During the last couple of years, the determined yet physically debilitated Chicago Bulls have been stifled when they have had the potential to go far. Although the Bulls were triumphant at the beginning of the post season last year, they eventually succumbed to the untimely injuries that plagued their team. While the Bulls are faced with the same dilemma as they once again lost their star shooter Derrick Rose to another season ending injury, they have still managed to persevere even in the face of immense adversity.
Although the Bulls loss of forward Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers may have seemed devastating at the time, they have still managed to flourish as a cohesively gifted team. Despite the fact that Deng was the Bulls leading scorer before he left for Cleveland, the Bulls have discovered some young talent on their roster that has proven to be reliable as both shooters and revered defenders. Between Jimmy Butler’s emergence as a solid perimeter shooter (he shoots 27.8% from the perimeter) and Carlos Boozers physical prowess that he utilizes to score consistently (15.1 PPG and shoots 46% from the field) while garnering essential rebounds to help his team get the upper hand (8.6 RPG), the Bulls are ripe with athletes who are determined to pick up the slack in the place of the their fallen comrades.
While the list of offensive and defensive contributors for the Bulls may be longer than most people think, there is one exceptional star on this Bulls squad that has motivated his team both on and off the court. In the absence of the coveted Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah has uplifited his team’s confidence to new heights thanks to his unwavering determination as a dynamically sound athlete. Although Noah may not have flashy statistics in terms of his scoring capabilities, his rebounding and defensive skill sets are simply astounding. This season, Noah has managed to collect 11.4 rebounds per game while using his impressive vigilance and strength to shut down happy go lucky shooters (he blocks 1.4 shots per game).
Obviously, for a team that has this type of size and endurance, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their nearly impenetrable defense ranks amongst the best in basketball (they only allow 92.8 PPG, 2nd in the NBA). While their offense is anything but proficient (they only 98.2 PPG), their defense has proven to be an exceptional part of their game that more than makes up for their scoring inefficiencies. Despite the fact that the Bulls lack a consistent offensive attack, they are effective at moving the ball in an unselfish manner (22.4 APG, 13 in the NBA) that allows their team to find open players on both the perimeter and in the paint. The advantage of having such a deep and developing roster is that any player is capable of making a big shot at any given time. Although the Bulls scoring opportunities may only come in streaky spurts, it’s more than enough to allow them to stay competitive in games where their primary objective is wear down the opposition with their dominant defense.
However, while the Bulls perseverance up to this point in the season has been admirable, it won’t be enough to carry them far in the playoffs. Even with the Bulls unique attention to detail combined with a group of well-versed athletes, they still have to find ways to score consistently if they hope to be this year’s beloved Cinderella story. Thus far, the Bulls have managed to get by on sheer determination; even they face opponents who have the upper hand in terms of overall talent and home court advantage. Luckily, the Bulls still have plenty of time to grow and eventually blossom into the franchise they want to be assuming Rose never reaches his full potential. It’ll be an arduous journey, but the Bulls have shown time and time again that they aren’t concerned about the situations that they can’t change. Right now, their main focus is on winning one game at a time while continuing to develop into a team that can play together consistently on both sides of the ball.
In the end, the Chicago Bulls have the mental fortitude and young talent to overcome a plethora of obstacles that stand in their way. While the Bulls aren’t an exceptional franchise just yet, they have the potential to become a team whose success is predicated on intriguing intangibles and instilled discipline rather than having a stacked roster. If the Bulls can stay the course and improve their on the court capabilities with each game they play, they’ll more than likely be a competitive force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference playoffs.