Pass the Advil, please.
From Reggie Rose, to #TheReturn, to a hectic and fruitless trade deadline, it's been one big headache after another for the Bulls' John Paxson and Gar Forman.
After watching valued Bulls like Omer Asik and Kyle Korver be allowed to disperse to different teams around the country this summer, many sour Chicagoans viewed the Feb. 21 trade deadline as an opportunity to bring in some reinforcements.
[The hole in your heart where DRose should be. Read here.]
"What have you pieced together? Have you made any moves? Have you made any trades to get better? You know all roads to the championship lead through Miami," Reggie Rose told ESPNChicago.com, speaking what is on the minds of many Bulls fans. "What pieces have you put together for the physical playoffs?"Joakim Noah is a great player. Luol Deng is a great player. But you need more than that. You have to put together pieces to your main piece. The players can only do so much. It's up to the organization to make them better."
So what to make of Reggie's pointed words?
Why not go out and get another superstar player to help the Bulls turn the corner against the Miami Heat? How will the team compete otherwise?
One argument is the team-over-talent concept in a post "Decision," strict collective bargaining agreement NBA. Especially when the reality is you have a cheap owner in Jerry Reinsdorf.
There are historical earmarks for powerful juggernauts falling to stream-lined, know-your-role teams. The great Sam Smith of Bulls.com actually beat me in alluding to it earlier this week.
Here's a more comprehensive look at recent team-over-talent successes.
In the 2011 Finals, Dirk Nowitzki, super-role player Tyson Chandler and a bunch of well-placed, but not spectacular pieces beat the vaunted Heat's LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and co. Proof positive that Pat Riley's embarrassment of riches is not invincible.
In fact, the mighty Los Angeles Lakers of the Kobe-Shaq dynasty days fell to a Detroit Pistons team that featured zero transcendent stars, much less two. Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince lead an extremely balanced team to the 2004 title. They had stars and talent, but no superstar like the one some fans are saying needs to be next to Rose in order for the team to compete.
The best recent model for what Chicago is capable of despite having only one bonafied superstar?
The San Antonio Spurs.
A rookie Tim Duncan and an aging David Robinson took the 1999 title. An argument can be made that the team had two superstars, but only Duncan was in his prime.
The 2002-2003, 2004-2005 and 2006-2007 Spurs all won around the core of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker with great role players like Steve Kerr, Stephen Jackson and Bruce Bowen. According to the numbers, only Duncan was a certified superstar. Not underselling the importance of either Ginobli or Parker, both stars in their own right, but those teams rallied around Duncan and won as a unit.
Another common denominator in those title seasons was their head coach, Gregg Popovich. Arguably the best to ever do it.
Now for the similarities in Chicago.
Joakim Noah is a top three center and the most versatile big in the game. He's a championship-level five without question. Still widely underrated, despite his much deserved All-Star call this season.
Luol Deng is a tier below Noah, but still of star-quality. A horse that doesn't do anything poorly. Without question a title-level player.
Then there's Coach Tom Thibodeau. Thibs is in the same conversation as Popovich as an elite coach. It's a very short list at the top, and Thibs has shown he belongs.
If Rose does indeed return, and works his way back to being, you know, Derrick Rose, than who's to say the Bulls don't have a chance this season?
Having said all that, it was very disappointing to see Chicago sit on their hands at the deadline. Right now, assuming Rose eventually returns to his elite self, Reggie Rose still told the ugly truth, the Bulls supporting cast in it's current form is showing a little lag.
There is no Kerr on this team to really spread the floor. No S-Jax to help with the scoring load.
Overall, Marco Belinelli has been a nice addition, but has flopped when it comes to filling the void left when long-range sniper Kyle Korver was shipped to the Atlanta Hawks.
Belinelli is shooting 35.7% from behind the arc this season on 154 attempts, a career low. Meanwhile down in Georgia, Korver is leading the league with 46.4%, on 302 shots.
As a team, the Bulls are a miserable 26th in three point percentage and 29th in attempts. Three teams in the top five you may recognize from their position at the top of the NBA power rankings; the Heat, Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
That's why the addition of a JJ Redick, Andrea Bargnani or Ben Gordon was warranted at the deadline. In the defense of Gar/Pax, a deal for Bargnani was reportedly on the table in exchange for Carlos Boozer, but was rejected by the Toronto Raptors.
Despite the glum picture painted above, the cupboard is anything but empty. Boozer had an All-Star caliber January and is among the league leaders in double -doubles. Taj Gibson continues to be a defensive force of nature, coupled with an improving offensive game. Jimmy Butler's continued development as a heavily relied upon rotation-player. Nate Robinson's scoring spark off the bench.
Pretty sure there's at least one guy who hasn't given up on a title run this season yet, and I'll give you a hint. His initials are Derrick Rose.
Bet against him at your own risk.
News and Dunks: Taj Gibson could miss up to two weeks after spraining his MCL according to the Chicago Tribune. Expect both Deng and Butler to spend a lot of time at power forward in a small lineup as the Bulls will have to wait until early March to sign a free agent. That's when the prorated portion of a veteran's minimum salary is small enough to fit under the league's hard salary cap of $74.307 million.
Adam Jun covers the Chicago Bulls for Skyword, Inc. a search-driven media website
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