Rather than repeat myself, I’ll just leave it at this: the Chicago Bulls have what it takes to win a championship this year. There are a handful of other teams who are also worthy and talented enough to win the coveted prize, but the Bulls have truly taken the basic and proper steps to doing so.
While there is no written rule book on what it takes to become a champion, there are definitely some moves/steps that organizations make that can have a positive or negative effect on its team. Here are a few things to know from these past few years:
1. The Bulls hire Tom Thibodeau as the head coach in 2010 before the start of the 2010-2011 season. Known for his defensive tactics, the Bulls end up being #1 in team defense in the NBA, and they lead the league in wins with 62 for the season. Furthermore, their up-and-coming superstar Derrick Rose becomes the youngest player ever to receive the MVP award.
Result: lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat.
2. In the 2011-2012 season, the Bulls ride their momentum from the previous year with much of the same effort and success. They lead the NBA again in wins, but unfortunately they lose Rose to injury in the first game of the playoffs. The Bulls aren’t able to recover, leaving many fans wondering what’s to come.
Result: lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Philadelphia 76ers.
3. The following year, despite not having Rose for what looked like could be most of the season (which turned out to be the whole season), they proved they had a solid core of guys in 2-time All Star Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah (named an All-Star for his first time), Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler. The Bulls continued to work hard defensively, continuing to be one of the toughest teams to play on any given night, and they never gave up. As they entered the 2nd round of the playoffs, some people thought that Rose should have come back to play, but he didn’t. He wasn’t ready.
Result: lost in the Eastern Conference semi-finals to the Miami Heat.
4. Getting ready for the 2013-2014 season with a fully recovered and rejuvenated Derrick Rose, the Bulls sign veteran shooter Mike Dunleavy, adding a much-needed scoring threat to their backcourt. They also pick up Tony Snell in the first round of the NBA draft, a rookie who plays solid defense and has a nice jumpshot who will most likely see some quality minutes this season.
Result: won every single preseason game, going 8-0 in the process.
Here are some interesting quotes regarding Rose and the rest of the team:
“I’m happy and thrilled that he’s back.” – LeBron James
“The game needs him…..You never want to see anyone get hurt, especially a player of D-Rose’s caliber. Just because I’m a competitor doesn’t mean I don’t understand the importance of Derrick Rose to basketball.” – Dwayne Wade
“We don’t like them, they don’t like us,” James said of the Bulls. “It’s not unheard of. We all know how it is.”
“It feels good when them type of players say good stuff about you….But I can’t get caught up into that. I’m just worrying about what’s going on with the Chicago Bulls.” – Derrick Rose
Whether players from other teams like the Bulls or not, it doesn’t matter. All that really means is that they’ve earned respect. But that’s not going to stop anyone from trying to beat them. While they lack the type of target on their backs that usually comes with winning a championship (or in Miami’s case this year, the past 2), the Bulls are clearly regarded as a team to beat, and a team to be reckoned with.
The Chicago Bulls open up their season in a few hours to face the Miami Heat, tonight @ 8pm on TNT.