Sunday, April 22, 2007
All Grown Up
Some consider the Bulls to be going through a series of “transition seasons”. Of course after losing one of the best basketball dynasties ever, the only thing the team could be going through is a rebuilding stage. Unfortunately the team will never again achieve success like it had with Mike, but they are far from needing any reconstruction. The “Baby Bulls” are all grown up and this season, and many seasons to come, they are going to prove it.
The most incredible thing about the Bulls these days is while they can still be considered babies in age, they have the ability to beat almost any team on any given night. Without a doubt the acquisition of Big Ben is the coming of age ceremony for this club. The starters are the five reasons why the Bulls can’t be considered babies anymore.
Hinrich is an overlooked member of the infamous ’03 draft, but he’s certainly the purest PG from the class. Averaging about 7 dishes a night, this kid isn’t afraid to draw the foul. True, he sort of looks like a prepubescent child, but he’s man enough to go toe to toe with full-grown men.
Ben Gordon certainly can’t be considered a child. It’s simply a matter of time before this guy gets his all-star dues. He’s been a leader ever since he hoisted the trophy with UCONN in ’04 where he led the tournament with 21 points per. He was sixth man of the year as a rookie and the Bulls look to him in clutch situations. Only a man could step up like he has.
Andres Nocioni may not seem like a huge part of the Bulls lineup, but that’s exactly why he transcends the “Baby” label. He puts in as much work as anyone and he is probably the quietest player on the squad. He is willing to step out of the spotlight and become a role player, backing up Wallace on the boards and is willing to do all the blue-collar posting up for the team.
Loul Deng is the youngest player in the starting lineup, but he is far from juvenile. He throws down like only a grown man can, and he is the most balanced player on the club. He gets nearly 19-7-3 every night and he is the piece of the puzzle that bring everything on this offense together. Coming from Sudan can’t be easy and there’s no way you can consider Deng anything less than grown.
Which brings us to Ben Wallace. He embodies the full-fledged, diesel, hard-working, big man in the NBA. Undrafted, Wallace found his spot as a defensive superstar and now the 32-year-old is making $60 million in Chicago. Grown man muscles, grown man swagger (mostly the afro) and a grown man salary makes this acquisition the perfect move for a team that’s looking to win ASAP.
You can’t make the playoffs in this league without having a certain presence of mind and maturity. It’s not a fluke with the Bulls as this is their second year in a row. Nobody expects a new dynasty from these players, but you can’t call the babies anymore. This is a grown mans game and the success these players have found can only mean one thing; their not the “Baby Bulls” anymore.