Last week Derrick Rose said “I can’t dunk, man. I know if I can dunk off stride, I know I’ll be out there playing, but I can’t.”
I have been battling with this question for awhile now. The Bulls have shown that they have the ability to be contenders but they have also shown that they are still flawed. The lack of a secondary scorer is big. Derrick Rose is great when healthy, but we saw in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals that LeBron James’ defense is Derrick’s kryptonite. The Bulls were phenomenal in the first game of that series but for the next four games LeBron would guard Derrick in the 4th quarter, which made it difficult for him to set up the offense, and that was especially detrimental for a team where no one but Derrick can find their own shot.
Luol Deng, Rip Hamilton, Jimmy Butler, and Carlos Boozer are capable secondary scorers but they cannot find their own shot. Marco Belinelli, Kirk Hinrich, and Nate Robinson can find their own shot as ball handlers but they each have their downfalls. Nate can be out of control and often makes bad decisions. Marco can be inconsistent on offense and can also be a liability on defense. Kirk Hinrich is good at setting up the offense, he’s a good defender, his shooting is inconsistent, and when Derrick gets back I expect Thibodeau to play Kirk at the 2 some.
All-in-all the Bulls have improved a great deal since 2011 but I just don’t see enough for them to get past Miami, even with a healthy Derrick. The 2-guards that they have now are far better than Keith Bogans and Ronnie Brewer, and as good as Kyle Korver was from the perimeter he wasn’t always dependable. So, by that logic the Bulls could beat the Miami Heat and make it to the Finals. But what most Bulls fans forget is that the Heat have improved also. I mean they are the reigning champs. LeBron James is playing all-time great basketball, Dwyane Wade is still very dangerous, and they have a litter of perimeter shooters that spread the floor for Wade and James to work the interior.
I think as constructed along with a healthy Derrick Rose, that the Bulls will make to the Eastern Conference Finals but lose in 6 games to the Miami Heat. This is no knock on the Bulls, I think they can make a move in the off-season for maybe Kevin Love or Josh Smith and then next season they can have a stronger roster and a more healthy, more comfortable Derrick Rose. I just don’t see anyone beating the Miami Heat this year.