I can’t believe that, after going to the Eastern/Western Conference finals in their 3rd/4th seasons, that Rose‘s Bulls and Durant‘s Thunder need “re-building”.
A plethora of blogs and worse yet, articles by the sports media are already hitting the “e-stands” claiming that overhauls are needed, players are not ready, and that “key free-agent signings” are required. Pure ‘n’ simple: it’s complete and utter BS.
Jordan took 5 years to reach conference Finals, as he and his team grew up constantly disappointing set expectations. Robinson needed Tim Duncan to fall into his lap before he could master a ring.
Gary Payton needed to be semi-retired before heading to South Beach and getting a ring “ab-initio”.
The long and the short of it is that young superstars seldom win championships straight away, especially without veteran superstar help.
So why are suggestions of Russell Westbrook being traded and the necessity of the Bulls “re-building” (which they did last off-season if I’m not mistaken…) now being throw around after they made it to the last 4 teams for the season?
It doesn’t make sense to me, especially given that these teams are nowhere near their ceilings ala the Bulls of the late 80′s and the Spurs of the late 90′s.
Here are some home truths – the difference between the Thunder that took the Lakers to 6 last season and the Thunder that lost to Dallas in 5 in the Finals this season is Kendrick Perkins and Jeff Green.
Sure players have improved (Ibaka, Harden etc.) but that’s what players are supposed to do.
If expectations were that the Thunder would shift to Championship calibre with a less-than-100% Kendrick Perkins on the roster we were kidding ourselves. The fact they almost forced their way into that conversation is a huge win – one that I’m sure has Scott Brooks smiling about as he heads off on vacation.
Same for Chicago – some of their young stars like Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson tripped along the way, whilst still showing flashes of brilliance.
But to suggest that Carlos Boozer was now a bad move and the Bulls now need to go and get Jason Richardson (I cannot believe this suggestion unless he accepts a vet minimum because he is frankly overrated) is plain silly.
You have a coach of the year, an MVP who is only going to get better, a PF who is decent, a backup who is constantly improving (Gibson), Two C’s that are developing (Noah and Omer Asik) and Luol Deng who has had an awesome season.
What’s not to be happy about?
Next year’s lookin’ good – if I’m not mistaken.
And let’s get some perspective – the Bulls did not do a San Antonio (peak when it didn’t count), nor are they in a situation mired with team politics ala the Hawks.
No… Chicago are growing, and if grown properly they will be a force to be reckoned with in coming years.
Ask LeBron James who had to go through his own “growth” and waiting… but now looks set to take the next step. And Durant, of all people, should be looking at LeBron and going “I have 4 years to get to that point”.
And would anyone say Durant can’t get there? Heck Kevin Durant doesn’t even have a post game yet, nor has he stopped growing – his ceiling is somewhere in the realm of cloning LeBron‘s athleticism with Dirk Nowitzki‘s shooting/height.
Now that’s a scary proposition.
Same for Westbrook – if he bothers to learn how to shoot and works on his passing he’ll be unguardable.
And Rose – well when he gets his own Steve Kerr/John Paxson/Horace Grant/Dennis Rodman, he’ll either raise the level of his teammates to new places, or be the hardest iso-player to guard in the league bar none.
Until then I think patience and perspective are in order – with that in place, these two teams have long happy days of playoff runs ahead and hopefully, in the not too distant future… the odd Larry O’Brien for the trophy case as well.