Bulls could use a Danny Green to compete with NBA’s elite
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org June 17, 2013 10:44PM
Miami Heat v San Antonio Spurs - Game 5
HEAT vs. SPURS
Spurs lead series 3-2
All games on Ch. 7/1000-AM
G1: Spurs 92, at Heat 88
G2: at Heat 103, Spurs 84
G3: at Spurs 113, Heat 77
G4: Heat 109, at Spurs 93
G5: at Spurs 114, Heat 104
G6: Tuesday at Heat, 8 p.m.
*G7: Thursday at Heat, 8 p.m.
Updated: July 19, 2013 6:38AM
SAN ANTONIO — Reggie Rose was considered the bad guy.
The older brother of Derrick Rose didn’t just take a few jabs at the Bulls organization back in February when he spoke to ESPN Chicago, he threw haymakers.
“What have you pieced together?’’ the older Rose, who is also Derrick’s manager, said. “You know all roads to the championship lead through Miami. What pieces have you put together for the physical playoffs? … It’s frustrating to see my brother play his heart and soul out for the team and them not put anything around him.’’
Months later, as one watches the level of basketball in the NBA Finals, it seems that Reggie Rose might have been right.
Sure, his timing was awful. And the idea that the championship highway runs through South Beach might be detoured by the Spurs. But it’s obvious that in a seven-game series, the Bulls are not built to stand toe-to-toe with the Heat or the Spurs, even with Derrick Rose on the court at 100 percent.
They’re not athletic enough to keep up with the Heat, and they don’t have enough pieces to play team ball with the Spurs.
Heck, the way the Indiana Pacers are coming on, the Bulls might have slid behind them when next season rolls around.
Bulls general manager Gar Forman has thrown the number 86 out there several times this season, which is the winning percentage when Rose, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng are playing together since the four came together before the 2010-11 season, but Larry O’Brien Trophies aren’t held up in December or April.
They are earned in June, and the Bulls aren’t on the same level with the two teams competing on this stage.
Not without at least two more serious threats from the outside. Call it the Danny Green revelation.
The Bulls finished the regular-season 21st in three-point shooting, hitting just over 35 percent from beyond the arc. The top five teams in that category? Golden State, Miami, Oklahoma City, the Spurs and the Knicks.
All of them are playoff teams, with two still alive.
As much as Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau force-feeds his players on defense first, second and third, they still lack a perimeter game that can stretch opposing defenses.
There is hope of grabbing an outside scorer in the draft in nine days, but for a team that already has its toes dipped in the luxury tax water, don’t expect much help through free agency.
What the Bulls do have on their side is youth. The Spurs are an aging team that could be on its last title run, and there is growing speculation that Miami’s “Big Three’’ could be disbanded if they fail to repeat this week.
The Bulls are in position to reinvent themselves after next season, but can they win the title next season?
The eye test says no.