As we’ve discussed before in the recent case of the budding rivalry between the Nets and the Knicks, whether or not a rivalry exists is often times in the eye of the beholder. Where one team may view another as a rival, that team may not exactly see things the same way.
A rivalry would seem to be in the making between the Bulls and the Pacers, given the strength of each team heading into the season, their similar position in the Central division, and the relative close proximity (less than 200 miles) between the teams’ respective arenas.
But Derrick Rose doesn’t feel that way just yet, citing the turnover on the Pacers’ roster over the past few seasons as one of the primary reasons he’s just not seeing it.
“People say that it’s a rivalry, but I don’t really see it,” Rose said before scoring 32 points in the team’s 103-98 win against the Pacers. “I say the team that is more like a rivalry is when Darren Collison was on the team. That one was more like a rivalry, but this team is a great team. They’ve already proven themselves last year by making it to the Eastern Conference finals.
“If anything, by probably in a year or two, it could become a rival. But right now, people say it’s a rival. … I just don’t see it right now.”
Collison had his best year as a pro in 2011, the last time the Bulls faced the Pacers in a playoff series. Rose may have viewed that as a personal rivalry, considering Collison plays the same point guard position.
That 2011 series also featured three different starters in Indiana’s lineup than they trotted out in the playoffs last season. Danny Granger, Tyler Hansbrough, and Collison were upgraded to David West, George Hill, and Lance Stephenson. The Bulls, with Rose healthy, would return four of the five starters (minus Keith Bogans) from that season.
On the Pacers side, they absolutely view the Bulls as a rival, as is usually the case with the less accomplished of the two teams — like with the Clippers and the Lakers, and the Nets and the Knicks.