Even in the wake of the news Cleveland will be finalizing their very own version of the Big 3, Chicago fans should rest easy knowing this year is far different than in 2010 when the Bulls were felled by the Heatles.
A Fine Mix of Youth and Maturity
The 2010 “Bench Mob” was really good. So good, that as a group their efficiency difference of +8.0 was second in the NBA behind only the eventual champion, Dallas Mavericks (+10.6).
However, this years’ group has something 2010 lacked.
Playing alongside veteran favorites such as Taj Gibson and “Captain” Kirk Hinrich will be young up and comers Tony Snell, Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic. This group is a younger and better shooting group than their successful predecessors. Tony Snell is a more complete Ronnie Brewer. McDermott is a more promising version of his mentor Kyle Korver. And Mirotic, while lacking what Omer Asik provided on defense, makes up for it with floor spacing and ceiling. These players also have the luxury of Tom Thibodeau’s system being the first they learn as NBA players.
In his third year Jimmy Butler has transformed himself into a more tenacious version of Luol Deng. Now, add in what should be a smarter Derrick Rose, a former champion in Pau Gasol, and a born again DPOY Joakim Noah and this team is downright scary.
Something to Prove
The 2010 team was the NBA’s biggest surprise. Since then, they have garnered plenty of attention with little to show for it. Ever since Derrick’s “miracle” MVP season Chicago has been stuck in some sort of “win now-fall short-limbo”. And, while this years’ group won’t surprise anyone by making the conference finals, after a few years of humbling comeuppance the Bulls are finally prepared to take the next step.
Tom Thibodeau knows his players. Derrick Rose knows his limitations. And, in his absence Joakim Noah has become the true leader of this team. Now Derrick can stay quiet and play ball. Everything else goes through Joakim and everyone else is fine with that. Derrick Rose may be the last bit of weight that should tip the power scale in Chicago’s favor, but Joakim Noah is the engine that drives this Bulls team. They live and die with him and past that everyone knows their role.
This team initially wanted Carmelo, but they’re perfectly content and possibly happier with depth. Thibs’ and GarPax may not see eye to eye on everything, but this dysfunctional love triangle knows they want the same thing. No excuses or confusion here, in 2014 it’s winning time.