Words by Phlip
See, I am on record that the Knicks have all reasons for cause for concern and that the Magic are getting a majorly raw deal with their own situations, but there is a team who has a worse set of issues…
The Chicago Bulls.
That’s right, the Bulls have the issue of the cornerstone of their franchise right now being out with an injury that takes 8-12 months to rehab and even then might not see the player back at 100%, ever. I think that Derrick Rose has the chops to adjust his game (read: learn better court vision, decision making and a more consistent jumper) if he never regains his explosiveness, but those are exercises for the future, and I am here to discuss the season that is directly ahead of us.
That season will include a Bulls team that saw itself signing Nate Robinson, a 5’9” Combo Guard who has often been forced to play Point Guard because he is a 5’9” Combo Guard who never fully developed a Point Guard’s skillset.
That season will include a Bulls team saddled with the contract of an under height Carlos Boozer who is generously listed at 6’9” and plays inconsistently on offense and timidly on defense. For someone sporting a contract that pays him roughly $15million a season, Boozer is playing like a dude who is stealing money, and no one should even feign genuine surprise for it. He allegedly double-crossed a blind man in Cleveland on his way out to Utah, where he got a nice contract for his troubles and failed to deliver anything resembling his pay rate. He then exploited the “Summer of The Decision” and took the Bulls to the bank for money normally reserved for SUPERSTAR players, and he rewards them by turning over zero All-Star appearances and watching ALL of his stats shrinking like they were fresh out of the cold pool. Well, for his pay grade, NOW is the time for Carlos Boozer to carry this team since his contract has made the team virtually unable to trade him for something they could use.
I know the Bulls fared decently well last season when Rose was down, and that had a lot to do with them as a unit buying their coach’s defensive philosophies. The problem, here, is that teams that were on the level below where they were WITH Rose – except, naturally, for the Knicks – have made moves to get better.
In spite of it all last season the Bulls held onto the #1 overall seed for the regular season, embarrassingly losing to Philly notwithstanding, so it is realistic to think that without a healthy Derrick Rose in the fold that they will still make the playoffs in the top of the conference. That is especially the case if Marquis Teague is as good as he was in the NCAA tournament. What they legitimately lack, however, is the (healthy or consistent) star power that is necessary to win big in the playoffs.
I’m not writing the Bulls off as a bad team, as they are VERY well coached, but I am not considering them as any kind of a threat to knocking off the Miami Heat unless something very major happens in this three months between now and the start of the season.