Chicago Bulls: 5 Reasons LA Lakers Should Be Worried About an NBA Finals Matchup

Scott Redick@Sports_25toLifeContributor IMarch 30, 2011

Chicago Bulls: 5 Reasons LA Lakers Should Be Worried About an NBA Finals Matchup

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    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 10: Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers knocks the ball away from Omer Asik #3 of the Chicago Bulls as Matt Barnes #9 defends at the United Center on December 10, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Lakers 88-84. N
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Despite everything that has happened this season, the Chicago Bulls own the best record in the Eastern Conference. 

    Injuries have really taken their toll on the Bulls this season; they have lost both Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer for lengths throughout the season. It's a lot like NBC's The Office: The cast is always shifting, but as long as the main man (Derrick Rose/Michael Scott) is around the conclusion remains the same. It was well worth the time to watch the final product. 

    When everything comes together the Bulls are scary good. 

    They boast the leading candidate for MVP in Derrick Rose with one of the best and deepest front-lines in the NBA.

    There are no teams that want to see the Bulls in the Finals this season, but most of all the Los Angeles Lakers should want to avoid them.

    You can find more information and other work by this author here.   

Overall Depth

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 21: Joakim Noah #13 (L) and Carlos Boozer #5 of the Chicago Bulls encourage teammates playing against the Sacramento Kings from the bench at the United Center on March 21, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Kings 132-92.
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    There are few teams in the NBA as deep from top to bottom as the Lakers are. 

    The Bulls are one of those teams. They go five deep in big men and have one of the biggest wing rotations in the NBA. While this doesn't mean that the Bulls bench is better, the Lakers do lose the advantage of keeping their players fresher than their opponents.

    While the Lakers may have more talent coming off of the bench with Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom, the Bulls sport a larger range of players that can contribute in different ways.

Age

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 28: Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls puts up a shot between Thaddeus Young #21 and Jodie Meeks #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers at the United Center on March 28, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The 76ers defeated the Bulls 97-85. NOTE TO U
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    While the Lakers still have a roster full of elite players in the NBA, all but four of the players on their active roster are over the age of 30 and they start only one player under 30. While the decline of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol has been greatly overstated, age never helps in the NBA. The Spurs have struggled to get over the hump ever since Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili started aging. 

    The Bulls on the other hand have just five players on their roster over 30 years old and they start three players under the age of 27. This will give the Bulls just younger legs in general heading into the Finals should both teams make it there.  

Multiple Players to Wear Down Kobe

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    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 10: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks to pass as Ronnie Brewer #11 of the Chicago Bulls defends at the United Center on December 10, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Lakers 88-84. NOTE TO USER: User ex
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Shutting down Kobe is like stopping Old Faithful, its just not going to happen. 

    There is no true way to stop Kobe Bryant, there are ways to slow him down.

    Some teams and players have showed us glimpses over the past couple of years. 

    Have a long, athletic wing that can stay in front of him (Think Mickael Pietrus from the Magic):

    The Bulls have Ronnie Brewer. Check.

    Have a under-appreciated guard committed to defense (Think Bruce Bowen from the Spurs):

    The Bulls have Kieth Bogans. Check.

    Have a shooter Bryant has to chase around on the other end of the floor (Think Ray Allen from the Celtics):

    The Bulls have Kyle Korver. Check.

    While these players won't combine to shut Kobe down, they will give the Bulls the ability to stay in control of the game. Each of these players brings their own aspect of the game and Coach Tom Thibodeau has been mixing and matching his shooting guards well all season and that should continue through the playoffs.

The Top Frontline in the East

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 28: Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls battles for the ball with Elton Brand #42 of the Philadelphia 76ers in front of Carlos Boozer #5 at the United Center on March 28, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The 76ers defeated the Bulls 97-85.
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    With Noah and Boozer playing at an All-Star level together, the Bulls have one of the most intimidating front courts in the NBA.

    The injuries to both of those players throughout the season have allowed the Bulls to develop impeccable depth up front.

    With all of the injury problems the Bulls have seen, youngster Taj Gibson, who started much of the season last year, has become one of their most valuable assets. He stepped in to the starting line up in the beginning of the year with Boozer out and produced his usual numbers. Veteran Kurt Thomas has also filled a role on the team by providing solid defense and rebounding all season. Even expected project Omer Asik has been playing a solid 10-15 minutes a game and looking like a seasoned NBA veteran. Over the last few weeks, Asik has turned in multiple 10 rebound performances. 

    While the Lakers still have the imposing talent of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, the Bulls have a five deep rotation of big men they can use to combat the Lakers wealth of talent. 

Derrick Rose

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    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 10: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls drives between Pau Gasol #16 (L) and Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers at the United Center on December 10, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Lakers 88-84..NOTE TO USE
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    First, I am in no way saying that Derrick Rose is better than Kobe Bryant, but it is hard to say anyone is playing better than him right now.

    Derrick Rose is the first and foremost reason why no one should want to play the Bulls in the NBA Playoffs. He has the ability to take over games with his scoring as well as his passing and that is one of the most dangerous skills a player can have.

    Should this matchup happen I would love the see the Rose versus Kobe final minutes of close games because right now it is hard to find true closers in the NBA and they are two of the best.

    Rose also has an advantage because he will be matched up with the Lakers point guards, their weakest position defensively.

    While we may see some of Bryant and Rose guarding each other as an experiment if the teams' other defenders fail, don't assume that it will happen as both would have major problems guarding each other because of their different styles of play.