By Argie Grigorakos
The 2013-2014 Chicago Bulls have completed one of the most difficult seasons in franchise history. They saw their best player succumb to another major knee injury, one of their leaders traded for future financial flexibility, and yet they were still able to win 48 games. Their will, determination, and resolve are what got them through the adversity, but toughness will get you so far. It is time. The ownership of the six-time NBA Champion Chicago Bulls, and its Management owe the city of Chicago, its fans worldwide, and it players Carmelo Kyam Anthony.
During Tom Thibodeau’s tenure, defense has become the staple of this team. Man to man pressure, directing the opponent’s offense to a certain side of the floor, and being tied together on a string is most mentioned, but half of the game is still offense. This past season we saw this Bulls team have many nights where they struggled to shoot the basketball. They were last in the Association in terms of points per game, and 27th in offensive efficiency. Their defense willed them to many victories during the regular season, but in the post season the Washington Wizards exposed the Bulls major flaw, offense. After dismantling the Bulls in 5 games, the Wizards showed that defense isn’t enough. In game 5, the Chicago Bulls held the Wizards to 75 points and still lost. After accumulating 69 points in the series last game it became evident that this team desperately needs scoring, enter Carmelo Anthony.
The Syracuse alum experienced a tough season as his New York Knicks failed to make the playoffs in the 2013-2014 campaign. A season earlier, Knick fans saw their team win 54 games clinching the Atlantic division, and ride momentum into the playoffs. Eventually, the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference semi-finals eliminated the New York Knicks. Even though the Knicks were defeated in 6 games by the Pacers there was still hope, after what they thought was a successful season. Unfortunately, the 2014 season brought anything but success for the Knicks. Injuries, chemistry issues, and the pressure of high expectations took its toll on the New York squad. They would ultimately miss the 2014 playoffs. Their underachieving season has brought on great speculation that Carmelo Anthony will enter free agency with a new destination in mind. He will be turning 30 years old on May 29, and the Oak Hill Academy standout lacks the most important thing on his resume, an NBA World Championship. He has watched with envy fellow peers like Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh win 2 championships in as many seasons.
It is time. Anthony has never played in a system that has held him accountable. It is time. He needs a coach, and teammates who will push and inspire him to raise his play. It is time. Carmelo Anthony needs the Chicago Bulls. The Windy City may not be the “Mecca” of basketball, or provide the most dollars to number 7, but they do however give Carmelo two important things, a passion and drive to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy. In the last few years the Chicago Bulls have seen Joakim Noah evolve into the best all around center in the game. Taj Gibson has improved his jump shot, post game and defensive ability that got him the second most votes for 6th man of the year this season. Role players like Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy Jr, and Kirk Hinrich have performed well in their minutes and have stepped up when they were needed to (Please refer to game 3 vs. the Wizards). Hardworking, no nonsense types of players are vital for any championship team, and the Chicago Bulls have plenty of them. Ultimately however, in a tough 7 game series scoring is at a premium, which player is better at filling that role than arguably the best scorer in the Association Carmelo Anthony.
Many observers may say that the return of Derrick Rose next season gives the Bulls the scorer that they need, but even if Pooh makes a full recovery from his meniscus surgery, the Miami Heat have shown in the past that trapping Derrick and making his teammates beat you has proven success. Carmelo Anthony solves that issue for the Chicago Bulls. Will opponents blitz Mr. Rose when he and Carmelo are running a pick and roll? Will teams feel confident switching a big onto Pooh once the screen is set? Would you give Carmelo an open 15 footer once his man traps DRose after the screen? The answer to these questions are no. Getting Carmelo in a white and red Bulls uniform may present major obstacles financially, but these issues must be overcome in order for all parties to reach their ultimate goal. Looking at history, sacrifices have been made time and time again. Legacies are eventually built on sacrifices. The only question that should be left unanswered coming this fall, is how do the new Chi town Air Jordan Melos look in the Bulls color way.