The Chicago Bulls are on the verge.
Entering last season, the Bulls were expected to be good, but not the winningest team during the regular season. They charged through the league with a more efficient Derrick Rose leading the way and coach Tom Thibodeau implementing his signature crushing defensive front. The Bulls amassed a league-leading 62 wins in the regular season and reached the Eastern Conference finals, despite spending less than all but four organizations.
Sporting the league's MVP, a youthful returning core and a trim payroll, the Bulls look primed to contend once again for the title. Trouble is, there may not be a title to be had if the lockout continues.
As part of Insider's series looking at what we'd miss in the event of a lost season due to the lockout, it's time to turn our attention to the Chicago Bulls' title chances in 2011-12.
How close are they?
The Miami Heat undressed the Bulls in the postseason, exposing their mediocre offensive firepower that perilously hinged on a one-man attack. In the midst of the playoffs, LeBron James likened stopping Rajon Rondo to cutting off the head of a snake, and the same goes for Rose. The Bulls simply couldn't generate enough offense when the Heat clamped down on Rose, forcing his teammates to contribute when Rose was cornered.