By Carlos Nazario
They have a Top-10 offense. They have a Top-5 defense. They lead the league in rebounds, assists, and their differentials. They just got off a road trip in which they did something NO OTHER TEAM IN THE HISTORY OF THE NBA HAS EVER DONE, which is win 4 consecutive road games by 20+ points each. They are tied for best record in the league. They have the reigning MVP, Coach of the Year, and Co-Executive of the Year. What team is this? If you are like most people, you might respond the Miami Heat. Others might say Oklahoma City Thunder, or San Antonio Spurs. Well you would be wrong. It is the Chicago Bulls. As you can see in the table below, the Bulls have had the best record over the course of the last season and a half, yet to hear certain “experts”, they are almost non-existent.
Chicago Bulls 88-28
San Antonio Spurs 84-30
Miami Heat 83-31
Oklahoma City Thunder 80-34
Dallas Mavericks 78-37
Boston Celtics 71-42
New York Knicks 58-57
Recently retired superstar and current TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal picked the Bulls to finish 5th in the Eastern Conference this season. Most others have picked them higher, but the Heat are favored hands down to repeat as Conference champions. Of all the experts, I believe only Jon Barry had the temerity to pick the Bulls to win this season’s title.
When the Bulls made history on the road, not many at ESPN were reaping praise or congratulations for a job well done. When the Heat won back-to-back-to-back games, it lead on Sportscenter. Add to that the fact of them winning by 10+ games and they were practically hysterical! No team had done that in over 40 years! Well, NO ONE did what the Bulls did a week before!
Skip Bayless recently tweeted that he could see this year’s New York Knicks giving the Heat trouble in the Eastern Conference Finals, but beating them next year to make it to the NBA Finals. So no matter what the Bulls have done, there is no hope for them either this year or next?
The Knicks, who have one of the worst defenses AND offenses in the NBA are going to get it together and make a two year run over the Bulls and Heat. Bayless sounds like he has spent some time with Rex Ryan.
I know the regular season means nothing. All that matters is the playoffs. I witnessed the Michael Jordan Bulls however, and understand how the regular season sets up your playoffs.
This is what is happening with the Bulls this season thus far. Their starting lineup has played for a total of 5 games. They have had 4 players play point guard, including one who just a couple weeks ago was in the D-League. Through all the injuries and lineups they have earned and maintained their elite status. Their bench players will be solid players come playoff time as they have already had meaningful minutes.
As I have said this season, the Bulls and the Heat have shown they are the class in the East, Shaq’s prediction notwithstanding. They are head and shoulders above anyone else.
I do not think the Bulls mind being underestimated once more. They will just need to go up to the Heat and yank that attention right from them and show how wrong the “experts” really are. Remember when the Bulls were underdogs to win a title? You know, that was when they were led by a certain guard from North Carolina. This time they will do it with a certain guard from CHICAGO.