How to win an NBA title, a look at past champions

This is a copy cat league, and the San Antonio Spurs just ripped through it with a whole lot of depth but not a lot of stars. The Miami Heat recently won back to back titles with multiple stars and not a lot of depth. What's the best way to win a title?

First, I'd like to dispel the myth that the Spurs were really a star team because of their big three which might all be hall of famers some day. If you pro-rated out the way they played this year to a whole career and removed past accomplishments, they'd have zero hall of fame players. The fact Duncan used to be a superstar and Ginobili used to be an all-star caliber player is irrelevant.

Tony Parker is the only one close to that right now. They were definitely a depth team. Here's an overall view of the most recent NBA champions:

2013/14: Spurs - Group of borderline stars

No one played over 30 minutes per game in the regular season and the leading scorer (Parker) averaged 16.7 per game. In the playoffs no one played over 32.7 minutes per game and the leading scorer (Parker again) averaged 17.4. However, the team was packed with tons of experience and a bunch of guys who were near stars. Duncan, Parker, Leonard, and Ginobili were all stars for stretches, and their role players all stepped up and played huge as well.

2012/13: Heat - Superstar + two stars

The Heat actually played a pretty big rotation as far as minutes go and regularly went 10 deep. However, the scoring was largely due to their stars who averaged almost all of their points. During the regular season they kept minute totals inline though with only James having a high total (37.9). James played over 40 minutes per game in the playoffs, but Wade stayed under 36 and Bosh was a shade over 32.

They stuck with their 10 man rotation in the playoffs to put in fresh bodies for the most part, except for James, but the impact still came down to winning. James was the lone superstar in these playoffs while Bosh/Wade played more at a normal star level.

2011/12: Heat - Two superstars + star

The Heat ran a much shorter rotation in 11/12 than in 12/13 and put a bigger burden on their stars. LeBron was over 40 minutes per game in the playoffs and Wade was at 39 while Bosh was at a shade under 36 and Chalmers was also over 30. Effectively the big three still carried the full load here of course with James and Wade playing superstar roles and Bosh being a star.

2010/11: Mavericks - Single superstar + Depth

The Mavericks played a nine deep rotation with one superstar, but they had five guys over 30 minutes per game (four starters and Jason Terry off the bench). They had a keey player surrounded by a group of guys who stepped up for one season to deliver a ring.

2009/10: Lakers - Superstar, Star

Kobe played the role of superstar, Pau Gasol was nearly just as important and had a shot at finals MVP as well. The team then had several really good players (World Peace, Bynum, Odom) to chew up the rest of the minutes in a short rotation

2008/09: Lakers - Superstar, star

Kobe dominated these playoffs much more than in 2009/10, but the model was similar. You had a superstar, a star and a group of really good starters with him on a team that didn't go very deep into its rotation.

2007/08: Celtics - Multiple stars

I'm not sure if anyone on this team deserved the title superstar, but Garnett and Pierce were both pretty close to that while Allen was definitely a star as well and Rondo, who hadn't quite emerged yet, wasn't too far behind. It was a team with those four guys who carried the load along with Perkins who was a great fit next to four strong offensive players to clog the middle.

They didn't play a particularly deep rotation and their big three each averaged 38 minutes per game in the playoffs with Rondo over 30 as well.

2006/7: Spurs - Superstar, stars

This was definitely a big three with Duncan being the dominant superstar, Tony Parker playing like an all-star (and winning finals MVP), and Ginobili playing at a star level. The Spurs had four guys over 30 minutes (Bowen being the other), but played nine guys over 10 per game to keep fresh bodies in or use matchups when their primary players weren't on the floor.

2005/6: Miami - Superstar, star

You could make an argument that this was a multi-superstar team with Wade and Shaq, but Shaq's playoff PER was sub 20, and he really wasn't playing near a superstar level at this point. He was still a star, but Wade carried the Heat to victory on his shoulders. They had a couple good ring chasers in Payton, Walker, and Mourning, as well as some decent role players in Jason Williams and Udonis Haslem. They played an eight man rotation overall while Wade was more or less engine.

