To beat the dead horse that's more painful than a torn ACL itself, I'd like to inform the NBA community that Derrick Rose has been lost for the remainder of the postseason, as reported by ESPN. In his place, reserve C.J. Watson will be starting from here on out.
This is the same man who started 25 games and helped the Bulls win greater than 60 percent of those games.
While many have taken the time out to write the Bulls off as impractical contenders, the dark-horse No. 1 seeds may have a great shot than you'd expect. Due to the fact that the Chicago Bulls are seemingly viewed as a one-man show, however, it's important to acknowledge the man who will be replacing the reigning MVP.
If we're speaking in a statistical sense, C.J. Watson and Derrick Rose are incomparable. Rose is a well-rounded, stat-sheet-stuffer who can score 30 as quick as he can drop 10 assists. He's also capable of grabbing quite a few rebounds and coming up with some steals here and there.
C.J. Watson, on the other hand, is your quintessential scoring guard who relies heavily on his three-point shooting. He has a respectable amount of jump and quickness, as well, making him a tough player to defend. Unfortunately, he lacks in the areas that Derrick Rose thrives.
Or does he?
Against the Indiana Pacers, the second-to-last game of the regular season, Watson played just 22 minutes. In that time, the former Tennessee Volunteer posted eight assists. He followed that performance with 5 assists in just 11 minutes in the very Game 1 Derrick Rose went down in.
Can C.J. Watson thrive in place of Derrick Rose?
Furthermore, Watson's 40-minute averages see 6.9 assists per game. That's just two under what Rose has been able to post.
This article is not meant to compare C.J. Watson to Derrick Rose, though. Instead, it's to stake the claim that the fifth-year point guard is more than capable of playing well for the remainder of the playoffs. So well, in fact, that his name may see a rise similar to that of Goran Dragic after his historic performance in 2010 against the San Antonio Spurs.
Watson has the range to spread the floor, as well as the quickness to penetrate and find an open man. He also has the tendency to force turnovers, something the Bulls have struggled to do all season. Due to this fact, it's safe to say that Watson brings a new dynamic to this team.
While there may be an adjustment period, it's hard to imagine Watson struggling for long. A majority of his starts during the regular season came against quality opponents, games in which he thrived under pressure.
Furthermore, the Atlanta Hawks' potential defeat of the Boston Celtics could lead to a much easier path to the Finals. Jeff Teague presents a far less difficult matchup than Rajon Rondo, while a potential showdown with the Miami Heat would not task him with an elite point guard, either.
Should he draw Rondo, this conversation may change. Or it may bring the best out of a guard who always seems to come up big when he's needed.