The Chicago Bulls have done just fine without Derrick Rose, to say the least.
Beating fellow playoff teams, clinching a postseason spot already and fighting for home court advantage, the Bulls have accomplished an incredible amount of success this season for not having the former MVP for the entire campaign. At 41-33, they’re currently sitting fifth in the east, just a game and a half behind Brooklyn for the four seed.
Rose has been rehabbing and for some time now has appeared to be ready for his return physically, but not mentally. With seven games left in the season, a lot of folks are wondering if he should even bother at this point as he may disrupt the team’s chemistry. Many are asking a tough question: do the Bulls need Rose?
On Thursday night, the team showed once again that they can manage fine without him by collecting a 92-90 win over Brooklyn on the road reminds the Nets before the two meet in the postseason that the Bulls have a slight advantage. With their win last night, they take the season series 3-1, but let’s be honest, if they plan on getting through Brooklyn and making a run at the Miami Heat in the second round, the Bulls need something they are currently missing; their superstar.
Chicago was able to beat up Miami with physicality last week in a one off contest, but if they’re going to beat Brooklyn and eventually the Heat in a seven game series, they’ll need to do more. They’ll need to be able to rely on someone, even if it is more from a mental perspective than reality. Rose probably doesn’t return to the lineup and play 30 minutes at any point this season, but if he can play 20 and be that guy that takes the big shot, then that may be all Chicago needs.
Making a comeback from trailing by 16 on Thursday, the Bulls show they can score when they need to and their defense, currently ranked third in the league and fifth in defensive efficiency, is good enough to help them beat anyone. But then you have nights like Tuesday in Washington, where the team needed a basket late and couldn’t figure out who to get the ball to.
There are to types of teams in this league; balanced ones and those that are built around special players. Deron Williams in Brooklyn, Carmelo Anthony in New York, LeBron James in South Beach, the Eastern Conference is comprised of teams built around superstars and the Bulls were assembled to complement Rose. While it is true that they have achieved wonderful things in his absence, it’s time to admit that they can’t get far in late April and May without the guy that made their identity.
Bulls management is somewhat frustrated with Rose, expressing the sentiment that it’s time for him to return to the floor. New York’s Iman Shumpert suffered almost the same injury on the same day as Rose, yet he’s been on the court since January for the Knicks. Rose is seen in pregame running full speed through his workout, dunking and dropping three pointers with ease. Understandably, Chicago’s brass and fans are frustrated that he hasn’t come back.
It’s understandable that the player may be suffering a mental setback, but at some point a guy has to live up to the money invested in him. The fact is, Derrick Rose is making $16.4 million this year, and if there is even a chance that he’s good to go, he owes it to Bulls fans everywhere to get on the court. Naturally, no one is going to expect him to dominate right away. No one will expect him to play starter minutes every night. For this season, it would be good enough for Bulls fans to see him 20-25 minutes per night and if he does it, that’s all the Bulls need to make it to the next level.