People are fickle creatures sometimes. It is of no surprise that the Chicago Bulls looked disjointed coming out of the gates to open the 2011-2012 season. There are several factors for this. The most important one to remember is that the Bulls require practice time to hone the defensive fundamentals that are key to the Tommy Thibs defense. The opening victory was highlighted by a great defensive play that led to a Rose hook shot in the lane that was oddly reminiscent of Magic hitting the same shot over the Celtics many years ago.

Perhaps what people should also remember about that 88-87 win over the Lakers is that the defense looked sluggish at times. Kobe was allowed to get his shot and on the whole the Bulls weren’t rotating properly nor were they playing the brand of suffocating defense we’ve grown accustomed too.

It was clear that the Bulls were struggling to find their defense in the 99-91 loss to the Golden State Warriors. They were trailing double digits for some of that game as Steph Curry and Monta Ellis had their way with Rose/Hamilton/Watson. For some reason small/quick guards seem to give Rose fits. The defense wouldn’t start to find it’s way until the Bulls traveled to Sacramento to play the Kings. Even that performance was subpar by Bulls standards, but some of the keys to great defense were starting to show up more frequently.

The Chris Paul vs. Derrick Rose debate has been raging for quite some time. Derricks ascendancy to the MVP throne gave rise to a popular notion outside of Chicago that Rose is the better player playing point guard, but that Paul was a better traditional Point Guard.

This notion is silly. Chris Paul is a fine player, in his time he was one of the best 3 players in the league. He is the classic point guard and his defense is extremely underrated. Ever since knee surgery, however, he hasn’t been the same. Nor should we expect him to be. Paul’s time as an elite player are gone. He is an elite point guard, but he is no longer one of the 5 best players in the league. He’s the second best player on his own team. We don’t need to pay homage to him anymore. His legacy should be set. Paul can no longer explode to the basket, and he knows this. He is a master at the dribble penetrate move, he can move in traffic remarkably well and has great court vision. He is no longer better than Derrick Rose. It was clear in the final minutes of the Bulls-Clippers match up that Rose has surpassed Paul.

The Bulls ripped off a game ending run that choked the life out of Lob City. Paul was ineffective for much of that run as Rose exploded to put the game away in the closing minutes. The Bulls won 114-101. Rose doesn’t have Paul’s court vision and his defense is maybe a notch below, but he has everything else. Rose is quicker, he has an equal ball handle, he shoots better, he drives to the lane better, he has a higher vertical, he is bigger, faster, stronger and better than Chris Paul is. This isn’t meant to take away from Paul, rather it’s to give credit to Rose.

What we are watching with Derrick Rose is generational. We Bulls fans are spoiled in this sense, we’re getting it again, on a different level and scale. The story has yet to be finished, but it looks like a great one.

The Grizzlies didn’t bother to show up for the Bulls homecoming game, and the defense was finally there for the Bulls. Chicago has a lot to look forward to during the regular season, but the playoffs are what counts. The Bulls are gearing up for their run, and if the recent pattern holds up, it can be a very deep and fruitful run.


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