2004/5: Spurs - Superstar, stars

Similar to the 06/07 team, they won around their big three with Bowen playing huge minutes as a defender. Horry, Barry, and Muhammed played their depth roles in what was an eight man rotation overall. Duncan was the superstar surrounded by two star players.

2003/4: Pistons - Stars? Depth?

Hard to classify the Pistons who basically had a starting five of all low rung all-stars or border line all-stars. They took up the vast majority of the minutes overall and had fairly balanced scoring up and down their lineup. They are perhaps the only team to win without really a truly great offensive player on their team.

2002/3: Spurs - Superstar and good players

Tim Duncan dominated the heck out of the league back on this team with Stephen Jackson and Tony Parker playing the next biggest roles and Manu Ginobili not yet coming into his own. It was definitely a superstar led group.

2001/2: Lakers - Two Superstars

Shaq and Kobe, there isn't much else to say. They played a nine man rotation with very balanced scoring outside of Shaq and Kobe, but those two carried the team.

2000/1: Lakers - Two Superstars

Same as above.

1999/2000: Lakers - Superstar, star

Kobe hadn't quite come into his own yet, and was more of a star than a superstar in this season. Glen Rice maybe was somewhat better than role players they had afterwards.

1998/9: Spurs - Superstar good players

Maybe David Robinson could still be counted on as a star here, maybe not, but Tim Duncan pretty much was the alpha and omega for this team. They had a group of other guys chipping in and playing well.

So what does this mean for the Bulls?

If Derrick Rose returns to form, they have one superstar. There are plenty of teams who've won with a single superstar. We frequently try to upgrade non superstar guys into superstar guys because of what they did in prior years or what they'd do in later years though.

The next question is do they have a star to go along side Rose? Can Pau Gasol be a star again like he was next to Kobe? Will Joakim Noah be good enough to be counted on as a star when the ball isn't in his hands so much rendering much of what he did so well last season rather pointless?

It seems like the answer is no. However, the Bulls do look like a team that could easily have the Superstar + really good players type of team. Gasol, Noah, and Gibson all look like they can fit into that mold. If Jimmy Butler can step up a bit with less pressure and McDermott/Dunleavy can knock down shots then they'll fill their roles.

The Bulls could stack up similarly to the 13/14 Spurs, 10/11 Mavs, 03/04 Pistons, 02/03 Spurs, and 98/99 Spurs if Rose can play like a superstar.

If not? Well then that leaves the Bulls in quite a hole because it doesn't look like they have multiple stars, and that'd mean only the Pistons would win in a similar way (lots of really good players and possibly no guys who even qualify as true stars let alone superstars).

Obviously each season is it's own animal, and this season will be unique in it's own way, but the Bulls, obviously, are really banking on Derrick to play at a star level. It wasn't the path they wanted to choose. They have chased Love and Melo hard, but it's the path they're on anyway.

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  • They definitely can win if Rose is 95% of his MVP self and he stays healthy.

    Also, the depth has to step up - guys like McDermott, Snell and even Butler.

    Noah cannot be the 2nd best player on a championship team unless we get more scoring. Hopefully McDermott or Mirotic and Gasol can provide the extra scoring punch. Noah is a great defender and rebounder, but outside of passing he is worthless on offense and teams do not guard him. The thing about the Spurs is that all their guys were dangerous on offense... Tons of shooters and Duncan and Splitter were good enough inside.

  • Dirk was an unstoppable beast the year the Mavs won. He did it with insane efficiency too. Asking someone Rose's size not to mention a nearly three year layoff to do that is totally unrealistic as he has never been a efficient scorer probably because he has been forced into the lone shot creator role his entire career but still. Pistons had multiple guys that could get shots on their own it wasn't like it was Chauncy Billups and a bunch of chumps. RIP created a lot of off the ball looks and had some ability to go off the dribble and Rasheed was a very talented PF.

