But supposedly Rose and Noah are both playing tonight, so maybe things aren't so bad after all. Short-term let's hope for a continued winning streak, and long-term ... let's hope that our two best, young players aren't badly injured.
It's tough not to love these Bulls
There was sobbing throughout Northeast Ohio and plenty of whining in New York City when LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach. Meanwhile, in Chicago, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah shrugged and went back to the gym.
With all due respect to the skills of LeBron and Chris Bosh and the recruiting savvy of Dwyane Wade, Rose and Noah weren't begging anyone to join them, which is part of what makes this the most irresistible Bulls team since Michael and Scottie left town.
"My thing was, no one person can make a decision for a group," Rose said last week. "Guys knew if they came, we'd have welcomed them. But ... "
Rose stopped. His answer wasn't meant to be insulting. He already thought his team worthy, and after Bulls management redirected its free-agent efforts and signed Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver, Rose believed his boys could rumble with anybody. Nothing has changed his mind, especially now that Chicago has won six straight and begun to fully incorporate Boozer into the lineup since his debut Dec. 1.
This isn't the first time in the post-Jordan era that Chicago has put together an appealing cast. Remember, the Baby Bulls swept defending champ Miami in the 2007 playoffs, and Rose had a coming-out party in that seven-game classic against the champion Celtics in 2009. But those teams, to a great degree, were hoping and praying; the first group was too inexperienced and the latter too perimeter-oriented. Don't get me wrong, this season's team isn't a finished product in terms of personnel -- acquiring a proven shooter is an absolute necessity -- but if you've been watching the Bulls as long as some of us (the entire 44 years of the franchise for me), there's something irresistible about this group.
It's OK, finally, to fall in love with the Bulls again, starting with the fact Rose and Noah didn't spend all summer begging for help; it's indicative of a tough-mindedness that ought to immediately endear this squad to Chicago. Not trading Noah -- in fact, doing just the opposite and signing him to a long-term deal -- already has proved to be the right move, if for no other reason than Noah's value to the Bulls is so much greater than his statistical contribution, even his prolific rebounding.
Joakim Noah and Dennis Rodman are kindred spirits
Joakim Noah(notes) is a terriffic defender, one of the league's top rebounders, and a limited offensive player. Those skills (or lack thereof) put him in the company of another former Bulls great, Dennis Rodman.
The Worm was a controversial figure during his playing days, but no one who watched him can deny that the man was as good a rebounder and defender as anyone in his era. Noah recognizes these facts, thankfully, and appreciates Rodman's career. Noah told Jonathan Santiago of SLAM Online that the two recently had the opportunity to meet:
According to Noah, he met the two-time All-Star at an unspecified night club and told him how big of a fan he was. Rodman, likewise, returned mutual admiration.
"I just saw him in the club and I just showed him love and he showed me love," Noah responded. " It was cool, you know?" The current Bulls power forward spoke reverently of his predecessor:
"I've nothing but good things to say about that guy. You know, I'm a big fan of his. I feel like, you know, somebody whose basketball skills are so underrated just because of all the other things. Just because he was kind of out there, in people's eyes, people kind of forget how much he affected the game. I mean, he was a champion you know? I think people kind of forget that. The guy was the definition of hustle and affecting the game without scoring. He scored a little bit, but not really. I mean the guy just affected the game so much with his defense and his rebounding. And he kind of made that cool, to me anyways."