Derrick Rose has failed to officially declare himself out of the 2013 NBA playoffs, so analysts and fans continue to speculate on how a potential return would impact the Chicago Bulls' chances against the Miami Heat.
The bottom line is that he wouldn’t make a bit of difference, as the Bulls are well on their way out of the postseason.
Despite gritty efforts from Joakim Noah, Nate Robinson, Jimmy Butler and the rest of the undermanned and outgunned Chicago lineup, the Heat are simply the better team.
The defending champs immediately and aggressively rebounded after a Game 1 embarrassment, winning the next two—including a road game at the Madhouse on Midway—by a combined 47 points.
While having a former MVP in the lineup—and bolstering a razor-thin rotation in any form—sounds great on paper, Rose’s presence just wouldn’t be enough to push Chicago over the hump this postseason.
Just look at the path through which the 24-year-old would have to navigate his Bulls if he were to announce his return prior to the start of Game 4 on Monday evening.
Rose would have to deal with the insurmountable pressure of starting—or coming off the pine—at home in front of a crowd that expects him to not only play well, but also win the game.
It’s certainly not as if the opponent makes things any easier, as the Heat boast elite defenders in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and more. That unit prides itself on shutting down the opposition’s stars and utilizing tremendous athleticism to simply wear out other teams.
While Rose has been cleared to play for over two months and scrimmaging on a regular basis, there is no possible way he could be prepared for the intensity of LBJ and Wade relentlessly hounding him in a do-or-die playoff situation.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Ira Winderman had this interesting tidbit of information per the Chicago Tribune:
Ira Winderman @IraHeatBeat
Per Chicago Tribune: Today one-year anniversary of Derrick Rose's knee surgery. Timeline initially given for Rose return was 8-12 months.5/12/2013, 3:11:44 PM
Not only would D-Rose likely look bad, but it would also hurt his reputation further in the offseason—as pundits begin to doubt whether or not he’s the same player that dragged this team to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011.
The young superstar will have plenty of opportunities to face off against the Heat in future postseasons over the course of his career.
Those showdowns will be tough enough on even footing, so it just seems borderline insane that Rose would be able to impact a series that the Bulls already trail in and coming off one of the more infamous ACL injuries in NBA history.
While Rose probably won’t issue an official verdict on whether or not he will play, the 2011 MVP has to know that he will have minimal impact against Miami. Rose is likely just waiting for his team to be eliminated in order to make his missed 2012-13 season official.