I’m no Chicago Bulls fan even during the “six-peat” days of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson. But the way the Wind City outfit made it tough for the defending champions Boston Celtics in their first round NBA playoff series, it made me root for them as well.
Though the Bulls bowed to the Celtics in a grueling Game 7, 109-99, I’m convinced that the post-Jordan Chicago team is capable of challenging the title contenders in the East in the coming years.
Come to think of it, the Bulls have two outstanding young players to build on—20-year-old Derrick Rose and 26-year-old Ben Gordon.
Throw into the mix John Salmons, veterans Brad Miller, Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng (who’ll surely be back with a vengeance in the 2010 season after suffering an injury), and the Bulls
are ready to pse a serious threat in the East against Cleveland, Orlando and Boston.
The experience the Bulls gained in their seven-game first round series against the Celtics brought a greater sense of maturity into Rose’s game, who from his Rookie of the Year performance, could easily develop into an MVP-material in say four or five years’ time.
Lebron James was already sensational as a rookie in 2003, but within six years, he has developed into a versatile and powerful player, capable of leading his team to victory.
Of course, the new edition Bulls have brought the fans back to the United Center, site of Jordan’s numerous memorable games where he brought Chicago to the NBA’s elite teams with six championships in eight years.
With a new Beast in the East, the Cavs, the Magic and the Celtics better watch out because what we saw in the first round of the playoffs is just a tip of the “Chicago iceberg”.