It’s been a long time since the Chicago Bulls have entered December in a position as favorable as this. They’re in first place by a game over the surprising Indiana Pacers, their biggest threat to the division, the Milwaukee Bucks, have spent most of November east bound and down, and they actually finished the dreaded circus trip with a winning record of 4-3.
Usually, the circus road trip is like the set-up of a George Lopez joke: you just know complete failure in the task at hand is about to occur.
And on top of all these good vibes, the Bulls’ superstar, Derrick Rose is elevating his game to another level. This NBA season will only get better for Chicago as Carlos Boozer may return Wednesday night versus Orlando. With Booze now being served, Rose and company have that dynamic second option in place, and things are about to take off.
By Paul M. Banks
Boozer’s near perfect skill set for the pick and roll offense gives Rose the help he will need to bump his assists average up near the top tier of point guards. Every elite point guard in this league needs a corresponding low post threat to 1.) feed the ball inside 2.) help augment his own game by spreading the defense, and the Bulls have not had a low post threat like this since Elton Brand.
Many amongst the media still believe that the Bulls are a superstar away from contending for a championship. But Rose looks like he’s making the leap, and with Boozer as his sidekick, the Bulls can contend this year for an NBA championship. No more failed experiments, Boozer is finally the real deal down low.
Much was made this preseason when Rose said he wants to, and thinks he can become, the MVP of the league. Right now, he’s certainly working on all the off-the-court things you need to do to become that iconic player.
“I’m not anywhere near the Jordan brand, but just to be out there, to be in the commercials I think you’ll be seeing me a lot on television this year,” Rose said.
You’ve seen him so far in commercials for both Adidas and Powerade. Now it’s time to acquire the winning resume which typically complements the high visibility public profile. Although he’s just in his third season in the league, Rose has yet to win a playoff series. The time he spent this summer winning in international competition with Team USA during FIBA no doubt helps. Perhaps his 2010-11 progression didn’t start on opening night versus OKC, but instead in the summer.
“Being back on a winning team. I haven’t won a championship since high school so I’ve seen what it takes to go out and win games and what you need to win a championship, how focused you need to be,” Rose said.
Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau talked about what a great duo Rose and Boozer can be.
“It’s not just the fast-break, sometimes it’s the second shot as he’s (Boozer) a great offensive rebounder. But he can go away from the basket , the pick and roll game, the pick and pop, he has great hands and can finish with both hands, also catch-and-shoot…so when you pair him with Derrick, it’s going to be difficult to guard because you’ll have to commit two people to the ball and that opens the floor up for the rest of the guys,” Thibodeau said.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank
He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com
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