I will never… NEVER… believe that the 95-96 Chicago Bulls belong in the pantheon of all time greats. They might be knocking on the door… they might be able to feel the heat through the window as the ’86 Celtics and the ’85 Lakers drank scotch while sitting by the fire. But they’ll never get inside.
I know full well that they won 72 games. But I also know they’d lose to a lot of those teams in the mid-80’s… and I think that we’re better than them too.
Simply put… the Bulls got real fat off real weak talent. Consider that the NBA expanded twice in 6 years: in 1989 (Orlando, Minnesota) and in 1995 (Toronto, Vancouver). That’s 2 teams that were 6 years old… and two that were brand new. The Bulls played those teams 12 times. Orlando was good that year… the other teams were not.
Not only that, the talent level hadn’t even recovered from that past expansion when the next one happened. This league was more watered down than Natural Light. Have you ever had a Natty Light? It sucks… and so did the NBA back then. The Bulls were a great team in a crappy league… and it showed.
Meanwhile, there is no such expansion for the Celtics. When the Celtics win 60-something games this year… it’s against a resurgent NBA. Once upon a time… a team needed 3 stars to have a shot a championship. Then in the 90’s… you only needed 2. We’re starting to break out of that now. Stars are starting to emerge where we didn’t expect them. A team with two All-Stars isn’t going to be enough anymore. 2007-08 NBA competition is flat-out better than the 1995-96 NBA. To approach 70 wins this year will be MUCH more impressive than winning 72 games back then. Even a team finishing in the mid-60 win total is more impressive to me than what those Bulls did.
Herald: It’s all adding up to history | Globe: C’s among best ever | Wallace finally has final say | Behnke’s triple duty covering all the bases | Det News: Celts rematch isn’t a big deal | MLive.com: Pistons not looking ahead