The Chicago Bulls are just not a very good basketball team without Derrick Rose.
I’ll admit, I was among those that thought the Bulls could hold their own if they played the majority of the season without their star. They still have a solid frontcourt, with Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, and Taj Gibson off the bench, while the backcourt could be passable with Richard Hamilton and Kirk Hinrich. Not to mention that the Bulls have one of the premier coaches in the NBA, in Tom Thibodeau.
Early in the season, however, that doesn’t look to be the case. The Bulls are under .500 and have failed to piece together any sort of consistency. Even worse, they’ve blown several big leads throughout the season, including a 27-point advantage to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night. Some of those they’ve managed to escape with wins, but blown leads are disturbing, regardless of the final outcome.
This Bulls team lacks the scoring presence that Rose brought to the floor. They don’t have a finisher. They don’t have a guy that you could put the ball in his hands and trust him to take over a game. Not that anyone expected them to have that sort of presence when Rose was lost with his knee injury.
We’re only 13 games into the season. It’s a long season and the Bulls play in the Eastern Conference. They could easily right the ship and be a playoff contender, though they probably wouldn’t be taken seriously as a title contender, with or without Rose.
But the fact that the Bulls have started the year off so poorly certainly does raise the question of whether or not they should even bother having Derrick Rose push his rehab and return this year. At this point, we really don’t know where he is in his rehab exactly, though signs have pointed to him playing this year.
Is there a point, though? Even if Rose were to return in January or February or just in time for the postseason, would it make that much of a difference? He wouldn’t be immediately effective and there are other issues facing this Bulls team, other than lacking their superstar.
One has to think that if the Bulls were to continue on this path of mediocre basketball, hovering around .500, then the Bulls would consider letting Rose have this entire year to rehab it and come back 100 percent in 2013-14. But of course, it’s going to depend on where he is in his rehab, and when he’s ready to return.
Though, while I think shutting him down could be the correct move, the goosebumps that would accompany #TheReturn becoming official, would certainly be worth the season of mediocrity that preceded him returning to the floor.