    Just high level saying we have a superstar and a bunch of good guys thus we have a shot is nice but we don't know if we have a superstar and our guys aren't multiple threats offensively like the teams above had. We have arguably only one guy that can get his own shot as to where every team above had at least two and/or a high scoring big man that you could dump it to and he could make something happen. Our bigs are good but Duncan in his prime and Shaq in his prime they are not.

    If by some miracle we find ourselves in the finals we will be massive underdogs to the top teams in the west. We would be the first team to win a championship with only one shot creator and would mean Rose would have to have a Dirk type playoff run. Not too mention every team would have to be completely retarded to not force the ball out of his hands. Basically its not happening.

    We could just as easily be out in the second round if we hit a moderately competent defensive team that has solid bigs and can score. I could see the wizards knocking us out again even. They completely took away Noah and DJ. Sure Rose is a lot better than DJ but we are still a very similar team to the one that got beat down by the Wiz and their backcourt is only getting better each year. Take away our PG and our offense turns into an inefficient grinder offense. Same principle as the DJ led Bulls. Same reason we were among the worst offenses in the league. Our wings cannot create. Its a huge issue and management never addresses it because they are either too stupid to identify it or don't understand the importance of it on their offense (incompetence) or third option think that shooters are the same as scorers which is just as dumb... But hey lets sign the 34 year old center to a three year deal that should fix our offense!

  • In reply to Chad:

    You make some good points before you devolve into an angry rant calling the Bulls FO stupid. They tried to get Melo didn't they? Beyond him and LeBron, there just weren't talented wing players available. They didn't like Stephenson (maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong, time will tell) and I am annoyed they didn't get Afflalo but basically only one talented wing player changed teams, it's not like they ignored the problem, there just wasn't much in the way of solutions.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Was Miami Shaq a shot creator, if he was, he certainly wasn't in the way that people are looking for a second shot creator on the Bulls.

    Again, SA didn't destroy Miami by being a bunch of Chris Paul penetrator's/shot creators, they were committed to movement and passing the ball 4-5-6 times before taking a shot. That is team shot creation rather than one on one shot creation. Do the Bulls have the players/talent to run that type of system, we don't know yet.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Shaquille caused defenses to collapse the paint which generated open looks and he was a good post scorer so yeah he was a shot creator.

    Parker, Ginobli and Leonard can all shot and take people off the dribble. Sure they might not be elite in the CP3 comparison but they are triple threats offensively for sure.

  • In reply to Chad:

    While the West is definitely a vastly better conference, I think the Bulls could have a chance in a scenario where they reach the Finals, it all depends on who comes out of the West. The Spurs would be a problem, but OKC? I think the Bulls actually match up pretty well with them and I certainly don't think the Thunder would just run through them. I'd give the Bulls a 1/3 chance against the Thunder.

  • In the 2010/11 ECF, Miami's backcourt/wing players were ultimately able to trap Rose, and shut down the offense. The Bulls have not been able to bolster their backcourt, and the same thing will happen next season when the playoffs start. I would gladly give up some big man depth to add a strong wing player. The Bulls have a strong frontcourt now, but if the offense can't be run through those positions when it matters, then who cares? LeBron, Wiggins and Irving will trap the hell out of Rose, and no one around to help keep the offensive machine moving forward.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    Good points, but LeBron / Wiggins / Irving is not as scary defensively when compared to LeBron / Bosh / Wade (or Chalmers).

