Sometimes in life, we forget where we are because we're so focused on where we want to be. Where are the Bulls? Either the second and third best team in the NBA. We're not first though. That's Miami. It might hurt to say it, but it's the truth.
The Bulls won't be favorites against Miami unless the Heat have a serious injury. They won't be favorites next year or the year after that. Even going three years out, Dwyane Wade will probably be going strong enough that the Bulls still won't be favorites.
Simply put, the Heat have the best player in the NBA. A guy in 4-5 man race (along with Rose) for second best player, another guy in the top 15, and enough role players to have quality depth. On a talent for talent basis, no team in the NBA will top them. The best any team can hope to do is build a strong team and get lucky.
It doesn't matter if the Bulls add player abc or xyz. Only adding Dwight Howard or his equivalent would truly make a difference, and Dwight's not coming. Don't envy the job of Gar Forman and John Paxson as they're in an impossible position trying to fight what is almost certainly a losing battle.
It's sad that Dwight doesn't want to come to Chicago, because if he did, the Bulls have enough trade pieces to make it happen. Dwight and Rose would likely win multiple titles, and the NBA would have an epic battle between the Bulls and Heat every playoffs. It'd be epic enough to reseed the brackets to make sure that matchup happened in the finals rather than the ECF. Dwight wants what he wants though, and apparently, that isn't the best chance to win multiple championships.
Now the best team doesn't always win, and Miami might not win again this year. The team that wins might be Chicago, Oklahoma City, or a true dark horse. However, the championship is Miami's to lose, and I don't expect another LeBron choke job this season.
In order to win, the Bulls need to bring their A game up against Miami's B game. If Chicago brings its A game and it isn't enough are they still failures for not having the deck stacked in their favor?
I'll say no.
This is a Bulls team you can be proud of regardless of the results. It's led by a superstar you can be proud to root for as a fan and filled with high quality players who are actually good guys off the court. They may be the 90s Knicks for the next four years, stopped by a team with talent too colossal to defeat. However, ask a Knicks fan, and they look back on those teams with tremendous fondness.
This isn't to say things are hopeless. Chicago can compete, and Chicago could buck the odds and win. If they do, it will instantly become my favorite Bulls championship, because they'll have won it through heart, determination, and hustle rather than a talent base which simply could not be denied.
It'd be a working class championship, a championship representative of the city of Chicago, a championship where David slays Goliath. The Bulls beating the Heat and [likely] the Thunder to win the title this year would become the greatest sports moment of my life. One which would never be topped.
However, if they come up short, just remember that the underdog usually doesn't win. We usually don't get fairytale endings, and this Bulls team is one worth loving either way.