NBA previews, starring your team as an old Rap Album: The 2013 Chicago Bulls Are "In God We Trust" by Brand Nubian

Brand Nubian. Anyone who remembers their first album is slowly nodding their head in remembrance right now, just the same way they nodded their heads to it when it came out. That album was a classic, and easily one of the best debuts ever. Few people had as much game on the mic as Grand Puba, and everything on that album just came together the way a great record should. There was a reason “Slow Down” was #1 on the Yo! MTV countdown for what felt like 99 straight weeks. That song was ill.
Well, that was as good as it would ever get for them, since Puba fled to do his own thing shortly after and Brand Nubian was left to press on as a duet. “In God We Trust” came out in 1993 and even though it had “Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down” and a couple of other heaters, it wasn’t the monster record that the first album was. It was cool, it just wasn’t the same without Puba.
The 2013 Chicago Bulls are going to start the season without former MVP Derrick Rose and when he returns is still anyone’s guess. Coming back from an ACL ain’t no picnic for sure, and given the fact that he suffered it in last years’ playoffs, it seems practically impossible that he could be back in time and healthy enough to even make a dent on this season.
With a healthy Rose, this is one of the 4 or 5 best teams in the NBA and a reasonable bet to make the finals. Without him they are a nice little team. Nice, like your grandma is.
For now, these Bulls are the post-Grand Puba incarnation of Brand Nubian. Good enough to be good, not good enough to be great. If they wanna be anything special this year, it’s going to have to be with an “All For One” approach.
BREAKING DOWN THE BULLS
Head Coach: Tom Thibodeau
Projected Rotation
PG-Derrick Rose
SG-Rip Hamilton
SF-Luol Deng
PF-Carlos Boozer
C-Joakim Noah
F-Taj Gibson
C-Nazr Mohammed
G-Kirk Hinrich
G-Nate Robinson
G-Marco Belinelli
Let’s assume Rose is out for the first half of the season at the very least. We’ve seen enough of the Tom Thibodeau Bulls to know that if nothing else, this team is going to give a superior effort every night, especially on the defensive side of the ball. At times, the Chicago second unit just utterly shut down their opponents, and even without Omer Asik and CJ Watson, this team will do just fine. Without Rose, this team will be in their share of ugly, grind-it-out games, but it’s still safe to assume they’ll win more than their share of those.

Never let it be said that Carlos Boozer contributed nothing last year. He did give us this, if nothing else.

Of course, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer are going to need to bounce back from their shaky 2012 seasons, but at least in the case of Noah it feels like a safe assumption. If Boozer, Noah and Deng play well this year, the Bulls should still flirt with 45-50 wins and find themselves safely in the playoffs. If Rose is able to come back at anything approaching full strength, they’ll need to be reckoned with by the time the playoffs roll around.

This looks like a lost season for Chicago in terms of having any serious title aspirations, but I’m not gonna go counting out Rose just yet.
Rose doesn’t make it back, or comes back at half speed. The average timetable for an ACL tear is 8-12 months, and considering he got hurt on May 12th, it’s not exactly looking good. Assuming the worst, who is the leader of this team? Who can be any kind of real scoring threat with defenses keyed on him every night?
None of these dudes, really.
Sure, they defend and play their asses off and there are some decent weapons on this team so they should be good enough to win more than they lose. Sure, they’ve got one of the elite coaches in the league in Thibodeau, a man who seems at least a step or two ahead of most coaches in the arts of scheming and game planning. Much like in Michael Jordan’s Baseball year, there’s still enough here for the Bulls to be a good team, but most definitely not a great one.
Oh, and should something happen to Noah or Deng, this season could end up a disaster.
The Reality
We’ll get ’em next year. Yeah, it’s gotta be frustrating for the team and it’s fans to have suffered this kind of setback when they appeared ready to give the Heat a run for the money and possibly end up Champions. Since Jordan left, they’ve been forced to suffer through more than their share of losing seasons and disappointments, and for now their dreams of more championship banners are on temporary hold.
Still, if Rose can make it back anything close to full strength by next season, the Bulls should be right back among the elite teams.
For now, they’ll have to wait for next year.
-JH
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