“There are plenty of teams in every sport that have great players and never win titles. Most of the time, those players aren’t willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. The funny thing is, in the end, their unwillingness to sacrifice only makes individual goals more difficult to achieve. One thing I believe to the fullest is that if you think and achieve as a team, the individual accolades will take care of themselves. Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” — Michael Jordan
A lot of talk about sacrifice around CHI since Bulls training camp began on Tuesday, featuring the beloved two practices per day, under the watchful eye of Lieutenant, I mean, Coach Thibodeau.
Here are some of the sacrifices which have already been made, or are soon likely to be made: Coming off the bench versus starting (Taj), being paid less than you’re worth (Pau aka “Pow” Gasol, Captain Kirk), sharing time with the rooks (Mike Dunleavy Jr. aka Dunlevee per Thibs), less impressive individual stats (Jo), and giving the guys a day off (Thibs).
But take a look at this year’s starting lineup: DRose / Jimmy Gets Buckets Butler / Mike Dunleavy Jr. / Pow! Gasol / Jo
And the reserves aint’t too shabby either: Captain Kirk / Aaron Brooks / Dougie McBuckets / Taj Gibson / Nicola Mirotic
Thibs, as per always, is holding the information on the starting five close to the vest, or in his case, the designer suit jacket, but I’d be a bit surprised if I made any mistakes with the starters.
It’s the reserves, and how Thibs uses them, which has got everyone abuzz here in CHI. Let the mad scientist get into his lab, with the beakers and Bunsen burners, and concoct a winning formula to ensure the Bulls are playing in June, when you’ll be able to find me in the front row of the Bulls rally crowd.
The Bears just lost. The Cubs managed to escape the season with more home wins (41) than losses (40), but they’re still “rebuilding.” The White Sox haven’t figured out how to win, or how to get anyone to show up at the games. I think they had a good crowd on White Sox Dog Day and Bark in the Park, when dog owners can bring their doggies to the game.
Meanwhile, the Bulls (and their UC neighbors, the Blackhawks) both tops their leagues in three cateogries this past season: total attendance, average attendance and percentage of seats filled.
I’ve already contributed to the 2014-2015 campaign with my purchase of an 11th row seat to the home opener versus the now hated and despised, and sure to be booed Cavs.
Getting back to sacrifice – Thibs actually gave the guys a day off already – on Friday. Miracle? Baby steps? We’ll take it. And its reported that he’s trying to speed up the practice scrimmages, getting the guys to run versus the slow, methodical Bulls-style basketball we’re used to seeing.
The season hasn’t even started, and a fight has already broken out. I’m warning you – do not say the following words to me, “But that DRose, he’s ALWAYS injured.”
Excuse you? So I guess DRose was running down the court in the opening round of the 2012 playoffs vs. the lowly 76ers, (when the Bulls should have made it to the Finals) with these thoughts running through his mind, “I don’t know about this, I really think I’d rather start my summer vacation now, and then rehab for a year, than win this game, and go on in the playoffs, and to the Eastern Conference Finals and the NBA Finals, so best bet is to tear my ACL now, by the 76ers bench. No worries, I’m just sabotaging our road to the NBA Finals.”
Or last year, after playing 10 games, having rehabbed for an entire year and a half, the Bulls’ annual circus road trip put him over the edge, and he thought, “I know this is the game I love, but all of the fans cheering, plus the joy of playing with my teammates, it’s too much. And besides, I miss being in the weight room by myself, and walking on the treadmill, because that’s so inspiring, and my other knee deserves some attention, so even though we could go to the Eastern Conference Finals, let me just go ahead and injure my right knee now during this random game vs. the Trail Blazers.”
Yup, that DRose. He really likes his injuries. He’s ALWAYS injured and is deliberately trying to prevent the Bulls from winning their 7th NBA title, so he tries to have lots of surgeries and rehab for as many years as possible.
Small-minded thinking causes Cinjo to get into nothing short of a big-time argument. You’ve been warned!
But back to the exciting matter at hand, of the pursuit of Championship #7 by our Chicago Bulls. DRose is back, Jo is Jo. Pow! chose to endure the Polar Vortex to join a winning team on the verge of becoming champions. Jimmy is going to get Buckets this year, to add to his defensive prowess. Mike Dunleavy. Well he’s tried and true.
While waiting since April 29, 2014, to be exact, for the Bulls to play their first preseason game against those pesky Wizards tomorrow (Monday, October 6) night, I’ve spent a lot of time watching USA Men’s basketball, training camp, replays of training camp, and some Bulls Hardwood Classics. The start of the season, with Neil and Stacey’s hometown call, and the introductions, and a win, well, it seems like it’s taken forever to arrive, but it will sure be great to see the new-look Bulls in action.
Don’t be alarmed, but Bulls Banter won’t be reporting again until later this week. We’ve got an intimate 100-person event happening at work on Tuesday, and I won’t even make it home until 8:30 p.m. Good thing I also spent my summer vacation getting DVR installed.
“…Knowing what your job is and then having the ability to go out there and DO YOUR JOB so that the team can function well when you’re on the floor. It’s really about the team. We’re asking everyone to make sacrifices and to put winning first.” — Tom Thibodeau
Beat the Wizards.