This year could be the one where we finally see the Chicago Bulls once again hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy aloft as NBA champions, according to former Golden State Warriors forward, Matt Barnes.
Barnes, 41, has experience of knowing what it takes to top the league after picking up the title as part of the Warriors team that won the title back in 2017, and he sees Billy Donovan’s team as the one to beat this year. Speaking on ESPN’s NBA Today program, Barnes said the Bulls are definitely amongst a host of teams shining brightly this season, and it’s something that comes as no surprise to him.
“I don’t want to toot my own horn but I called this at the beginning of the season. This is a very talented team,” Barnes said. “They’re still getting better. It’s not to disrespect Miami, Brooklyn, the Bucks — this [Chicago] team is right in the mix with them.”
The stats don’t lie either; The Bulls ended 2021 in fantastic fashion, winning six straight games to lead the Eastern Conference going into 2022, staying ahead of the Nets, who are hot on their heels.
DeMar DeRozan has been fantastic and is rightly up as the stand-out guard in the conference, highlighted by him leading the NBA all-star voting, as reported by NBC. Alongside him, Zach Lavine has found All-Star form, too, as he heads into his fourth year in the windy city, and rookie Ayo Dosunmu is having a terrific breakthrough season at his hometown club. However, not everybody is sharing Barnes’ optimism around the Bulls; there are a handful of teams ahead of them in the race for the NBA title in the betting odds featured on Coral with the LA Lakers, Miami Heat and the Suns amongst the favorites. While the noise is positive around the Bulls right now, some could say that their lack of size in the defense and relative inexperience in their roster could be their downfall going into the latter parts of the season.
However, those doubts have been lingering throughout this season, and on many occasions, they’ve been cast aside. The Nets, who are many people’s pick for the title, have been beaten twice at the time of writing by Donovan’s team, and they’re a team filled with experience and proven winners like Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving.
That last championship win for the Bulls came back in 1998 when they had an All-Star laden side of their own; it was when Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, and co dominated the NBA. They raised the franchise’s profile so much that they became one of the most popular sports teams from the US. With those previous successes being linked to such huge names, some could argue it’s strange to see a group of comparative unknowns on the cusp of greatness in Chicago. But what’s proving evident as the season is wearing on is that this latest cohort of Bulls are winners, and the sum of the parts is vital; they don’t rely on one player to be the talisman. They’ve had spells without players such as Lonzo Ball, who outsiders see as the key to victory, but still overcome the supposed adversity. It all points to a unity not seen for many a year.
Maybe Matt Barnes is right after all; we may see a first Bulls championship win in 24 years, and it would be nothing more than the fans at the United Center deserve.
(Header Image Credit: Michael Tipton)
Hi! I’m Bryan, and I’m a passionate & expert writer with more than five years of experience. I have written about various topics such as product descriptions, travel, cryptocurrencies, and online gaming in my writing journey. The latter is one of my favorites topics, and you can find some of my premium casino content at OUSC.