As the regular season is quickly approaching its end, hope is beginning to fade in the hearts of some of the underachieving teams around the league.
While there are a few clubs that are still battling for the eighth and final spot, most are looking ahead to next year and are eager to wipe the slate clean.
The Chicago Bulls, however, are in a much different situation. With only 16 games left to be played, the Bulls are looking to lock up the No. 1 seed and possibly their first 60 win season since the Jordan era.
But even after all Chicago has accomplished thus far, there are still multiple doubters that feel the Bulls are a few years away from making a serious run at the title.
Regardless of what critics may think, Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls are very much capable of bringing home the trophy this year.
Thanks to Tom Thibodeau, the Bulls are a much improved team on the defensive end of the floor. Thibodeau has taken Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer, who were once defensive liabilities, and has turned them into solid overall defenders.
Unlike recent years, their defense won’t be a concern for them going into the playoffs. Instead, it will be a key ingredient to their postseason success.
They also have good depth coming off the bench with guys that can hold their own on the defensive end. Rookie Center Omer Asik has been an efficient shot blocker all year long, while Ronnie Brewer has proven to be the Bulls best one-on-one defender.
Brewer brings a lot of energy on defense. He has shown the ability to come up with steals in the clutch to swing the momentum in the Bulls favor. This is a huge asset that every championship team needs.
A strong offense may win games, but playing solid defense wins championships. That’s one thing Chicago does better than any team in the league.
As I mentioned in the previous slide, the Bulls have great depth on their bench.
A strong supporting cast is a vital part of a championship caliber team. The Bulls have an abundance of support with players such as Kyle Korver and Kurt Thomas, who have been huge for the Bulls all year and have provided plenty of relief for the starters.
Another player that often goes unmentioned is backup point guard C.J Watson. This guy knows how to put the ball in the basket and can be a very streaky shooter. Watson has been playing solid fundamental basketball all year and is a big part of the team’s accomplishments.
If the reserves continue to play at a high level throughout the playoffs, this team is going to be tough to beat.
I just can't say it enough. Tom Thibodeau is doing an awesome job in his first year with the team. He may seem a little delirious at times, but hey, the man has heart.
Thibodeau has displayed a passion and will to win that has spread through his team like wild fire. And while he may hold high standards for the guys that play for him, the players don’t seem to mind. Instead they take the criticism and learn from it.
It is evident that Thibodeau lives and breathes basketball. He is persistent in studying film and coming up with defensive schemes to slow down some of the high-powered offensive teams in the league. The Bulls record alone is evidence of his hard work paying off.
Every championship team needs a good motivator. Coach “Thibs” is exactly that.
It isn’t hard to tell that this group of guys loves to play together.
After somewhat of a slow start, the Bulls look to be more and more in sync every game. While building a strong synergy takes time, they seem to be catching on faster than most expected them to.
Chemistry is one of the most key components to a team. Guys simply being teammates doesn’t make them the best of friends. That is why it is important for guys to stick together on and off the court.
When a team gets along, good solid play is the result. That has been Chicago’s story all year.
At this point in the season, it is hardly an argument of who will be this year’s MVP.
The Most Valuable Player award is pretty much self explanatory. It is awarded to the player that is most valuable to his team. Rose has done more than enough to earn MVP honors.
However, knowing Derrick, winning the award simply isn’t enough; he wants to win a ring.
Though Rose is not much of a vocal leader, he has shown that actions speak louder than words and has led by example. Rose has also been a nightmare for the opposing defense and has developed into one of the best closers in the game.
When you take Derrick’s talent and combine it with his competitive drive and will to win, there is not much a team can do to stop him.