    Not to mention Bogans could only dribble 10-20 times a game total, so this Bulls team is better equipped to handle trapping defenses because now you have Pau who can still command a defense's focus. Noah is much improved initiating the offense too.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    Wait a second now, who exactly will the Bulls face that can play the kind of perimeter D that 2011 Miami could? Let me remind you that in that one, single year, Wade and Lebron were the best playoff wing defenders I've seen since Jordan and Pippen, and they were better than Jordan and Pippen were in 1998. Wade put up another 2 great offensive years after that, but his defense declined even faster, his body couldn't provide the effort anymore. Lets go back to the other teams the Bulls faced that post season, were any of them able to do to Derrick Rose what Lebron and Wade did? Hell no, and consider that Rose had exactly one true 3 point threat to pass to in crunch time that year. I think that Rose and the Bulls would have had a much easier time dealing with the Heat's late game D as the years went on, but we'll never know since Rose hasn't played in a post season since those 2010-11 ECF(the first round, first game doesn't count). Regardless, my point is there is absolutely nothing close to 2011 Wade/Lebron today, especially in the path through the East. Unless Wiggins sticks in Miami, Wiggins has the athleticism to make for an elite wing defense with Lebron. But with the likelyhood that Love will end up a Cav, that team will be HURTING for defense, and that's with Lebron. Lebron will still be a huge factor playing D on Rose, but he won't have that second elite wing defender to help his cause. Due to this fact, and the likelihood that the Bulls will have at least 3 high percentage 3pt guys who are all tall, I think its safe to say the problem of late game perimeter D on Rose will be at least a smaller factor than in the past, if not much smaller.

  • In reply to Chicagosportsguru:

    I agree. The Bulls have some deadly shooters in M and M, and Dunleavy is not bad either. Remember, one analyst said of McDermot, 'if he gets the ball on an uncontested catch and shoot, that sucker's going in!' His PPA on those shots was 1.95, which means he made 39 of 40 attempts! Wow!

    However, if the Bulls are looking great but only lacking a SG near the deadline, look for the FO to bring in a SG.

  • A couple of smart comments have been posted on this article. I'd just add that although Duncan. Parker and Ginobli don't produce superstar numbers game in and game out, you can't overrate what playing together 10+ years and already having won championships means when it comes to championship basketball. I also believe that although the Big Three in San Antonio don't put up gaudy numbers anymore, they can each play at a superstar level when their number is called and it's time to put the game away. That's an invaluable skill the Bulls don't really have.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    Well said. I'd like to add that they're still accounted for defensively as if they're all in their respective primes.

    As presently constituted, our Bulls have two players that a defense focuses on / command a double team...Rose and Pau. Noah can initiate some offense, but he's more of a good option for a pressure release.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    I agree about the Spurs. We can say Duncan isn't a superstar, but just for one year, wouldn't everyone take Duncan over Noah, who is an all-star?

  • In reply to Roman F:

    You mean even though he was first team all NBA. Your right, and most/all would say the same about Howard, despite his attitude problems.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    Very, very well said about Sam Antonio!

    Also, with Dallas the 3 guards - Jason Kidd, JJ. Barea, Jason Terry - dismantled the Miami Heat with their ball movement, ball handling and penetration, and shooting. It wasn't just Dirk and some guys.

  • As presently constituted and according to your formula, the Bulls have 1 Borderline Superstar (Rose), 2 Borderline Stars (Noah, Gasol), and Depth. I can't in good conscience put Rose as definite Superstar because of health and we dont know what he'll be going forward. Noah was great last season but at 29-30, he's peaked and I can't say that he's a guaranteed All-star every year.

    This is why the addition of Love would be a huge get because then you have 2 Borderline superstars with 2 Borderline stars and still have decent depth.

    One more point - we need to stop thinking we can emulate the Spurs model. The Spurs Model is like the Patriots model. Its a unique model that is difficult and near impossible to emulate because of the system in place, the roster/personnel, and the coaching. You dont think NFL teams have thought about emulating the model? Of course but they have come to the same conclusion - that its a unique model that works because of Brady, Belichick and particular system that has been put into place. The Spurs have a model in place that highlights a personnel that cannot play full-time and necessitates depth, an offensive and defensive system that highlights strengths - shooting and passing, and a coach that is flexible, progressive and innovative. The Bulls just don't have this in place. That is why the Superstars/stars model is the best model. Its easy to replicate and if you have a little health, luck and chemistry with great coaching, you have a chance to compete and win a title.

