Led by last year's MVP, Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls finished the season with the league's best record and made it to the Eastern Conference Finals where they lost to the Miami Heat. Before this season, most people had the Bulls finishing third or fourth in the Eastern Conference, behind the Heat, Boston Celtics, and maybe even the Orlando Magic.
By most measures, the 2010-2011 season was a success for the Bulls. Rose is the best player the Bulls have had since Michael Jordan. Joakim Noah is one of the better young centers in the league. They were able to land Carlos Boozer after missing out on the LeBron James/Dwyane Wade/Chris Bosh sweepstakes. Luol Deng is a very good defensive wing player who has improved his offensive game
Entering the postseason, many experts and fans had the Bulls coming out of the East and even winning the NBA championship. But, as currently constructed, is this team good enough to win an NBA championship?
No. I don't believe they are.
Don't get me wrong, Derrick Rose is a special player and will be one of the best for years to come. But he can't do it by himself.
There can be a bit of a problem when your go-to scorer is your point guard. The problem is that they can be neutralized by bigger, longer, athletic wings fairly regularly, as we saw with LeBron James guarding Derrick Rose in the Eastern Conference Finals.
As currently constructed, can the Bulls win a championship?
Carlos Boozer was supposed to be the player who could lighten the load and be a dependable post scorer in crunch time, but he seemed to vanish by averaging only a modest 13 points on 43% shooting in the playoffs.
Luol Deng is a defensive specialist who thrives off of getting open shots and using his athleticism to create plays. When you think of small forwards who you can give the ball to at the end of the game, you don't think Luol Deng. You think LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce.
Joakim Noah is a player who depends on his hustle and defensive intensity to make an impact. And he does it very well. But is he the difference maker that can take the offensive pressure off Rose? I doubt it.
Not to mention, they don't have much of anything at the shooting guard position. Sorry, I don't think Keith Bogans is what you're looking for out of a starting shooting guard.
There are too many talented, well-balanced teams in the league that have more championship ability than the Bulls. They need to make some kind of move to push over the top. Carlos Boozer needs to earn his contract. The other obvious need is shooting guard.
The OJ Mayo to the Bulls rumors this past season seemed to make a lot of sense. Mayo is a very capable player who can make plays on both ends of the floor.
Jamal Crawford seems to be the best free agent option as an electric scorer who can carry a team for short periods of time.
We all know he has his fair share of attitude issues, but J.R. Smith is a free agent who would be an immediate offensive upgrade. His shot selection is questionable from time to time, but electric is an understatement when describing Smith.
Sasha Vujacic is also a free agent. He can also score 30 whenever he wants. Just kidding.
Am I saying that the Bulls won't win a championship with Derrick Rose? Absolutely not. I can't wait to see Rose play over the coming years.
But do they need to get better and make a move or two? You better believe it.
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