Yes and no. I wanted to discuss this thought, because I hear it frequently. The Bulls are lucky to have landed Rose in an absolute sense. Of course they are. The Spurs were lucky to have landed Tim Duncan when they were an elite team and Robinson blew his knee out. The Lakers were lucky the Grizzlies traded Pau Gasol, that Shaq came to LA before RFA, and that Kobe Bryant somehow fell to 13 and was available for Vlade Divac.
The Celtics were lucky that Kevin McHale, GM of the Timberwolves, was a former Celtic and preferred to work with them on the Garnett trade. The Heat are lucky that the Pistons took Darko Milicic instead of Dwyane Wade, or else the trinity would never have ended up there.
Since the best teams in the NBA are driven by elite superstars, the best teams always have a fair amount of luck involved in their creation. Maybe it's just the ping pong balls, maybe it's a random luck that allowed them to even get to the ping pong ball spot in the first place. It could be a rule change or making a move just before a rule change.
There is always an element of chance when a team falls into a great player, and while the 1.7% chance to land Rose seems like longer luck than most, it only begins to make up for the unfathomable bad luck the Bulls have had since Jordan's retirement (which I suppose you could say only begun to make up for the luck of drafting Jordan falling to third in the first place, of course that was making up for the bad luck in our just missing out on Magic Johnson).
I don't believe luck is cyclical, but if you roll the dice often enough, you eventually get the ever elusive yahtzee, and the Bulls were simply due for something to fall in their direction.
Let's take a look at the Bulls luck since Jordan's retirement.
The lockout season and new CBA
Jerry Krause had positioned the Bulls to have basically no money on the books at all heading into the following season, and it was one of the best free agent classes in the history of the league. At the time, there was no maximum salary for players, and the Bulls were expected to outbid other teams on their top two choices, Tim Duncan and Tracy McGrady.
They also had incoming draft picks Ron Artest and Elton Brand.
If the new CBA doesn't come in and put a cap on individual player salaries, the Bulls likely land Tim Duncan, however, the new rules make it so that Duncan can make more money with the Spurs than Bulls. If the Bulls landed Duncan, they would have also landed another top tier FA, because they would have had a legit superstar.
You're talking about a team being rebuilt with Duncan, McGrady, Artest, and Brand as it's core. Does that team win titles? It probably does. If the CBA was negotiated one year later, the Bulls might have won multiple titles immediately after the Jordan era.
The new CBA in 2005
The Bulls have the #2 pick in the 2006 draft, the pick that should have been Kevin Durant. Unfortunately, Kevin Durant is forced to go to college for a year because of the CBA that was renegotiated that summer. If that CBA were drafted simply one year later, the Bulls would be headlined by Kevin Durant right now.
We'd have missed out on Rose of course, but we'd have had a damn elite team anyway, and we wouldn't think much about missing out on Rose like we don't think much about missing out on Blake Griffin.
Now, I'd rather have Rose than Durant right now, but I doubt any of us would be complaining about a team with Kevin Durant on it.
The Bulls had tons of lotto picks, but never high enough in the right draft
There weren't tons of superstars entering the league in most of the Bulls down years, and we never had the right pick at the right time.
If you look at the superstars that entered the league over that stretch:
2000: We have #4 and #8 in one of the worst drafts ever
2001: We have #2 and #4 in one of the worst drafts ever (though we miss Pau Gasol at #3 for Tyson Chandler)
2002: We have #2 and get Jay Williams (miss Ming by 1) and he ends his career with a motorcycle accident
2003: Imagine if we had our picks of any of the last three years here? But no, we pick this season to win 30 games and get #7, miss out on LeBron,Wade, Melo, and Bosh
2004: Miss out on Dwight Howard by two picks
2005: no first
2006: Screwed by Durant rule, and we fubar the draft
2007: Grab Noah at #9
2008: Grab Rose
Really, the Bulls draft luck up until the point where they grab Noah / Rose was simply abysmally bad. It wasn't that they drafted poorly (outside of Krause's decision to take Chandler over Gasol and Paxson taking a risk on Tyrus's upside vs Roy/Aldridge's safety), but it was never the right place at the right time. They just had the wrong picks in the wrong years, and when they hit on a player who has legit star potential, he ends his career in an motorcycle accident after one season.
We always had the right package at the wrong time for trades
I know people love to blame GarPax for the lack of trades the Bulls have made, and their inability to bring in a superstar, but they never had the right package at the right time. The Bulls offered Tyson Chandler, Luol Deng and a #1 for Kevin Garnett back when those were valuable trade assets, and Minnesota said no thanks, only to trade him for Al Jefferson and chips later.
They offered about Gordon, Nocioni (when they had strong value) and a pick for Pau Gasol only to see him get traded for a heap of crap and two future rolls of toilet paper. In both years, the Bulls made offers that exceeded what the player actually went for one year later, but the Bulls offer the following year in each case wasn't as appealing due to a change in the player or his contract.
Things were always close to coming together, but never quite there.
So were the Bulls lucky to get Rose?
Hell yes. I'm getting a 1.7% tattoo if the Bulls win a title with Rose.
However, after some crazy twists of fate over the previous decade, I'm taking it and not apologizing for it. The Bulls haven't had a ton of luck since the Jordan retirement, no reason to act like we didn't deserve some the one time it rolls are way.