Derrick Rose Injury: Breaking Down Why Bulls Can Survive Without Star PG
While losing Rose for the length of the playoffs and well into the beginning of the 2012-13 NBA season is certainly disheartening for the Bulls, it's not necessarily time to panic just yet.
The Bulls played without Rose this season in 27 games, and they did surprisingly well, winning 18 of those 27 games.
While a majority of those wins came against the worst of the worst in the NBA, like the Charlotte Bobcats, the Washington Wizards and the Toronto Raptors, the Bulls were able to knock off the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics without Rose, and that's good news moving forward in the playoffs.
Even without Rose, the Bulls are still a lock to knock out the Philadelphia 76ers in their first-round series mainly because the 76ers just don't look like they're ready to compete with the depth of the Bulls.
Moving out of the first round for the Bulls means a potential second-round matchup with the Boston Celtics, a team that they know how to beat without the star power of Rose.
Bulls can win a second-round series without Derrick Rose
The Bulls faced off against the Celtics without Rose three times in the regular season, and while they lost the only road contest to the Celtics by four points, the Bulls knocked off the Celtics in their final two matchups at home.
Without Rose, the Bulls and their "bench mob" won by a combined total of 16 points, led by the play of impressive play of Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer.
While the Celtics certainly amped up their game throughout the past week or two heading up to the start of the playoffs, there's no debating the fact that the Bulls match up extremely well with the Celtics.
Sure, the Celtics have the advantage at the point guard position as Rajon Rondo is better than both John Lucas and C.J. Watson, but the Bulls are on par, if not better, than the Celtics at the other positions.
Joakim Noah can lock down Kevin Garnett and Luol Deng will give Paul Pierce fits all series long. With Ray Allen's playoff future in question, the Bulls certainly have the advantage at shooting guard.
Aside from the basic matchup advantage, the Bulls also have serious home-court advantage, as the Rose-less Bulls are undefeated against the Celtics at home this season.
Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer are capable of carrying the load
Losing Rose's season averages of 21.8 points, 7.9 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game is certainly not ideal for the Bulls, but luckily they have talent in their starting rotation that is capable of making up for that lost production.
Boozer and Deng are All-Stars in their own right, and they've proved this season and during their NBA careers that they are capable of carrying the Bulls when needed.
The Bulls' offense will certainly look different without Rose's slashing ability on the court, but a different look for the Bulls doesn't necessarily mean they won't still be able to contend in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls will certainly need Boozer and Deng to step up in Rose's absence, but the good news is that they are more than capable of doing just that, and that's a major reason why the Bulls will be able to survive without last year's MVP on the court.
C.J. Watson and John Lucas protect the ball and produce when needed
A key to surviving without Rose is protecting the ball, and luckily for the Bulls, they have two backup point guards that can do just that.
Derrick Rose, in 39 games this season, averaged 3.1 turnovers per game, and in his one playoff appearance he accounted for five turnovers.
C.J Watson and John Lucas, in their 49 games played, averaged a combined total of 2.9 turnovers per game, two for Watson and .9 for Lucas. In his first playoff appearance this season, Watson only turned the ball over once one 11 minutes which goes to show how well he protects the ball.
The Bulls don't need Lucas and Watson to be Derrick Rose, they need them to protect the ball and facilitate the game to the other players on the court, like Deng, Boozer and Richard Hamilton.
With that being said, Lucas and Watson aren't offensively inept, as they accounted for an average of 17.2 points per game combined during the regular season.
Lucas and Watson will certainly have to increase their offensive efficiency, as they combined for 38.5 percent shooting from the field during the regular season. If they can increase their efficiency from the field, and protect the ball like they did during the regular season, the Bulls still have a chance at surviving without Rose.
I know it might be disheartening to be a fan of the Chicago Bulls, but it's not necessarily time to hit the panic button just yet.
Wait and see how the Bulls respond without Rose in the lineup, because if they focus on the keys listed in this article, they will be able to survive a lot longer without Rose than you may think.
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