It can certainly be deflating for a team when you lose your superstar to serious injury, especially when your team is heavily in the mix for a championship.
Derrick Rose's ACL injury in the Chicago Bulls' first playoff game last season was devastating for the team and for the fans who had high hopes for making a run to the NBA Finals. Now with the possibility that Rose may be out for all of this upcoming season, what are the Bulls to do?
The Bulls are expected to still make the playoffs, but are being disregarded to contend for a title without their fallen star. As it stands now, there is also no one even close to assume the superstar role that Rose leaves behind as well as the scoring void he filled for the team.
So that begs the question: why bother? Why should the Bulls even try to win this season, when the odds are stacked against them? Why not quit?
The answer is simple: they won't. The Chicago Bulls organization is simply not full of quitters. The legacy and history behind the black and red is simply too grand and too storied to ever consider throwing in the towel, even in the face of great adversity.
I'm not trying to sound like a rah-rah halftime speech here, but the Bulls are simply too prideful to ever consider tanking, especially when they still have hope for a successful season.
Think about the logic behind tanking a season. If you tank, you are essentially laying down for other teams in order to try and score a good draft pick. When you lay down for other teams, they tend to lose respect for the people on the court and the franchise as a whole. That's just not the culture that the Bulls have established with their basketball team over the past few decades. Yeah, the days of Michael Jordan are long gone, but the winning culture remains and the fans continue to support the team with record attendance. The pride and history of this team undoubtedly transcends the consequences of losing Derrick Rose for one season.
Should the Bulls even consider tanking?
Sure, the Bulls will be hurting without Rose this year and yes, they aren't a contender without him, but who's to say that the possibility of a high lottery draft pick is worth disrespecting your own team and the fans that pay good money to see a winning product on the court.
Instead of debating on whether or not this season is worth playing, the Bulls should instead focus on what they do have and how far these players can take them.
At their point guard spot, they have the wily veteran and former Bull, Kirk Hinrich, who will most likely open the season as the starter. Hinrich has played with the Wizards and the Hawks over the past couple of seasons, but a return to Chicago, where he spent the first seven years of his NBA career, will surely provide a boost to his game.
Behind Hinrich the Bulls also have scoring spark plug Nate Robinson and rookie Marquis Teague. While these three guys don't combine to be nearly as good as Derrick Rose, the situation could be much worse for Chicago.
Around them are other respectable players like Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, Richard Hamilton, and Carlos Boozer. This roster may not light up the scoreboard or put on a high-flying, shootout on the court, but they do play with great chemistry and they also play possibly the best team defense in the NBA.
The Bulls' team defense will be important to their success this season, as they have taken a hit in their scoring department. If they do play great defense as they have in the past few years, then they could use that to their advantage and force turnovers to make scoring a little easier for themselves.
Overall, things aren't quite as bad as they could be for a contending team that loses their superstar for an extended period of time. Though the Bulls will have to make things work without Rose for a while, it isn't completely out of the realm of possibility for Chicago to remain an elite team. If Rose does end up having to sit an entire season and postseason, the challenge for the Bulls to climb all the way to the peak of the NBA will be much harder, but you can be certain the guys on the court are willing to face it head on.