Derrick Rose: Return to Bench Provides Spark for Lifeless Chicago Bulls
When the Chicago Bulls traveled to play the Indiana Pacers on March 3, there was a surprising face on the bench. It wasn't the recently signed Louis Amundson, but instead superstar point guard Derrick Rose.
Rose returned to the bench for the first time since tearing his ACL against the 76ers in April of 2012. In turn, he began the process of providing the spark to an otherwise lifeless team.
According to Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago, the team felt his presence.
"It was great," Joakim Noah said. "It was great. I know that it's tough for him to be on the bench because he wants to play, but it feels good to have him out there. It's really good to have him on the bench and being a part of it."
Even as they failed to walk away with a win, there was a certain confidence that hadn't been present in recent games.
Chicago is 6-9 since Feb. 1. The Bulls have lost five of those games by double digits and have failed to score at least 90 points in five, as well.
They've been held to less than 80 points in three and below 70 in two.
In other words, the Bulls are falling apart. They've gone from third in the Eastern Conference to fifth and are only 1.5 games ahead of the Boston Celtics—the team that is in seventh.
Even if it's not a return to game action, Rose's return to the sidelines should help in curing said woes.
Point Guard Presence
One of the most apparent absences for the Chicago Bulls in 2012-13 has been that of a point guard. As age has become a factor, both Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson have displayed quality ability but the true traits of a 2.
With Derrick Rose on the sideline, that issue becomes less significant.
To be clear, both Hinrich and Robinson have done an excellent job when healthy. Even when they don't get the assist, they're moving the ball well and have the Bulls ranked eighth in assists per game.
With that being said, it often seems like Joakim Noah is the team's true point guard—despite the fact that he plays center.
With Rose on the bench, however, the former MVP can now be in the ears of everyone on the team. As a player who sees what most cannot, Rose's words will be invaluable.
Just ask second-year player Jimmy Butler.
"It was great because he sees things that a lot of guys don't see -- being a point guard and being there watching the game." Butler said. "It definitely helps to have him in your ear, have him on your side and pushing because he's still giving his energy and his say-so from the sideline."
The value of one's mere presence is often underestimated.
With Rose on the sideline, young players and veterans will have a familiar voice in their ear. Rose will be able to help Chicago's point guards pick up on defensive tendencies and interior players understand where they need to be.
To put it simply, Rose's voice on the sideline is nearly as important as his body on the floor.
As previously acknowledged, the Chicago Bulls have experienced a virtual meltdown. Fortunately, the issues at hand are all manageable.
It all starts with cutting down on the turnovers.
During their past nine losses, the Bulls are committing 16.1 turnovers per game. During their past six wins, Chicago is coughing it up 11.2 times per contest.
That's a difference of 3.9 turnovers per game—more specifically, that's nearly four more opportunities for the opponent to score.
With Derrick Rose on the sidelines, however, he can help his teammates to anticipate defensive rotations. Not only will this help to put a cap on the turnovers, but it could lead to a more efficient style of play.
Having lost nine of 15, that should be music to the Bulls' ears.
Clearly, Bulls fans would prefer to have Rose back on the court. Until that time arises, however, Chicago has the next best scenario.
Rose as a player-coach.
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