Two weeks ago, I wrote a post talking about title contenders. In my east section, I listed Chicago as one of my contenders, but I couldn’t see them pull it out. The biggest reason? The Bulls need a shooting guard. With experience guards like Jason Richardson, Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade potentially on the Bulls horizon, I couldn’t see them advance past a Boston or Miami for that simple reason.
But something happened. The Bulls beat Miami and ran through Utah and they seem like a different team.
The team with the best defense in the NBA, seems unstoppable at this point. With the Kendrick Perkins trade to Oklahoma City, Dwight Howard benefited the most offensively, but can’t you argue that Joakim Noah benefited defensively? Noah, who I always felt was underrated coming out of Florida, is a relentless rebounder. In his 35 games this season, Noah’s grabbed 406 rebounds, good enough for a average of 11.6 so far this season. Noah has even seen a slight spike in his scoring this season (10 points last season, 12 this season) and if he can remain healthy for the remainder of the season, he’s going to be tough in the playoffs.
Carlos Boozer is still putting up numbers, even though he hasn’t been able to shake off that injury tag yet. In the offseason, I always thought this was a good signing. Many believed it was a great signing because of Boozer’s tools on the court and how he meshed with Rose out of the best remaining free agents. The only problem was the money and Boozer’s perfect timing to get hurt. People forget, Boozer wasn’t always a horse like he was in his final two seasons in Utah, Boozer missed alot of games before Utah drafted Deron Williams. ALOT.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to talk about Luol Deng. Deng has become the player I always thought he was: 17 points, seven rebounds, a good defender and a solid late game player. Many have argued that Deng should be a all-defensive team member. While I won’t go that far, I will admit he seems more focused on the defensive end. Deng never really had problems late in games, it’s just with Rose and Ben Gordon in Chicago, Deng really didn’t have to be that much of a scorer. Now that Rose has discovered he will be receiving double-teams late, he kicks the ball out to the wings. That wing player? Luol Deng.
Another factor about Luol Deng, he’s probably the most experienced in the playoffs out of the main rotation players. He was there when Chicago reacehd the playoffs in 2004, 2005 and 2006 (where they won a playoff series), so that’s something to look out for.
Alright, let’s chat about Derrick Rose. I argued before that he’s the best point guard in the NBA. He’s unguardable. Before the season, I had Rose as my No. 13 rated player in the NBA. Let’s just say, that’s a little low at this point. I personally think Rose is the best point guard in the NBA, as well as the MVP this season. Let’s us not forget, Rose has playoff experience trailing back to his rookie season against Boston. His jumpshot has improved as well as extending it to three point range. I feel Rose is downright scary.
My biggest question is can they beat Boston?