With the ghost of MJ constantly looming in the Windy City, there are expectations for the Bulls to relive some of that magic in this year’s NBA Playoffs. Despite Chicago clinching the No. 1 seed for the entire postseason, a lot of people are still skeptical on whether they have the experience to get by the likes of Boston and L.A. Whether they do so or not, they have proven this year that they are a force in this league and are/will be legit contenders for some time to come.
One player on the roster who’s familiar with having to prove himself in the postseason is veteran and Chicago-native Jannero Pargo. If you recall in the ’08 playoffs, Pargo was a huge bench contributor coming in for Chris Paul and hit big shots in their semifinal matchup against the Spurs. We got up with Jannero to discuss Danny Granger’s comments, Chicago’s biggest competition in the East and his pick for Defensive Player of the Year.
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Dime: Going into the playoffs not having as much playoff experience as some of the other contenders, do you think that may play apart in how far you advance in the post season?
Jannero Pargo: We played in the playoffs last year, the year before that. I’ve been in the playoffs five years, Luol’s been in the playoffs four or five years, everybody’s been in the playoffs.
Dime: Who in the East will be the toughest matchup for you guys?
JP: Boston is still a really, really good team and you can’t overlook those guys there; they’ve been there, they’ve won championships, they’ve been through the fire. You can’t overlook Boston. We haven’t been there yet, so you can’t give us credit for something we haven’t done yet.
Dime: How about in the West?
JP: In the West you got L.A. The championship goes through them.
Dime: What’s your response to Danny Granger’s comments when he said that he’d rather play you guys than Boston because of the notion that everything goes through Derrick Rose, as opposed to Boston who have four or five guys to worry about.
JP: Maybe he was thinking that Boston’s a really tough team just like I think Boston’s a really tough team. They’re a veteran ball club, they know how to play in the playoffs so I can understand how he can say he’d rather play us but I don’t think we’re a one-dimensional team. We have a lot of great players on this team: Luol, Boozer, Joakim a lot of games we have very balanced scoring. Derrick is just so good that he scores 20 and 30 a lot, but I think we’ve become a very balanced team and I don’t think we’re one-dimensional at all.
Dime: Heading into the postseason, what’s the main thing you guys focused on to make a substantial playoff run?
JP: Stay focused, handle the success that we’ve been having and put together 48 minute games.
Dime: Assuming you have your decision made up for the MVP award, who do you think should win Defensive Player of the Year?
JP: Maybe Tony Allen, he’s been playing really good.
Dime: Who do you have as Most Improved Player of the Year?
JP: Kevin Love. I think he’s up for discussion, he had a great year. He’d be my choice.
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