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    The Spurs' system also includes multiple key players willing to take significant paycuts to help the team afford more depth.

  • Chad & Bullsman - excellent points.

    A "superstar" of Rose's size has never won in the NBA. If you employ a Superstar/star model and your superstar cannot rise above a defender for a shot like Kobe, Dirk, or LBJ, then you are extremely limited offensively. If you employ the Star/depth model and you dont have multiple offensive generators/facilitators like Parker/Manu, Billups/Hamilton, Pierce/Rondo etc.

    Then when you consider that the Bulls have a superstar that is limited by his height/size and do not have any other offensive facilitor or creator, the Bulls really are fighting an extremely uphill battle to contend and win a championship.

    The Bulls have so far emulated the Allen Iverson and 76ers model. One diminutive superstar with depth. Even this model in all of its glory never won a championship, reached only one Finals, and proved to be generally unsustainable.

    Bottomline - Bulls should not rest in their efforts to get as many superstars/stars they can and then work out the rest of the roster after that.

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    Really? A superstar of rose size. Didn't D wade single handed carried his team to the championship in the Final? D wade is only one inch taller than Rose. Wade is 30 pounds heavier but wade also play as SG instead of PG. I am not sure your argument is valid.

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    Don't know how old you are, probably not very, since you must not remember Isaiah Thomas, who lead the Pistons to back to back titles while defeating Jordans pre championship Bulls 3 straight times in the ECF. Isaiah was 2-3 inches shorter than Rose.

    I do however, agree with you that it is much harder for the smaller superstar to do it.

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    The only reason Parker, Ginobli and Duncan wasn't frequent All Stars was the small market they played in. If these 3 were drafted by NY, or Lakers they'd be All Stars every year. The most underrated team ever.

    The 09-10 Lakers had the tallest team in the league. They were taller than every team they faced at every position except PG. A 6'7" SG,, 6'9 SF, 7' PF 7'1" C. That's how they won back to back championships.

    The 08 C's were bottom feeders until they traded 7 players for Kevin Garnet. I'd say he was a Superstar. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2956103

    The Bulls has what it takes to be a championship team, but it won't be on Derrick Rose to lead them there. He hasn't played competitive basketball in 2 yrs. The championship run will lie on the Bulls frontcourt shoulders, and if one or both of their rookies (Nikola Mirotic & Doug McDermott) can step up their games like Kahwi Leonard, Dwayne Wade, Rajon Rondo, Robert Horry and Jason Terry did with their respective teams. It's a long shot relying on rooks to show up on the big stage, because stars win championships, but one worth tuning in to.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    I agree, except it might not be such a long shot after all. It depends on how fast M & M can get up to NBA speed.

    Are they close? We don't know, but they might be. McDermott was not only the top NCAA scorer in the country last year, he was third in NCAA history! Of course, that was partly because he stayed in college for 4 years. Still, he is smart, experienced, and a deadly shooter. He could be very, very good this year.

    Mirotic is also a deadly shooter, experienced, and tall. All of this should translate to the NBA.

    The Bulls may have one of the best rookie tandems in NBA history. Could they add enough to win it all? Even if it seems to be a long shot, it should be fun to watch.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    If the Bulls indeed have one of the best rookie tandems in NBA history then they have a good shot at the title, but "one of the best in history" is an awful lot to ask, even of experienced rookies like these guys.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    5th not 3rd.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Thanks for the correction.

    So, roughly once in 20+ years a college player scored more in a 4-year career. This kid should make an impact. As I recall, his average point per shot doing the catch-and-shoot was 1.95, which means when uncontested, he made 39 shots for every one he missed! That is almost unbelievable.

