After the Chicago Bulls’ season ended at the hands of the evil Miami Heat, I was beaten down a bit. I invested more hours, thought, and emotion into this Bulls team than any season from the Bulls or any other sports franchise (the 2006 Bears come to mind). I assumed that I would write a review shortly after I got over the agony of defeat.* Yet, as I recovered from my Bulls hangover, I began to wonder if a review was necessary, as Conrad Keely told me, “Because there is nothing left to say, that has not been said.” What exactly was there to write about the season that I had not previously scribed on this site?
The Bulls played a great regular season, but as they entered the playoffs, it became apparent that this was a whole new ballgame. Their determination and bench were two hallmarks of the regular season. In the playoffs, teams play with a renewed vigor and the bench becomes smaller with the absence of back-to-backs.** The team that many were picking to represent the East in the Finals were showing some vulnerabilities from the opening of the playoffs. After advancing past two mediocre teams (Indiana and Atlanta), the Bulls met a talented enough foe to exploit their vulnerabilities and eliminate them in four straight games (after dropping the first game).
The off-season will be spent debating whether the Bulls need to upgrade their shooting guard or stick with the team that got them the league’s best regular season record and hope they can enter the playoffs healthier than they did this year. There will be few other story lines, as the Bulls are not going to make a huge move and their draft picks are poor in a poverty-ridden draft.
So take this pseudo review with you and put the Bulls out of your mind for the summer. They will be back and improved, whether they trade for a two-guard or not. Rose won the MVP at the age of 22 and he is not looking to slow down any time soon. He will be hitting the gym hard and hopefully some of his teammates follow suit. Thibs will have a whole off-season (and maybe more, pending a CBA talks) to study tape and not not date anyone. Lastly, a relatively inexperienced team made a drive to the Eastern Conference Finals and can now build on that foundation.
These Bulls are for real.
*I write these words in remembrance of a shirt my dad gave me during Operation: Desert Storm. It had a picture of a giant eagle with its talons about to grab an offensive caricature of an Iraqi troop and above it was written, “The Agony of DE-FEET!” Get it?
**Sometimes waiting as long as five days between games, thanks to the exciting scheduling the NBA delivers year after year.