What if the Chicago Bulls aren't as good this season as everyone expects them to be? In the eyes of many it's something of a foregone conclusion that Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, and Co. will automatically be a top four seed in the Eastern Conference, but a number of factors both with the Bulls organization and the rest of the conference could stop that from happening.
There's no question that this is a better team than it was last year; Rose is on the cusp of superstardom, Boozer adds the inside veteran presence the organization has coveted for years, and the team is deeper than it's been in years.
Despite the improvements, however, both internally and through trades and free agency, even the most die-hard Bulls fans have to ask if they're expecting too much for this group to be a top-three team in the conference right away.
For starters, this is a team that really doesn't know each other well. For all the criticisms the Miami HEAT have taken regarding all these new pieces being thrown together, the Bulls really aren't a whole lot different. The team will have two new starters and at least seven completely new teammates, and you can add in one or two more as the team looks to finalize a roster that still stands at only 12 guys.
Not only that, but the team is under the leadership of a rookie head coach, albeit one that many expect to eventually be very good. However, when you consider the fact that Tom Thibodeau will be instilling an entirely new system in Chicago, and over half the team is brand new to the organization, we have to consider that there could very well be a lengthy period of time when the Bulls struggle, especially in the beginning of the season as they adjust to each other and, inevitably, head out west for the annual circus road trip. This is a team that tends to start off slowly, and that could be compounded this year simply because everybody is more or less new to everybody else.
All that, however, says nothing to Chicago's chances in the conference, let alone the Central Division. Few would argue that Orlando and Miami are the clear 1-2 teams in the East this season, and beyond that the Bulls, Celtics, Hawks, and Bucks are likely to fill out 3-6 in some order.
Are the Bulls a 3-4 team, or a 5-6? It's impossible to argue that they're a top six team, but we rarely hear much of teams seeded fifth or sixth after the second round. It will be hard for Chicago to live up to expectations if they can't even secure home court advantage in the first round. It's not an impossible thing to do, but it's far from a certainty.
And you sir, are no Michael Jordan
Yes, I'm looking at you Kobe Bryant. I'm looking at you LeBron James. It's not your fault, the media screwed you both on this by bringing it up all the time, but in case there's any doubt, let me clear it up for you. You may be great, but you are no Michael Jordan.
For whatever reason the media loves to dust off the "is this guy better than Michael Jordan" talk every couple years with some guy who's clearly not better than Jordan. There's only two men who can rightly be compared to Michael Jordan. Wilt Chamberlain (the domineer of raw stats) and Bill Russell (the domineer of wins). They both lose, but you at least have some type of argument for either guy.
Before we begin, let me address the argument that because we're having a conversation about this that somehow it validates the idea. I had a conversation yesterday with my five year old where she told me I no longer need to go to work. She said she called my boss and made sure it's okay, and that he understands that she misses me too much. I asked what his name was, and she replied "barbecue".
Having a conversation doesn't validate in any way the contents of the conversation. If you've ever spoken with a moron (I assume we've all done that at some point) then I doubt you feel their thoughts were validated merely by being spoken outloud. The media are simply morons with this. Except they're not actually morons, they're shameless self-promoters trying to boost their ratings by attempting to prop up the players playing presently on their networks.
There are many ways to sum up this argument, and what makes it so simple is that Jordan wins all of them. That's why the case of comparing Kobe or LeBron is so absurd. Neither guy wins any argument against Jordan.
It'd be easy to close the book on where these guys are right now. There are so many open and shut ways to do so. I could say look at the rings. Look at the Finals MVPs. Look at the stats. Look at the league MVPs, defensive MVPs, any statistical or subjective metric etc... Those would all fairly simply prove the point Jordan is the best to ever play the game, and any rationale person would choose Jordan after hearing those arguments.
However, I'm not going to do that. I'm going to take it a step farther. I'm going to show you that no reasonable extrapolation of the rest of their career for Kobe or LeBron can ever put them ahead of Jordan regardless of how many rings they win from here on out.
