Bulls ready to contend

JOHN MCMULLEN, Sports Network

, Last Updated: 12:26 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- Conventional wisdom says the Chicago Bulls failed this offseason.

After all, the Bulls were supposed to be in hot pursuit of the game's biggest prize, LeBron James, and came up empty. In fact, when one ill-informed ESPN talking head proclaimed Chicago the favorite to land the narcissistic one, dozens of lemmings fell in line to drink the Bristol Kool-Aid, convinced the Windy City would land LeBron.

Instead, King James took his throne to South Beach and the Bulls were forced to scramble and cultivate a Plan B that included signing power forward Carlos Boozer away from Utah, and inking a number of complimentary parts like Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver and Kurt Thomas.

The moves certainly weren't sexy. but if you look at what new coach Tom Thibodeau has at his disposal, Chicago now looks like a player in the revamped Eastern Conference.

Thibodeau, a defensive mastermind, inherited a pair of elite frontcourt defenders in Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, the game's best young point guard, Derrick Rose, and a solid small forward in Luol Deng. The addition of Boozer, Brewer, Korver and Thomas to that mix looks tailor-made.

Rose will be able to play pick-and-roll all day with Boozer, and the former Jazz stalwart is also a top-tier scorer with his back to the basket, meaning the Bulls will be a much tougher team to defend in the half-court come playoff time.

Meanwhile, Thomas brings toughness on the glass, Korver, one of the game's best pure shooters, will help space the floor, and Brewer is the type of slasher that could excel running the floor with Rose.

"We've got basketball players," Rose told Bulls.com. "I don't know about everybody else's team, but my team is ready to fight. We've got guys that just want to win. They aren't about their stats or anything. We've got legit winners."

Steve Kerr, the sharp-shooting guard that was a part of five NBA championship teams, including three with the Bulls, is impressed with what's going on in Chicago.

Kerr, who has returned to the broadcast booth with TNT after serving as the general manager of the Phoenix Suns, recently gushed over the Bulls talent.

"They've got two unbelievable frontcourt defenders with Noah and Taj Gibson, they've got the great point guard play of Derrick Rose and now you've got the low-post scoring that Chicago has been lacking for years with Boozer," Kerr said. "They've done a nice job of quietly putting some pieces in there on the wings. They've got a really deep mix of players and I think they are going to be really good."

Good enough to compete with a Heat team that has quietly added veterans like Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Juwan Howard and Eddie House to its Superfriends trio of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh?

"Obviously, Miami has the most talent but when you look at Chicago's mix, I just really like it," Kerr said. "I actually think that (the Bulls) are the most well-rounded team in the East."


Videos

Photos