The Chicago Bulls, a team that has been systematically decimated by untimely injuries, is nearly at the end of their tumultuous playoff run. Although they have fought valiantly to get to this point despite the momentous adversity they have faced, the Bulls are running off the last remaining emotional fumes that they have left.
While the story of 2012-2013 Chicago Bulls may be in the process of reaching its inevitable resolution, the potential this team has within its ranks has yet to be fully unveiled. Chicago Bulls fans and LeBron shunners will get their just desserts next year when a depleted Bulls franchise transforms into not only potentially the best team in the Eastern Conference but also into the Achilles heel of the now dominate Miami Heat team.
Throughout the regular season the Bulls proved unquestionably that they can play inspired basketball without an unprecedented offense. Even without their superstar point guard Derrick Rose, this team has proven time and time again that they can play at a high level by having both veteran leadership in Joakim Noah and a highly respected coach in Tom Thibodeau.
While the Bulls had their fair share of inexcusable loses down the stretch (lost to Toronto, Detroit and Washington in April) , they made up for these athletic lapses by unleashing their defensive prowess against imposing opponents who underestimated not only their athleticism but also their undeniable will to win (see victory over Miami Heat to snap their 27-game winning streak).
While it appears that the Heat will get their revenge against the Bulls for the events that transpired during the regular season, this underwhelming series will only strengthen this team as whole and prepare them for the upcoming regular season.
If Derrick Rose had played this season then the underappreciated depth the Bulls have within their ranks never would have been fully realized. Nate Robinson, now a household name and one of the toughest point guards in the playoffs, got his chance to be in the limelight as the next in line to be a dynamic playmaker. While not quite the prolific shooter that Derrick Rose is, Robinson has stepped up to the plate in other ways by stepping up in critical game time situations (see game four against Brooklyn Nets). Seeing the tenacity and gusto that this man plays with, it becomes that much harder to believe that he stands at a mere 5’8”.
Of course, it’s impossible to discuss this resurgent Bulls team without brining up the admirable leadership of their dynamic center Joakim Noah. His intimidating on the court presence coupled with his tangible ability to consistently and effectively rebound the ball, regardless of the opponent, has made him the face of this debilitated franchise in the absence of Rose. He seemingly has no fear and lacks a worrisome bone in his body as he continues to play inspired basketball despite a chronic injury of his own (missed 15 regular season games due to plantar Fasciitis).
It would be easy to go on through the rest the Bulls roster and reiterate their individual contributions and how each one was necessary to the Bulls unexpected success. Between Luol Deng’s physical presence and his ability to be an effective clutch shooter to Jimmy Butler having a stand out performance as a young strong forward (12.8 PPG, 41.9 3P% in the post season), the Bulls have a plethora of up and coming stars who could easily rival those of the Miami Heat when at full strength.
If you have watched any of the playoffs and observed how this Bulls team has been triumphant in more ways than anyone thought was possible, it becomes a near impossibility not to be intrigued by what this teams potential could be when all of the cylinders are firing. While this year may be disappointment to some fans, to many others it is a reason to not only rejoice with a sense of deserved pride but also to be hopeful and anxious for the seasons that are to come.
While the anticipation and excitement for what is to come may be difficult to suppress for fans this season, one aspect remains absolutely concrete: the Chicago Bulls, come hell or high water, will be legitimate contenders for the national championship when their notorious superstar Derrick Rose comes back to the Windy City to rejuvenate a franchise that deserves to be feared by opponents and loved by die hard fans that have waited patiently for this moment to come to fruition.