Sometimes we are all guilty of getting ahead of ourselves, guilty of riding the bandwagon of a player, or even a team. Every year there is a “sweetheart” team or player that everyone falls in love with. This year that player is Derrick Rose, and the team is The Chicago Bulls. Most NBA fans are guilty of this, including myself to a certain extent. Rose is outstanding, and The Bulls look as if they are the “it ” team in 2010-11, and probably for years to come.
While Chicago is up 3-1 in their first round series against Indiana and clearly in position to advance to the second round, is their reason for concern? Let’s put aside Rose’s sprained ankle for a moment and look deeper. Is Indiana a bad match up for The Bulls? Is Chicago dangerously looking ahead to the next series and possibly further down the road? Or is Chicago perhaps, dare I say it, a touch overrated? Now it is safe to say that they will advance on and begin to run in to the upper tier of The Eastern Conference. Can they beat Miami, Boston or Orlando?, sure they can. But I sure do not feel as confident as I did a couple of weeks ago.
Just to be fair, we have seen other big teams start slowly in their first round series’, San Antonio and Los Angeles to name a couple. Those 2 teams have been their a number of times in the past, and find a way to wiggle out of trouble. The problem with Chicago is that they have never been in this position before, and when a team mightier than the Indiana Pacers gets in there way, how will they respond? They are barely squeaking past the Pacers in this series, coming from behind to steal a couple of games. What happens when they fall behind 2-0 or 2-1 in a seven game series against Miami or Boston? What happens when one of those teams focuses all there energy on punishing Rose as Indiana did in Game 3? Had The Pacers bought into that philosophy from the start, Chicago would be in even deeper trouble.
Now don’t misunderstand me, Rose is a great young player, and The Bulls are an exciting young team that had an exceptional regular season. But the Playoffs are a long and winding road, and this first series has to make you skeptical. Without a consistent second option, The Bulls in my opinion will not get out of The Eastern Conference. We have to assume that Joakim Noah may not have another 21 point 14 rebound performance for a while. Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer have been inconsistent, how much longer can Rose carry the load?
Unfortunately for Chicago, Indiana has accomplished one thing in this series if nothing else. They have laid out the blueprint on how to disrupt The Bulls. Make Rose pay for penetrating into the paint over and over. He may get to the foul line, but in a seven game series he will wear down. Believe me Chicago, Boston and Miami are watching.
About the Author
Written by Kris Schoembs
Connecticut School of Broadcasting Graduate.