No Derrick Rose? No reigning MVP?
Despite not having their star point guard for a majority of the season, the Chicago Bulls have still managed to win 12 of 16 games without him.
The Bulls are now 40-10 on the season after last nights overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors. They have become the first team to hit the 40-win mark and the first team to clinch a spot in this summers NBA playoffs.
So why do I feel like they’re still not getting the respect they deserve?
With Derrick Rose on the sidelines, the Chicago Bulls have still found a way to stockpile victories in the Eastern Conference.
Some say this winning streak has diminished the importance of Rose to this team. If the Bulls can handle themselves without him, then how important is he really?
This team will only go as far as Derick Rose takes them. Winning games in the regular season sans Rose is a nice confidence boost, but the playoffs is a whole other beast in itself. You can’t replace the 23 points and 8 assists a game Rose can give you in the postseason.
If Derrick isn’t completely healthy when the playoffs commence, Chicago will find themselves in a world of trouble.
The beautiful thing about the setup of this team is that while Rose is an integral part of their success, he isn’t the main cog behind how this team functions.
The Bulls run on good coaching, hard-nosed defense and team unity.
How do you think they’ve managed to stay afloat so well without their MVP?
The Bulls are a team in every sense of the word. Everyone from Carlos Boozer down to John Lucas III know their roles and accept them. Instead of trying to go on the court and takeover the game as individuals, they take their strengths and utilize them in ways that benefit the team as a whole for the greater good. The Bulls have a top 5 ranked defense and a head coach who reached 100 wins faster than anyone in NBA history.
The sum of all of these parts has resulted in a team that sits at 40-10 with the best record in the league.
I just get the sense that despite their success, they still get slept on as a true threat to the NBA championship.
I guess that’s because of the Miami Heat.
The Heat are the sexy pick in the East. You would be hard-pressed to find a lot of people who would pick against a team that made the NBA finals last season and still have 3 superstar players (James, Wade, Bosh) who can win games on their own.
I can respect that. The Heat are not only a sexy pick, but a safe pick as well.
I just think that it’s time to look at the facts and realize that the Chicago Bulls can very much eliminate the Miami Heat from the postseason if a match up takes place.
Sure, the Heat handled the Bulls rather convincingly last year in 5 games. If they were to meet again, the Heat should rightfully be favored.
It’s just the Bulls aren’t stupid. They’ve grown together over the last year. They’ve learned from their mistakes.
They have split the season series with the Heat 1-1 up to this point. On a side note, that victory came without the services of Derick Rose.
The Bulls are deeper, tougher and structured better than the Miami Heat.
The road to the Finals will still go through Miami, but the Chicago Bulls are now ready to take that next step and overcome “the Big Three” of South Beach.
You add a healthy Derrick Rose and Rip Hamilton back into the fold, and you have the makings of a team that will challenge for the NBA Championship this summer.
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports