I’m going to try to offer an unbiased opinion of the Chicago Bulls and their chances for a title in 2010/11. Bubkus. Nil. Zilch. Nada. Zero. They may have won more games than anyone else during the regular season, but it’s exactly those traits that doom them to post-season triviality. They have a fantastic bench, and nearly all of their scoring opportunities come from Derrick Rose. Benches become insignificant in the playoffs and with seven games in a row for strong defensive teams to scheme against Rose, will other players be able to step up for Chicago? I say no.
This was proven to a degree in that it took a monumental game from Rose to beat the lowly Pacers. In related news, if Playoff seeding were fair, Houston, Phoenix and Utah would have made it before the Pacers, so they aren’t exactly a powerhouse requiring monumental individual performances.
Onto specific issues the Bulls face.
Defense at the point of attack
Darren Collison lit them up. Let’s read that again. Darren Collison. I wasn’t sold on Rose at the beginning of the year and he’s gone a long way to convincing me he’s legit (although him being MVP is a joke when he isn’t among the top 5 players in the league, assuming he wins it), but how does a guy with that freakish athleticism get abused by Darren Freaking Collison? Aside from one highlight block, Collison had a cake walk of a game and nearly lead the inferior team to victory. That won’t fly against the Magic who will destroy this Chicago team.
Perimeter defense by the bigs
The next time Carlos Boozer closes out on Tyler Hansbrough on the perimeter will be the first time. Hansbrough was left alone and unfettered to rain his jumper again and again, and I don’t care what the game plan was saying, once the guy hit five of them, perhaps don’t leave him open for number six, he was clearly hot.
Having Rose do all of their interior scoring is going to get very hard in the second round when it’s Dwight Howard and not Roy Hibbert patrolling. Perhaps getting Boozer on the block now and again would be helpful.
In short, it’s hard seeing how the Bulls can progress past the second round without significant changes in their approach. They have the personnel, they just need to remember to use their grey matter. I’ll be watching game two closely.