The Chicago Bulls are young, talented, and successful ball club.
They have almost everything you'd find in a champion:
Young Super Star - Check.
Top Notch Coach - Check.
Defensive Minded Team - Check.
Low Post Scorer - Check.
Deep Roster - Check
They are clearly on the brink of greatness, yet if one word stands out of that last sentence, it has to be, "almost."
If the Bulls are going to achieve greatness and bring the Larry O'Brien Trophy back to Chicago, they will have to get over these obstacles first...
Derrick Rose needs help scoring. It's that simple.
The Bulls are aiming to land a top shooting guard whenever the lockout ends.
They have a number of attractive options, Shane Battier, Jamal Crawford, and Arron Afflalo, to name a few.
With a true second/third option along with Luol Deng and a healthy Carlos Boozer, the Bulls would be able to take down any teams in a seven game series.
The Bulls finished the regular season 25 games over the second place team in the Central Division (the Indiana Pacers).
That was by far the biggest gap between first and second place teams in any division.
Barring a (few) major injuries and a small miracle, the Bulls should easily cruise their way to the top of the Central Division again.
The Bulls may be their own biggest opponent in the Central Division. They finished 15-1 against other teams in the Central Division last season, so staying healthy and continuing to gel might be their primary concern as far as that goes this next season.
Although the Bulls had some success against the Heat during the regular season, they didn't pose much of a problem for a focused Miami Heat squad during the playoffs.
With another season of playing together, the Heat will be that much better... but so will the Bulls.
If Boozer can stay healthy during the season and through the playoffs, Chicago has a legitimate chance of winning the NBA title,
The Bulls need Boozer at the top of his game. They need him on the court. They need him to be worth his $18 million contract.
If Boozer shows improvement during his second year and can stay healthy (for a change), then Chicago will go very, very far.
If Chicago makes it to the 2012 NBA Finals, their youth and relative lack of experience is what could keep them from winning it.
The Bulls are talented and young enough to beat any team in the Western Conference, but that talent and youth may be what beats them.
A lot has changed and will continue to change in the Western Conference. We're not sure if the Lakers and Spurs are still legitimate contenders anymore. We're not sure if the Thunder are just pretenders.
But, if Chicago does indeed make it to the finals, coming off wins over teams such as Miami and Boston, their egos could get in the way.
I don't think Tom Thibodeau would let that happen. But even if they did get to that point, how do you think a young team would react to the veteran play of the Mavericks or Lakers?