By Shawn Muller–
OK, Bulls fans. I want you to do something for me.
Instead of listening to your friends, your co-workers, the various media outlets, or anyone else out there telling you it is too early to start thinking NBA championship with this year’s version of the team…tell them to wake up. It is not you who is asleep at the wheel.
I can’t stand it when I hear people saying the old, “oohh…it’s too early…a lot of season is left” spiel over and over again…season after season. Apparently it is always a little too early to get excited, but never too early to prepare for disappointment. This garbage is regurgitated over and over in the world of sports today. Everything is so scripted now by fans and players that it is almost boring. Why shouldn’t fans—Bulls fans in particular—get excited about the possibility that this could finally be the year that banner number seven could make its way up to the rafters in the United Center?
I understand people just don’t want to get too excited about titles because—more often than not—in the end, you will be disappointed. But seeing this Bulls team and the way they are playing, why shouldn’t people start to think this could be the year? Why is next year supposed to be the year Chicago makes a run?
When Chicago is completely healthy, they are easily one of the best teams in the league. They are nipping at the heels of the Boston Celtics in the race for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. Call me overly optimistic if you want, but with the questionable moves made by the Celtics at the trade deadline—and the age of the current Celtics roster—I don’t think it is a matter of IF the Bulls catch Boston, but when. Miami is right there with the Bulls in the number three spot, but I just don’t see them being a problem for Chicago in the playoffs (excuse me while I mention the 0-3 mark against the Bulls for Miami this season…I just like to mention that for a good smile!). So I will ask the “doom and gloom” crowd: how could anyone think Chicago won’t win the conference championship and possibly the NBA Finals? Seems to me that Chicago should be the favorite in the Eastern Conference, don’t you think?
Now before you Negative Nelly’s start in with the past couple of playoff appearances…stop right there! You can’t compare the past couple of Bulls playoff teams with this year’s version. Those teams didn’t have a Carlos Boozer helping Joakim Noah down low. Those teams didn’t have the type of role players coming off the bench that this team has, in guys like Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer. Those teams had a Derrick Rose running the point who was trying to find himself as the new face of the franchise—not the front runner for the MVP Derrick Rose of this season. Most importantly, however, is that those teams were not coached by Tom Thibodeau.
There is a certain air surrounding the United Center that we haven’t seen since the days of MJ and Scottie. While it has felt like an eternity since the Bulls last won an NBA championship, this franchise is on the brink of doing it again. Maybe it is another year away, but there is no way anyone should just count this year as a “building block” for future success. I am not saying that I am one hundred percent sure this team will win it all come June (nobody would be), but I am also not going to be one of those people who prefer to take the “doom and gloom” road and say it can’t be done or it won’t be done this season because it can be.
So the next time someone tells you that Chicago shouldn’t be mentioned with the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, and Heat as legit title contenders this season, tell them to prove you otherwise. The Bulls are 6-4 against the best teams in the NBA (or should I say the other title “contenders” I mentioned above), with all four losses coming on the road, and three of the four losses coming prior to the return of Carlos Boozer to the starting lineup. Oh, by the way…the fourth loss occurred in Boozer’s second game back from injury.
Prove me and the rest of the believers wrong members of the “doom and gloom” crowd.
I don’t think you can…
Do you agree with Shawn? Post your comments below.
Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24.