Here Comes Kobe Bryant: Phil Jackson Is Once Again the Key for Bulls Future

Adam SpragueContributor IFebruary 24, 2010

NEW YORK - JANUARY 22:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates a three pointer against the New York Knicks during their game at Madison Square Garden on January 22, 2010 in New York, New York.  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 Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

As the Bulls approach the climax of their free agent search, it is once again Phil Jackson that holds the key to what the Bulls will be able to accomplish in the next three years.

Just like many others have done, including Sam Smith (bulls.com NBA writer), I am dismissing the chance that LeBron James winds up in Chicago. It’s unrealistic. It seems James will end up staying in Cleveland or head east and play for the Knicks.

Wade, a prolific scorer in his own right, can put up points but has to dominate the dribble on nearly every possession. This is the current job of Derrick Rose and it would surprise me if the dual headed monster of Gar Forman and John Paxon brought in Wade and consequently saw the number of touches for Rose (their guy) drop.

If Rose is able to develop a three point shot and a more consistent jumper, which he has already started to do, Rose and Wade would have a near identical skill set.

There is no reason to pursue Wade. Plus, Wade has never been a deadly closer, and since Shaq’s departure has not been able to get it done.

The man that the Bulls need to pursue this offseason has got it done every season since he entered the league and is the closest thing to Michael Jordan the league has ever seen—Kobe Bryant.

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This NBA season has been dominated with game winning shots from Bryant. He has been more clutch this year than he has in his entire career.

Bryant’s improved passing also shows that he has matured into an excellent team player as he has started to age. This would be a perfect complement to Deng and Rose.

Bryant has gone off this season and is averaging twenty-eight points and nearly five assists per game. He has also nailed a remarkable seventy-three three pointers this year.

It’s hard to deny that this might be the best season Bryant has ever had and he should continue to peak for another two or three seasons before starting his decline into retirement. This is the perfect time for the Bulls to throw everything they have at the thirteen year vet.

It’s been made public the Lakers would be exploring a more team basketball approach if Jackson was to depart after this season and it’s not clear that Kobe would want to stick around without the Zen Master courtside. Bryant has shown interest in the past in Chicago as a possible landing spot to end his career.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine watching the Bulls charge the United Center in the big screen and then hear the following starting lineup announced: Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Derrick Rose and Kobe Bryant. Combine that lineup with a realistic bench including Hakim Warrick, Kirk Hinrich and Flip Murray.

Teams would not look forward to facing this rotation night in and night out. The team would finally have solid rebounding, great penetration, and a closeout clutch shooter.

Although Bryant is much older than these other guys, Bryant gives the Bulls a legit chance to reach the NBA Finals which is something the young guys don’t. His experience would be invaluable to the Bulls’ young roster.

Still fans may be calling for a push at Chris Bosh over Kobe.  If the Bulls would land Bosh it would give them a post up threat and a great scorer. But it would also leave the Bulls without a closer or a leader with championship experience to mentor Rose and Noah.

The post-up game has been like the running game in the NFL, it’s slowly being replaced. The Cavs hardly ever run post ups except to feed Shaq a few attempts. Most of their offense is created off of spot ups and dribble penetration, which the Bulls would thrive on with Kobe in the lineup.

So once again Bulls fans should be very concerned with Phil Jackson this offseason. He has been coaching Kobe for years to do what he was born to do: Win a championship in Michael’s house.


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