Lincicome: Leave it to Kevin Durant to tell us the Bulls are back in town

  • The Bulls' Lonzo Ball blocks the shot of Brooklyn Nets' Blake Griffin during Wednesday's game at the United Center.

    The Bulls' Lonzo Ball blocks the shot of Brooklyn Nets' Blake Griffin during Wednesday's game at the United Center. Associated Press

 
Updated 1/14/2022 12:49 PM

So, how about them Bulls?

Let's start here. Some team will be the NBA champion and if it is the Bulls I will personally build the landing strip for flying pigs.

 

Of course pigs can fly. All you need is a high place and front loader. Flying is easy. Landing is hard.

That doesn't mean it won't be fun to watch.

Just when it seemed obligatory to notice the Bulls, a team from Brooklyn comes to Chicago and treats the local NBA franchise like a footwipe, not entirely unexpected and yet discouraging since good fortune was grinning again.

The Bulls are the feel good story in the NBA, which needs the gentle tug of wonder as often as it can get it.

Everyone is noticing the Bulls, meaning cable television where the NBA abides, and assorted bloggers and bullshooters, All-Star voters, too, though it may be the vote-often system that has DeMar DeRozan out front in the East.

DeRozan appears to be the star of the Bulls. After a semi-substantial career elsewhere, shooting midrange jumpers off one leg, DeRozan comes to Chicago still needing two forms of identification and a forwarding address.

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After the Nets had poleaxed the Bulls the other night, none other than Kevin Durant, at least the second-best player in the NBA, offered his approval.

"The crowd is starting to rally around the team, the city," Durant said. "You can feel it that they're starting to understand that Chicago Bulls basketball is back."

Who's going to argue with that, even if by saluting an opponent it makes whatever you did to him that much more impressive? What's a little gaslighting among rivals?

That's where the Bulls are now, back on the geek radar. Those tweeters and bloggers -- the source of all vital opinion these days -- are approving of them, wondering why the Bulls aren't fainting in the fog and fumes of what used to be.

Self-styled raters of worth put the Bulls anywhere from third to fifth in the league, invariably behind the Suns and Warriors, slightly ahead of the defending champion Bucks, but in the frame, an unfamiliar location of late.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Bulls have potential all-stars -- maybe even the starting backcourt -- in the aforementioned DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, who make up in capital letters whatever they might lack in prominence, as well as the obligatory center with his own diacritics, Nikola Vucevic, and a coach of collegiate reputation.

Is this a winning formula? So far, hard to disagree with it, and much the better if the Bulls are not taken seriously.

The Bulls got to where they now are by not being obvious, no preeners nor loudmouths, so far. Go ahead, try not to notice us, say the Bulls. That's fine. Nothing to see here. Heh. Heh. One game at time is not just a plan for the Bulls, it is a cause.

These Bulls, after all, are used to being too dull for school. This is a team of journeymen who have taken very short journeys, a team of role players. And role players are necessary, otherwise opera and long distance trucking would be obsolete.

They can't all be piano movers. Someone has to play the music. Leave that to KD and LeBron and Giannis, those single signature luminaries. The Bulls punch in and punch out, usually together.

The shifting Bulls lineup due to COVID and injuries makes it difficult to always keep track of who, never mind why, is playing but the record says the Bulls are the best team in the East, the soft chew half of the NBA.

While the Bulls may not yet be appointment viewing, they are at least a curiosity worth considering. We have Durant, an out-of-towner's, word for it, whereas those of us here know the burden of any Bulls player is to walk past Michael Jordan's statue and not sigh.

Sooner or later a Bulls team will belong to its own generation, refitting just as the Celtics and Lakers have done over time. But for now, there is the cable television reminder of the "Last Dance," or is it the "Lost Dance?" Can't remember, but the point is, those Bulls still dominate the idea of the Bulls.

When these Bulls change that, we'll talk.

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