Friday, October 19, 2012

Bulls Won't Be Great And That Is Just Fine

The Chicago Bulls will finish the 2012-13 regular season 44-38 and will be lambasted by the Miami Heat in the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs.

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With Derrick Rose out until at least February and much of the vaunted "Bench Mob" departed, the Bulls are back to a position they've held for much of the past decade – mediocrity. While it's true no individual member of the aforementioned "Bench Mob" was All-Star or Sixth Man of the year-caliber, it was a group that found a special chemistry, producing a whole greater than the sum of its parts. It seems implausible that Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau will find similar results from a second group of journeymen and retreads.

But while dreams of a seventh NBA championship are put to rest for the time being, that doesn't mean all the fun is gone.

No matter where he has been or who he has coached, Tom Thibodeau teams have always competed and "out-tried" their opponents. Need a reason why the Bulls were as successful in the regular season a year ago, without Derrick Rose, yet struggled so mightily in playoffs? The answer is they simply out-hustled, out-worked and out-tried their opponent. While that isn't the greatest recipe for success in the playoffs, that hustle and effort will translate into the same amount of regular season victories whether it's C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer or Kirk Hinrich and Jimmy Butler.

And speaking of Hinrich, I generally don't like to make assumptions after a couple of preseason games, but the guy looks refreshed and energized. Whether it was getting away from the basketball stench which is "Hot'Lanta" or just feeling good to be home, Hinrich looks more like the B.J.M.E (Before JaVale McGee Era) version and that's a very good thing for Bulls fans.

Outside of a rejuvenated Captain Kirk, the return of the Bulls core group, as well as a not-as-bad-as-you-think "Bench Mob" Vol 2. - which still features Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler as well as the streaky Nate Robinson and shooters Marco Belinelli and Vladimir Radmanovic - should all combine to make this team more than watchable.

I've always been one to say, "If you aren't playing for a championship, there's no reason to play." While this reincarnation of the Chicago Bulls, even with the return of of a healthy Derrick Rose, may not be good enough to win a championship, this season should still have it fair share of wins and entertainment.

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