Who Will Step up the Most in Derrick Rose's Absence for Chicago Bulls?
With star point guard and one-time MVP Derrick Rose possibly out for all of next season, the Chicago Bulls are in an interesting position. The upcoming year is going to be a defining moment for them. Are they truly a deep and talented team, or are they a squad of scrubs made better by a star floor general?
Needless to say, in Rose's absence, someone is going to have to step up and take over as the leader of the team. I'm talking about a player who can do it all: score, play defense, fire everyone up and be ready to take the last shot. Considering the Bulls' roster, it could be one or more of anyone on the team. The question, however, when push comes to shove is, who will it be?
One man it will not be is center Joakim Noah. Nothing against the ex-Florida Gator, but he has had problems staying healthy since joining the NBA and has a limited game outside of the paint. Seeing as how he mans that area effectively, there is no reason for coach Tom Thibodeau to change Noah's role.
Similarly, there is little reason to believe that Carlos Boozer will be the one to put the team on his back. Yes, he was once a lock to average 20 and 10 a game, but he has been a disappointment since signing with the Bulls two years ago and could soon turn into a player whose contract is worthy of the amnesty clause.
Seeing as how Richard Hamilton is basically made of chalk, the point guard situation is unclear and the bench doesn't really have anyone who can put up numbers that could rival those of Rose, that leaves one man: small forward Luol Deng.
Long story short, Deng is the perfect man to step up in Derrick Rose's absence. Yes, he has had issues staying healthy ever since being drafted back in 2004, but his skills speak for themselves. He is a good scorer, is respectable from long range and is an absolute pest on defense. For his career, Deng has averaged 16 points, 6.3 rebounds and has improved his three-point shooting over the past few years.
Simply put, if the Bulls are going to be a competitive team in the Eastern Conference next season and not tank, Deng needs to be the one to step up and carry the team. After Rose, he is Chicago's most valuable player and most critical asset. If he goes down, then the Bulls might as well tank.
However, if he can keep himself on the court and hold down the fort until Rose returns from his ACL injury, then Chicago could potentially be primed for a great playoff run. And all because Deng was prepared when his name was called.
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