By: Grant Pomatto
While the conversation around Chicago will be about the new World Series Champions, the Bulls are trying their best to shift the focus of the town on them and make sure we still haven’t forgotten about our beloved Bulls. The Bulls have gotten off to their best start since the ’96-’97 team when Jordan and Pippen were leading the way to yet another one of their six elusive titles. The looks of the team now really have no comparison to that team that has two 3-peats back in the 90’s but they sure still know how to win basketball games.
What I don’t understand is why people are sleeping on them and saying they wont even make the playoffs. Yes, they do have a team that is inconsistent with health and ball-sharing but obviously, they are defying the haters by proving to them that the starting 5 unit can play with each other and learn how to not only share the ball but find their teammate that is hot at the time. Averaging 110.3 ppg. isn’t just a fluke of nature. You need to have an offense that is explosive but also knows how to play together. The Bulls have done that so far by finding the open shooters, making that extra pass, giving up a wide open shot for and even wider open shot and simply just playing smart offensive basketball.
Some have said that Dwayne Wade (a.k.a. Father Prime), Rajon Rondo, and Jimmy Butler wouldn’t be able to get along and decide who’s team it really is. Obviously with them all working together and not getting caught up in all of that nonsense, they have a found a way with Head Coach Fred Hoiberg to determine that it requires all of them and their experience to show the way for their young Bulls’s teammates. With the veteran experience of Rondo and Wade, the entire team can learn how to play together more soundly as a unit as opposed to just five individual basketball players out on the floor trying to pad their own stats. Jimmy Butler is also essential to the team as he brings in a lot of experience himself but is also able to relate with the younger players as he’s starting to become one of the elite players in the NBA.
The real question for the Bulls is whether they will be able to sustain their success through the season as it keeps moving forward. The health on the team will be a main concern for them as already a few of their bench players (Michael Carter-Williams and Doug McDermott) have been sideline with injuries. While it remains to be seen whether the Bulls can be a legitimate playoff contender, they are most certainly of to a roaring start. Winning early in the season is always good, but the consistency must be there throughout the rest of the season for other Eastern Conference teams to take them seriously once the playoffs start to get closer.
Prediction: I think the Bulls starting this way is always a good sign for them which I think will carry through the entire season. I don’t think they are good enough yet to compete with a team like Cleveland or Toronto when the games actually matter in the playoffs, but I do think they will contend for a higher seed rather than fighting to get into the playoffs like most people have them doing now. I think they finish the season around the 47-35 mark with a fourth or fifth seed in the playoffs and make it to the conference semifinals but are stopped short there by the Cavaliers.
(Featured Image: Shinya Suzuki, Flickr)