2011 NBA Playoffs: Do Chicago Bulls Need to Shorten Bench in Postseason to Win?
The 2011 NBA Playoffs start tomorrow, and the Chicago Bulls are the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but they also go 10 deep. Is that too much?
The Bulls earned the No. 1 seed in the NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs, as they were absolutely unstoppable down the stretch. They got the job done against all of the other top teams in the east, and they are clearly the top team in the conference entering the postseason.
But while many people see depth as a huge bonus, do the Bulls need to tighten their bench a bit in order to compete for an NBA Championship?
Zach Lowe of SI.com wonders if the Bulls are perhaps too deep, even though they may have the best team who can play the most matchups.
"Chicago finished with the best record, the second-best point margin and an allegedly 'weak link' offense that crept to the edge of the top 10 in points per possession by the end of the season," says Lowe. "The Bulls will need that offense to continue to improve because they will likely have to go through three of the league’s top 12 defenses just to make the Finals.
One thing to monitor: The Bulls have gone 10 deep all season, and that’s a larger rotation than most coaches prefer in the postseason. Coach Tom Thibodeau can’t lean much harder on Derrick Rose or Luol Deng, but it will be interesting to see how he divvies up minutes among guys like Keith Bogans, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Taj Gibson and Omer Asik. All have been crucial parts of Chicago’s rise, and all bring a mix of elite niche skills (Korver’s shooting, Brewer’s defense and cutting) and limitations. Thibodeau has decisions to make, and matchups will be paramount in those decisions."
I understand where Lowe is coming from, but can a team truly ever be too deep? Isn't minutes off the bench what you need to make a deep run in the NBA Playoffs? I certainly see that as more of an advantage than a problem, and would far prefer a deep bench than one that is more shallow.
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The Bulls have a leading NBA MVP candidate in Derrick Rose, a strong frontcourt in Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, and great depth in Taj Gibson and Ronnie Brewer. I'm not exactly sure how that can be deemed as a potential flaw in the system.
Chicago has the matchups to destroy the Indiana Pacers in the first round, and then they should be able to take care of either the Orlando Magic or Atlanta Hawks. They would not be able to stop Dwight Howard, but really, who can?
The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat appear destined for a meeting in the second round, and Chicago matches up very well with both of them as well, because both the Celtics and Heat lack big men in the middle.
The Bulls may be 10 deep, and that may not change much in the playoffs. But it is not something that I see becoming a problem or hindrance in any way, shape or form.
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