Playoffs? Playoffs? We're talking about playoffs?
People thought they would do like any first round team and fall to the No. 2 seed. But the Baby Bulls did no such thing; they took on the Celtics and showed what they're made of.
It was impressive to see, thinking they had no chance whatsoever. Then they came out and impressed.
The Celtics had no clue that the Bulls were going to be such trouble—but they should have.
See, the Bulls have shown promise all year. They just needed a leader to lead them through the fire, if you will. While it is true that the Bulls lost the series against the Celtics 4-3, they clearly showed that they are a force to be dealt with in the future. If they can take on the Celtics and look good doing it, they are showing promise.
The Celtics can use the excuse that they didn't have Kevin Garnett, but the games would have still turned out the way they did.
I, personally, had written the Bulls off, giving them no chance. But when someone scares me into thinking I am going to be wrong about a series, I take notice.
If the Bulls got by the Celtics, which was possible, they could have made it to the Eastern Conference Finals easily.
I feel they would have lost there, as they would have been too tired to go on though.
They are a young team led by young players. With that said, they do need a veteran to keep them straight.
I think they have that in Brad Miller, as he is a 10-year vet. But the problem is that he is not the best player in the world to have leading your team.
So basically it was on Kirk Hinrich, but since he does not start, it was on Ben Gordon.
Along with Derrick Rose, they had a good backcourt. And that was one thing the Celtics just could not stop half the time in the series.
When Gordon averages 24 points a game and Rose averages 19, you need to know that the backcourt is the problem. What the Bulls did was in the frontcourt.
The fact that Miller is a 10-year veteran means nothing if he cannot stop them from coming up the middle. Also, he is not a proven scorer. He averages 10 points and seven rebounds a game in the playoffs right now, which is a bad stat to have production-wise.
Joakim Noah averages 13 rebounds and 10 points in the playoffs, which is what helped them out. He still has not shown anything defensive-wise, but he is relatively young.
The fact is that a veteran is what they lack, they just have to have one that is a proven winner and can contribute well.
Tim Thomas, Lindsey Hunter, and Brad Miller are the veterans of the group. Everyone else averages five years in the league and less. This means, that there is no need to add youth to the team, as you already have a good team to build on.
What you need is a person like Michael Jordan. I know, I know. It's a claim that will never happen. But Chicago hasn't had a leader they could rally behind since Jordan.
They thought they had that in Gordon and Hinrich, but that just does not seem like it is going to work. Both are scorers and do show teamwork. You can do that all day, but if there are no leadership skills to rally behind and show that on the court, then all of that is worth nothing.
The scorers will get down on themselves and do too much, essentially costing their team the game.
The passers will try to get the ball into places it just cannot go, and that could cost them the game too. This, I feel, is the reason they lost.
Rose, Gordon, Salmons, and others tried to score their way out, but did too much. In the end, it cost them the game.
If they had had a veteran to keep them in line, maybe they would be going on in the playoffs right now.
While they do show a lot of promise, they do need to get someone via free agency.
There are a few out there, and there could be even more if teams decide to release players.
One name that is popping out there is Shawn Marion. If they get him, they could easily contend for the NBA Title next year.
They really need someone on the inside and they need to get rid of Miller. It's not that Miller hasn't done well in the past, he just isn't working for the Bulls right now.
They could put Noah at the center position, at which he has proven to excel in the past. Then, of course, they would keep Marion at the power forward position. Deng would be small forward. Both would rotate with Salmons and Thomas who can play both power and small forward.
What the Bulls have, that no other teams really do, is depth. While they are still young, they do have a lot of talented players who have been doing well off the bench. That's a good thing, of course, it's just that the frontcourt is a problem.
If they can get a proven veteran like Marion or someone else who is a proven winner, they could do well next year. The Bulls could be NBA Champions sooner rather than later.