I know a little something about beating the odds and I know a little
something about anomalies. But, this is not about me - this is about the
red hot, young Chicago Bulls team that is forcefully making a name for
themselves right now in the post-Jordan era NBA. This is about how they
have the rare opportunity to do something really special. Something that
many analysts, writers and self-proclaimed experts are already saying
is out of their reach. This is that very same underdog, David and
Goliath story that resurfaces and presents itself from time to time just
to remind us that rules and records were made to be broken.
Disclaimer: I'm not going to sit here and write this article from the typical editorial styled standpoint, giving you a bunch of evidentiary support and citing statistics all over the place. I'm going to approach it from the philosophical, "big picture" perspective because that's the one we don't see and read often enough and that's the one I believe is important here.
The Chicago Bulls have been one of the hottest teams this season since even before the NBA All-Star break, but especially after it. Right now they have the 2nd best record in the NBA and don't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, they're speeding up, still learning and scarily getting visibly better - with each game it seems a new lesson learned. And, ironically, the general consensus amongst many NBA analysts and writers right now is that it is that visible learning, which is the very indicator that the Bulls are still too inexperienced to carry their momentum far into the 2011 NBA Playoffs. So I'm here to remind you that what's one teams supposed weakness is another teams inferred strength.
If I were the Bulls right now, I'd revel in the naysayers doubt. I'd relish the fact that the most proclaimed weakness is also the most obvious and I'd keep doing what I'm doing - knowing that our weakness is also our strength. Sure, Boston has experience and they're hungry because they know this might be their last year. But, one can also argue that it is that very experience that is also their biggest weakness. Will they have enough gas in the tank? Are they deep enough to compete with the Bulls in a 7 game series? Can their hunger be as strong as it was during their Championship year? And most importantly - the one thing not one, single person has mentioned - IF the Bulls DO hold on to the #1 seed in the East, then it means that the 2nd seeded Boston Celtics would be on a head to head, collision course with the 3rd seeded Miami Heat, who'll surely be looking for redemption from the season in which many of those same analysts predicted they would dominate.
I'm just saying - and here's food for thought - Boston and Miami would wage a war of epic proportions, because both teams know that to not even make it to the Eastern Conference Finals would pretty much be a complete fail. And in the aftermath of that epic battle is going to be a hungry Chicago Bulls team looking to do the improbable. A team that has already swept the Heat and beat a pre-Kendrick Perkins trade Boston Celtics in the most recent head to head match up. A team with a deeper bench than both, with younger legs than both, with a bigger, more talented, better front court than both and with a superstar hotter than your grandma's chili.
Need I remind people of the 2006-07 season where the Bulls missed the 2nd seed by one game to the New Jersey Nets? A game they were expected to win, which caused them to drop from the 2nd seed all the way down to the 5th seed due to the NBA rules that give conference leaders higher seeding in an effort to not allow conference rivals to face each other too early in the playoffs. This caused Chicago to have to face the hot Detroit Pistons in the 2nd round. The interesting thing about that post season matchup is that while on paper it appears as if the Detroit Pistons had their way with the Bulls...the series still went to 6 games (Chicago won games 4 and 5). And, I firmly contend that if you look back at the tape, the Pistons were clearly worn out enough by the Bulls by the end of that series that I believe it made them more vulnerable in their next series against the Cavs, who eventually defeated them to advance to the 2006-07 NBA Finals (only to get swept by the San Antonio Spurs).
Ya know, several years ago I had an office in the very same building as this other guy who people kept saying was too inexperienced also. On the surface we shared enough obvious commonalities that it caused us to chit-chat in the elevator on occasion - and one of the more common themes we always seemed to keep coming back to was beating the odds. I now have one of the top 1000, fastest growing internet companies on the planet...and depending on who you ask, he's not doing so bad either as the leader of the free world.
I guess what I'm saying is this - Lakers vs. Bulls in the 2010-11 NBA Finals - Bulls will have home court advantage and we'll see whether or not they're able to turn their inexperience into enough of a strength to make my prediction come true. See you at the house that Jordan built.