The Rock Report

« Jim Tressel Suspended For Doing His Fights Must Stay In Hockey For »

Could These Chicago Bulls Win An NBA Title This Soon?

Rock Mamola

Producer/Host on WSCR 670AM The Score.

Who does not love a good surprise?  A Christmas present that was totally unexpected.  A new job possibility opening.  A basketball team that exceeds expectations.
OK, so maybe some thought the Chicago Bulls would be this good this quick.  Not this blogger.  
At 43-18, the Chicago Bulls currently stand as the second best team in the NBA's Eastern Conference while eclipsing their win totals of each the last two playoffs seasons.  By sweeping their season series with the Miami Heat yesterday winning nine of their last 11 games, the Chicago Bulls made a statement in South Beach.  Not necessarily to the local media contingent, but to the national one.  By defeating the big three for the third and final time this regular season, critics are starting to take notice that the Bulls could indeed be a legit contender for the Eastern Conference crown.
Wait a second......what did I just say?  
Is it too early to believe that this Bulls team could win a NBA title this soon?


With 21 games left on their schedule, the Chicago Bulls will easily eclipse my pre-season prediction of 50 wins on the season.  However I did not expect them to do so without the services of Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah for most of the season.  Especially with an up and coming star in Derrick Rose who still had a lot to learn about the NBA game, and a rookie head coach at  the helm.  Like many, the Chicago Bulls have proven me wrong throughout the season as they continue to improve as a collective unit with confidence growing with each win on the schedule.
It is amazing to see a 22 year old play and act like a 30 year old veteran who has numerous titles to his name.  It is fun to watch a team that values defense more than putting the ball in the basket.  It is stunning to see a first year head coach and a system gel in such a short span of time.  In other words all the headlines and headaches the NBA offseason created for Bulls fans in their pursuit of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, etc......who needs them?
This Bulls team is doing exactly what Bulls fans wanted them to do, win despite losing out on the big three of the NBA offseason.  So far mission accomplished, but how far can they go.
The simple facts are this....the Chicago Bulls have advanced past the first round only once of out five attempts since the days of Jordan and Pippen.  Both Scott Skiles and Vinny Del Negro led their teams to the postseason in their first full seasons as head coach, and both were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.  What makes this year's team led by Tom Thibodeau any different?  
In Scott Skiles first year as head coach, the Bulls were the seventh best defensive team in the NBA and finished with 47 wins, yet fell to a Washington Wizards team that was one of the worst teams in the NBA on defense.  Even with the home court advantage, the Chicago Bulls lost with a first year head coach at the helm.  Fast forward to Vinny Del Negro's first season as head coach of the Chicago Bulls and you get the same result as the Chicago Bulls took the Boston Celtics to a seventh game where they eventually fell in Derrick Rose's rookie campaign.  
Can we really put our trust into Tom Thibodeau's system so much where we ignore the history of first year head coaches in the NBA postseason.  In fact since the 2001-2002 NBA season, there have been nine head coaches to reach the postseason in their first full year as head coach...three making it past the first round....none reaching the NBA Finals.  That is what the expectation is now that this current Chicago Bulls roster is expected to compete for the Eastern Conference crown.  Recent history shows Bulls fans should temper their expectations because Thibodeau would simply be defining the trend.

With a head coach in his first season you would figure to rely on the playoff experience of the players on his roster to make up for Thibodeau's inexperience.  Looking at the starting five for the Chicago Bulls, their leading scorer (Rose) and big man (Noah) have yet to get past the first round.  Luol Deng has made it past the first round once but is playing more minutes than ever before in his career.  The Bulls get little to no offensive production from their two guard in Keith Bogans who has never started in a playoff game.  Then there is Carlos Boozer who is still finding his role with the return of Joakim Noah as the backbone of the Bulls' experience in the postseason.   
Should this roster give Bulls fans solace that this Bulls team can compete with the likes of Boston's big three (2 NBA Finals/1 Title) and any team including LeBron James (NBA Finals), Dwayne Wade (1 NBA title) and Chris Bosh?  Does this collective group put fear into the hearts of the Orlando Magic who the last two seasons finished their years losing in the Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Finals respectively?   
While I am enjoying the ride this year's Chicago Bulls have given the city of Chicago, reality needs to settle in before anything else.  While the win yesterday over the Miami Heat should provide some glimmer of hope for the postseason, it was still just one regular season win.  The Chicago Bulls are simply too inexperienced to have confidence in once the post season kicks into high gear.  The Chicago Bulls have yet to do anything of significance when it matters.  An unproven first year head coach to go along with an unproven point guard and center in the postseason is hard to believe in when it comes playoff time.  
For me there are too many unknowns to sink my trust into this Chicago Bulls team moving into the postseason.  As fun as this season has been, I feel this sweep of the Heat in the regular season is going to have too many Bulls fans expecting too much from this collective roster and head coach.  The individual awards may come to the United Center in 2011, but another visit by the Larry O'Brien Trophy will have to wait.
John "Rock" Mamola is the Associate Producer of The Mully And Hanley Morning Show and Host of The Rock Report on WSCR 670AM The Score
You can follow The Mully And Hanley Morning Show at
You can follow Rock at




Recent Posts



MikeJP23 said:

default userpic local-auth auth-type-mt

I see your point about the experience not being there. But what if say they are too young to know better. I don't think this team matches up well and wins a 7 game Championship series with deep and experienced squads like the Lakers or the Spurs, but since the trade deadline passed I don't see a team out of the East who I would fear if I am the Chicago Bulls.
As much stock as you want to put in the Big 3 of the Miami Heat, they are not equipped to go as far as the Eastern Conference title series. They don't have a strong big man presence. Bosh is a scorer and doesn't want to big with anyone's bigs and the Ilgauskus/Magloire/Anthony experiment has proven to be a bust. And as soon as Wade and Lebron leave the court, no one is scoring or defending for them. When your bench only scores 2 against an oppenent's 22 (i.e. last Heat @ Bulls game), that's a bad sign. And after the Celtics dealt away their only other viable big man other than KG away, they lost a big part of what won them their championship and got them to the other one. Size is a big part of this game and the Bulls are very deep at that all the way to Asik. They may not have a starting 2 guard, but the Bogans/Brewer/Korver 3 headed monster has been suitable to this point. Deng has filled in well for that scoring void.

adocarbog said:

default userpic local-auth auth-type-mt

Some stats to discuss on your show (all are from stats)
Bulls are league leading (No. 1 baby) in:
1. +/- rebounding for the season by far, and also for the last 5 and 10 games by even wider margin.
2. Best defense in terms of opponent field goal %.
3. Best defense in terms on opponent scoring per 100 possessions.
4. Best defense in terms or opponent scoring and in the last 10 games in particular.

5. Best in allowing opposition 3pt shooting.

Defense wins championships and Thibs has in a period of several months made Bulls (old guard Rose, Deng, Taj, Noah) from a running team with fairly poor defense into a suffocating defense, half court, slow the game down to a play-off grind monsters.
I love it.

Leave a Comment?

Some HTML is permitted: a, strong, em

What your comment will look like:


what will you say?

Most Active Pages Right Now on Facebook

The Rock Report on Facebook