After today's loss to the New York Knicks, I asked myself a question.
Would the Chicago Bulls be better with Rajon Rondo running the point?
The Chicago Bulls fairly recently made a significant move by picking up Rip Hamilton. However, between his injuries, Hamilton hasn't had an opportunity to get into rhythm. Couple this with the long-term groin injury recently suffered by MVP Derrick Rose, and the Bulls have spent the majority of their current season with a second-string backcourt.
Without Rose in the lineup, Chicago went 15-7. However, Hamilton was also out injured during this time. Were the Bulls to have played this whole season without Rose, their theoretical record would have been approximately 45-21, which is still good enough to make the playoffs.
It's scary how good the Bulls could be even without Rose.
Rose is without doubt the greatest player to throw on a Bulls uniform since Michael Jordan. However, is he doing enough to make the team better? In today's loss to the Knicks, Rose dropped an impressive 29 points in his first game in weeks. He also led the team in assists with four.
Yes, he led the team with just four assists.
For someone that needs to make his team better, setting up just four possessions that resulted in a bucket is not enough. Rose needs to do more for his team.
Just as Jordan experienced at the same time in his career, Rose is the leader of a team without a strong second fiddle. Luol Deng has been playing at the highest level of his career this year, and this has been part of the reason why the Bulls have played so well in Rose's absence.
So how can they be a better team? That is the main question for Rose and the Bulls as they head towards the playoffs.
To improve your team, it means making those around you better. It means trusting your teammates.
The question I'm asking myself is, does Rose trust his teammates?
When I watch Rajon Rondo play, one thing that always stands out is his ability to find his teammates and make them better. For fear of insulting Boston Celtics fans, Boston is an old and broken down team these days. Therefore, Rondo's ability to continually get the most out of such an aging team is remarkable to say the least.
For Rose and his Bulls to be better than they already are—and they're the best in the East already—he needs to play more like Rondo and less like Russell Westbrook.
As a die-hard life-long Bulls fan, I would love nothing more than to see Chicago's son get a ring. However, until you put unconditional faith in Deng and Boozer as your Pippen and Grant, this Bulls team will continue to make the Eastern Conference Finals only to be beaten.
Derrick, it's time to share the sugar.