Derrick Rose is returning to the Chicago Bulls this season and as a result, the team will be better. Whether Rose returns in just a couple of weeks, or in a couple of months, his comeback is the best midseason addition that any team could have.
NBA (@NBA) January 11, 2013
Derrick Rose still hasn't been cleared for full contact in practice, but Thibodeau sees smooth transition once he is. trib.in/VIqQMi— K.C Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 15, 2013
Rose will exponentially improve most of the players on the Bulls’ roster. At least eight of Rose’s teammates should get better.
Rose, despite playing restricted minutes, will allow several players to slide into roles that better suit their strengths.
The five following Bulls players will benefit the most from Rose’s return to the basketball court.
Kirk Hinrich has done an adequate job at point guard while Rose is rehabbing, but his statistics are somewhat dismal.
A team’s starting point guard should average more than the 6.3 points and 5.3 assists a game Hinrich provides. To make up for his less-than-gaudy numbers, Captain Kirk adds certain intangibles that the Bulls have needed.
Hinrich plays disciplined defense, and he does not turn the ball over a ton (1.72 TPG) for a player who plays more than 27 minutes a game. The fact that he does not hurt the team in either department is one of the many reasons the Bulls are just a few games off the Eastern Conference top seed.
A returning Derrick Rose will allow Hinrich to play less, while maintaining the same level of play. The thinking here is that Hinrich’s six points and five dimes would look better if he played only 18 to 22 minutes a contest.
The Bulls acquired a deadeye shooter when they signed Daequan Cook for the remainder of the season. He comes with a three-point shooter’s mentality and is tailor-made for the drive-and-kick abilities of Rose.
Granted, Rose will not be the MVP-caliber player he was right away, but his passing should remain sharp.
Looking at the Bulls’ roster, Kirk Hinrich is more of a shooting guard, so is Nate Robinson, and Marquis Teague is a rookie. Neither player is as adept at getting the ball to a shooter with Cook’s skills the way that Rose is.
Cook needs the ball in the corner, at the three-point line. Rose, with the ability to draw a crowd of defenders around him, can get the ball where Cook needs it.
The pressure is on Marco Belinelli to add offense to a Bulls team that needs all the scoring it can get. When Rose returns, the pressure will decrease for Belinelli. He will become a better player because of it.
If you watch the Bulls play, you would see Belinelli forcing up shots. This happens only when the offense for the Bulls stalls. The ball does not move around much, therefore Belinelli takes the “I must put the team on my back” approach.
Marco Belinelli is the Bulls go to guy? What?— David Schuster (@Schumouse) January 17, 2013
When he does this, some shots will go in, but other shots do not. His defense becomes lackadaisical and the team suffers for it.
Marco Belinelli is not Derrick Rose.— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) January 17, 2013
When Rose makes his comeback, he will most likely come off the bench, giving Belinelli a partner in crime on the offensive end. Belinelli will receive a much-needed boost to his confidence, which will spread throughout the team.
Marquis Teague already has Hinrich, the same player who mentored his older brother Jeff of the Atlanta Hawks in his corner.
The younger Teague has used Hinrich’s tutelage to his advantage. What he has gained is a clearer understanding of NBA defense. As a rookie, who no one expected to play much, he (Marquis) has a way of forcing his opponents into taking bad shots. This is along with picking up some of the other nuances of the NBA.
This includes denying his opponents the ball and reading the passing lanes.
With Rose, Teague (Marquis) can learn from and lean on one of the NBA’s best point guards.
Can somebody record these two playing against each other during practice? It will be must-see television.
Luol Deng is the Bulls’ go-to player with Rose injured. He has thrived in this role, thus far, but he still goes missing in action at times.
This is primarily due to his defensive assignments. Deng have to guard the best perimeter player every night.
With Rose onboard, Deng’s burden to score would become less and less. Rose would protect Deng on offense, allowing him to ease back into the role of the second or third scoring option. Deng is already a clutch performer in the closing minutes of a game. He has made game-winning shots, much like his jumper to ice a recent game with the Toronto Raptors.
When Rose returns, he will return to a team that has learned how to play without him. Deng will benefit the most from this. He has been groomed for distinction of the sidekick. While Rose is slowly working his way back, Deng will continue to take the reins as the go-to guy.
This time, it will be a two-headed monster. Instead of Deng always taking the final shot, as he has for much of the season, Rose’s inclusion to the team will get Deng better looks.
While there are five Bulls players will benefit the most from a Derrick Rose return, two players may regress.
The best frontcourt tandem in the NBA outside of the Memphis Grizzlies duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph is Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. Boozer and Noah have finally learned how to play with one another.
Ask yourself these three questions. Let’s see if our responses are the same.
How often in the past two seasons did you see both of the Bulls’ big men fight for the same rebound?
The answer is most of the time.
How often did they get in each other’s way for position in the low post?
The answer is most of the time.
How many times did Boozer and Noah fail to communicate with each other on defense?
The answer is often.
Now ask yourself those same questions regarding this year. Those answers are not the same. In fact, the problems that Boozer and Noah had seem to be in the past, and they are playing the best basketball of their careers.
Does Rose’s return ruin their momentum? It is possible, though let’s hope not.