Chicago Bulls: Why Derrick Rose's Return Might Not Result in Title Contention

James Tillman IIIAnalyst IJune 10, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 25:  Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls participates in warm-ups before Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Brooklyn Nets during the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 25, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Despite the absence of Derrick Rose and injuries to several other players, the Chicago Bulls finished the season with a 45-37 mark and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.

This was a remarkable feat to say the least, and expectations will continue to grow with Rose returning to the lineup next season.

While Rose's return will certainly make Chicago a better team, there are a few question marks that may prevent the Bulls from being title contenders in 2013-14.


Derrick Rose

Prior to Rose injuring his ACL in the Game 1 of the 2012 playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, he averaged 21.8 points, 7.9 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game.

These numbers indicate that not only is Rose a capable scorer, but he also has the ability to create scoring opportunities for his teammates.

The question mark here is what version of Derrick Rose will we see next season—the guy who captured the MVP award just two years ago, or a player who will struggle to play at a high level?

Before the Bulls can be considered title contenders, Rose will need to be in peak form and there is no guarantee this will be the case.


Joakim Noah

Joakim Noah had his best season this year—recording career highs in points (11.9), rebounds (11.1) and assists (4.0)—earning him his first trip to the All-Star Game.

Unfortunately, Noah was also one of several players who could not avoid the injury bug.

Noah missed 16 contests during the 2012-13 campaign and 70 total games over the past four seasons, due to a plantar faciitis injury that keeps recurring.

When Noah is healthy, he is one of the best players in the league at his position. But will the Bulls be able to compete for a title if Noah is less than 100 percent?


Second Unit

As was the case in previous years, there were several bench players who contributed to the team's success this season.

Nate Robinson was a huge spark plug off the bench for a team that struggled to score points in various stretches.

Jimmy Butler proved to be a player who performed well on both ends of the floor while logging heavy minutes.

Marco Belinelli struggled to fit into the rotation during the early portion of the season, but under Tom Thibdoeau's system, he became a decent defender and a player who was an effective scorer at multiple positions.

The bad news here is there is a chance that some of the role players who shined for the Bulls this season may not be around next year.

With that being said, the Chicago Bulls will be a better team next season, but with so many unanswered questions, it is difficult to see them contending for a title right now.