2011 Chicago Bulls: Reigning No. 1 Seed, Bulls Look To Win with Strong Nucleus

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 26:  Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls looks on against the Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 26, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Heat won 83-80. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Ryan TContributor IOctober 4, 2011

Prior to the 2010 NBA Season, all the hype was focused on the 'New Look' Miami Heat. After Bosh and LeBron brought their talents to South Beach, the Heat were the only other team besides Boston to get serious consideration to finish first in the Eastern Conference.

Rightly so, the Boston Celtics were the reigning Eastern Conference champions, and the Heat now possessed superstars Wade and James. The season was full of ups-and-downs for both teams as Miami struggled to find any continuity early on, and Boston was battling a lot of injuries as well as adjusting to new talent via trade.

The team that finished first in the Eastern Conference in 2010 was a projected four-six seed as the season tipped off. They were deemed too young, inexperienced and lean to contend for that first spot, however the baby Bulls finally grew and made some noise in the NBA.

They were led by league MVP, Derrick Rose. In his third year in the league, D-Rose snagged the league's highest individual award possible, and led his team to the Eastern Conference Finals. He has certainly built an impressive resume just three years into his career.

Rose's accomplishments aside, other Bulls players continued to get better and were major contributors to the Bulls' success.

Luol Deng:

17.4 PPG - 5.8 RPG - 2.8 AST - 34.5% 3PT

Joakim Noah:

11.7 PPG - 10.4RPG - 2.2 AST - 52.5% FG

Deng and Noah both had strong seasons, and when you pair that with Derrick's MVP stats, that is where you get the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

In my opinion, if I could only have three players on the Bulls' roster it would be Rose, Deng and Noah. Rose obviously serves the need for an elite PG in today's NBA style, and enhances the abilities of every player on the roster. Noah is an ideal center, possessing above-average size, passing ability, defense and motor. Deng wraps things up as a stellar defender, strong outside shooter and smart player.

These three would make a killer NBA Jam team, and hopefully serve as the Bulls nucleus for years to come.

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