Chicago Bulls: Are They the Deepest Team in the League?

Michael Gibbons@DachicagofanCorrespondent IIApril 1, 2012

CHICAGO - JANUARY 04: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls goes up to shoot against Nenad Krstic #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at the United Center on January 4, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Thunder defeated the Bulls 98-85. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Sunday matchup between the Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder is a true battle between the two deepest teams in the NBA.

I was on Twitter the other night, and I proposed a question: Will the Bulls be the only team to win 50 games this season?

I got some interesting responses, but I will get to those in a second.

Besides the Bulls, only three other teams in the league still have a chance of winning 50—the Thunder, Spurs and Heat.

With 13 games left, the Bulls need to go just 8-5 down the stretch. The Thunder, meanwhile, have to win 11 of their remaining 15 to reach 50.

Miami and San Antonio have even a smaller margin for error. The Heat need to go 13-3, while the Spurs need to go 14-2.

So to answer that question, yes, I think the Bulls will be the only team to win 50, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Thunder did as well.

Now back to my original point. I got some interesting responses, and one response was that the Thunder is the deepest team in the league. I was shocked at such a declaration.

The Bulls are so deep that 10 different players on their roster have starts under their belt this season. The only starter to start every game has been Carlos Boozer.

Derrick Rose has been sidelined for 19 games thus far in the 2011-12 season and is out Sunday (groin). Luol Deng has missed nine, Richard Hamilton has only played in 16 games, and for good measure, Joakim Noah has missed two games as well.

CHICAGO - JANUARY 04: Loul Deng #9 of the Chicago Bulls is fouled while shooting by Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at the United Center on January 4, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Thunder defeated the Bulls 98-85. NOTE TO USER: User expres
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Key reserve C.J. Watson also has missed 17 games this season, and several of these injuries have naturally overlapped for stretches of the season.

Even with all these injuries, however, Chicago still has the best record in the league at 42-11.

Now, I'm not saying the Thunder aren't a deep team, because they are. They have started eight different players this season, but Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have played in every game.

Take away the injuries to their shooting guards, and OKC's other four starters have cumulatively missed just one game. Ignoring the injury to Hamilton, the rest of the Bulls starters have missed 30 games.

Can you tell me if Durant had missed 19 games, and Westbrook nine games, that they would currently be sitting at 39-12?

I sure don't think so. They would probably still be a playoff team, but there is no way they would be the top seed in the Western Conference.

With the Bulls, it doesn't matter who is in or out of the lineup, because everyone on the team knows their role and steps up when called upon.

Could the Lakers win if Kobe Bryant missed 19 games? What about the Heat with LeBron James?

In a normal season, 19 games would only be about 20 percent of the season. But in this lockout-shortened season, it accounts for nearly a third of the year.

Being this deep is what allowed the Bulls to survive the brutal January schedule, and why they remain on top of the Eastern Conference, and league, today.

So, without a doubt, the Bulls are by far the deepest team in the league.

It's a shame the Bulls might not face the Thunder at 100 percent, but let's hope that maybe these two can meet again with the championship on the line.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @dachicagofan, and check out my weekly Bulls podcast every Wednesday on my site, The MG Experience.