Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Make no mistake about it, the Bulls have had some struggles this season. With Rose out, though, this is to be expected.
Their recent three-game win streak suggests that they can play winning basketball. All in all, they have the makings of a solid team.
The Bulls must continue to play above-.500 basketball until Rose returns. The Bulls will be a better team when he does play again, regardless of whether or not his minutes are limited.
If Rose can only play 15-20 minutes a game, the Bulls will have an additional go-to scoring option, along with Luol Deng in the fourth quarter. I cannot see a scenario that has Rose starting if his playing time is limited.
What makes sense is Rose as a sixth man, playing similar minutes to what Ronnie Brewer played last season. As you will recall, Brewer played primarily in the last five minutes of the first quarter, the first five minutes of the second quarter, then finished out the fourth quarter.
This is a reasonable situation for Rose. If he gets the green light from Chicago's medical staff to play 25-30 minutes a game, it is not out of the question to label the team a dark horse to win the NBA Championship.
There is a reason why such places like betvega.com have the Bulls with 20-1 odds to win it all. Those are higher odds than the Boston Celtics (25-1) and Brooklyn Nets (33-1). In fact, the Bulls have the third best odds of any team in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls are getting better as a team, with several players coming into their own. Joakim Noah and Deng are making a name for themselves. When Rose returns, even if he is playing at 80 percent capacity, the Bulls will have a coveted “Big-Three” that consists of homegrown players.
If you add Marco Belinelli’s hot shooting, Nate Robinson’s energy, Kirk Hinrich’s veteran leadership and Carlos Boozer’s inside presence, this team will be a tough out come playoff time.