That's right. If Kobe wins the championship the next three seasons or LeBron rattles off eight straight, neither guy is better than Jordan. They just aren't, and the rings if they come (which they probably won't in enough volume for either guy to pass MJ anyway) then it still won't matter. Jordan will still be the best ever.
Rose, USA National Team heading to Spain
Derrick Rose may not have had a big game statistically speaking when the USA National Team took on France in an exhibition game Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, but it didn’t bother him in the least.
“I feel good about how we played and we got the win. That’s the biggest thing,” said Rose of USA’s 86-55 victory, in which he recorded two points, three assists and three rebounds in 15 minutes of play.
“Our game today was just pushing the ball,” said Rose, who wore No. 6 and entered at the 5:35 mark of the first quarter with the USA up 6-2. “Everybody was making shots and we eventually got out to a good lead.”
The game started slowly, though, for both teams, as through one period, it was tied at 16-16.
“France played well and we had some jitters to start out the game,” said Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who leads the USA National Team’s coaching staff. “It’s the first time for most of these guys to play for our country in a game. That’s why these exhibition games are so important for us.”
Krzyzewski, who said he was pleased with his team’s defense and effort, opted for a starting lineup that consisted of Rajon Rondo, Chauncey Billups, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant and Tyson Chandler. Hence, Rose came off the bench, but again, he’s taking no issue with that whatsoever.
“I’m a ballplayer and I’ll continue to play,” said Rose. “My role on this team is defense and pushing the ball. When I’m in, my job is to pressure the ball so opponents aren’t comfortable bringing it up the court. There are a lot of great scorers on this team, so I don’t need to score. I’m working hard on defense and pushing people different ways, just trying to be as aggressive as I can.”
Rose proving himself with Team USA
The 2010 USA Basketball Men’s National Team’s first taste of international competition—or any competition outside of their own team—came on Saturday afternoon with Derrick Rose and his teammates leaving Madison Square Garden with an dominating victory over China.
The teams participated in a scrimmage, with four 10-minute quarters and a scoreboard that was reset at the end of each frame. The Americans won the first three quarters convincingly, including an impressive 35-8 third frame, before coming up short 17-16 in the final period.
Rose, aiming to make the final roster of 12 players which beginning training in Madrid, Spain on Aug. 17 and compete in the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Istanbul, Turkey Aug. 28 to Sept. 12, scored 12 points and dished out two assists in the winning effort. The USA team, which has not won the FIBA World Championship since 1994, will look to take its first real step in doing so when it meets France on Sunday back at the Garden (12 p.m. on ESPN2).
“I’m just trying to put pressure on my opponents and play well,” Rose said following the scrimmage, which opened the doors to a limited audience of about 500 people, including the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, who sat in the first row near the American bench.
Danny Granger led all scorers with 22 points, while Eric Gordon contributed 15 and Kevin Durant chipped in with 14.
For Rose, the experience with the USA team has been different from what he is accustomed to, with more focus on transition play and fewer amounts of possessions, he said.
“We as guards really have to take care of the ball and make sure we don’t make any dumb plays,” said Rose. “We’re also full court pressing all the time. You always have to make sure your man is in front of you so you can pressure and make it difficult for teams to run their sets. It also allows you to take some time off their shot clock.”
USA coach Mike Krzyzewski seconded Rose’s thoughts following the scrimmage.
“We need to play the full court so teams don’t just come down and have an extra six seconds,” he said. “I thought our effort was real good today.”
As for Rose, Krzyzewski likes what he is seeing out of his fellow Chicago native. But he wants to see a little more of that swagger he knows is in the 21-year old point guard.
“He’s been good, especially with his ball pressure,” commented Krzyzewski. “All of these guys sacrifice their egos to be on here, but we don’t want them to lose their egos. When he’s in the game, we want him to have a Bulls ego rather than just trying to fit in. That’s a little bit of a process.
