-for-34) and added 4.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 30 minutes per game. McDermott was just as impressive, averaging 18.0 points on 44 percent shooting from deep and hitting 22 of 23 free throws. Both players were named to the All-Summer League first team.

[MORE: Bulls officially sign Hinrich, second-rounder Bairstow]

Beyond Gasol, McDermott and Nikola Mirotic, the Bulls are also hoping to get back the old Derrick Rose.

"Getting Derrick Rose back is very important, getting him healthy -- Derrick Rose coming back this year is like having LeBron going back to Cleveland," King said. "He's coming back to Chicago, we haven't seen him in a while. Him being healthy elevates the Bulls to a different level."

Do you agree with Stacey? Are the Bulls the favorites in the East? Or does that title belong to one of the Cavs, Pacers or Wizards?