Thursday, 24 October 2013
THE DERRICK ROSE TRILOGY: Part 2-THE CHICAGO CODE
Somewhere in Chicago last year all eyes are on the man in the corner of the gym. Injured but not bed ridden, down but not out, pushing weight after weight, sweat after sweat, burn after burn. Maybe hometown legends like Kanye West, Common or the fast paced raps of Twista are playing on the sound system to inspire this Lupe Fiasco, kick, push, but it's what's on the gyms T.V. that's taking this guys eyes and mind. A highlight reel of the greatest of all time like a Nike commercial, some of the best plays ever, dunking and fading away to an epic soundtrack and the quote, "I've failed time and time again". The man looks back down and pushes the weights harder. Later that night gym bag on, he walks up to the United Centre and see's that iconic statue before the grey clouds of a Michigan Winter's fall night. He looks at it again and walks in. Now on the Chicago Bulls floor this man looks up to the rafters like those searching for standing space up in the nose bleeds. He sees all those championship banners and then the number 23. In that moment Derrick Rose looks back down to the court, channels Michael Jordan and plays ball.
This writer lined up for hours to meet Derrick Rose in London, late 2009 but he was the nervous one (is it the moustache?). Still even if this guarded point is soft spoken, his game speaks volumes and its about to play again this year like Mike in the 90's. Guards are supposed to be small but just look at dudes weight-room 'Don Jon' honed arms. Baby Bulls are supposed to gallop but he stampedes like a lion king. You better watch out LeBron, this young simba's about to take ovet the game like J. Cole. He can't wait to be king. To begin Rose bloomed from Game 1 and took the defending champs Boston to seven games in his rookie year. Rooks and eight seeds don't do that. After a great second term Rose was a sophomore no more, no slump. Today even after the injury he's part of the Point Guard and league elite showing in limited (well for a franchise player) minutes he can go 30 for 30 like an ESPN documentary. Along with Carlos Boozer he's formed a Malone and Stockton of the new millennium, with the scoring and top player talents of Luol Deng and Joakim Noah as an added bonus which should add more points than the blue and red money ball. Brad Pitt couldn't script it better.
He passes, boards, scores, bangs and dunks (remember the signature two hander?). With Rose Chi-town are contenders, not pretenders to the throne. This shy and retiring guard is going to inspire confidence to the day he hangs 'em up now he's back on the floor not the sidelines. Not just a former MVP and best player, but arguably the best Point Guard in the league right now...not to mention top 5 of all players...at least. With his all-round game Derrick evened the score with Rajon Rondo and showed that the league wasn't just about Chris Paul and Deron Williams, or Kobe Bryant and LeBron James for that matter. Without him sure the impressive Chicago Bulls made a charge at the playoffs, but with him dishing, dunking and duking it out they could roll-over the whole thing now. His value could be weighed in gold...championship gold. That's how much he's worth. Chicago's first MVP since Mike and the NBA's youngest ever. You best believe history is being made again in this forthcoming season. All that's came before has and is past, this is the future. Even Michael Jordan can see it too, it's Derrick Rose's time now.
He's the leader now, but who will show him the way? There are a lot of great coaches in this league but there is one former 'Coach Of The Year' who is still vastly underrated in his craft. The master of the dry erase is Tom Thibodeau, as the Chicago Bulls coach wipes the floor with the competition as he wipes out their marker pen plays. I guess the legendary teaching of Rivers was just what the Doc' ordered. Still Doc Rivers may regret this as his former student and assistant may just beat his master one day no matter how much the Clippers are taking over L.A. and the NBA. Thibodeau has shown he can harness the worth of his MVP Derrick Rose, the enthusiasm and passion of Joakim Noah, the rolling post deliveries of shrewd free-agent pickup, Carlos Boozer, the scoring of Luol Deng and the dynamics of the rest of the team and tie it all together to give the team it's first contention pull since a man named Mike Jeffrey took the air out of the United Centre. Now whose better then that? Next rounds on Thibs.
With Derrick Rose serving the ball up to his squad, the Chicago Bulls are the untouchables. The star gangs of the East may make the headlines like Al Capone, but the by the book-like Elliott Ness-Chicago Bulls are looking to capture their bounty. These former contention refugees are our sleeper pick for future championship glory. Chicago are cooking, having established the balance in the central division pole position over the years. This team is stone cold and that's the bottom line. Other Eastern Conference teams may be wrestling with storied reputations and superstar status symbols, but the charging Chicago Bulls look to lasso the championship belt out of South Beach with their talents. Its time for the rest of the best to smarten up. Sure Miami may have the talents of LeBron, Wade and Bosh to go along with Larry O'Brien and New York and Amar'e may have been Carmelo's final decision, but in this 'who wants to buy a millionaire' league the only that's going to be touching these Chi-town Bulls team wise outside of Miami is the Boston Celtics...sorry I mean the Brooklyn Nets. The other complete, team based unit of stars. With these two popular and most recognisable franchises looking to rule the roost it feels like somewhere between the 90's and the future right now in the second decade of the new millennium.
