By now we know them by first names or nicknames: Taj, Rip, Lu, Booze, C.J., Omer, Kyle, Brew and even Scal. We know, as well as they do, that every one of them plays in Chicago based on their ability to complement a team built around Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. We know their strengths and weaknesses, their respective values to the Bulls according to the salary cap and stat sheet.
We know them better than fans know supporting casts in most NBA cities because, with the exception of Richard Hamilton, all the key guys just completed their second season in our midst and our living rooms.
The Bulls made a conscious decision to bring essentially the same group back because familiarity represented the safest, smartest way to achieve the only goal that mattered: Beat the Heat. The goal of getting to the NBA Finals drove every Bulls personnel and payroll decision the last several offseasons.