The Chicago Bulls have recently returned to their rightful place as the NBA’s best team with a record of 32-8, to take over the league’s best record. While everyone seems to be focused on the high-powered, explosive talent that the Oklahoma City Thunder have in the West and the superior talent and star power that the title favorite Miami Heat have, the Bulls have quietly put together a magnificent season.
The Bulls not only have a one-game lead over the OKC Thunder, but they have a full two-game lead over the “invincible” Miami Heat that pundits have seemed to declare as the hands-down favorite to win it all.
While the Heat and the Thunder have stayed pretty healthy all year, the Bulls have battled injuries to almost all of their key players. Derrick Rose, last year’s MVP, has missed 10 games this year, which is 25 percent of the schedule.
Most teams would suffer tremendously from losing a player of his caliber, but the Bulls went 7-3 without him.
Luol Deng, the Bulls' other All-Star, despite his All-Star-quality performance thus far this year, has missed seven games. Richard Hamilton, whom the Bulls signed to help put them over the top in the Eastern Conference, has only played in 16 games this year, and some of those games were partials.
Despite these setbacks and the fact that the Bulls played 20 of their first 30 games on the road to start the season, they still managed to go 23-7 during that stretch.
With that said, most still do not deem the Bulls as the premier championship contender, not only because of the Heat and Thunder’s impressive play and star power, but because of the lingering memory from last May when the Heat took away Derrick Rose and the Bulls looked like a team with one hand tied behind their back.
In the offseason, the Bulls tried to address this with the signing of Rip Hamilton. Despite their phenomenal record and consistency, though, it appears that there is still more to be done before the end of the year for this team to overtake the Heat in the East and become the odds-on favorite.
Here are 10 things that the Bulls need to do to get over the hump.