It is very early to compare the young Derrick Rose and coach Tom Thibodeau to the greatest NBA player to ever walk the earth in Michael Jordan, and arguably the greatest coach of all-time in Phil Jackson, but their talent and drive is certainly reminiscent of a young Michael and Phil.
Rose is becoming more confident and talented with every game he plays. He is showing the NBA why his 24.8 PPG, 7.8 APG and first place in the Eastern Conference are deserving of the league’s MVP.
This was more than apparent when Rose single-handedly closed out the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center on Saturday night.
Rose’s Jordan-esque turnaround jumper over Brandon Jennings with 42 seconds remaining put the Bulls up 93-87, and essentially hammered the nail in the coffin. Rose finished the game with 30 points and a career-high 17 assists.
All season long, Rose has been filing the enormous shoes that Jordan left behind, and Thibodeau is right beside him.
Thibodeau has taken an average defensive team, and turned them into the greatest defensive unit in the NBA in just one season.
The Bulls are giving up the fewest PPG in the NBA at just 91.16, and have the best win differential in the league; averaging a victory by 7.38 PPG. The Bulls hold their opponents to the lowest FG percentage and 3PT percentage in the NBA, at 42.9 percent and 32.6 percent respectively.
Their stout defense is all thanks to Coach Thibodeau who came into Chicago, earned the players' respect and got every person on the team to buy into his philosophy.
Rose is on his way to the league MVP, and Thibodeau is the front runner for Coach of the Year honors, but are they comparable to the great Jordan and Jackson?
Again, it is early, but I do not see the Bulls success going anywhere but up in the coming seasons. The similarities to the 1989-90 Chicago Bulls, the first season with Jordan and Jackson, are eerily similar to the current Bulls, except the 2010-11 Bulls are better.
The 1989-90 Bulls won by an average of 3.3 PPG, finished 55-27, lost in the Eastern Conference Finals and won their first championship the following season. The current 2010-11 Bulls are winning by 7.38 PPG and should finish 60-22 (based on their 73.6 percent win percentage), but their playoff finish and championship status is yet to be seen.
As a Bulls fan, I would be very content with a loss in the Eastern Conference Finals, but I doubt Rose and Thibodeau have the same feelings.
The Bulls have shocked the NBA this season, but can they win in the playoffs? Will they win next year? Can they win a championship?
Jordan believes they can.
During the halftime ceremony celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the Chicago Bulls’ first NBA championship, Jordan told a sold-out United Center, “You guys are in store for a lot of other championships, you look at this team tonight...don’t be surprised if you have six more [championships] coming.”
Jordan might not have the best track record with talent assessment, but if his "Airness" himself believes the Chicago Bulls can win six more championships, then so should the rest of the NBA.
Chicago Bulls fans, prepare for Rose and Thibodeau to bring glory back to the city of Chicago, and lead the Bulls to many NBA championships for years to come.
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