There has been a ton of Reinsdorf, Paxon, Forman bashing on Blog a Bull as of late. While I am usually not one to do this, there seems to be some merit this time around. Frugality is usually something I like in my sports teams. There have not been a ton of examples in the NBA where simply throwing money around gets you a championship (my apologies to Mark Cuban). The Knicks have nearly destroyed their own franchise numerous times by throwing out big, high risk contracts. Heck, with some better spending after aquiring Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks might be in a great position to contend for a title right now. The Nets are throwing out money like crazy, but if they can't get Howard, they will still have a tough time getting past Miami. That said, I believe the Bulls had a championship roster. I, unlike many posters here, 100% believed the Bulls not only could get past Miami, but would have if not for the Rose and Noah injuries. I have some reasons if you'd care to hear them.
The Chicago Bulls posted a winning percentage better than 0.750 the past two seasons and had the leagues best record each of those seasons. Back to back #1 record and 0.750 winning percentage seasons is a feat that has been replicated only six times, including this past season's Bulls team.
- The 67' and 68' Philadelphia 76ers. They won a championship in 67'.
- The 87' and 88' Lakers. They won a championship both years.
- The 96', 97', and 98' Chicago Bulls. We know the story there.
- The 81' and 82' Celtics. They won a championship in 81'.
- The 84', 85', and 86' Celtics. They won a championship in 84' and 86'.
- The 2011 and 2012 Chicago Bulls. :(
The point here as that teams that show this type of domination win championships. The Celtics and Bulls (to a certain extent) did it as part of longer stretches of domination. However, the Lakers still had some tough Celtics teams to deal with and the 76ers still had Bill Russel's Celtics hanging around. They still showed regular season domination over a two year stretch and won a championship. The Bulls showed the same domination and were rewarded with a Rose injury.
The Chicago Bulls also posted two seasons with a >107 ORtg (amazing in a season where offense was way down) and <101 DRtg. There have only been 9 other (11 total) seasons that have displayed this incredible offense/defense combination.
- 2008 Celtics. Championship.
- 1998 Bulls. Championship.
- 2000 Lakers. Championship.
- 1981 and 1983 76ers. Championship in 83'. This was especially incredible despite only winning one of the two years. They were the only non-Laker non-Celtic team to win a championship over a nine year stretch.
- 2000 Blazers. Lost to the 2000 Lakers in the conference finals.
- 2005, 2006, 2007 Spurs. Championships in 2005 and 2007.
The 200 Blazers were the only team I found to not win a championship when recording these numbers for a regular season, and they lost to another team on the list. The Bulls accomplished this incredible feat twice and lost out because of a Rose injury.
The biggest criticism of the Bulls is that they essentially only have one scorer. My argument is that teams don't put up regular season numbers like the Bulls without having the talent to win a championship. However, there have been a few teams who had less offensive fire power than the Bulls and still won championships. The 89' Pistons won in similar fashion to their counterparts from 2004. They did not have a single player with a PER over 20. The combination of Thomas penetrating and Laimbeer hitting jumpers and getting tough inside proved too much for the Lakers. That said, a Thomas/Dumars backcourt proved to have too much ball handling for the Lakers to handle. A secondary ball handler would help the Bulls immensely. The 79' Supersonics were not an offensive juggernaut by any stretch. When Gus Williams and Fred Brown lead the team in PER, you are going to struggle to score. However, despite being 14th out of 22 in ORtg, their top DRtg brought them home a trophy. There are other examples I am sure, but these are two good ones. (As a side note, the Bulls are nuts for not going after Dwight Howard even without the guarantee. The scoring guard/scoring big man model has worked pretty damn well. Kobe/Shaq and Wade/Shaq had marginal supporting casts and still won championships. I'm not saying a trophy is guaranteed, but close.)
In closing, Reinsdorf cost this team a trophy in my opinion. While there are plenty of examples of teams who were regular season dominant, but could never win a championship (LeBron's Cavs and Dirks Mavs up until last season), there are practically no examples of teams that have been this dominant and not won a championship (200 Blazers aside). Yes, I argue that the Bulls have shown the highest level of regular season domination. Thibs was right to try and keep this whole group together. They were primed and ready for a championship and with a healthy Rose, could quickly be there again. Thanks JR for breaking up the most dominant regular season team anyone has seen in some time. In this writer's opinion, you cost us trophy #7.