Derrick Rose's Injury: Why It Won't Signal the End for the Chicago Bulls
In just six playoff games, the elite status that the Chicago Bulls had worked so hard over the regular season to achieve was worth nothing.
There are no pros to losing, just cons. Still though, while the playoffs failed in an epic fashion, the regular season proved to Chicago that the Bulls can win without Derrick Rose. They may not be able to win the Championship without him, but they’ll most certainly be able to keep the Bulls in the running until he gets back.
I’d personally be willing to bet that the Bulls will be back to wreak havoc in the Eastern Conference come the 2013 playoffs, for these five reasons:
Reason #1: The Bench Mob
The Miami Heat aren’t the best team in the league. Not even close! True, they have several of the most talented players in the league. That doesn’t make them the best team; in fact, it barely even qualifies them as a team!
The reason that the Bulls were successful last season, and will be again this season, is the Bench Mob. The Bulls unquestionably have the best bench in the league, and it showed this season when D. Rose missed games.
Led by Taj Gibson (who in my opinion could take Boozer’s place as starter), the bench mob is a group of defensive-minded, high-energy level ballers. More than once last season, they were called on to finish out games due to their defensive energy.
They can’t win by themselves. But they’re going to be one of the biggest reasons that the Bulls will still be alive and kicking when Rose gets back.
Reason #2: The Rookie
After Rose got injured, the Bulls lacked a true scorer to take his place.
Luol Deng came on in the last two games, but Boozer and Hamilton both proved that while they can score, they're not going to be the main offensive threat.
Usually, the Bulls try to acquire players that are team-orientated, defensive minded, with not much emphasis on the ability to score – case in point, Jimmy Butler.
This year, the Bulls will likely attempt to find someone that can score, someone that can both lead the team in scoring while Derrick Rose and Luol Deng recover, and take the pressure off Rose when he returns.
Luckily for the Bulls, the draft has plenty of prospects for just that position. Austin Rivers proved that he’s a formidable scorer; Doron Lamb would fit in perfectly with what the Bulls need. Even somebody like Evan Fournier would be ideal for the Bulls.
The Bulls also have the capability to move up in the draft, with both Ronnie Brewer and the first round pick that the Bobcats owe them.
Reason #3: Derrick Rose Will Return Before the Playoffs
When this guy is healthy, he plays scary. And guess what? He's going to be back way before the playoffs.
In the first game against the 76ers, Derrick Rose started to look like the league MVP again; his shot was falling in the second half, his twisting layups were back to making defenders freeze, jaws wide open in fascination.
Then that fateful injury happened.
The doctor that performed surgery on Rose's ACL injury predicted that it should take 8-12 months for Rose to fully recover. Given how passionate Rose is about winning, he'll be back in eight.
Derrick Rose should be back in action about a month or two into the regular season, which means that he'll miss 15-20 games max.
People are talking as though the Bulls will be lost with Rose being forced to rehab next season, when in reality, he'll return in plenty of time to re-establish himself as the league’s best point guard.
If Derrick Rose works out the injury bug that plagued him all season, I think it’s safe to say that the NBA Finals really haven’t looked so achievable since Michael Jordan played (I'm not drawing a comparison, I'll leave that up to you guys).
Reason #4: Tom Thibodeau
Tom Thibodeau has spent the last two decades being the understudy of great defensive-minded head coaches - Doc Rivers being the most notable.
Over that time, he learned how to master the perfect defense. That's why, even with the defensive liability of Carlos Boozer on the court, the Bulls defense has been ranked near the top for the last two years.
One of the big reasons that the Bulls won without Derrick Rose is that their defense is stifling to most offenses. What that means is, even if the Bulls offense is playing stagnant (which can be expected without Rose), the defense will keep the Bulls in the game.
Thibodeau made mistakes last season, including letting Joakim Noah play on a sprained ankle in the playoffs, and being rather stubborn about rotations.
Fact of the matter is though, the Bulls regular season record hasn't looked so good since the days of MJ.
This season coming up will be Tom Thibodeau's third season. Look for the Bulls defense to have improved even more, especially if Gibson starts in Boozers place.
Reason #5: Team
The Bulls are a real team.
Did I just make an extraordinarily obvious statement? Yes, but given the recent trend of stacking teams to win championships, there’s very few “real” teams left.
That’s always been the Bulls greatest asset.
There’s no fighting in the locker room or tension among the team leaders. When it comes down to the final seconds, nobody minds that Derrick Rose wants the ball. And when it comes to Derrick Rose, he doesn’t argue if Thibodeau gives it to someone else for the last shot (at least I can’t tell if he does but I sometimes have difficulty discerning what his facial expression means).
Thanks to Gar Foreman and the rest of the Bulls management, the Bulls really don’t make many major changes to the team. If they do, it’s generally a choice that suits the team’s needs. No more, no less.
Because of this, the locker room isn’t full of hostility or bad feelings. The team operates smoothly and efficiently on and off the court.
Even with Rose sidelined for the beginning of the season, the well-oiled machine that is the Chicago Bulls will continue to operate. And when he gets back, don’t expect the machine to disappoint.
The Chicago Bulls had a disappointing end to the 2011-12 season.
A repeat of that awful postseason, however, isn't going to happen. The Bulls are going to come out stronger, and perform better because of what they've learned from last season's failure.
When it comes time for the playoffs next year, Evan Turner won't be hoping to play the Bulls again.