Rose could have helped the Bulls challenge the Heat in the Eastern Conference
Chicago is currently fifth in the East with a 36-29 record and is going through its biggest slump of the season, losing 12 of its last 20 games.
The past two years, the Bulls posted the best league record and were a favorite to win it all.
The Bulls' struggles have mainly been an effect of their bad offense.
Their main issue, however, comes when they can't get their offense going. With no true playmaker, the Bulls repeatedly stall, having to settle for contested, long-range jumpers.
If they had Rose, they'd have someone who could work one-on-one, take defenders off the dribble and finish at the rim. Rose makes the Bulls' offense completely different. They can go to him when they're struggling and can use him during tight game situations.
During Rose's MVP campaign in 2010, the Bulls had an eFG of 50.1 percent and had the best defensive efficiency, allowing just 97.4 points per 100 possessions.
Their offense wasn't great, but they still had one of the most explosive scorers in Rose and one of the toughest defenses.
The most important of Rose's stats is his win shares. According to basketball-reference.com, Rose has contributed 30 wins since being drafted, with a career-high 13 wins during the 2010-11 season.
If that were the case this year, the Bulls would have a 49-16 record, just two games behind the Miami Heat for the top spot in the East.
The Bulls would have definitely competed for the East crown if Rose played the entire year and would be in contention for a title.
It's not all bad, though, as some good has come from his absence.
Benefits of His Absence
Joakim Noah has elevated his game, being selected to his first All-Star team and playing some of the best defense of his career. There's also second-year forward Jimmy Butler, who has turned into a key piece of the Bulls' second unit.
Had Rose played with the team since October, it's possible that some of these developments wouldn't have come as quickly.
When Rose is in the lineup, it takes the pressure off of the others because they know Rose can score at will. Now that he's out, Noah and the rest of the starters have stepped up their game.
Marco Belinelli—should the Bulls retain him—has shown he can be a big asset going forward with his ability to run the offense and essentially play the point guard role.
Rose's presence would have kept the Bulls as title contenders and they would be fighting for the top spot in the conference. But the bright spot is that the Bulls have had many individual improvements.
The table is set for Rose to return and have some success with the team, whether it's in the coming weeks or next season.