It will likely have the fan fare of the BCS and a media vote, but clearly the only undefeated team wins the title right? I expect the Bulls will hand out preseason championship belts simultaneously while the Heat get their championship rings from last season, or maybe we'll save the honor for the first home game in New York.
I kid, I kid.
Even though it's totally irrelevant, I'm excited for the Bulls perfect start in preseason. With the stress over Joakim's groin, Kirk's head, and the momentary blip over whether Derrick Rose was really back when he skipped the game in Rio, it's been awfully nice not to have to worry about anything that happened on the court.
Are the Bulls playing the games more seriously than their opponents? Maybe. Maybe not. Chicago's been missing at least one starter for every game and their starters haven't really played notably more minutes than the competition.
Even against OKC when the Bulls closed off the game with Rose while Durant rested to take back the lead, the Thunder had built it back up with Durant on the floor against the Bulls backups.
The reality is that the Bulls have simply played well in preseason so far. The defense looks very solid, Derrick Rose looks better than ever, and the rest of the offense has rounded into shape after a couple of poor starts in the first few games.
The Bulls new alignment is generating significantly more free throw attempts which is giving Chicago a pillar of efficiency to stand on right now.
There are still concerns, the health of Noah is a big one as the Bulls will struggle if he's out for an extended period of time. This, of course, leads into the problem of guessing when you can bring him back in so that he's not out for an extended period of time.
Of course, Chicago doesn't want to rest him once he's good, but playing 20 minutes and causing a set back for a week is a far worse scenario. Groin injuries are tricky that way. The good news for Chicago is that if they're conservative early, and I hope they are, then Noah won't have any lingering affects from this later.
On paper I think everyone would agree, better to have Jo out for all of November and be sure he's really, really ready than be wondering in May whether or not his groin will hold up for a playoff series. That said, it seems really hard for the management of any sports team to pull the trigger on shutting a guy down for a period longer than what might be necessary to ensure he's fully healed.
I don't expect the Bulls to play things that conservatively, and if Jo's healthy that's fine. However, the first time we have a recurrence the Bulls will need to look out for the "I told you so" police. Jen Swanson can start earning her money by convincing the Bulls to play it safe.
Outside of the news with Noah, it's full steam ahead for Chicago though. Derrick couldn't look better, Jimmy looks to prove last season was no fluke, Luol Deng rebounded from a slow start to play quite well recently, and even Carlos Boozer logged a good game against OKC.
Dunleavy hasn't shot the ball as well as I'd hoped for at times, but I'm not concerned about it. His hustle and play in other areas has been better than I expected, and I'm more pleased with the signing after seeing him in preseason than I was when it was made.
Marquis Teague has also improved his play considerably after a slow start and anyone scouting him after his first couple games might be a bit more intrigued as well.
Going into the regular season, I feel amazingly confident about this team. Title? Maybe, maybe not, but they're good. Really good. Certainly as good as other teams who've won the title in the past. They have a juggernaut in front of them in terms of Miami, but they've got as good of weapons to combat them as ever.
So I will root for Chicago to clinch a preseason championship tonight. It won't mean a thing once the ball is tossed up October 29th, but I love that the Bulls look like winners right now. They look serious. They look motivated. They look like a legitimate contender.