As I listened to “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000 today, the major topic of discussion was, of course, the Chicago Bulls‘ recent reentering of the Kevin Love sweepstakes. It was clear that co-hosts Marc Silverman and Tom Waddle were behind it.
One of the points brought up in favor of acquiring Love was that this roster for the 2014-15 NBA season was essentially the 2010-11 version of the Bulls all over again. That season, the Bulls went 62-20 en route to a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals before falling to the Miami Heat four games to one.
The nucleus of that roster was MVP Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer, and it was rounded out with second-year player Taj Gibson, rookie Omer Asik, veteran Kurt Thomas and guys like Ronnie Brewer, C.J. Watson and Kyle “Hot Sauce” Korver. Oh, yeah, and their starting two-guard: Keith Bogans.
Let me tell you, the current version of the Bulls is a much more talented, as well as more experienced team. And the best part is there are no players who resemble someone like Keith Bogans — so that’s a major plus.
The reason Silverman brought up the point is because the 2014-15 roster is a very deep one, much like in 2010-11, where the Bulls had their famous bench mob, but lacked any “true” star players like Rose. However, other than the fact that the team today will be one that goes 10 or 11 deep in a rotation, the similarities essentially stop there.
In the upcoming NBA campaign, the Bulls field a much more dynamic collection of players than the squad from four years ago.
Additions such as Nikola Mirotic and Pau Gasol are huge upgrades over guys like Boozer or Thomas, who played major minutes in 2010-11. Sure, the Bulls don’t have Deng anymore, but they also don’t have the one-dimensional likes of Bogans, Brewer or Korver. Instead, they have a defensive ace in Jimmy Butler, whose offensive game is improving every year and is also a better athlete than any of the four aforementioned players. In that rotation of the twos and threes will be guys like Mike Dunleavy Jr., Doug McDermott, Tony Snell and from time to time Kirk Hinrich. That grouping of players certainly seems more talented and offers much more versatility in constructing lineups.
And let us not forget, Noah and Gibson are 10-times the players they were back then. Noah is coming off a Defensive Player of the Year campaign which also saw MVP consideration and Gibson was snubbed as the Sixth Man of the Year. In fact, Noah is basically seen as the non-scoring superstar prototype in the league today. Four years ago, he was just a high-energy guy. Today, he is the leader of the franchise and his value has increased exponentially.
So while the 2014-15 roster bears a resemblance to the type of the depth the Bulls had in 2010-11, and also shares the fact that there is really only “one” scoring superstar on the team in Rose still, the modern-day version is incomparable in experience and talent. Not to mention, the Big 3 of the Heat are no more. Sure, the Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron James back could be a very good team, and even a great one if they acquire Love, but they’re not nearly as formidable regardless.
While I’m not saying the Bulls are definitely going to win it all this year, they are certainly more than capable of winning a title with this roster and should be considered favorites.
And even though getting another star player like Kevin Love would be great, how much of a price do you want to pay? Losing your only stud defensive wing player in Butler as well as other key pieces such as Gibson and Mirotic plus other assets seems like quite a bit to give up for an injury-prone player who only provides stellar offense and rebounding. Who will guard James when the Bulls face the Cavs in the playoffs? McDermott? Dunleavy? Forget about it.
Trading for Love would be too risky, and it’s not enough to say “stars win in this league.” How many 25-point-per-game scorers did the San Antonio Spurs have? Oh, that’s right. None.
The Bulls have a great all-around team in 2014-15 — at least give them a year to try and put it all together.