Last season, NBA and even Chicago fans alike criticised Derrick Rose for taking too long to return to the court. The 25-year-old Bulls superstar missed the entire 2012-13 season recovering from a torn ACL. Apparently, team doctors had already cleared him to play during the 2013 postseason, but Rose was hesitant in coming back too soon— and according to him, he just wasn’t mentally ready.
NBA: Preseason-Indiana Pacers at Chicago Bulls
At that point, the Bulls were in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoffs and had a fighting chance against the Miami Heat in the Conference Semifinals. So when fans never got to see a Rose comeback against their heated rivals, it was understandable that some fans reacted negatively with his decision not to suit up.
Fast-forward to the 2013 preseason and Rose explodes in the exhibition games for the Bulls, and all is forgiven. Playing like he has something to prove-- like his decision to sit-out was the best decision for his career— he dropped scores of 22, 32, 24, 26 and 15 while showing his skills as a court general (5.8 assists) in the Bulls' preseason games. In short, Rose is back like he never left.
2013-2014 Chicago Bulls Projected Depth Chart
PG – Derrick Rose/Kirk Hinrich/Marquis Teague/Mike James
SG – Jimmy Butler/ Mike Dunleavy Jr.
SF – Luol Deng/ Tony Snell
PF – Carlos Boozer/Taj Gibson
C – Joakim Noah/Nazr Mohammed
3 Reasons Why the Bulls Are Legit Contenders This Season
1. D-Rose Flies Again – The intro was all about Rose—and the Bulls season will be all about Rose. A pair of game highlights (courtesy: youtube) in the preseason should be enough on why he is important to his ballclub:
2. On Thib’s Defense – What makes Chicago special is that Rose’s explosiveness on offense will be complemented well by head coach Tom Thibodeau’s defensive schemes. Without Rose in the 2012-2013 season, the Bulls delivered 45 wins powered by one of the most defensive units in the NBA. They limited opponents to just 92.9 points per game—3rd best in the league. With Rose around and with the same tenacity and activity on D, the Bulls will be even better this season.
3. Maturity and Motivation – Center Joakim Noah (28 years old), Luol Deng (28), Taj Gibson (28) are all in the primes of their careers. Rose is entering his as well. Add the likes of Jimmy Butler, who has found his niche with the Bulls last season and who is developing nicely to a nice two-way player and veterans Carlos Boozer (31), Kirk Hinrich (32) and Mike Dunleavy (33), and you have an experience squad that is poised to challenge the top teams—particularly, LeBron James’ Miami Heat.
Fearless Forecast: 60-22 win-loss record. Depending if Miami falters, they have a shot at the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. And even if they don’t,the Bulls will surely battle them to the bitter end to get that East home court advantage. They’ll beat Indiana in the East semis and then meet Miami in the East Finals…
Other 2013-2014 NBA Teams Previews:
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