I’ve only been writing about the NBA for about a year now. There are those who have been watching basketball and covering it for a long time now, including Ethan Strauss, so they obviously have a greater knowledge of the game and more experience in it than I do. So, when I saw this tweet from Strauss, I was a bit shocked:
I don’t have religion in my life so “The Bulls are always overrated” is my substitute faith
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) August 31, 2015
My reaction was not one of disbelief because I have so much respect for his basketball opinion, but that such a good team, like the Bulls, would be called ‘overrated’. So, I began to wonder what exactly he meant and began to dig deeper into that phenomenon.
As many others with this opinion note, the consistent willingness to overrate the Bulls stems from Jordan’s days in Chicago. They were just so dominant for so long that it seemed as a formality that the Bulls would be the best team in the NBA year after year. But, it’s been almost 17 years since Jordan has worn a Chicago Bulls jersey. Why are they still overrated?
The first thing that comes to mind that makes people overrate them is the look of their roster, a criteria a team is usually based on prior to a season’s commencement. Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler, and Derrick Rose all on the court together at the same time is quite intimidating. With Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, and an array of other young talent, the Bulls continue to showcase one of the best rosters in the NBA each year.
But, even more than the look of their roster is their potential to add onto it that makes the Bulls such an attractive team.
Chicago is all about basketball. Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Anthony Davis, and Jabari Parker are just a few of the current players who were born in the great city of Chicago. So, to say the least, it isn’t too hard to attract some big time players to this great city.
Bill Simmons noted that even this year, a big time player could land on that team somewhere down the line:
And Chicago at 22-1 seems a tad high in a weak East given that they are the logical Carmelo trade destination come December.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) September 1, 2015
(If you couldn’t tell by 22-1 he was referring to the championship odds for the Bulls.)
So, maybe they are overrated because of the potential they have to bring in more talent. Or, maybe it’s because their postseason record is overlooked.
The Bulls have made only 1 Conference Finals appearance since 1998, losing to the Heat in 2011. Other than that, the Bulls haven’t even been able to force a Game 7 in a Conference Semi Finals match-up since Jordan’s days.
The Playoffs haven’t been kind to the Bulls, yet year after year, the Bulls continue to be put on top of some power rankings. And that is not to say that I have been right in saying that the Bulls aren’t that great because, honestly, I’ve been one to rate them highly at the start of each season. I am one of the people who continues to believe and say, “this is the year for the Chicago Bulls”. Year after year, though, they continue to prove me wrong and Strauss right.
So, is it time to have the Bulls lower on the power rankings to start the season even though they have a very good looking roster? It may just be that time.
In the NBA, you have to prove that you can win in the Playoffs before you can earn anyone’s respect. 5 series wins since 1998 shouldn’t gain you much respect and it won’t this year.