Previously, we considered the other starters and their development on the Bulls. Today, we will consider the most important piece to the Bulls' puzzle. Let's look at 2010-11 League MVP Derrick Rose, and how he can take the Chicago Bulls to the next level.
Rose has been on a tremendous upswing ever since he came into the NBA in 2008. He burst onto the scene in his rookie year, scoring 10 or more points in his first 10 games. The only other Bulls rookie to accomplish this feat was none other than Michael Jordan himself.
He would go on to win Rookie of the Year honors in his first season, and earn a spot on the All-Star team in his second.
In his most recent season, he increased his scoring output by more than four points a game, and his assists by almost two a game. He took more than six times as many three point shots than in any other season, and he led the Bulls to an NBA-best 62-20 record.
Rose averaged 25.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game. He shot 43.8 percent from the field, 33.2 percent from deep and a career-best 85.8 percent from the free-throw line.
Just looking at Derrick's statistics can be misleading, though. On paper, it seems as though there were plenty of holes in his game.
However, Rose was a leader on the court. Not only did he lead the team in scoring, but it was him that they turned to when the clock was down, or when the game was on the line. Head coach Tom Thibodeau put all of his faith in Derrick's ability from the start, and he didn't disappoint.
How He Can Take the Bulls to the Next Level
There are some areas where Rose does need to improve in order to keep the Bulls relevant in the ever-improving Eastern Conference. His jump shots are still a little spotty, and even he recognized that his conditioning was not where it should have been and that he wore down as the season went on. These are things he could work on by himself.
The one thing Rose needs most, though, is to simply get in the gym with the team. He already is the players' voice on the team, so now he needs to make that voice heard.
By getting everyone on the practice court, especially during the lockout, he can guide the rest of the team to continue the level of play that made the Bulls so dominant last year. He needs to be the coach while the coach is not available.
Perhaps equally as important, Rose needs to convince Carlos Boozer to not play overseas, and remain here to continue practicing with his Bulls. Boozer can't risk getting hurt for another season.
Keeping the team together in the offseason will strengthen their chemistry and ability to work with each other on the court, something they struggled with last season due to the injuries to the frontcourt.
But, as always, these are only my opinions. I could be wrong.