The San Antonio Spurs have dethroned the mighty Miami Heat and have regained NBA supremacy by winning the 2014 NBA Championship. Not only did the Spurs beat the Heat, they dismantled them. They outscored the Heat by 70 points and won by 15 points or more in four of the five games. The Spurs dominated in every facet of the game, and proved to the world that they were the best team in the NBA.
San Antonio is home to four future Hall of Famers in Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Head Coach Gregg Popovic, but they don’t have a “superstar” on their roster. Not taking away anything from the Spurs big three, but at this point in their career they are not on the same level as Lebron James or other superstars. What is amazing about the Spurs is that they proved to the NBA that in the current era of basketball, a true team can win the NBA Championship. The Spurs victory should give the Chicago Bulls a lot of confidence going into next year.
There have been many rumors about Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Love possibly coming to play for Chicago. Whether this comes to fruition or not remains to be seen, but whatever happens the Bulls are poised for a championship run. Assuming history repeats itself and the Bulls are unable to sign a top free agent, the current Bulls roster has plenty of pieces that can bring them back to the NBA championship. As the San Antonio Spurs have shown, team basketball is the most deadly weapon in the game, and that is the Bulls DNA.
Derrick Rose‘s health is still a question mark entering next season, but his health will be a concern for the rest of his career. However, if he can play like the go to player he once was anything is possible with this team. The Spurs have a core of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, and NBA finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. These four players sacrificed personal glory for the betterment of the team, and Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, and Joakim Noah should take notes.
Parker, the Spurs crafty point guard, didn’t have to score twenty points a game to make an impact. When Rose returns this season fans will be waiting to see his unbelievable athleticism on display once again, but look for Rose to mix in Parker’s ability to impact the game without scoring. Duncan is arguably the best power forward to ever play, and Joakim Noah is turning into one of the best big men in the league. Obviously their styles of play are extremely different, but Duncan and Noah are double-double machines something every championship contender needs. Ginobili is the Spurs wild card, and now provides the spark off the bench having the ability to make a difference on the game in a matter of seconds. For the Bulls, their wild card would be Taj Gibson. This past year Gibson proved that he is ready for a starting role and has the potential to be a difference maker on a nightly basis.
One of the most memorable parts of the past two NBA finals is the emergence of Kawhi Leonard. At the young age of 22 he was able to contain the best player on the planet in Lebron James and averaged 17.8 points per game in the process. This performance was good enough for him to be named NBA finals MVP and the future face of the franchise. Many people believe that the Bulls need to sign another superstar to have any chance to win a NBA championship, but what if they already have that star. Jimmy Butler has always been known for his defense and if he can develop into an offensive threat, he could be the missing piece to the puzzle. This past year he made the 2nd Team All NBA Defensive Team and averaged 13.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. If Butler can improve his offensive ability, like Leonard did, he just might be what the Bulls are looking for.
From a basketball perspective it was a pleasure to watch the San Antonio Spurs this past season. Their flawless play and chemistry with each other on the court was something most teams can only dream of. For the Bulls though, that dream can become a reality. Since the big three assembled in Miami most people think that the more superstars a team has, the better chance of winning a championship they have. Obviously, it would be nice to have more superstars on the Bulls roster, but the Spurs have proven that it might not be a necessity. With or without Anthony/Love the Bulls have the tools in place to beat anybody. It doesn’t matter if the Bulls statistically aren’t as good as other teams, their fight, tenacity, and team play makes them championship contenders.