Like every team, the Chicago Bulls are associated with a few misconceptions.
There was no way this group could be a playoff team without D-Rose and "Lieutenant Deng" leading the way. It was time to blow up the roster and attempt to land a super-high draft pick, right?
Boy, were those people wrong. The Bulls will make the playoffs unless something really crazy happens over the next few weeks. They are currently the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, behind the Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors.
The Bulls have dispelled the misconception that they’d fall off the face of the earth. What are some current false assumptions related to the team?
Joakim Noah Isn’t an MVP Candidate
Either LeBron James or Kevin Durant will win the MVP award this year. That’s basically etched in stone. They are hands-down the league’s two best players and are both on title-contending teams.
But what about Chicago’s Joakim Noah? Although the two-time All-Star is having a sensational season, one might believe he isn’t an MVP candidate. For starters, he isn’t much of a scorer (12.2 points per game) and the Bulls’ record of 35-29 would make them only the 10th-best team in the Western Conference.
However, Noah should be in the MVP conversation, as he has meant so much to the Bulls this season. The energetic big man anchors the team’s defense and is known as a triple-double threat each and every night.
On March 2, Noah put together an extremely impressive triple-double against the New York Knicks, recording 13 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds in a 19-point victory.
Fourteen assists is simply ridiculous for a 6’11” center. He has also had three other double-digit assist games this season. His 4.9 assists per game average is only second on the Bulls behind D.J. Augustin’s 5.2.
Again, that’s simply ridiculous.
Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale thinks Noah’s name should be included in MVP talk:
Where would the Bulls be without him?
Not battling for a top-three playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, that's for sure.
The way in which Noah has elevated his play this season—especially of late—is incredible and inspirational. Few players, if any, boast the motor he does. He's always playing, always fighting.
While the competition between Durant and James is too fierce for him to legitimately be considered for the MVP award, he deserves to be recognized in a similar context.
How many other players are actually more important to their team right now than Noah is to the Bulls. Not many. One could even say no one now that Russell Westbrook is healthy for the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dwyane Wade is going strong for the Miami Heat.
Favale is right. Noah is immensely important to the Bulls, and the team wouldn’t be nearly as great without him in the lineup.
Carlos Boozer Is Guaranteed to Be Amnestied
You’ve heard it a million times: Carlos Boozer will be amnestied by the Bulls this summer.
Such a move would cut his $16.8 million off the books for next season, and free up roughly $11 million in cap space this summer.
While using the amnesty provision could certainly happen, there’s no guarantee it will, though.
The Bulls would still owe Boozer the $16.8 million regardless. It’s unclear whether management would actually pay him nearly $17 million just to walk away. That’s a lot of money to tell someone goodbye.
Boozer, who would then become an inexpensive free agent, could end up signing with a rival like the Miami Heat. Imagine him down in South Beach, playing alongside James (if he re-signs), Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, making it even more difficult for the Bulls to win a championship.
The Bulls won’t likely amnesty Boozer unless they can land a big-name free agent like James or Carmelo Anthony, both of whom are long shots to go to Chicago.
Keeping Boozer for one more season isn’t the end of the world. Sure, he’ll never make an All-Defensive team, but he can give you about 14 points and eight boards a night, which isn't too bad.
Carmelo Anthony Is the Perfect Fit
There has been a bunch of Carmelo Anthony-to-the-Bulls chatter lately.
During All-Star Weekend, Noah recruited Anthony to join the Bulls, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard:
The sources said Noah told Anthony something to this effect: You can go to Los Angeles, but if you really want a ring, if you really want your legacy to be about winning, you should come to Chicago.
Chicago is currently dead-last in scoring, and Anthony is one of the league's most unstoppable offensive weapons.
Although he would take quite a bit of pressure off Rose next season, he's not the perfect fit. He doesn't make his teammates better, and is not a great defender. Everybody knows the Bulls are all about defense. So it just wouldn't make much sense to bring Anthony to town.
Another free agent like Lance Stephenson would be the better fit, as he can contribute on both sides of the court instead of just one.
To acquire Anthony, the Bulls would have to amnesty Boozer and possibly trade both Taj Gibson and Mike Dunleavy. Then there wouldn't be enough money to bring over European star Nikola Mirotic, who would have to stay overseas at least another year.
Is Anthony really worth it? The answer is simple—no.
The Bulls haven't won a championship since Michael Jordan was wearing red and black in 1998. Don't look for 'Melo to help deliver title No. 7 if he joins the team.
All stats are from Basketball-Reference.com and accurate as of Mar. 12, 2014.
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