Nearly a year after Derrick Rose went down on a mindless drive to the basket late in a lopsided playoff victory, the question no longer is when the superstar guard of the Chicago Bulls will return, but whether he should bother at all.
I’ve never been sold on the idea that the Bulls are championship material with Rose in the first place. Apparently, general manager
Reggie Rose Gar Forman agrees, or else he would have made a significant move before the trade deadline.
The Earth, Moon and stars have to be aligned perfectly for a flawed Bulls team to make a serious run this spring. In the NBA galaxy, that rarely happens.
First, Rose has to be convinced that he can withstand the physical and mental rigors of the postseason. He also has to play at a superstar level for the Bulls to compete against the contenders. And he will have to do this without the benefit of as much as 75 percent of the regular season, let alone training camp.
Even if Rose were to put on the Superman cape on short notice, he couldn’t do it alone. Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Richard Hamilton and Kirk Hinrich would have to play their best ball along the way. All have been beset with various physical ailments themselves in recent weeks.
And Rose would have a lot to fix. Without him, the Bulls have been remarkably inconsistent this season. They are the only team with a better record on the road (17-12) than at home (17-14). They are 3-0 vs. New York and 1-1 vs. Miami but 0-3 vs. Indiana and 0-7 vs. the West’s top four teams.
Chicago’s success has been entirely predicated on defense, the end of the floor that requires the most work. The Bulls are third in points allowed, shooting defense and 3-point defense. But they are 24th in shooting and 3-point shooting and 28th in scoring.
The Bulls have no one in the top 30 in scoring, assists, 3-point shooting or steals, even though Deng and Noah are among the top eight in minutes. Rose’s return would resolve a lot of issues, but not all of these.