It is always a disappointment when great teams do not reach their potential. For numerous reasons, skillful teams do not always reach their goals and fall short of hoisting up a Larry O'Brien Trophy.
This is true of the Chicago Bulls.
During the Derrick Rose era in 2009, their beloved point guard accomplished something the legendary Michael Jordan had not done with the Bulls.
During his third season in the league, at only 22 years old, Rose became the youngest MVP in NBA history. A breath of fresh air for a proud franchise, Derrick Rose led the Bulls to the best record in the NBA when they won 62 games.
The future could not have looked brighter. Going into the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the East, the Bulls battled their way to to the Eastern Conference finals.
After meeting with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, the Chicago Bulls lost gracefully in five games to a more seasoned veteran team. Chicago Bulls fans were ecstatic over making such a deep playoff run. Knowing that their team was still relatively young, Bulls fans admired the work their team put in and knew that the next great Bulls dynasty was soon to come.
Then the storm came, and darkness spread throughout the city. The sunshine was over and dreams became shattered.
The star that shines the brightest for the Bulls, Derrick Rose, missed most of the 2012 NBA season due to numerous injuries. When he finally had the ability to play in the latter part of the season, Rose attempted to play his way back into shape as the team entered the playoffs.
In an opening round game against the 76ers, Rose tore his ACL in front of a sold-out crowd at the United Center.
The hopes and dreams of Bulls Nation winning another title went through the window.
Since Rose will likely miss 8-12 months because of this injury, presumably he will be gone next season. With his absence in mind, the Chicago Bulls management has been making roster moves in order to give the Bulls a new direction.
One of the most heavily armored, reliable and deep benches that the NBA has seen, the revered "Bench Mob" is now gone.
Key big man Omer Asik was a scrapper—a high energy, very physical big man. He is now a part of the Houston Rockets.
Ronnie Brewer, one of the reasons the Chicago Bulls had such a defensive identity on the perimeter, is now a member of the New York Knicks.
As for the electrifying C.J. Watson, who was a capable backup point guard—he'll now assist Deron Williams in running the show with the Brooklyn Nets.
The second backup point guard, John Lucas III, who scored points in bunches with his dead eye scoring ability, signed with the Toronto Raptors.
Even sharpshooter Kyle Korver was traded to the Atlanta Hawks this offseason. During his two seasons with the Chicago Bulls, Korver was one of the best three-point shooters of all time. Kyle Korver leaves Chicago with the third all-time three-point shooting percentage, tied with another great Bulls sharpshooter, Craig Hodges (at 42.5 percent).
The fact that most of the key players off the bench are suiting up in different uniforms should only be concerning to a team that is missing their star point guard.
The Bulls will go as far as their latest first-round selection, Marquis Teague, and former point guard Kirk Hinrich, who rejoined the team this offseason, will take them.
2011 NBA Head Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau will have a new cast of characters to put into the game, including NBA journeymen Vladimir Radmanovic and Nazr Mohammed, as well as sharpshooter Marco Belinelli.
With a revamped roster and so many new parts to a great team, all Bulls fans can hope for is a playoff appearance. With the level of talent the Bulls now posses, it will be all but impossible to win an NBA championship in the near future.
Chicago will have to rely on the ability of their other NBA All-Star, Luol Deng. Next season, Deng will have to show that he was not an All-Star because of Derrick Rose. Instead, Deng will have to play with a big chip on his shoulder and carry the team on his back.
Fighting offseason trade rumors, Deng will have to show management why he deserves to stay in Chicago. This might be a huge task for a player who has only averaged 16 points a game during his time in Chicago.
The task will be difficult, but not impossible.
The Bulls are all but finished for the immediate future. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. If Derrick Rose finds a way to return to the court and play at an MVP level again, the roster that surrounds him might not be enough to win an NBA championship for his hometown.
Though the window has not closed for Chicago yet, it has dropped a few inches.
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