Basketball teams thrive on one basic principle: chemistry. In a sense, the chemistry between teammates can make or break the franchise. It is for this sole reason that the return of Derrick Rose may do a little more harm than good for the Chicago Bulls.
Currently, the Bulls sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, and they have gotten there through tough-nosed basketball. They beat the Heat with four players on the injured list and eight of the 11 active players on the roster seeing minutes.
The Bulls have often been questioned when it comes to their offensive capabilities, but never has their defense been questioned. They dog opponents and force them into poor possessions. In more than one sense, the Bulls have been overachieving, given their circumstances.
But what exactly are those circumstances?
Well for one, there was the dismissal of the bench mob which we all have read about ad nauseum. Secondly, it was who was brought in: Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli, Nazr Mohammed and Daequan Cook. Need I say more?
These two circumstances had Bull’s fans on edge at the beginning of the season and really capped off any expectations for high performance. But through 70 games, the Bulls are second in their division and continue to maintain a winning record despite all the ups and downs this season has brought.
So with all this in mind, we go back to the question of whether or not Rose returning would do more harm than good for the team. Rose is obviously the superstar of the team and rumors of his return have fans salivating, but it may throw off the chemistry.
This season, the bulls have become more interior-oriented with Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer having fantastic seasons respectively, and the emergence of Jimmy Butler at small forward has made the Bulls a versatile team on the offensive end.
With Rose in the lineup though, the Bulls normally play a penetration type offense where Rose facilitates a little bit and then penetrates the lane and makes an acrobatic lay-up, putting the possession as well as his body at risk. It doesn’t take a genius to see that these two types of offensive styles cannot coexist.
The answer is simple: Rose should take the rest of the season and continue to improve in every aspect of his game as he is doing now, and take the offseason to work with the rest of the roster to create a type of offense where both styles of play can coexist. R
ose is unique and there is no question that his type of play is effective, but the Bulls are showing that his style of play is not the only style of play.
If you take Rose’s style of play and throw in the interior offense that Noah and Boozer have been displaying this season along with the team’s other emerging weapons, the Bulls will be scary. Also, let’s not forget about the imminent arrival of Nikola Mirotic, who will be able to play the four or three when needed.
Rose’s return has been speculated about since February, but his return might mark the collision of two differentiating styles of offense which may end up biting the Bulls in the rear. I may be wrong but until he returns on the floor, we won’t know for sure.