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Wings and losses for Bulls

Joakim Noah Luol Deng

Joakim Noah, Luol Deng

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Updated: July 18, 2014 8:49PM



Coach Tom Thibodeau still has some work to do.

About 19 points per game of work to do.

That’s what was lost when Luol Deng was traded to the Cavaliers last January. And after a flurry of offseason moves in the last month, those points still could be missing when training camp starts in ­October.

“Again, you start with the guys that you do have,’’ Thibodeau said last week in Las Vegas when asked about improving the roster. “Hopefully, we’ll continue to add pieces. The perimeter is something we want to address, and we’ll see what we can do.’’

Pieces were added. Free-agent addition Pau Gasol will take up Carlos Boozer’s spot in the post. Derrick Rose’s return helps, but D.J. Augustin averaged only a point less than Rose did before his right knee injury.

But that outside help Thibodeau was looking for hasn’t arrived.

Obviously, Bulls management knew it was an issue, and that’s why there was such a strong push for Carmelo Anthony. He would’ve been everything Thibodeau needed offensively, giving him not only an outside threat, but a guy who can create his own shot.

In a league in which dominant wing players are almost a necessity, the Bulls have more suspects than options.

A look around the NBA has been a reminder of that.

The Heat lose LeBron James and add Deng. The Wizards lose Trevor Ariza and add Paul Pierce. The Rockets watch Chandler Parsons go to the Mavericks and grab Ariza. The Mavs lose Vince Carter but sign Parsons.

The Bulls?

There’s a reason Thibodeau is going back to Chicago before returning to Vegas next week for Team USA tryouts. Call it getting back to the lab and searching for ways to maximize his roster so that the Bulls aren’t the lowest-scoring team in the league again (93.7 points).

“It’s important for the guys you have to continue to work and prepare for the upcoming season,’’ Thibodeau said. “And then whoever we end up with, we’ll figure out what the strengths and weaknesses of the club are. And we’ll prepare accordingly.’’

The starting five will be Rose, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Gasol and Joakim Noah.

No knock on Dunleavy, 33, because he went beyond expectations (12 points per game as a starter last season), but he would be much more effective coming off the bench, especially at his age.

First-round pick Doug McDermott, 2013 first-rounder Tony Snell and Euro League star Nikola Mirotic will have showcase time in camp, but none can create his own shot.

McDermott and Snell have had great summer leagues, but a warning to the overly optimistic: Marquis Teague had a great summer league last season. He’s with the Nets now.

Thibodeau and his staff are good enough to hide the obvious wing deficiency in the regular season, but the playoffs are the big concern. That’s when the opposition puts your roster under a microscope and attacks any weak spot.

The Bulls had that spot exposed in their first-round exit against the Wizards, and months later, it’s still sitting there for all to see.

NOTE: Tony Snell and Cameron Bairstow scored 18 points each as the Bulls beat the 76ers 79-68 to improve to 4-0 in the NBA Summer League and advance to the quarterfinals Saturday against the Kings. Doug McDermott had 11 points on 3-for-10 shooting.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @suntimes_hoops



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