For basically three seasons now, the Chicago Bulls have played in the postseason without their leading scorer and MVP Derrick Rose. In 2012, Rose tore his ACL in Game 1 of the first round against the Philadelphia 76ers. Then, he missed all of the 2012-13 season to rehab, only to return in 2013-14 and play 10 games before tearing his meniscus and missing the rest of the season once again.
The 10 games Rose did play for the Bulls were not a good sample size to evaluate him on. He looked a step slow, wasn’t consistently knocking down his jumper and wasn’t getting to the rim as much as he did before tearing his ACL. The athleticism was still there, but he just looked rusty. Rose averaged just under 16 points, four assists and three rebounds in those 10 games—all career-lows.
But despite all of the injuries, expect Rose to have a bounce-back year in 2014-15. Playing and practicing for Team USA this summer will help Rose prepare for the upcoming regular season. Although playing for Team USA is a major risk considering the abundance of major injuries Rose has suffered, if he can stay healthy over the summer, there will be no rust once he starts playing for the Bulls.
It is also safe to expect Rose to be even bigger and stronger next season. Rose was already sporting a more muscular look once he returned from his ACL injury, and it would be foolish to think that he wouldn’t have bettered his physical appearance this time as well. With a bigger frame, Rose will be able to absorb those big hits when exploding to the basket. His jump-shot will also be more defined upon his return. And if Rose can consistently knock down the mid-range jumper, as well as the three, he’ll almost be unstoppable.
But with all of that said, Rose will only be as good as his teammates let him. If he comes back to a roster with several players who can’t score, it will be a long year for everyone. However, if the Bulls can land Carmelo Anthony in free agency, and possibly re-sign scorers D.J. Augustin and Jimmer Fredette, Rose could have one of the best seasons in his career.