By: Shawn Davis
In a season where many picked the Celtics or Heat to earn the conference’s top seed, the gritty club from the Windy City threw a wrench into those forecasts. Derrick Rose emerged as the MVP and coach Thibodeau earned Coach of the Year honors while establishing legitimacy to a franchise that has been struggling for an identity since the Jordan/Jackson/Pippen era. It was great to watch!
They got past the Pacers in the opening round of the postseason and then beat a helter-skelter (offensively) Atlanta Hawks squad. Currently, they have begun their vacation, early, as that’s a small surprise because I had a feeling the Eastern Conference finals were going seven games. It was a good thought!
NBA Focus: Chicago Bulls
The identity of this team is defense, first and foremost! Which begs the question: Why did they sign Boozer? Ha! Well his deficiencies are glaring but Noah is so good at covering ground that it’s something the team can live with. Also, having Gibson come off the bench to add more size and defense is a luxury that many teams envy, I’m sure. Acquiring Boozer was about getting his scoring and rebounding to fill an offensive hole that they’ve needed at power forward for a long time.
He is supposed to shoulder some of the offensive load but came into the season hurt and never got himself on track. The “Derrick Rose Clear It Out Offense” isn’t supposed to be their main focus to attack teams when they need buckets. Boozer is supposed to remedy that by being the force he’s been since earning his reputation as a top player while a member of the Utah Jazz. He’s been better in the playoffs but he looks uncertain of his role on the court, at times.
Noah is an irritant and the defensive jackal they drafted him to be, Deng is the do-it-all small forward that can take over stretches of a game on both ends and Watson is a good change of pace when Rose needs to sit. Omer Asik is a young, talented center who protects the rim and brings legitimate size for the second unit. Kyle Korver and Keith Bogans combine to form the shooting guard spot on the team but they are specialists, at best. Bogans is good defender but doesn’t provide much offense and Korver is the long range bomber that is a liability defensively.
Derrick Rose? Well he’s the MVP so they are good there.
The only hole on their team is at the 2 spot…that’s all! If they can get a shooting guard that can create his own shot, space the floor and defend (of course or he won’t see the floor) then they cover the one weakness that they have. All too often during the season, we’ve seen Rose carry the entire team – and as impressive as he’s been some of the offensive load needs to handled among his running mates. If the front office adds a good piece to solidify the backcourt, this roster – which is already good – goes to another level. Let’s not forget that they were in the Eastern Conference finals…and we all watched. As one of the complete teams in the league, they are structured to compete now and well into the future.
Editor’s note: At the time of this posting, the Bulls were beaten in five games and Miami leads the NBA Finals over the Mavericks, 1-0. They were exposed by a clearly better team, and with the spotlight on them, flaws were abundant. They NEED a second scorer because if LeBron continues to defend Rose as tight as a superhero costume…they are toast. That’s an issue because these teams will be battling for a long time for Eastern Conference supremacy.