I dragged myself out of bed this morning with the sound of Maureen McGovern bouncing around in my brain reminding me “there’s got to be a morning after.” Well that ship sank and so did the Bulls’ last night so where does that leave us? Before long it dawned on me that we, as Bulls fans, forgot a lot of stuff. We have the Bulls to thank for that but we should take note of them.
Derrick Rose Is VERY Young
He makes us forget it with his unselfish play, his calm demeanor, his lack of outbursts, but D Rose is still but 22 years old. This is only his third year in the league and he won the MVP. Many times I get irritated at the NBA for announcing their awards in the middle of the playoffs, it makes you forget just how big of a deal and how uncommon it has been for someone this young to win an MVP in all of sports let alone the NBA.
LeBron James hasn’t been to the Finals at all in his 7 years in the league, it took Kobe until his 4th year. Dwyane Wade got a championship his second year in the league but it was only with a team of thoroughbreds around him. The fact we are even mentioning D Rose in the same breath of these guys is a testament to how special the kid is (and how wrong I was about him).
He made some mistakes with decisions and a lot of turnovers. He lost a lot of his aggressiveness but that was in large part to a very effective game plan against him run to perfection by the Heat. He’s got time and he learned something.
Tom Thibodeau Is A First Year Head Coach
After being subjected to two years of a graduate assistant the Bulls finally had a real head coach for the first time since Scott Skiles was dismissed after essentially giving up on his own team (which was hardly head coach-like). Thibs was so impressive he too had the fantastic accomplishment of being selected NBA Coach of the Year overshadowed by the playoff run.
We forget the 53-year-old’s previous head coaching gig was with Salem State during the Reagan Administration. He’s been an assistant, a great one but still an assistant, for most of his career. He’s only the third first-year coach to win 60 games. These phenomenal accomplishments made us forget he’s still learning the ropes too.
I think it’s clear Thibs needs a better offensive mind on the bench with him. He failed to put a play out there in the last two Bulls losses, games they could have and arguably should have won. Clearing out for a 3rd year player to manufacture a shot out of thin air with probably the best defender in the NBA on him is not a plan. It was unfair to do that to Derrick and I hope Thibs recognizes that.
Down the stretch of games he has also shown he can close in on what he feels the right lineup is and will stick to it – even when it’s failing. Why can’t Keith Bogans be trusted in the 4th Quarter? Why continue to run Kyle Korver out there when he hasn’t been making his shots? Why hardly play Kurt Thomas at all and then suddenly throw him in only after Omer Asik went down? These are all legitimate questions to ask a head coach.
The Heat Were Supposed To Win
Let’s just be honest with ourselves now. I hate them just as much as the rest of you do but the team Miami has put together is truly scary. They got some serviceable players to put around their Big 3 and the Bulls may well have woken Chris Bosh up for Miami. To their credit the Bulls were in every game with Miami, only Miami got blown out and gave up in Game 1. They took that and responded and the Bulls were never able to close down the stretch – being worn down by some of the best players in the game will do that to you.
It’s alright to hate them. It’s alright to notice the Bulls well could have been the ones celebrating last night if a few things go their way. Don’t deny the pure talent Miami comes to the floor with night after night though and while, yes, I don’t believe Derrick gets his due from the referees they weren’t the reason it didn’t happen for the Bulls this year.
The Finals Aren’t Given
It’s been so long since the Bulls had a legitimate shot at the NBA Finals that we forget what Michael Jordan et al went though when they went for the first time – a tough Detroit team that took them years to beat. I will predict right now that we will see Bulls v Heat Part II next year. It took the Bulls four attempts before they were finally able to defeat the Pistons and go to the Finals, if the Bulls make the right moves in the offseason (OJ Mayo please) they could one up MJ and the boys and do it in two. Maybe then we can forget about this and celebrate another NBA title.