I couldn’t help but think how the absolute time to win a championship for Chicago is NOW. They’ve acquired the deepest team they have had since Derrick Rose has arrived on the scene not to mention the state of the Eastern Conference is in. There are only a few other teams that are even contenders, and one being the Cavs, are in a state of flux and we are all wondering if and when they’ll morph into the team we thought they would. Health, is the number one concern in Chicago, but at full strength, there may not be a deeper team in the Eastern Conference, maybe the entire association.
Derrick is healthy, sort of. Even though we’re only fifteen games in, Jimmy Butler has turned into one of the better two-way players in the entire NBA. The bigs rotation of Jo, Pau, Taj and Nikola are incredibly talented and multidimensional. The depth, not just at a few positions, at all of them are unmatched in the East. The depth aspect is all predicated on Thibs rotations further down the road. They can be great, but McDermott hasn’t been good. At all. Mirotic has been inconsistent as ever and Tom seems to have quite the short leash when he doesn’t show up on the defensive end, which is nothing out of the norm. They’ve found a great backup point guard in Aaron Brooks to continue the undersized scoring spark plug that can score 10 straight in the blink of an eye.
Chicago has been lacking that second big-time scoring option the whole Derrick Rose tenure. Luol Deng was never a crunch time isolation scorer the way Pau Gasol is. The rejuvenated Spaniard hasn’t looked this impressive in the past four seasons. His current numbers for 2014-2015 are higher than his career marks, which are going to help him, one day after his career is over, make the hall of fame. He’s scoring, rebounding, blocking numbers are all up from his career marks. Pau had more blocks in his first 10 games with Chicago than Carlos Boozer did his entire final season with the Bulls. Pretty incredible and fairly predictable at the same time. He can clearly become that second option that Derrick and the Bulls have been searching for, late in games, and especially when the game slows down during the postseason.
But, I say the time is now, because that is simply the fact of the matter. Who knows what’s going to happen when Jimmy Butler demands max money, deserving if he continues this productivity. The 34-year-old Pau is under contract for only these next two seasons, and I’m not sure the sustainability of his production continues for many more years. Depth comes and goes frequently as players who succeed want bigger roles, more money, all of the things that keep them hard to retain. Not to mention teams get better as free agents hit the market and such.
Management never wants to make a splash, so Jimmy Butler’s future really is in question. Derrick is the key and everyone knows it. I’m not as worried as everyone seems to be. It’s November. But he needs to be healthy for the latter stretch of the season if the Bulls are to have championship aspirations. The second option has finally arrived. Along with bench mob 3.0 so to speak. This is the year for the Bulls, it’s time to bring number 7 to the windy city.