Lakers have more depth than Chicago Bulls
This is the second part of a series breaking down the Lakers' potentially troublesome Eastern Conference opponents.
Team: Chicago Bulls
Lakers' record versus Chicago last season: 1-1
How Chicago fared last season: Lost in five games to the Miami Heat in Eastern Conference finals
Why Chicago is a threat to the Lakers: Last time I checked, there's no one on the Lakers and very few in the league who can stop Derrick Rose. The Lakers don't really have the resources to upgrade at point guard, and trouble dealing with Rose could prove to be a consequence.
The Lakers can improve all they want on rotations and communication. Rose will simply just run past Derek Fisher/Steve Blake and make any defensive switches from Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum completely irrelevant. Here's the scary thing: Rose can easily top the 29.5 points and 8.5 assists he averaged last season against the Lakers.
Also, Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau historically has managed to find ways to ensure Kobe Bryant's high volume of shots come at the expense of team balance. Another scary thing about Chicago: Rose's skill set and Chicago's suffocating defense will improve after an impressive first season.
Why the Lakers are a threat to Chicago: The Bulls may have a solid supporting cast in Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Luol Deng. But consider how different Boozer and Noah performed between the regular season and playoffs: Boozer (17.5 points, 51%; 12.6 points, 43.3%), Noah (11.7 points, 52.%; 41.1%). The Lakers will have their hands full with Rose, but their depth will require that he carry most of the load.
Verdict: The Bulls will give the Lakers trouble should they meet in the NBA Finals, but the Lakers would still win in a seven-game series. It'll be nearly impossible to minimize Rose's quickness and scoring ability. But the Lakers' size advantage in Bynum and Gasol will be too much for Boozer and Noah.
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Photo credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times