The great anticipation that has plagued Chicago Bulls fans since last season has finally come to an end with Derrick Rose‘s 2013 preseason return. After being criticized heavily for sitting out all of the 2012-13 season, Bulls’ fans have been itching to watch Rose and he has not disappointed.
Taking the year off has proven to be the right move for the Bulls’ franchise point guard. Rose has literally exploded back on the scene as an elite NBA guard. Through his last five preseason games, he has averaged 23.4 points per game, shooting 52-percent from both the field and three-point range. The return of Rose has shown to be beneficial to the Bulls, as they have managed to go undefeated this preseason, 7-0.
All the hype of “The Return” is overshadowing one important detail though. It was announced earlier today, that All-Star center Joakim Noah will probably miss the season opener against the Miami Heat due to an on-going groin injury. Noah has missed every preseason game so far due to this groin injury. Though it is only the preseason, Noah is one of the most injury-riddled players in the NBA having not played an entire season in his six-year career.
Noah is a vital part to the Bulls return to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2013-14. With his high intensity, hustle plays and extreme heart, Noah is the best big man on a roster scarce of quality big men. Though Taj Gibson has shown to be a good plug-in for Noah so far, it can only be a temporary fix. Noah is more than an inside defensive presence. His high motor propels him to grab a lot of 50-50 balls, grabbing boards and dishing assists.
If Noah can’t stay healthy this season it will be hard for the Bulls to live up to the expectations. Tom Thibodeau has proven to be good at shuffling his roster around to get the most out of players but the lost of a key player like Noah could be hard to overcome in the long run.
The Heat is one of the biggest opponents in the Bulls way to a championship. But injuries have seemed to be their biggest adversary as of late.