The Chicago Bulls are relevant and play hard every night they take floor. It's not only a terrific testament to the players, but also to the coaching staff led by Tom Thibodeau.
After the second injury to Derrick Rose and the trade of Luol Deng, for this team to have a record of 28-25 is truly remarkable. If there is a Coach of the Year vote to be given out right now, I believe it's a two-horse race between Tom "terrific" and Jeff Hornacek, the La Grange, Ill., native who is head coach of the Phoenix Suns. Hornacek's record (32-21) gives him an edge in that tough Western Conference.
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If the Bulls can keep this pace, they will earn a first-round playoff series at home. Who predicted that?
Although Joakim Noah is the face of the franchise and a team leader, guys such as Taj Gibson, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy and others are playing some great team ball.
Seriously, if a team drew the Bulls in the first round, they could end up going home like the Brooklyn Nets did last year in the first round.
Thibodeau coaches every play of the game and has command of his huddle and a knack for making players better.
Look at the guys who improved once they come to the Bulls -- guys like Nate Robinson, Kyle Korver, Marco Belinelli and his latest reclamation project, D.J. Augustin.
He even has Kirk Hinrich running around like a young colt.
For now, Derrick Rose is out of sight and out of mind. I think there's a better chance of seeing him in the window flipping pizzas at one of his pizza joints than seeing him shooting the rock at the United Center.
Yes, the Bulls have weathered the storm, and some credit must go to Bulls executive vice president John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman for drafting players from winning schools (Duke, Florida and Kansas, to name a few).
I give them plenty of blame when things don't work, so I have to tip my cap to them when things do.
Look, while I don't think LeBron James is going anywhere and will stay in Miami, I watched him feed Joakim Noah a few times on the run in the NBA All-Star Game and it made me think a bit.
Would LeBron rather go to a losing organization like the Los Angeles Lakers or the New York Knicks? Why wouldn't he consider Chicago?
Can you imagine LeBron and Rose -- even a decent Rose not close to MVP form -- running down the court with Noah and Thibs running the show. That would just be great, but it may be just a pipe dream.
I know what isn't a pipe dream -- the effort the Bulls give every night, which makes them winners in my book.
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• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.