Don’t worry fans, the fourth DRaT member has returned and is done with his two week drought. I have decided to come back with a Bulls article discussing how they are capable of hanging with or even taking down the almighty Miami Heat. Although my fellow co-worker Steve may completely disagree with me, I’m still going to go ahead and give you my reasons why Chicago is a threat this year in the Eastern Conference.
The following are my four reasons why the Bulls can definitely compete with the reigning NBA champs. (I chose not to make the return of Derrick as one of my reasons because that’s a given, you guys)
Reason Number 1- Matchups
Out of the many teams competing with the Heat this next year, I strongly believe the Bulls can matchup with them the best. This Bulls teams is fully capable of guarding the Miami Big 3, which a lot of other teams across the league aren’t able to do.
Luol Deng has proven that he can hang with LeBron James for much of a game. Even though he may not be able to shut him down (we all know no one can really do that), Deng can definitely make him work hard on the offensive end.
Jimmy Buckets also showed us last playoffs that not only can he guard an aging D-Wade, but he too can even guard LBJ for periods of time. Ultimately, this allows the Bulls to give Deng a rest every once in a while, but we all know Thibs don’t give a shit.
Lastly, our heart and soul Joakim Noah can definitely be asked to guard the escaped dinosaur aka Chris Bosh. Noah is quick enough to hang with the stretch fours and can easily get in Bosh’s head.
Reason Number 2- Very Very Strong Defense
Aside from the key individual matchups I stated above, the one dimension that really separates the Bulls from other squads is their team defense. Jimmy B did a fantastic job at guarding James last year, but if you look closer on some plays a lot of it was really due to the whole team’s timely rotations and well-executed double-teams.
I don’t need to tell you this of course, but Coach Thibs has had this defense on point since he has taken over. As a team, they have ranked in the top five each year and show no signs of slowing down. Thibodeau’s system might be very complicated, but when given the right personnel he can slow down just about any team in the league.
Besides the Pacers, Miami rarely sees a team with such defensive strength. When on point, this Chicago team forces the Heat to take many contested jump shots and makes them more of a half court team. Miami thrives on pushing the ball into transition, so if they are prevented from doing so it makes scoring a lot more difficult for them throughout the course of a game.
Reason Number 3- Team Rebounding
AYYY GIMME DAT!
Our slow and outrageously vocal power forward might not be playing up to his current contract, but he can without a doubt rebound the ball at a high level. Boozer, Noah, and Gibson are extremely active on both the offensive and defensive boards, giving teams constant headaches.
Rebounding happens to be one of the Miami’s big weaknesses! If the Bulls are generating second chance points and are ending teams possessions after one shot, they are an extremely difficult team to beat. When the Heat choose to play small ball, it’s difficult for them to close out possessions and also puts a lot of pressure on their superduperstar, James. The Bulls have a clear advantage in the rebounding department; if they exploit it to the fullest, they’re in a position to win games against the Heat.
Reason Number 4- Improvements of Noah and Jimmy
We all knew last season was going to be a wash without Derrick, but two huge things occurred for the organization: Noah showed he is a top center in this league by earning his spot on the All Star team and Jimmy Butler took a huge step forward in his overall development as a player in the NBA.
Personally, I believe this might be the main reason why the Bulls can finally compete with the Heat. As fans, we all are very aware that Chicago is a great rebounding and defensive team that can compete in just about any game. With the improvement to Jo’s all around game and Jimmy Butler solidifying himself as a starter, the Bulls have made big steps as a team in the East.
Noah can now not only effect games on the defensive end like he has in the past, but he can be a force on the offensive end too. Noah’s superior passing skills enable him to find cutters and shooters from the top of the key, making him a very hard player to defend. If Butler can improve his shot even more this off-season, he too will become a huge threat on the offensive end. Teams will have to focus much of their attention on Rose, allowing Butler to have many open looks.
Chicago may finally have what it takes to bring the Heat down and dethrone them as NBA champs.
- Quick Bulls Thought, by Jacob Bikshorn (drosesandthorns.com)
- Coming up Rose(s) by Jake Weiner (drosesandthorns.wordpress.com)