Derrick Rose: ‘I am not worried about the Heat’
When speaking with the media, Rose was about a potential rivalry brewing with the Miami HEAT. ``I am not worried about the HEAT; I am just worried about the Bulls. I know that my team is ready.``
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The late John Wooden would have liked Derrick Rose.
Coach Wooden always told his UCLA teams not to worry about their opponents and to focus on playing, which is the approach Rose is taking with the Miami Heat.
Instead of worrying about Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, instead of worrying about the attention the Heat are getting, Rose is punching the clock, putting in work, and extending his three-point shot.
Of course, this will make him unstoppable.
Rose has always been able to get to the basket. Defenders have such respect for his athleticism they back off him and concede the jumper.
If Rose can consistently knock down three-pointers, defenders won`t be able to back off him, which will make it easier to penetrate and create scoring opportunities.
The third year point guard should head into 2011 as a pick-your-poison player. And it will be because he took a ‘Wooden’ approach to this summer.
Rose Wants to be the Best (scroll down)
A big year is ahead for Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. The Bulls are expected to be one of the powerhouses in the Eastern Conference and his development is a big reason why along with the additions of head coach Tom Thibodeau and All-Star power forward Carlos Boozer. Part of Rose's preparation for his big year includes participating in Team USA and playing for Coach K, which has really helped his game in his quest to become the game's best.
"If anything he is a motivational speaker and he really has humor when he talks," said Rose on ESPN Radio. "If anything you are going to listen to him because he is going to be a legend, a Hall of Famer I mean in this game. For him to be coaching me is wonderful. Too bad I didn't go to Duke, but it's great even just being here with him and his staff is great and I am lucky to be on this bus headed to the gym.
"I hope everybody out there put me as one of the top players in the NBA if not this year or last year, hopefully one of the years I do play in the NBA. But I am not going to stop; there is no point of playing this game if you are not trying to be the best. So while I am out here working out and all that stuff, I am playing to be the best player."
Seriously, do these guys want to look like douchebags?
I posted a couple days ago about Dwyane Wade continuing to raise his level of douchebaggery. I mean seriously, how dumb do you have to be as Wade to say the stuff he said here?
You've got LeBron James keeping mental notes about all the people who pointed out he's a douchebag. Hey LeBron, every look back at this and think that people might not call you such a douchebag if you weren't being such a douchebag? Who has their own hour long show to tell their hard core supporters to f 'off.
Now Chris Bosh, who had, up until now largely been just called Wade's bitch because people had hurt feelings while not really doing anything too negative has stepped up his game when it comes to douchebaggery.
"If you think about how many times somebody asks you, 'How are you,' that's how many times I was asked, 'Where you going? So it's like, well, in my case, I'm going to have fun with it. I'm going to play with people's emotions. I'm going to be high and low."
"I wouldn't call it a game because it's serious, but, I mean, it's entertainment at the end of the day . . . "It's entertaining to see people react to your real emotions because if it wasn't fun I wouldn't do it."
So, a good time to Chris Bosh is screwing with peoples emotions? Look, I get where you are coming from. It's aggravating to have people all up in your face asking you about your plans all the time, but show some respect you m----- f------ a-----. You know those people who you're screwing with?
They're the ones who make it possible for you to be paid an outrageous sum of money rather than to work some minimum wage job, so maybe you should back up the truck and appreciate them a bit more.
I'm trying to go back in my mind and think of three guys who were extremely popular, who managed to combine forces which in and of itself should have created something wonderfully popular, but instead completely assassinated their own brand and popularity.
To put this in perspective, they have turned Kobe Bryant, who was at a minimum an adulterer and possibly a rapist, into a hero. Think about that for a minute. These guys have lowered themselves to a status which falls beneath alleged rapist (which says something fairly horrible about fandom in general).