Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls: Hypothetical Week 2 Review
Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls should have been in action for fans to watch during Week 2 of the 2011-2012 NBA regular season. But due to the ongoing NBA lockout, fans have been left trying to understand BRI and scratching their collective heads over last week's picture of Joakim Noah in a cowboy hat.
Instead of watching the Bulls play the Sacramento Kings, fans spent their time reading articles on ESPN about how King James and the Miami Heat were the biggest losers from the lockout, as they will be unable to win their first championship if the season doesn't happen.
Obviously, this was another disappointing week for Bulls fans.
So, without having any real games to report on, this is a hypothetical review of what could have been in Week 2, if billionaires and millionaires had been able to compromise and the season has started on time.
Vs. Los Angeles Clippers (November 8)
If you are a fan of explosive offensive performances, this would have been a great game for you. Featuring two of the top high-flyers in the league in Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin, this game would have showcased impressive dunks and more than its fair share of posterization.
But no matter how impressive the individual performances, the team play of the Chicago Bulls would have won the day.
Led by the dominant offense of Blake Griffin, the Los Angeles Clippers are similar to the Oklahoma City Thunder from just a couple seasons ago: a lot of talented pieces, but a recent history filled with failure. Under the leadership of Vinny Del Negro, the Clippers appear to be improving slowly as a team but still have a ways to go to compete for a championship. If Griffin steps up defensively and shows himself to be a leader and not just another flashy player, the Clippers could take majors strides towards being competitive in the Western Conference.
Against the Bulls, despite an exciting performance by Griffin, this young team would look disjointed and would struggle to produce offensively. Their unorganized defense would have looked porous against the Bulls, allowing multiple players to score at will.
The Bulls would have continued to shine at home with an impressive offensive performance against the Clippers. Rose would have had a great game and had his share of monster throwdowns, Carlos Boozer would have struggled defensively against Griffin, and Taj Gibson fans would have been clamoring for more playing time for their man after he proved once again to be a more dominant defensive player than Boozer. The Bulls would have had a great all-around performance, with more than seven players scoring in double digits.
The outcome of this game would never really have been in question. The balanced, veteran style play of the Bulls would have been too much for the young Clippers. The Bulls would have won this game by 20+ points, with Derrick Rose leading the team in scoring.
Aside from the highlight dunks, this game would actually have been a little boring due to the ease with which the Bulls would have won. After another solid performance, the Bulls would be 4-0 to start the season.
Vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (November 10)
It would have been fitting in a week where the movie Immortals premiered if this game between Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant had been played, but alas, it was not. These two titans of basketball would have provided an exciting and super-competitive battle, and their supporting casts would have been equally competitive.
Kevin Durant is one of the most skilled forwards in the game today, and as is the case when superstars face each other, Durant would have been looking to have a more dominant performance than Rose—and would have succeeded this time. Durant's supporting cast on the Oklahoma City Thunder is almost equal to Rose's in Chicago, with players like Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka backing him up. The Thunder are hungry for a championship and would have looked impressive facing a top-tier opponent.
Because they had such an impressive season last year, the Chicago Bulls are going to get every team's best shot this season. Facing a tough, young team in OKC this early in the season, the Bulls would not have been ready for the intensity and challenge that they were to encounter. Rose, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng would have had good, but not great, games. Facing a team almost as deep and talented as their own, they would have struggled to keep up offensively.
It is tough to predict a Bulls loss this early in the season, but in the end, the Bulls would have fallen just short. No specific player would have been held to blame for the loss; Tom Thibodeau would attributed this loss to a lack of focus on defense as the Bulls looked sloppy on that end.
The Bulls would have been upset to lose this game, but it would have prepared them for many more tough games to come. This early season loss may indeed have proven to be the motivator needed for success the rest of the season and into the playoffs. The Bulls would have been 4-1 at the end of the night.
Vs. Sacramento Kings (November 12)
After watching the Chicago Bulls lose to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Bleacher Report" target="_blank">Oklahoma City Thunder, watching them play the Sacramento Kings would have been a great reminder to how dominant the Bulls can be. Another young team with undeveloped talent, the Kings are in for a couple of rough years before they will compete with the top tier of teams in the NBA. Nonetheless, the matchup between Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans is a compelling storyline and would have been a great show.
The Kings won just 13 games on the road last season and could be in for more of the same this season unless they begin to develop an identity. The combination of Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins proved to be ineffective last season, but they may have found their missing piece in Jimmer Fredette. Fredette is the hope of the franchise, and early on in the season, we could have looked for him to impress.
Despite strong performances from Fredette, Evans, Cousins and John Salmons, the Kings would have looked stagnant against the Bulls defense.
The Bulls, still smarting from their loss to OKC, would have been a force to reckon with in this game. Rose would have played at MVP level, Ronnie Brewer would have been aggressive offensively, Carlos Boozer would have dominated Cousins and Joakim Noah would have been a rebounding machine. If the OKC game raised any questions regarding the Bulls, the Kings game would have answered those questions. Definitively.
In the end, this game was decided when the Bulls lost to OKC. The Bulls didn't lose back-to-back games last year until the conference finals, and they will continue that trend this year. The Bulls would have had their most lopsided win of the season and would have had a great vibe going into next week's games. Outscoring the Kings by 30+ points and playing out of their minds on offense and defense, the Bulls would have ended the week with a 5-1 record.
What Really Happened: Week 2
In a week that could have been filled with highlight dunks, strong All-Star duels and at least one blowout win for the Bulls, there was actually very little news to report.
Here were the real "highlights":
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