There's no reason to rush Derrick Rose back this season. The Chicago Bulls aren't going to win a championship with or without him. The Bulls have done a good job filling the roles of the departed members of the bench mob, but sans Rose, this is pretty much the same type of team from last season.
We didn't officially get a chance to see how far that team would advance in the playoffs, but the 2011-2012 Bulls weren't much better than the 2010-2011 Bulls that lost to the Miami Heat in five games.
Even with a healthy Rose still in possession of all his spectacular gifts, the story of these Bulls hasn't changed. They still don't have another player capable of getting his own shot regularly. Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Richard Hamilton can't create for teammates, and most importantly they can't get to the line in playoff crunch time.
These are veteran players, not up-and-coming players with variable high ceilings. They are who they are.
Until that playmaking element is added, the Bulls will continue to be a very good to great regular season team that loses hard-fought playoff series against teams with multiple dynamic talents.
The team will always perform well in the regular season. They defend and rebound with the best of them.
However, in the playoffs it takes more than that. Everybody defends a little better and goes to the boards a little harder in the postseason. Winning championships in the NBA is about special talents doing special things, and the Bulls have only one player that fits that description.
There are no more Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers teams to feast on. You get the best effort from the best teams in the NBA, and this dynamic shrinks the heart, hustle and muscle edge the Bulls hold over most teams.
I know the Bulls are 2-0 this season while the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers are a combined 2-5. But if Chicago Bulls fans have learned anything over the last two seasons, it should be that regular season success and postseason success are two entirely different things.
The only way to change this is to find another player capable of making special offensive plays. The Bulls' defense is already good enough, their rebounding is already at a championship level. They need another offensive playmaker.
Watching Tyreke Evans glide to the basket and beat his man off the dribble in the season opener made me wonder what kind of magic he and Rose could create in the same backcourt. Maybe Evans specifically isn't the answer, but a player like him certainly seems like a logical choice.
Until the Bulls find a 1A to Rose's No. 1 status, they'll continue to have great regular seasons with only good playoff runs.
Unless there is a blockbuster trade on the horizon for the Bulls this season, the organization would be best suited to make their star wait until the 2013-2014 season to make his return—or at least until doctors say he can play without reasonable risk.
Rose is a delight to watch, and I personally look forward to his return, but he deserves to be placed in the best spot to win a title. This year's Bulls team doesn't give him a better chance than he had in any of the last two seasons.
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