The word “patience” has been a word that Chicago sport fans have heard for far too long. If a fan had to bear between hearing that and “maybe next year”, it would be too soon. But as it should be duly noted, saying so this season expresses significance more than ever before.
In particular, this season for fans was probably viewed as a wash. Within their psyche rings ‘No Derrick Rose, no chance.’ And while that is true, the Chicago Bulls’ play has demonstrated otherwise. Heading into the new year, the Bulls are fifth in the Eastern Conference with a record of 17-13. Many analysts started acknowledging that this team has overachieved. Here’s a secret: it’s no mistake that this team is where they are now. In fact, they are hovering around right where they should be.
See, many tend to forget that the Bulls had similar success without Rose last season. As a matter of fact, the Bulls fended off the Heat for the number one seed. Albeit, last year’s team was better, which makes this season’s early success more impressive. The point is the Bulls actually play like a team with or without Rose. There is trust and unity within the locker room. Chicago plays harder than a majority of the teams in the NBA. Then again, being an Eastern conference team helps. It isn’t exactly, to quote the great Kevin Garnett, “a ball fight” for supremacy.
So, with seeing how the team is faring without their MVP, there is still talk of his long-awaited return. The hope is that Rose can return in time for the playoffs, but is it really necessary?
Say he does return. There is a rust factor. Can he just be thrown into the starting lineup and play meaningful playoff minutes? I’m sure the organization won’t want to put their franchise player in harms way. Besides, it’ll be beneficial seeing as though Adrian Peterson had monumental success as he and Rose suffered the same type of injury. Different sport, yes, but if Peterson’s success doesn’t give fans a legitimate enough reason to wait, then what will?
Until then, enjoy watching how this team continues to get better without having a true go-to-guy. The way I see it, if Rose ever gets hurt again, at least the Bulls know how to win – and win consistently – without him. However, if Chicago can’t finish the year in the fourth or fifth seed, then a first-round exit is impending.
Then comes the off-season.
I remember hearing months ago on Chicago Tribune Live that Carlos Boozer could be amnestied in the near future to limit the luxury tax the Bulls will have to pay in the 2013-14 season. If there was a move I’d expect at that time, it would be that. The Bulls would have no concern with moving Taj Gibson into the starting power forward spot. He’s been regarded as a starter at the four for awhile. At this stage of their careers, Gibson is a better player than Boozer.
As for the draft, that will take care of itself once everyone has a better idea of who’ll be available. But let’s just say, it would be imperative to look for a shooting guard. Richard Hamilton won’t be around much longer.
When it’s all said and done, when next season rolls around, the team can refocus on championship aspirations. The ‘Madhouse’ will be arockin’ because mighty Rose will be back in action, better, stronger and faster than before.