The Chicago Bulls are on the brink of losing their first-round series against the up-and-coming Washington Wizards. Down 3-1 in the series, the Bulls might need no less than a miracle to overcome the deficit. There could be no greater miracle than the return of star point guard Derrick Rose.
Rose, who was already declared out of the season after undergoing a second major surgery in three seasons, is once again the fall-out guy of criticisms for not helping his short-handed squad, while it seems that he already regained his full health.
On Saturday, the former NBA MVP was spotted biking around Washington area, while his teammates were working hard at the gym in preparation for another uphill battle with the Wizards.
For three consecutive seasons, Rose hasn't been a factor or even an entity in the Bulls' playoff run. Of course, it was understandable for Rose to sit out last year's playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets considering how delicate his ACL injury rehabilitation was.
However, his latest setback should be considered as an eye-opener that playoff struggle will persist as long as the Bulls management keeps on believing D-Rose is the key to their seventh franchise title.
Not even Close
At age 25, Rose has already undergone two major surgeries: one is to repair a torn ACL in his left knee and the other was to fix his torn meniscus in his right knee. Though Rose still has the skills set to become an impact or an All-Star player in the league, the injuries might have probably crushed his dream of becoming ''the Man' of a championship squad.
Unlike crafty floor generals like Chris Paul, Stephen Curry or Rajon Rondo, Rose became a force in the league because of his athleticism. The Bulls star never had a great court vision like Paul and Rondo, and never possessed a reliable jump shot like Curry. Rose scored most of his buckets by blowing by his defender with his explosive first step and out-jumping rim protectors.
In the 10 games after he returned from his ACL rehab, Rose averaged 15.9 points, 4.3 assists and 3.2 rebounds - all are career lows. But beyond the statistical numbers, Rose seems to have already lost his quickness on the court. His explosive first step was not there, so was his freakish jumping ability. In short, Rose was not even near to his pre-injury self.
Trading Rose Fixes it All
General manager Gar Foreman stressed several times already that Rose won't be moved, as the franchise believed the point guard is still good enough to spearhead the team back to championship.
Apparently, Rose remains an All-Star caliber player. But as to him worthy of a franchise player, this has become disputable more than ever. The Bulls have always been about winning, and good is not sufficient enough to please Chicago sports fans. And with the expectation of winning a championship after almost two futile decades piling up, the franchise has to make a drastic change, and that is trading Rose.
In a very loaded free-agency class this coming summer, everybody will be looking on the Bulls to tweak their roster. First option should be to get Carmelo Anthony, while the backup plan is likely to bring solid role players and prospects such as Nikola Mirotic. However, if things don't fall according to plan, a shocker of a trade could be just around the corner.
Trading Rose is not bad at all, because it might land the Bulls with another elite player. Perhaps, the Bulls could be bold enough in using Rose in a package for Kevin Love or perhaps a Russell Westbrook down the road. No one knows what will happen in the future, but Rose certainly doesn't equate to championship as far as the Bulls are concerned.