They drove away from the Berto Center earlier this week. Derrick Rose wearing his gray Bulls skullcap. Joakim Noah with his window down, hair flowing like Nick Ashford. There seemed to be a sense of serenity and certainty surrounding them. As if they knew something.
Like something great is waiting for the Chicago Bulls. Like ... it's within their reach.
As the players exited one by one, cameras and microphones and young fans hovered outside of the team's practice compound. Pictures were taken, sound bites given. It was so unlike last season -- when there were relatively no smiles, no evidence of hope, and the end came in April not May.
This time, the Bulls exit the season with a degree of hope that's on par with their football counterparts on Lake Michigan after the news of Jay Cutler's arrival went public. Finishing a couple shots away from advancing to the second round of the NBA playoffs can do that for a team. Especially one that was thinking of pingpong ball combinations midway through the season.
But that all changed this spring against Boston. Now that their season is over, the former "Baby Bulls" (can we please drop that name now and come up with a new one?) will look toward next season with an anticipation of greatness unfulfilled.
Or better, unfinished.
The series against Boston forced the Bulls to discover something about themselves as a unit that they had not been given the time or opportunity to learn previously. They learned who they are and what they are capable of. They learned that this time next year, they will be at the Berto practicing for their next playoff opponent, not saying goodbye.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
The road ahead looks smooth for Bulls
Posted by 2j at 9:47 AM