Overall, Chicago Bulls fans have no reason to be disappointed by the 2012-13 season thus far. The team is a modest 15-11, but is tied for first place in the Central Division with the Indiana Pacers. It's not much, but still a fine Christmas present for the fans in the Windy City.
However, there's just one thing that the Bulls fans really want for Christmas, and it involves a certain point guard who wears the number 1 on his jersey. He also was taken with the first overall pick in 2008, out of the University of Memphis.
I'm talking about point guard Derrick Rose, who is still recovering from an ACL injury suffered during last season's playoffs. As well as the Bulls have played without him, fans want nothing more than Rose getting well quickly and stepping back on the court to control the offense. He is their best playmaker, holds his own in the scoring department, and also has an improved defensive game.
According to Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, via ESPN Chicago, Rose is doing "great" and is right on schedule in terms of his rehab. No return date has been set, but Thibodeau is hoping that Rose can return in the second half of the season.
And not a moment too soon.
As good as the Bulls have been this season, their options at the point have been absolutely atrocious. Kirk Hinrich signed a two-year deal over the summer to start at point guard in Rose's absence, but he has been disappointing.
On the season, Hinrich is averaging just 6.7 points and 5.4 assists per game. His best skill is his three-point shooting and he is shooting 37.5 percent from long range, but just 36.5 percent from the field as a whole. Chicago needs him to be more of a force on offense in order to be more effective, but he has yet to get out of his funk.
Rookie Marquis Teague can run the point, but has received little playing time this season. Nate Robinson is built like a point guard, but has the attitude of a shooter.
Rose's absence at the point has thus left the Bulls ranked 26th in points per game, with just 92.8 per game. The team did not fare much better last season, ranking 18th and scoring 96.3 per contest, but the difference is still obvious. Rose's offense is sorely missed.
The former Memphis Tiger averaged 21.8 points and a career-best 7.9 assists per game last season, and he guided the Bulls to the NBA's best record for the second consecutive season. Before he injured his knee in the playoffs, the Bulls looked like the team to beat in the postseason.
Nothing against guys like Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer or even Luol Deng, but they are not capable of carrying a team in the long term. Rose not only looks to make himself a better player, but he makes his team better. Noah turned into an elite center on both sides of the floor with Rose getting him the ball, and Deng was also able to further develop a three-point game thanks to the dynamic point guard.
That's just the type of effect Rose has on his teammates. He makes them better and is also able to improve his game simultaneously, not an easy task. His career 21 points and 6.8 assists per game are sorely missed in Chicago's lineup despite the fact that the team ranks 10th in the league in assists, and fans will roar upon his return.
Thus, this Christmas season, the Chicago Bulls fans just want one thing: Rose to quickly recover and get back on the court. Chicago has gotten used to being great the past two seasons, and Rose's fine work at the point has inched them closer and closer to getting out of the shadow of one Number 23.
Once he returns and the Bulls' fan Christmas wish is granted, then he can get back to making Chicago a basketball mecca, and thus keep on bringing smiles to the fans 'faces.
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