    It might be insane to trade this kid and Mirotic and Taj for Love. All three of these Bulls can score. Give them a few months to jell. By then, the FO might know they are the keys to a couple of titles.

  • I think that there are some very good points made in several of the comments here especially when you use the word superstar. Even though DRose obtained the MVP, I hate to say it but I think a lot of that was backlash against LeBron for the decision and joining up with DWade to split the vote. Yes, the Bulls had the best record that year. But essentially when you say superstar, I think of a player that absolutely cannot be stopped by one defensive player. You just hope that the rest of the team is controlled and that the superstar gets his or even just has a bad day. You don't say we will put one player on him and stop him. A superstar demands double teams and possibly triple teams. Of course, the greatest player of all time demands trick defenses and defensive rules specifically named for him.

    As others have mentioned, because of his size it is hard for DRose to be completely unstoppable. Could an athletic wing player who is a great defender basically stop DRose? Lebron is a unique force, but we have seen other defensive players stop so-called superstar point guards. These questions have come up in the past with Steve Nash and Allen Iverson. If you look at MVPs over the last twenty years and really over the entire NBA who were small point guards (I don't include the Big O and Magic), you only have Nash and Iverson with DRose. And those three have not won a championship. With each one you always wondered if they had a superstar big man or wing, could they have won it all instead of being the ones carrying the offensive load?

    Nowitzki, Duncan, Wade, Kobe, Shaq, etc. in their primes were superstars who could not be stopped by one defender. This is why I hoped that we could get such a dynamic offensive force as Melo that Drose could complement. However, in the MVP season for DRose, you saw how one defender, LeBron, stopped him. LeBron did a similar thing against Tony Parker in last year's finals. In this year's finals, it was Kawhi Leonard who starred and LeBron did not stop him.

    And as another commenter stated, although the current Spurs team may not have current superstars who would vie for MVP honors, each one of their key star players can dominate in various circumstances without a single superior defensive player being able to stop them alone except for Parker. Even in the last finals, when you needed someone to really get a bucket, Ginobili and Duncan were fantastic and while not a superstar yet, Leonard has the potential like a young Kobe with the first Lakers championship he had with Shaq.

    So if we are comparing all the championship teams, I think the best model for the current Bulls is the Pistons. Who was their big offensive weapon, probably Chauncey Billups as a point guard, even though Rip might have been their leading scorer? Rasheed was the missing link that gave them some occasional unstoppable post presence. And the other key starters, Prince and Hamilton, were athletic and consistent enough shooters. Ben was a rebounding and defensive beast but horrible offensively.

    I even think the late 80s Piston champions are a similar model as well with Isiah as their offensive leader. They were great defensively but did not have unstoppable offensive players unless Isiah occasionally went on a tear like Rose can also do. But there were enough offensive threats around Isaiah including Dumars and Aguire etc. Hopefully Gasol, McD, Mirotic can add enough of those offensive threats as well as the development of Taj, Butler, and Snell if no further changes are made in the Bulls roster.

    So the two eras with the Piston teams are probably the best models until the Bulls' best player is an unstoppable wing or big man, unlike DRose. Then the superstar model can be a good example and you look at those other championships where a superstar led the team with other stars or great depth. I just don't think you can include DRose in that superstar category. At his best, he is a really great player, but not at the superstar or unstoppable level of the others mentioned.

  • I agree that the 80's Pistons look to be the best comp for this Bulls team. Obviously, we are not there yet, but this team could develop along those lines if Rose returns to form. If the M & M boys(not Maris and Mantle) develop they could become like last years Spurs also.

    Right now the biggest missing pieces would be Dumars and Ginobli.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I agree. The biggest concern for the Bulls is a consistent offensive threat at the 2-guard. Be it a Ginobili or Dumars or Dwade type, that is the one position that worries me. Will Snell, Butler and possibly McD fill this need and be a consistent offensive threat while also being a top level defender? More than anything, this is the Bulls' biggest question mark for this year. I hope those guys step up. I would love to have Ray Allen sign with this team. But I don't think it will happen.

