Derrick Rose is back. The Bulls are finally healthy. And I’m ready to talk about championship number 7 and a party in Grant Park.
The Bulls kicked off their season with a media last Friday and started training camp over the weekend and the feeling at the Berto Center is clear, optimism. The last time the Bulls were healthy was in 2011 when most people found it surprising that they were the number one overall seed in the East in a year that was suppose to see the Heat go 74-8. Two years later the Bulls find themselves in a different place. Their new addition is by far the best one in the league and no I’m not talking about Mike Dunleavy Jr. The East will be tough no doubt with Brooklyn, New York and Indiana all getting better but the East still runs through Miami and LeBron, something the Bulls have no problem dealing with.
94-91. That was the final score of the Bulls-Heat game that saw Chicago get eliminated for the 2nd time in three years by their most hated rivals in Miami, who don’t even consider the Bulls a rival still. Well newsflash South Beach, the Bulls are deeper and when healthy have a chance to beat the Heat 4 times in the playoffs with the former MVP at the helm. But the Bulls and Tommy Thibs won’t look past tomorrow’s three hours of practice as he handles a Tuesday night in Charlotte as serious as Kennedy handled the Cuban Missile Crisis. Point being is that these Bulls aren’t looking ahead or taking anyone lightly, the motto that has been set since day one in the Thibodeau reign. The Bulls collectively got better this off-season, whether it was in the gym or in free agency.
Taj Gibson reportedly added 15 pounds of muscle to handle both Power Forwards and Centers as well as the long grind that is the NBA season while the Booze cruise (Carlos Boozer) lightened his load to have the ability to run with Rose on the break. Joakim Noah spent all summer working on his game and healing his foot while Deng and Hinrich both healed up from a spinal tap (Deng) and Pneumonia ( Hinrich) along with various of other injuries. In Free agency they added sharpshooter Mike Dunleavy Jr. who most definitely will help with the struggles the Bulls had from downtown last year. But no one may be more important than the man at shooting guard, Jimmy Butler.
Butler had quite the Hollywood summer this off-season, making an appearance at the ESPY’s and traveling to China. But he spent most of his time in a gym, perfecting his craft to become that one missing piece the Bulls have needed since the day the gang broke up in ’98. You get my point. Butler doesn’t have to be a Hall of Fame type player for the Bulls to win a championship, if he gives the Bulls 14-16 a night with a percentage of about 43 % from deep and his consistent swarming defense that he has always brought, it’ll be awfully tough to beat this team.
The Bulls and Pacers will probably break the record for most watched NBA preseason game in history Saturday night (if there even is a stat) as Rose makes his first return to the hardwood. Knowing the Bulls, it’s all about one day at a time until they lift that trophy in Grant Park in June along with the Hawks hoisting the Cup once again, now that’s a summer to look forward too.