I rarely write about non-Jewish sports related stories but I occasionally I will chime in. So today is my take on the Chicago Bulls season and future.
First, let me begin by saying it was an amazing season. Bulls fans should be very proud. Awards aside, they were the best team in the regular season. In an offseason where it was the Lebron James show, the Bulls who didn’t land their #1 guy, did a great job building around their best player and escalating him to elite MVP status. Carlos Boozer finally gave the Bulls the inside scoring they have needed since Elton Brand left. Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, and CJ Watson gave them arguably the deepest bench in the league. Also, Luol Deng proved that he is a solid player in the NBA who can score and shoot it from the outside. Joakim Noah and Deng got noticeably stronger. So Chicago fans should hold their heads up high.
The loss to Miami was tough, very tough. Especially because Miami is this “evil empire” and Chicago, like the rest of the country, wanted to shove it in Lebron’s face. So yes it hurts. The Bulls tanked in the final minutes of almost all 4 losses, horribly in the final 2 games. I chalk this up to inexperience and lack of options. A team with Miami’s firepower needed to be put away. We did not lose because of free throws, Boozer, or Korver. Sure all of those things would have been nice. And yes, if Korver scored 12 points or Boozer dunked the ball a few more times it would have made a difference, but we lost because we could not finish. We made turnovers, bad shots, and coach Tom Thibodeau couldn’t draw up 1 or 2 plays to get easy baskets.
In the offseason they will continue to hit the gym. Derrick Rose will get stronger. Noah and Deng will get stronger and Taj Gibson will put on some muscle as well. They will come back healthy and compete for the #1 seed again. I believe this team, with time can win the East and maybe the whole thing. But if they want to solidify themselves as real players and it might take two moves. Allow me to play General Manager for a second.
First, I try to send next year’s Bobcat’s pick (which the Bulls got for Tyrus Thomas), Carlos Boozer, and Omer Asik to Orlando for Dwight Howard. Orland will want an established player, a younger emerging player, and a lottery pick for Howard. I think the Bulls have the most to give. Then I send my two picks this year (and maybe my second rounder or next year’s first) to move up and take Jimmer Fredette.
Why do these two moves help us? Well Howard is obvious. Defensively he changes everything. Howard and Noah inside would be impossible to get through. Howard and Noah also both crash the boards, Howard better than anyone in the league. Inside scoring would be a plenty without taking the ball out of Rose’s hands. Gibson would still be strong off the bench to relieve them both. Asik and Boozer is a steep price to pay but Asik’s stock is at a high after a strong playoff and Boozer clearly does not fit well with Rose. Fredette is that 2 guard we have craved. He will not be Ray Allen or Michael Redd (in his prime), but he is where JJ Reddick needed to be when he came into the league, and remember the Bulls tried signing Reddick. He can handle the ball better than Korver. He can already shoot from anywhere. He is NBA strong and is a winner. He also stretches the defense like Stephen Curry does for Monte Ellis. With these two players I think we are on our way.
Of course, I wouldn’t mind Howard and Allen (on a 2 year loan) or even Jason Richardson. But to stay young and make an intimidating statement I think this is the direction they should go in. This keeps the ball in Rose’s hands and tells the Heat we are coming for real. Howard and Fredette are winners and hungry. What we shouldn’t do is sign someone just to sign someone. Remember we have the Bobcats lottery pick and 2012 is a deep draft.
It will be an exciting offseason (which has basically started for Bulls fans already). Go Cuban! Go Mavs!
And Let Us Say…Amen.
p.s. I am also very annoyed by Scottie Pippen.