  • If the Bulls would have added an Afflalo or Jodie Meeks then yes I'd be exited about their chances in perhaps making a run to the Finals. That being in the historically bad ECF with only the newly formed Cleveland LeBron's with an unproven rookie coach to battle through.

    Aside form lacking that crucial second playoff driver for Rose, is there any scenario where McD and Mirotic aren't required to be significant offensive contributors in the Bulls making it to the Finals? Realistically, bringing that in their first NBA season is a very tall order. Not to mention Derrick Rose in his first real season back in three years is going to be a linchpin of an NBA Champion?

    If people want to regard the Bulls as Championship worthy that's fine. Vegas has them tied with the Clips as fourth best odds to win it all. So obviously they are viewed on paper as one of the upper echelon teams right now without many key pieces ever having played a game together.

    Myself, I'd just be happy with one of Mirotic or McDermott being a good offensive starting caliber add. If both can bring multi-dimensional offensive games that would be awesome. That and Derrick making a healthy comeback as a legit Top 10-15 player. Going from the worst offense in the NBA to a dynamic group including a healthy Gasol, Noah, and Taj would be extremely entertaining in my book. I just hate the Klank resigning, and I still don't see where Mirotic gets his minutes unless the "plan"(ha, ha) is if Nikola looks legit then they package Taj for a legit two.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Good points, I think the optimists' scenarios all include significant contributions from our rookie tandem. It could happen but it's not something we should realistically expect.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    See how easy it is to be agreeable when you're nice rather than angry.

    Agree with virtually all your points, although I bet many/most would have thrown a fit if we signed Meeks for 3yrs/$19 million. We all were hoping for Afflalo, which would have cost us Gasol. I'm worried about how Mirotic reacts/develops with no playing time, with the only solution being trading Taj for a legit 2 guard. For us to be legit contenders we have to get real NBA level contributions from the M&M boys, which won't be easy as rookies despite their experience level.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    You asked, "Is there any scenario where McD and Mirotic aren't required to be significant offensive contributors in the Bulls making it to the Finals?"

    No! They must contribute for the team to win even the ECF, IMO. But they may be the best scoring rookie duo in ages. So it could happen.

  • "Hello, my name is B and I'm an addict." I find I've become addicted to the current and still developing roster of the Chicago Bulls.

    I know I'm supposed to scorn at building depth. Depth means not having 5 guys good enough to want to give all your available minutes to.

    I know I'm supposed to use the phrase "try-hard" Bulls with disdain, since truly great players shouldn't need to try so hard to win.

    I know I'm supposed to demand that the front -office trade away any and all of what they have assembled for a "superstar" like Anthony or Love - players with obvious immense talents and even better statistics - even though they have never lead teams that have come close to a championship (since college at least). Because they are "superstars".

    But I can not mourn the decision of Melo to stay home and be paid tens of millions more than the Bulls could conceiveably pay him, or the likelihood that Love will be dealt to the Cavs instead of to the Bulls for a package of Taj/Mirotic/McDermott +???. I can not wait for the season to unfold and see what Coach Thibbs can do with his new found wealth of assorted talents.

    I know in my head that Mirotic is likely to be Ryan Anderson with fewer rebounds and blacked shots. But my heart holds out hope of a Dirk-lite somewhere in the future. Likewise my brain says McD = Korver (the new and improved deluxe edition perhaps, with luck) but I can hope for the ghost of Larry Bird to emerge within him.

    Those two players, like much of the team in general, are an unopened book right now. I know it may disappoint as its pages play out. But I want to see it for myself. If these rookies eventually blossum, I want it to happen on my team. I long for the feel good story that it would be for the tarnished hometown hero to return to his 10-11 glory, and to see this try hard team of good guys get rewarded for their efforts.

