A couple of links I had leftover from the weekend that I wanted to give attention to.
Bulls Confidential had a post on some things we learned and what went right with the roster this season. There's the development of Taj Gibson and Omer Asik, the resurgence (in a way) of Luol Deng, among others. But his first point, the ascension of Rose, is of most importance and it's spelled out very well:
Derrick Rose proved he is a franchise player This should not be minimized. Derrick Rose is a top five player in the NBA, and the Bulls will never be more than one player away while he's on the team (granted that one player might be another superstar, but still).
Without this step, the Bulls would have had no chance to win a title, and Derrick has been so good for so long, that it's difficult to remember that going into this season it was hardly a given.
Mike Prada from SBNation had a nice post-playoffs look at what the Bulls need to improve on in both strategy as well as roster construction. There's a lot of ideas that have been commonly pointed out here, it's worth checking out. The general takeaway is interesting as well:
As currently constructed, the Bulls are pretty much as good as they get. This team overachieved so thoroughly to win 62 games, and management can't expect that to happen again without some changes to the roster. We think of the Bulls as a young team, but whereas the Thunder have four core players under the age of 22, the Bulls will have just one player under the age of 25 next season: Derrick Rose. There is no waiting around for this team to "learn how to win" in the playoffs. If the Bulls want to win a title, they can't continue to play the "chemistry" and "flexibility" card. The 2011 Eastern Conference Finals proves that can only take you so far.
That puts a lot of pressure on general manager Gar Forman. The culture that he helped foster with his moves in the summer of 2010 played a huge role in the Bulls' rise, but if taken too far, it can also stunt it. Now that the Bulls have a foundation, Forman must find that X-factor that can spice things up and push the team to a new level. It will be his toughest challenge yet.
These ideas could be initially seen as somewhat contradictory, but I'm not so sure of that. Without Rose being this good at this age, everything would be immensely harder. But even in this current position the Bulls are in it's still only a chance to be a title contender, not a guarantee, and the Bulls should take full advantage of what is a pretty rare situation in the league.
As we head into the offseason, the potentially new rules of a re-signed CBA loom large over nearly everything (though for sanity's sake maybe we can assume the general 'soft-cap with exceptions' model will exist?), but there is potentially a lot of work to be done. Whether it is tinkering with many roles, or consolidating for a huge talent upgrade, offensive improvement is paramount for this team going forward.
Other links + know your fanposts/fanshots:
- Relatively new NBA blog 'Chasing 23' (I should loan them my logo? Never liked that damned '23' there) has another offseason wishlist for the Bulls.
- From an entertainment standpoint (and somewhat basketball-related too), my favorite trade idea thus far: Getting Ben Gordon back. Even Piston Powered is intrigued.
- Least-entertaining idea: getting Kirk Hinrich back.
- Not sure what this Monta Ellis rumor even is. I can't figure much more behind just the report that Monta may be available, and looking at the Bulls needs...as opposed to anyone actually hearing the Bulls have interest.