The last two years have been a struggle for the Chicago Bulls — and that is an understatement. Boasting the youngest league MVP in NBA history in Derrick Rose, the Bulls and their defensive prowess were poised to challenge the mighty Miami Heat for Eastern Conference supremacy for the next decade.
The series of events that followed over the last couple of years were undeniably painful to both the organization and its fans. Watching such a young, athletic and humble superstar go down two seasons in a row was not in the plan. Chicago is now left praying that Rose returns healthy enough to simply be an efficient point guard — no more depending on him to be the number one scorer.
This summer, Chicago will have to go out and find that potent scoring option via free agency, and, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, they may have one particular star interested in taking his talents to the windy city, and he happens to be the guy that just poured in a New York Knicks record 62 points Friday night.
Wojnarowski wrote in a recent piece that a source close to Carmelo Anthony has told him that Chicago is much more of a possibility than the Los Angeles Lakers — what was thought to be his original preference — and that he actually would prefer the Bulls.
If Anthony decided to head to Chicago, assuming Rose returns healthy enough to play purely the point, the Bulls will be one of the front runners for a championship in 2015. Focusing first on Rose, Anthony would allow him to be alleviated of the pressure he’s had on him to score so much. Rose will be able to be a point guard, first and foremost — Chicago fans would love nothing more.
Under the leadership of Tom Thibodeau, everyone is demanded to play 110 percent on defense. That means, for the first time in his career, Anthony will be firmly expected to become a formidable defensive player. There is no question that, knowing Thibodeau and his coaching style, Anthony wouldn’t be allowed to slack on that end of the floor.
Combine his scoring ability with the athletic, young and aggressive pieces in place like Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Jimmy Butler, these Bulls would be ready for a title run. Think about it.
Noah, for one, is widely regarded as one of the most complete true centers left in the game today. He ranks seventh in the league in rebounds at the moment, with 11.3 per game and is tied for second in the NBA among big men in assists with 4.1 per game. Throw in 11.7 points (good for a double-double average), 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game and you’ve got as complete of a center there is. Not to mention, nobody can match his intensity — a non-statistical category that some folks hate mentioning, but it’s worth looking at.
Gibson is one of the best reserve big men in the game, improving his offensive skill set tremendously over the last couple of years. He is a guy that brings it defensively every possession as well (team leader in blocks), and averages nearly 11 rebounds per 48 minutes — not too shabby for a bench player.
Lastly, Butler is solely counted on for defensive purposes. He’s one of the guys trying to accommodate for the losses of Rose and Deng in the lineup right now, but with another scorer on board like Anthony he will get to focus on what he’s best at — locking down the opposition’s best perimeter player on every single possession.
To get Anthony, Chicago will likely either trade Carlos Boozer or use the amnesty clause in order to clear up more room for him. That possibility still hasn’t been ruled out. If it happens, and you can almost see it now, number seven will be in the black and red.