    So I am an addict - or a "meatball" as some would label it. But I hope to never reform.

  • In reply to Huskerpowerforward:

    there is always something special about seeing a team of "our" guys come together and grow into a champion. The 85 Bears were that and so were the champion Bulls, especially the first 3 peat. Winning is it's own reward, but doing it with "homegrown" talent over a period of years is just that much more rewarding.

    Personally, I am ambivalent about the Love trade, I'll be excited if it happens, but disappointed that we gave up so much talent before we ever got to see it develop.

  • Side note: While I'm sure not many posters will cry in their beer over this, I wonder how newly arrived McDermott and Mirotic feel being reportedly offered as trade bait for Kevin Love? David Haugh(granted himself a corporate shill aka Tribune reporter) reports that as part of buying out his contract with Real Madrid, Mirotic was promised by Forman/Bulls that he would not be traded..?? Oh well, no hard feelings.

  • I may be too optimistic, but I think that on paper we may be head-to-head with Spurs and Cavs with Love now, given the depth and talent we added:

    Rose > Parker
    Gasol at 34 = Duncan at 39
    Noah > Splitter
    Any Any
    Bench = Bench
    Defense > Defense
    Offense = Offense (Bulls have a S* load of shooters now)

    Now let's compare with Cavs:
    Rose = Irving
    Gasol Varejao
    Any Bench
    Defense > Defense
    Offense = Offense

  • There's a lot missing in BullsDynasty's comparison charts. Let me try to flesh it outt a little more and others can expand.I tend to want to lump the wings together and the front court guys together and evaluate the 3 categories enmass

    PG Rose/Brooks/Hinrich Parker/Mills/Joseph

    SG/SF Butler/Snell/McDermott/Dunleavy Duncan/Diaw/Splitter/Anderson

    The Bulls have a clear edge in the front court, as they should against most teams if they remain healthy.

    You have to give the Spurs the edge on the wing.An improved Snell and a fast track for McD could cut into that edge but still you have to give it to the Spurs if Ginobli holds up for another playoff run.

    The deciding factor is at PG. Parker has tremendous champioship experience and his back-up duo is likely superior. It all comes down to how close Rose is to his 2010-11 MVP season. If he makes it all the way back and is healthy in the finals he becomes the tipping point in the Bulls favor.

    Trying to compare against the Cavs in this fashion doen't seem to work so cleanly because of the lopsidded nature of their resulting roster. You have:
    LeBron > the rest of the world (times 10?)
    Love > the rest of the PF universe
    Irving = Rose
    then you have the Bulls> all other Cavs

    This would work for the Bulls if you had to play 10 on 10. Having LeBron's minions ( Miller, Jones and 60 year old Allen) trudging along behind him to Cleveland shouldn't scare anyone. And the ranks of remaining FA's willing to work for the minimum even on a contender is dwindling. This is why its important to have counter offers for Love that are appealing enough that the Cavs are pressured into giving up Wiggins,and Bennett to Minny and Waiters to the 76'ers for their cap space to absorb one or more Wolves bad contracts.

    Of course you don't play 10 on 10 in the playoffs and any 5 Bulls likely fall short of LBJ, Love Irving and two minions. If Noah and Taj combine to swarm over Love and maybe Taj sometimes slips over and helps Butler at least slow Lebron enough to make it tough for him to chase Rose at the other end...who knows. But that is why they play the game.

  • In reply to Huskerpowerforward:

    We know Taj and Rose can score, and Noah can facilitate. If M & M are both hot shooters, how does Cleveland (or any team) stop their O? Love will not defend anyone. LeBron can defend, but, again, how do they shut down the Bulls?

    The Bulls need both M and M to score to have a shot at the title. Isn't that why they got them?

  • In reply to Huskerpowerforward:

    Sorry something went ary between my computer and the comment listing, totally mangling the Bulls vs Spurs chart. It should have followed the text below.

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