Feature photo by hinnosaar
Ah, a new basketball season is upon us. The time of year is here where everyone is undefeated. Everyone thinks they have a shot at a championship, or at least a shot at the playoffs. Fans across the nation have either forgiven their team for last year’s disappointment or they are still celebrating in the streets of Los Angeles, looking for a Lakers dynasty to continue. The general managers have signed their free agents, traded for superstars in some cases. In the case of our Chicago Bulls, we’ve added necessary pieces to a solid nucleus of young talent. While many have already crowned King James, (Chicago’s own) DWade and the Miami Heat automatic champion and eventual runners-up to Kobe and Company of the Eastern Conference, this die hard Bulls fan is going out on a limb and predicting that the Bulls will represent the East come June in the NBA Finals.
New coach or not, the Bulls have the talent to put an end to the title drought left by the departure of that Jordan guy back in the ‘90s. Tom Thibodeau is more than just another first time head coach. Before accepting the Bulls’ job, he was heavily involved as (another Chicago product) Doc Rivers’ assistant coach for the Boston Celtics who won a championship and played in another. Sure, there may have been more established coaches available, but this is the right fit. Tom Thibodeau is ready to take the Bulls to the next level.
As for the roster, the talent is clearly there. Derrick Rose might be the best all-around point guard in the entire NBA. Joakim Noah will develop into a top five rebounder and shot blocker in the NBA. Carlos Boozer has not only the best last name in the NBA but career statistics we haven’t seen in Chicago for some time. He will prove to be the most underrated, un-talked about free agent signings of the offseason. Chicago basketball fans will fall in love with Carlos Boozer, that is, once he returns from a questionable wrist injury that will sideline him for the first couple months of the season. He completes a formidable front line with Noah and wild card, once upon a time emerging star forward Luol Deng. If, and it’s become a big if, Deng can return to the form in which he led the Bulls to a sweep of defending champion Miami Heat, the Bulls would actually look good on signing Deng to his multi-year, multi-million dollar contract. Deng is such a great humanitarian that it’s difficult to hate on him, but if he could apply half the effort to the hardwood as he does to saving Sudan and the rest of the world, the Bulls will be in good shape.
As for the rest of the roster, the Bulls did a nice job in the offseason of filling holes that needed filling. They deepened their bench with two more Utah Jazz castaways Ronnie Brewer and Ashton Kutcher, I mean Kyle Korver. Second year forward Taj Gibson is the steal of his draft class. He reminds me alot of a young Dennis Rodman without all the eccentricities. Omer Asik out of Turkey will eat up some fouls and minutes when we have to play teams with dominant centers. Dwight Howard and Orlando, I’m looking in your direction. After this 7-8 man rotation, the team will see limited action, unless the Bulls decide to live up to potential and start blowing teams out by 20-30 points a night. Is that laughter I hear? C’mon, it could happen.
What’s been the Bulls problem the last few years? Inexperience and dependency on, “Well we’re still very young and overachieving.” The Bulls are finally finding their niche, and their success rests on our very own hometown hero, Simeon product Derrick Rose. Derrick Rose is a born winner, a born leader. Players like him only come along once in a generation. Players like Derrick Rose make everyone around them better. If that proves to be true, and he can elevate the games of his supporting cast, then we may just be popping champagne, lighting fireworks and cigars, tipping over cars and celebrating another Bulls dynasty up and down Cermak Road after all. Well, we’re undefeated right now, aren’t we?