Derrick Rose: Are the Chicago Bulls the Real Team To Beat?

Bill CodyCorrespondent IIIJanuary 31, 2011

Derrick Rose just might be the best player in the league right now.
Derrick Rose just might be the best player in the league right now.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Yesterday, I was listening to ESPN radio going on and on about the Lakers, Celtics and Heat. 

I get that. Sort of.

The Lakers are the two-time defending champs and deserve to treating as such until they lose their crown. The Celtics played in the finals last year and currently have the best record in the East.

And the Miami Heat. Well, they've never won a title with this cast, they have the fifth or sixth best record in the NBA and, well, I think ESPN owns a chunk of them or something.

But the thing is none of these teams are playing the best basketball in the NBA right now. That honor belongs to one of two teams.

The San Antonio Spurs and the Chicago Bulls. 

And while San Antonio has done so while being remarkably injury free, the Bulls have been missing not one, but two of their best big men—Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah—for much of the past month.

Which is why I believe the league better watch out for the Chicago Bulls.

Certainly, the Heat better watch out. The team from South Beach has two gaping holes at the point and in the middle and when the Bulls are healthy, they matchup well with LeBron and the gang.

But the Heat aren't the only ones who need to watch out. When it comes to Derrick Rose, the entire Eastern Conference has a matchup problem.

Right now the league has one of the best crops of point guards they have ever had and Rose is right at the top of the list. But the only ones who come even close to matching up with Rose and his mad skills are currently Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams.

More importantly, the next tier down, a group of wily vets including Jason Kidd, Tony Parker and Steve Nash are also in the West. 

The only guys who can possibly give Rose a run for his money in the East is Rajon Rondo and Brandon Jennings—and Rose most likely will not be seeing Jennings in the postseason this year.

That clears a way for Rose to dominate most of the Eastern Conference in the playoffs when controlling the pace of the game is key. 

Atlanta is having a breakout year, but I'm not sure Mike Bibby could have covered Rose 10 years ago, and he certainly can't cover him now.

Orlando is a much better team since the big trade, but they also don't have anyone in Rose's league at the point. Heck, they often have Hedo Turkoglu handling the ball these days. 

More importantly if they keep playing like they have been it's possible they will have the home-court advantage until they meet the Celtics in the conference finals. 

That's why I think the Bulls might be the most dangerous team in the playoffs this year.

After watching all of the top teams over the last few weeks I think there's only one team that can beat them in the East: the Boston Celtics.

But if they make it past the Celtics into the title game, they should face either the Spurs or the Lakers. 

The Lakers have no one who can cover Derrick Rose. And I give them an even chance with the Spurs.

The only thing standing in their way might be lack of playoff experience or injuries to their big men. But even then they have played surprisingly well without them thanks to Rose.

And I don't think both Noah and Boozer will be injured like the last month. 

The funniest thing about the whole scenario is that losing LeBron was probably the best thing that could have happened to the Chicago Bulls.

I mean let's face it, who would you rather have handling the ball at the end of a close game? LeBron James or Derrick Rose?

If you said LeBron James, you haven't been watching the NBA recently and you're going to be very surprised when the playoffs roll around.