Chicago Bulls: Why Their Future Begins with the 2012 NBA Draft

Ernest ShepardAnalyst IIIJune 28, 2012

Has Luol Deng played his last game for the Chicago Bulls?
Has Luol Deng played his last game for the Chicago Bulls?Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Given the present state of the Chicago Bulls, they cannot dwell on the past. Starting tonight, the Bulls must focus on the future.

If that means parting ways with proven commodities such as Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, the Bulls must explore those options. If it means dangling the contracts of Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer or C.J. Watson for second-round draft picks, get it done. I can come up with many reasonable scenarios for the Bulls, but unfortunately one thing will perhaps remain the same.

The Bulls are a stubborn franchise.

I do not want to be the bearer of bad news, but this is my opinion about my favorite basketball team. I must make that clear before I receive dozens of comments questioning whether or not I am a Bulls fan.

Now that I have that out of the way, let’s talk Bulls basketball.

The Bulls are not in any position to win the NBA title. Their window was closed shut the moment that Derrick Rose tore his ACL in Game 1 of the Bulls first-round series with the 76ers. The next time that the window will even be cracked is during the 2013-14 season when Rose should finally be at full strength.

By that time Deng and Noah will be two years older and regressing in their careers, and Carlos Boozer will not be able to leapfrog a sheet of paper lying on the United Center floor.

Have fun entertaining that thought.

We all want Rose to come back and not miss a beat, but it should be considered an unrealistic goal for him to be ready by March. How much sense does it make to rush back your superstar and risk his overall health only to be bounced in the second round of the playoffs? The end does not justify the means.

Winning a championship requires a lot of planning, long-term planning that is.

We can be quick to point out that the Heat won the title with three stars joining forces. Well, those three stars had planned it out during the 2008 Olympic games two years prior to banding together. We do not have that luxury in Chicago.

What we have in Chicago is a team that is full of overachievers who play their roles the right way.

This is not a slight to the efforts of Deng or Noah. This is not an indictment on Taj Gibson or Omer Asik. This is the viewpoint of a fan that is sick and tired of watching the “try hard” and “play hard” Bulls.

It has been 14 years since the Bulls have raised a championship banner in the United Center. We have paid our money to see them play. We have bought jerseys and other memorabilia. Now we have bought into the idea that the Bulls have a plan.

If the plan is to stand pat and wait for Rose to come back and be the lone savior of the team, it is a plan that will fail.

To put all of that pressure on a 23-year-old point guard who nearly saw his career end in injury is asinine, idiotic and stubborn.

This is why the future of the Bulls must begin in the 2012 NBA draft. Sad to say, I am not expecting anything different out of this stubborn franchise.


Follow me on Twitter @ernestshepard