I’m not going to say that Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau has been criticized about the relentless wear and tear he puts on his players but it has definitely been discussed and questioned. With that said a question is looming over head of both him and the Bull’s organization; what will they opt to do with Derrick Rose when he returns?
The answer is pretty simple but may be unknown to some…don’t start him and use him sparingly in the beginning so that he regains his in-game form and then increase his minutes consistently and then eventually start him. This idea makes the most sense, it will keep him healthy and ensure that he gains all his confidence back and that he gets re-acclimated back into the game he hasn’t been a part of since April. This plan has one fault though and that is how Coach Thibodeau will decide to play him. Based on the fact that he refuses to cut down the minutes he puts on his star players Luol Deng and Joakim Noah (who are averaging 40 and 38 minutes per game respectively) I’m not to confident that the plan mentioned above will be used.
I’m afraid that Coach Thibodeau will put to much weight on Rose’s shoulders and Rose will not be ready to handle it. Yes Rose has been extensively training and working on everything from cutting to dunking to shooting long range shots but practicing and playing are different and he knows that. Hopefully Coach Thibodeau knows that as well. If Coach Thibodeau opts to use the plan mentioned above then maybe it will teach him the concept of limiting minutes, and that is what he can learn from Rose’s return.
We all saw what happened when Chicago lost its best players last season when Rose and Noah went down in the Playoffs and while I won’t say this year’s version of the Bulls could face the same fate I am saying that injuries to big name players will hurt them. Last years collapse in the Playoffs and this years constant battle with injuries throughout the roster should all point to the necessity to reduce the starters minutes per game. Resting the starters will prove two things; the first is that it will allow key bench players like Taj Gibson, Nate Robinson, Jimmy Butler and Marco Belinelli to continue to impact the team much like last years bench mob did. Second, it will keep the starters well rested. Athletes are like machines and if you expect an athlete to give 40 minutes of back and forth play every single night then they eventually will break down. Luckily for the Bulls none of their stars have been out for to long this season and if they want to keep it that way the organization must address the minutes per game scenario.
I, as most Chicago fans, am desperately awaiting the return of Rose and I cannot wait to see how he is used and how he affects the team overall. Without him the Bulls are 30-20 and positioned 4th in the Eastern Conference. Imagine how the team’s ranking will skyrocket when he is back in full form. The possibilities are endless and the day cannot come soon enough for him to step back onto the United Airways court. But as desperately as I want him to return, I know that ACL injuries are very serious and often lead to shortened careers and unfilled potential. Rose, Coach Thibodeau and the entire Bulls organization know the worth that Rose has for this team and I can only hope that they have enough sense to limit him for a set amount of time on his return, If they don’t they may find themselves in a worse spot than they originally were.