With the NBA starting its regular season in exactly two weeks, basketball fans have seen the potential that is circulating throughout the various teams in the league. The preseason has already set an expectation to the fans on just how exciting this 2014-2015 season will be. The Miami Heat have fallen to 0-4, while LeBron James and Cleveland Cavaliers are undefeated at 4-0. The Brooklyn Nets are 3-0, and the LA Clippers are 0-3. Despite what these records say, the Chicago Bulls, who are only 3-2, have proven that they are striving to bring a championship back to Chicago. As a team, they are determined to show that Derrick Rose is not the only return in Chicago and that the Bulls could be a championship contending team this season.
The Chicago Bulls may have what it takes to win a championship. The current roster consists of rookies, veterans, and players who are on the rise to becoming all-stars and possibly even Bulls legends themselves. With the addition of rookie and first-round pick Doug McDermott, rookie Nikola Mirotić, and 13-year veteran and NBA All-Star Pau Gasol, these players have shown that their talents fit in perfectly with the growing roster. McDermott even started over veteran Mike Dunleavy in a preseason matchup against the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night and proved he could keep up with the vets on an NBA court. Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah, Nazr Mohammed, Taj Gibson, Mike Dunleavy, Tony Snell and Derrick Rose have been on the team together and already have an existing team chemistry both on and off the court. Joakim Noah was an NBA All-Star last season but chances are another Bull, Jimmy Butler, may be on his way to becoming a future All-Star also.
The Bulls struggled against the Atlanta Hawks during their preseason game on Thursday night, but Jimmy Butler found his rhythm and contributed greatly to the Bulls’ win. The Hawks statiscally played better than the Bulls during the first three quarters of the game, and it took until the final minutes for the Bulls to even close up the Hawks’ lead from as many as 21 points. With 14 seconds left in the game and the Hawks up 82-79, Butler was fouled on the 3-point line and made all three of his free throws to tie the game at 82-82. The Hawks’ rookie Dennis Schroder scored a layup to give his team a 2-point lead with 1.5 seconds left in the game but Butler living up to his nickname of “Jimmy Buckets,” scored a clutch, game-winning 3-pointer to give the Bulls a win. He also finished with the team high of 29 points.
The last time the Chicago Bulls won a championship was in 1998 when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen was more than just legendary, but a reality. This was also the end of the second three-peat championship. Chicago fans remember this era every time they set foot into the United Center as the six championship banners hang above them. Whether or not the Bulls bring a championship home this season, a seventh championship may be approaching in the near future. Head coach Tim Thibodeau and the rest of the coaching staff have worked to create an unstoppable roster for the past few years. Could this roster have what it takes to create “The Ultimate Return?” Many may agree, yet many more will have to see as the regular season starts and progresses. Despite who may “bull-lieve” or not, the Chicago Bulls will continue to prove that Derrick Rose is not the only return in Chicago this year and a championship could be returning as well.
Commentary By Tricia Manalansan
Photo Courtesy Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar – Creativecommons License