Over-sitting Rose Can Hurt Bulls’ Playoff Hopes


Has anyone noticed something missing from a majority of the Bulls games this year?

No, it’s not Carlos Boozer’s incessant yelling.

The Bulls oft-injured superstar Derrick Rose seems to have been MIA for a majority of this season. In fact, the 2011 MVP has missed more than half of the Bulls’ games this season. This time, he’s not out because of a torn ACL or problems with his knee. Now, he’s out because of two sprained ankles.

More injuries in Rose’s career that have caused Bulls fans to hold their collective breath every time he dribbles the basketball.

This is nothing new to Bulls fans, though.

They have been holding their collective breaths on and off so much you’d think they’d have hyperventilated by now.

I don’t think I’m the only Bulls fan to say I’m sick of having to hold my breath every time Rose steps on the court.

It’s one thing for fans to be oversensitive to the possibility of Rose injuring himself yet again, but management seems to have that same oversensitive mindset.

Yes, management has literally millions of dollars invested in Rose, so it’s understandable for them to be a bit cautious. However, if they sit him on the bench until he’s 100 percent, they’re wasting their money in the present in order to prevent the possibility of them wasting their money in the future if he gets hurt.

It’s an unwinnable circle if they play it that way.

Management has to stop acting like fans and start acting like practical thinkers.

From now until the end of Rose’s hopefully distinguished career, people are going to be “holding their breath” every time he steps on the court.

And let’s face it, Rose will truly never be 100 percent, even if he says he is. His body has failed him in the past and it’s likely to fail him again in the future. To think that that thought is not in the back of Rose’s head is naïve. And to further think that he won’t change his gameplay because of that thought is downright foolish.

Players need to play even if they aren’t 100 percent and fans and especially management need to realize that.

New England Patriots fans surely have some worry every time tight end Rob Gronkowski takes the field.

The pro-bowler has strained ligaments in a super bowl, broken his forearm, tore his ACL and MCL, and underwent four surgeries on his left forearm; all of this occurring in consecutive years from 2011-2013. Rose’s injury bouts look like a paper cut compared to Gronk’s career.

Do you think that Pats owner Robert Kraft or GM/coach Bill Belichick have worries that he’ll hurt himself again? Of course they do. Has that stopped them from playing him this season, unrestricted? Of course it hasn’t.

Their competitive nature and understanding of their situation outweigh their fear of Gronk’s injury past becoming his present.

They understand that if they were to sit Gronkowski for a game because they’re worried about his health because he’s a bit sore that day, they’d lose their competitive edge. This Patriots team is objectively not as good without Gronk as they are with him.

Same too for the Bulls without Rose.

Both the Patriots and Bulls rely on their respective superstars to change the dynamic of the game in their favor. Anytime they are out of competition, these teams sink to mediocre status.

Yes, I understand in the NFL each game is worth more than a single game in the NBA, but it still doesn’t change the importance of having Rose play if he’s able to.

As we’ve seen in the past, teams with chemistry tend to fend better than those teams without. Think last year’s San Antonio Spurs whose core three has been playing with each other since dinosaurs roamed the earth or the 2012-2013 Miami Heat. That same Heat team looked dismal in their first couple months together of their first year. That inaugural year as the Big Three, they lost in the NBA finals to a Mavericks team who had had their core five players play together the past two years before that.

Chemistry matters in the NBA.

The Bulls have been good on many fronts, keeping players together hasn’t been one of them. Yes, most of the core has stuck around for the Tom Thibodeau tenure. People like Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, and Derrick Rose.

However, due to injuries, the group of Rose, Noah, and Butler had played a total of only 221 combined minutes with each other in the past three years before this season. Normally, that is accomplished in a few weeks, not years.

As long as these guys have been on the same team, they’ve seldom played together—that seems like a bit of a problem.

Obviously this is the case because Rose has been out for most of the past two years. Now that Rose is back, this is the time for those core three to play with and get a feel for each other.

However, now we’re getting told that every game, Rose is questionable to play. He’s sprained both of his ankles and the team is taking it day by day. Granted, Rose played in Milwaukee knowing that he wasn’t 100 percent; he was able to lead his team to a win where he scored 13 points and dished out seven assists.

You see, even when Rose wasn’t 100 percent because of his ankles, he still played.

And he made a difference.

Just like Gronkowski forcing the defense to defend the middle of field more heavily, Rose forces defenses to tighten up the paint; his mere presence changes the whole dynamic of the game.

ESPN Chicago’s Bulls writer, Nick Friedell, made a point that Rose’s injuries are a catch-22 for the Bulls: If he plays, fans worry that he’ll reinjure himself and if he doesn’t play, fans question his toughness. It’s an impossible situation for Rose to escape, a situation in which he’ll most likely be in for the rest of his career.

At this point in Rose’s career, it would be silly to worry so much over every little injury. This isn’t to say that Rose should be out on the court every game, playing the maximum amount of minutes. There should be some games against much lesser opponents where Rose can rest.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that if he’s a bit sore before one game, management should raise the red flags and bench him. Such counterintuitive actions would only hurt the team and further prohibit the Bulls core players of playing together.

With Rose, as with Gronkowski, worrying too much if their going to hurt themselves again does no good, for the fans or the team.

Because if the Bulls, out of fear, bench Rose too much throughout the season in hopes that he’ll be healthy for the playoffs, there may be no playoffs for the Rose and the Bulls to play in.