It has been 16 years since the Chicago Bulls have been a championship team and they may be poised to return to the spotlight again. It may not happen this season, but the Bulls are a very good team which could be on the verge of returning to a championship contender again.
The Bulls won their last NBA Championship in 1998 with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen running the show on the court and Phil Jackson coaching from the sideline. It was the teams sixth NBA championship over eight seasons and established the Bulls as a dynasty during the decade. Jackson left the team and soon after Jordan retired.
The team suffered without Jordan. It took the Bulls six seasons after the last championship to figure out a formula on the court that would return them to the playoffs. The first time the Bulls would win a playoff series did not happen until the 2006-07 season when they defeated the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat.
To become a championship team again, the Chicago Bulls need a healthy Derrick Rose. Rose won the leagues Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in 2011. The next season Rose only played for 39 games because of various injuries. In the first game of the playoffs that season, Rose tore his ACL and had to miss the entire next season. Rose was able to return to the Bulls for the start of the current season and played until November where the star point guard tore his meniscus.
Rose has had successful surgery to repair his right knee that sidelined him this season, so the former MVP should be ready for next season. Joakim Noah has been steadily becoming a better player for the Bulls, helping the team into the playoffs this season. While the team will make the playoffs, the Bulls are not a dynasty team yet, and that could very will change as soon as this years’ playoffs are over.
Right before the 2010 trade deadline, the Bulls sent Tyrus Thomas to the Charlotte Bobcats for two players and a future draft pick. And at this years draft, the trade between Chicago and Charlotte will finally be finalized. This could give the Bulls two of the first 20 selections in the draft. This gives the Bulls the chance to build the strongest team since the Jordan and Pippen teams.
While the coaching staff and players are focused completing the regular season and having a strong run in the playoffs, it appears that the front office of the Bulls is looking beyond this season. Counting on a healthy Rose and continued growth from Noah, along with the strong play the rest of the current roster and the potential next season addition of two top 20 draft picks could very well return the Bulls to glory.
While the Chicago Bulls will never have a Jordan and Pippen championship team again, a new dynasty may be in the making with Rose and Noah in leadership roles. With management looking ahead while the team prepares for the post season, the future looks very bright for the Bulls.
Commentary by Carl Auer