What Derrick Rose's Torn ACL Means for Bulls' Championship Hopes
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Rose will miss the rest of the playoffs with the serious injury, and will face a tough rehabilitation during the offseason to try and make a return for the start of next season.
Rose, far and away the best player on the Bulls' roster and the reigning Most Valuable Player of the NBA was averaging 21.8 points, 7.9 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game on the year.
"All the work that he puts in, and just the kind of person that he is, to see something like that happen, you know, it stinks," wing player Kyle Korver told BullsTV.
Rose was the most important part of a Bulls team that had hoped to bring the first NBA Championship since the Michael Jordan era in Chicago. And while Rose's knee injury is disastrous for the Bulls, it doesn't necessarily rule them out for an NBA Finals appearance.
He was a key part of the Bulls' success, but he only participated in 39 of Chicago's 66 games this season due to various injuries. The Bulls were able to perform very well even in Rose's absence. The Bulls have actually played better in several different stat categories when Derrick Rose was not on the floor.
Derrick Rose's absence probably isn't a good thing in the long run, because a good playoff team almost always requires a confident floor general, but this Bulls team has the talent and history to indicate that they could still make a deep run in the postseason despite Rose's season-ending injury.
The Bulls will need to rely on their teamwork and they will have to continue to spread the ball around like they were able to in Game 1 of the series, when they had 27 assists as a team. Because the Bulls have one of the better benches in the league, they shouldn't have too much trouble replacing Rose on the floor with a solid player.
How far will the Bulls make it in the playoffs?
The Bulls' will probably turn to C.J. Watson, their backup point guard, if coach Tom Thibodeau decides to fill the hole with a traditional pass-first point guard. They could also choose to fill it with a player like Kyle Korver or Ronnie Brewer, players with more experience but who would leave the team without a true point guard, requiring them to spread the ball around and play as more of a unit.
"I just feel bad for him, man," said Chicago power forward Carlos Boozer. "He just can't catch a break this year. He almost had a triple-double and then this happens. Our prayers are with him."
Chicago will need to overcome plenty of adversity, something that an elite team like the Bulls will be expected to do if they are truly the best team in the league. The Bulls will be forced to come together as a unit and continue their run in the Eastern Conference playoffs without their best player and leader if they want to achieve their goal of winning the NBA Championship.
"We know that he's gonna do whatever he can to come back," said Korver. "And we'll try to hold down the fort until whenever that is."
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