In a move that surprises me a bit, and is sure to upset fans of other teams, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah both made the NBA all-star reserve list as voted in by the coaches.
If you're a Brooklyn Nets fan, how do you look at your team with a better record than Chicago, and say "we get no all-stars but Chicago gets two?". Indiana Pacers fans can have a similar conversation. Quite honestly, even I have to somewhat question Noah over Lopez given how strong Lopez has come around recently, but when the votes were cast probably played a large role in the decision as well.
That all said, congratulations to both players. While I think from a high level, it's odd that the Bulls get two all-stars, on a detail level both players are as deserving as anyone in the running. The east had a great number of guys on the bubble, and it's easy to make a case for probably the next four guys who missed the cut.
Allow me to steal an idea from my good friend Coldfish from realgm, because the post rocked my foundation when I read it:
Take off the best player on every team in the league (LeBron, Durant, Griffin, whomever you feel is the best). Have all the teams then play without their best player. How many teams are better than the Chicago Bulls?
Given that only seven teams have better records while Chicago IS actually doing just that. The worst Chicago could rank is eighth, and that would be saying you believe Derrick Rose gets the Bulls no wins. While we've complained that Derrick Rose doesn't have a good enough cast, it's time to step back and realize that Derrick Rose has, at worst, a top five cast in the entire NBA.
At worst, top five. I mean it's basically impossible to argue otherwise.
Did you feel that way before stopping and considering it in this light? I know I didn't.
You can certainly argue that the Bulls are missing particular features of their cast that can hurt them in the playoffs. That lack isolation scorers outside of Rose, and their offense can stall, but they also have other features that opposing teams don't to compensate for that. That's why they've won so many games.
If Derrick Rose hits this thing Adrian Peterson style, the Chicago Bulls have a legitimate chance to win the championship this year. Forget blowing up the old bench mob, the only guy from it they miss right now is Omer Asik and quite honestly, the fourth big man won't be that important in getting past Miami since they largely play small themselves and Omer couldn't help the Bulls dominate offensively going big.
On top of that, from what little we've seen and heard of Rose's recovery, he has a fair chance at knocking this thing out of the park Adrian Peterson style. Rose discussed at length how he's never been this strong before because he's never had to work on all these muscles. He discussed improving his core, his balance, and thinks he'll be physically stronger.
On top of that, he won't have come off a full season of pounding while entering the playoffs. Instead, he'll have relatively fresh legs after skipping approximately six months of hard work on them during the season and focusing mostly on building up strength.
Of course, it's much more likely that he won't come back Adrian Peterson style. We call it Peterson style, because no one else has ever come back physically stronger before, but I think Rose has a legitimate chance due to his own descriptions of his lifting routines prior to the injury and Chicago's cautious nature with it.
He has probably the perfect amount of time to reintegrate into the Bulls offense when he returns, build his confidence, and build his continuity. This felt like a lost season the second Rose tore his ACL last May, but it doesn't feel that way right now. Now, it feels like there's hope again. Chicago probably won't win the title this season, just like 28 other teams, but right now, I think there's only two teams with a better chance.