No Respect, But Who Needs It: Chicago Bulls (41-11) vs. Detroit Pistons (18-32)

Bulls vs. Pistons — 7pm on CSN-Chicago

How gross are the Pistons right now?

If the Bulls find a way to lose against the lowly Pistons tonight, then I rebuke my championship endorsement of the Bulls posthaste. Let’s just call this game what it really is, a practice game for the Bulls before they battle the Oklahoma CIty Thunder in what is being billed as a possible NBA Finals Preview.

Personally I wanted a Bulls-Thunder matchup last year but perhaps given the LeBron drama, an OKC-CHI Finals would have been ahead of it’s time.

But that’s all I can think about and that’s all Chicago can think about: the Thunder play the Bulls on Sunday.

Who really cares about this game outside of your love for the Bulls? Derrick Rose is out, so there is no triumphant return to care about. Rip Hamilton is a game time decision so there’s not Rip-Pistons storyline to care about.

But what you should care about is how much the Bulls care. If they mail it in and this game is closer then it really should be — or God forbid they lose — then everyone needs to take notice.

However, even without Rose this team has shown that even though it’s not as fully functional as we want it to be (See: Blazers, Nuggets, Celtics games), they are still a playoff team.

It really bugs me when the team plays without Rose and the respect goes out the door. Bulls fans love the team regardless, but the knee jerk critics drool at the opportunity to rip this team. That’s partially why no one cares about this game. It’s not because the Bulls should mop up the hardwood with Detroit, it’s because without Derrick Rose this team gets Rodney Dangerfielded — no respect, no respect at all.

Heck, even WITH Rose this team barely manages to get any sort of recognition and they’re 13 games away from clinching home court advantage in the Eastern Conference. They have the league’s reigning MVP, Coach of the Year and Co-Executive of the Year yet Chicago isn’t favored to win past the Heat who can’t find a point guard to save their lives.

The Pistons get ignored because they’re just an awful basketball team. The Bulls are the BEST TEAM IN THE NBA! They’re 3 1/2 games better then the Finals favorite Miami Heat and are the only team in the NBA to have their playoff ticket punched. Not even Kevin Durant and the Thunder have done that nor are they close.

But tonight’s game epitomizes the disrespect the Bulls get. Is it because people are mad Chicago seemingly went from Jordan to Rose? Is it the six NBA Championship banners hanging in the United Center? Is it Joakim Noah? What is it, why does everyone count the Bulls out and root against them?

Not that the Bulls need bandwagon fans, they just deserve respect. The Miami Heat seem to have accomplished more if you listen to the radio and watch ESPN, but all they did was pay for three superstars.

No MVPs. No Coach of the Year. No NBA Title.

Bulls fans own this game tonight because it’s games like this — one’s one one outside of Chicago care about — that they treat like it’s a game against the Thunder, or the Knicks. Bulls fans know that between Jordan and Rose there was not a lot of fun had. There was just Eric Curry then Vinny Del Negro.

Maybe the Bulls don’t need credit from anywhere other than Chicago. These fans loved the team when Kirk Hinrich was the point guard of the future and when Ron Artest was here. That’s what makes the Bulls a special franchise, it’s fans are adoring no matter what.

I may rebuke my championship endorsement of the Bulls of they lose, but the fans won’t.

At the end of the day what’s more valuable: paying money for your respect, or earning it from the legions of fans you’ve attracted?

Want more from Pippen Ain't Easy?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.