Bull's Playoff Window (04/25/13)

By John Ewing

Has the Chicago Bull's championship window already closed? What would the regular and postseason look like with a healthy Derrick Rose?

Championship windows and the viability of an organization to make a run at a title are small. Health (Rose injury), cap space (Harden trade, still waiting to see how this impacts the Thunder), and team chemistry (Kobe vs. Shaq) can all end title runs prematurely. That’s why Derrick Rose sitting out of the playoffs is so interesting. Rose has been medically cleared to participate but refuses until he is mentally ready. Many people, including Rose, assume that the Bulls will have other chances to win a title but what if their window has already passed?

Last season marked the second year in a row that Chicago had the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls had the top seed heading into the playoffs and by our simulations were the favorites to win the title with a 28.6% chance. The Heat were our second most likely champion winning it all 23.9% of the time followed by the Thunder (19.1%) and Spurs (16.0%). To see all of the 2012 NBA Playoff Odds click here. Derrick Rose tore his ACL and Miami went on to win its first title in the LeBron era. The Heat are poised to win their second title as 54.8% favorites; all 2013 odds can be found here. What would the season and the playoffs look like if Rose would have been healthy?

Below are the standing in the Eastern Conference with a healthy Derrick Rose.

Atlantic GB Wins Losses Win Pct
New York Knicks - 51.2 31.8 61.7
Brooklyn Nets 6.8 44.4 38.6 53.5
Boston Celtics 8.3 42.4 39.6 51.7
Toronto Raptors 13.3 37.4 44.6 45.6
Philadelphia 76ers 17.3 33.4 48.6 40.7
Atlantic GB Wins Losses Win Pct
Chicago Bulls - 58.1 24.9 70
Indiana Pacers 4.6 53.4 29.6 64.4
Milwaukee Bucks 19.2 38.4 43.6 46.8
Detroit Pistons 26.7 30.9 51.1 37.7
Cleveland Cavaliers 29.6 28 54 34.1
Atlantic GB Wins Losses Win Pct
Miami Heat - 61.3 20.7 74.8
Atlanta Hawks 18 43.3 38.7 52.8
Washington Wizards 26.9 34.4 47.6 41.9
Orlando Magic 35.8 25.5 56.5 31.1
Charlotte Bobcats 42 19.3 62.7 23.6

Miami still wins the East but the Bulls finish with the second best record, 13 more wins than this season, followed by the Pacers and Knicks. The addition of Rose also impacts the seeding in the playoffs and the championship odds.

Region Seed Team First Round Conf Semis Conf Finals NBA Finals
Eastern 1 Mia 96.9 80.1 60.2 38.5
Eastern 8 Mil 3.1 0.6 0.1 0
Eastern 4 NY 72.5 16.5 6.7 1.8
Eastern 5 Bkn 27.5 2.8 0.6 0.1
Eastern 3 Ind 78.7 34.4 9 2.6
Eastern 6 Atl 21.3 3.6 0.4 0
Eastern 2 Chi 87.9 58.8 22.8 9.6
Eastern 7 Bos 12.1 3.2 0.3 0
Region Seed Team First Round Conf Semis Conf Finals NBA Finals
Western 1 OKC 88.5 71.3 56.1 32.5
Western 8 Hou 11.5 3.3 1 0.2
Western 4 LAC 67.9 19.4 9.2 3.3
Western 5 Mem 32.1 5.9 2.1 0.5
Western 3 Den 74 26 6.6 1.7
Western 6 GS 26 4.9 0.5 0.1
Western 2 SA 82.6 62.5 23.6 9
Western 7 LAL 17.4 6.6 0.9 0.1

With Derrick Rose playing Miami’s championship odds drop from 54.8% to 38.5% while the Bulls go from having 0.1% chance to 9.6%. While it is interesting to see the Heat’s odds drop what is more interesting are the odds of the Bulls year over year. Just last season we gave Chicago a 28.6% chance of winning the NBA Title and in this simulation with a healthy Rose, and most of the previous year’s roster, we give Chicago less than a 10% chance. Miami has been a juggernaut this year and may very well be for the next couple of seasons. If this scenario plays out the championship window in Chicago and around the league may be closed.

Chicago – Player Contract Information

The Heat are going to have a hard time keeping their team together under the new luxury tax but this will also impact the Bulls.

Derrick Rose Joakim Noah Luol Deng Kirk Hinrich
2012-13: $16,402,552 2012-13: $11,300,000 2012-13: $13,305,000 2012-13: $3,941,000
2013-14: $17,632,743 2013-14: $11,100,000 2013-14: $14,275,000 2013-14: $4,059,000
2014-15: $18,862,934  2014-15: $12,200,000 2014-15: UFA 2014-15: UFA
2015-16: $20,093,126  2015-16: $13,400,000 - -
2016-17: $21,323,317 2016-17: UFA - -