Sure, everything goes through the reigning Eastern Conference champs in South Beach but these Baby Bulls are all grown up but still have the youth and the speed to keep up with Miami's three tiers or the Rondo led point looking to be made in the wrote off but underrated Boston. Speaking of Rajon, Chicago have their own 'move- aside D-Will and CP3', association best point in Rose. Sure the one time underrated Rajon Rondo may now be the critics pick, but that doesn't mean that the mild-mannered Rose is right there with him in everybody's conscience and confidence. Besides Rose is in bloom and can shoot, score, muscle, bench-press and eat Rondo under the table on his best night. Or any player for that matter, as the MVP is always the best, right? This former Windy City number one draft pick is number one in the NBA, point proved. Just check D-Rose's thorn in Boston's side, two-handed emphatic flush that left many Celtic defenders in the toilet on any of Derrick's highlight package. Or look for it on that Adidas Katy Perry commercial. That two points was as passionate as any Kevin Garnett jersey tug or chest thump, with all it's elastic breaking heart.
When Rose brings the ball up court he's got more then his own shot to deal with however and this is why the multi-talented, versatile Chicago Bulls are leading the charge in an Eastern Conference full of promise. If you want to talk about heart then leading the stampede is Joakim Noah, the teams most vital organ and vocal leader. This guy has more heart then anybody, but as Jesus is my witness, believe me, he's got game like Ray Allen. A mental and physical presence, Joakim gifts the Bulls with size, hustle and hard-work. Noah's arc of talent also extends to the range on his shot. Still however, it's his energy plays, born from his impenetrable passion that gives his team the x-factor of heart that can only be matched by the B.K.'s Garnett. Chicago's other two co-captains anchor this ship too. Luol Deng, the former franchise man and top jersey seller is still on top of his game, Rose's or injury pricks aside. Deng is a pure scorer and prototype basketball player. The kind of guy that would have complimented Mike and Scottie like free peanuts. This guy could still see championships and plays still go through him however. He's that good, don't forget the Chicago Bulls version of Paul Pierce is the truth too. Get your facts straight, there's no need for debate.
In the biggest, most ludicrous Summer of free-agent signings (otherwise known as the decision year) the Bulls big acquisition seemed as a minor statistic, but in reality the move was just as important as the Knicks acquisition of Amar'e Stoudemire. Sure Carlos' contract may not have made news like that of fellow ex-Cavalier-turned villain LeBron James. Still, it was still a chess move that gave the Bulls that extra space on the board, putting them ahead of their opponents. Checkmate. Game, set and match, Boozer is serving up the fundamentals. Now everyone outside the state of Illinois will have to deal with the hangover like Bradley Cooper, Booze's skill set with the pill is limitless and NBA approved. You seeing clearly? The rest of the Bulls flock are more than just something for the birds Twitter feeds. These Chicago Bulls are deep. How deep? Deep enough to send their opponents to the abyss. Deep as Dunleavy, Hinrich, Gibson, Mike who, Mike James and more. Deep enough that if you don't know them by their second names, then you dont know basketball. Deep enough for a long playoff run. Just like Scottie, the next time this franchise unveils a statue they may have to immortalise the whole team in bronze. Just ask iron Mike Jordan, he see's six more titles in the works for these new hard-mettle, next generation Bulls.
Sure the Miami Heat are the best team in the league right now but still in the Eastern Conference it's wide open like Central Park. No longer least, this beast of a conference has the green like the storied Celtics and the trees to best the West. Still amongst all the movers and shakers the Chicago Bulls are still here once again, as unified as their typical, trademark jerseys. Sure New Jersey are only going to get better in Brooklyn, New York's 'other' team are right there and nothing looks as good as the Heat right now, but the Bulls have substance and that's always worth more then style, shine or gloss. These Windy City storm troopers have the ability to breeze past opponents not just this year, but for seasons to come. No matter if the Orlando Magic learn new tricks. No matter how more fresher and more mature those former raw, young Atlanta Hawks get. From the ATL to the heaven and hell of the playoffs the Bulls will be clawing away with their hooves firmly in the game. The end of their playoff curse will begin with the starting of Rose. Remember 'belief, hope, focus, push, drive', hash-tag 'The Return'. The man waiting in the wing tipped wings of Air Jordan is about to put the atmosphere back into the United part of Chicagoland.