Tuesday, March 8, 2011

For the City

The NBA's biggest surprise this year, my hometown team, the Chicago Bulls are turning more than a few heads this year.

The Bulls, who lost out on the talents of Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and Lefag James this summer, have really shown the importance of team chemistry and role playing.

We all know about how great Tommy T's defense has been for the Bulls, I personally am very impressed with how well/fast this team responded to the new defense. They have really embraced it and the teams record doesn't indicate anything else. I think a big reason for the defensive success plays right into team chemistry and role playing.

Watch the Bulls any game, it just looks like they are having fun out there. I think a big reason for this obvious chemistry is the amount of role playing players on the Bulls. The Bulls are filled with players who understand and play their roles very well. There is no bumping of egos on this team, and it all starts with humble, MVP candidate, Derrick Rose.

Derrick Rose, who Chicagoans have been watching since his high school days at Simeon, has taken Chicago's NBA team back to that elite level. Derrick Rose is averaging 24.6 ppg, 8 apg and 1 steal, as impressive as those numbers are, its what Rose does for the team that doesn't show up on the stat sheet that is soo impressive. He may seem soft spoken, but Rose is no where near shy on the court. He can basically take the the ball to the basket at will, his up and unders are out of control, he can throw down over any point guard and the open looks he creates for his teammates are phenomenal. He also controls the ball excellent and runs the offense with great poise, oh yeah and with his speed he isn't too shabby on the defensive side either.

We all know Derrick Rose is the complete package and he plays his role as the MVP of the team very very well. It's players like Joakim Noah, Ronnie Brewer, Omer Asik, Kyle Korver and Loul Deng that proves the importance of role playing.

Noah, who has missed a good chunk of the season due to injury, is excellent at what he does. He is loved by all his teammates, and you can guarantee that he will be the loudest one whether it be on the court or on the bench. He is a great rebounder and plays very solid defense. Noah is all about the team, and one of the least selfish players you could find. He pumps up his team mates and makes sure everyone is playing hard and is focused.

I like to compare Noah to Garnett. Not really in the sense of skill level, but in the sense of what they bring to the team mentally. Kevin Garnett is the most intense player in the game; he is soo intense most thinks he takes to "too far". That intensity also keeps all of his teammates focused and on their best game. I like to think of Noah in the same light, Noah is an intense trash-talking player that always keeps the team focused. Garnett and Noah both have the same team before themselves mentality.

I think the thing about Noah that has won the heart of fans is his hard work. Noah, after the Bulls lost to the Celtics in seven games, said he had never been pushed around like that in his life. In his defense he was guarding Kevin Garnett, but Noah took this as motivation and worked extremely hard in the weight room and on the court. Noah is exactly the kind of player a team needs, and his role is crucial for this team success.

Loul Deng who has been in Chicago for six years is starting to hit his stride, he is averaging 17.6 ppg and almost six rebounds a game. Deng has always been a solid player for the Bulls, but there is a difference in his game over the last few years. Deng is developing an outside game. Growing up watching games Deng was automatic from one to two steps inside the three-point line, if he took a step back then his shooting percentage goes way down. Deng has already taken 178 more three-point attempts than he did all of last year, and has made 57 more then his previous career high.

Now I'm not saying that Deng is a sharp shooter by any means, but his three point shooting has opened up his own game, therefore; Deng is a more dangerous player.

Now, we get to the deep Chicago bench that has played just an important of a role as any on this team.

Ronnie Brewer, who is not known for his offensive play, always seems to create that spark to get the team going. Brewer is known for his tough defensive play and his ability to turn defense into offense, which he had been doing a decent job of most of the year. Although he didn't get the start over Bogans for most of this season, it has not discouraged him from doing his job.

I am starting to understand why Deron Williams was soo upset with the departure of Brewer on the Jazz.

Omer Asik has been a surprise to me this year. Reading articles all summer the bulls were very high on this kid and now I understand. Although it will still take time for Asik to be a contributor to this team, I at least think its possible. His size and rebounding is enough of an asset to keep him on NBA teams. Looking at the last five games Asik is averaging about 16 minutes a game with about eight rebounds a game. His big body down low on defense has also shown to be a test for opposing players. Asik is very raw and his offensive game is almost non existent, but Asik does a very good job playing his role on this team and is a crucial part to this bench.

If anyone understands being a role player it's Kyle Korver. Playing a three-point specialist on every team he has been on, you know exactly what your getting with Korver. Korver is a career 41% three point shooter and this year is shooting 42%. A major thing this Bulls team lacks is a pure scorer, more importantly they have been missing an outside game. Korver off the bench provides just that.

Although he is not the complete package with Korver's shooting and Brewers defense, the Bulls have the best of both worlds with their two shooting guards.

I think the most phenomenal part of this season is how this team is bringing together a whole city. Unfortunately, I am in Lawrence going to school, but from what I have heard the city has once again turned into a Bulls town. Chicago has had some good teams over the last few years, but none that has shown promise like this team. Chicago has crowned another king, Derrick Rose.

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