Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls are beginning to resemble the walking wounded and they need some help. Where can the Bulls find that assistance? Would the Chicago Bulls’ front office seek out any help?
As has become the case for the last four seasons, the shoulda, woulda, coulda Chicago Bulls, as several fans have called them, can hang their hats on injuries. Injuries have become a running theme for a team that spent nearly an entire decade in the NBA title picture. The Bulls have now been reduced to a team hoping to get healthy in order to have one miraculous run in the NBA Playoffs.
Injuries to Joakim Noah, Nikola Mirotic and Jimmy Butler are already hampering the team, the last thing the Chicago Bulls needed was for point guard Derrick Rose to miss any time. In a story that could almost be listed as predictable, Rose has missed the last three games with hamstring tendinitis. Just when the Bulls needed Rose the most, he winds up unavailable to the team.
The injury to Derrick Rose is bad news for the Chicago Bulls. Conversely, CSN Chicago reported that the Bulls conducted an MRI for Jimmy Butler’s knee, and all seems to be clean.Butler seems to be on his way back, while Rose seems to be headed for a few more games off to rest.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls are back to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference standings and holding on to a half-game lead over the Detroit Pistons. Just when the Bulls need Rose to fight through his ailments and play, he cannot. This has led to a narrative by fans and basketball pundits who believe he cannot be trusted as a teammate.
Derrick Rose knows his body better than anyone does. He knows when he can give it a go and when to rest. If he is being too cautious with his health, as it seems he is, it is due to the litany of injuries he has dealt with over the past four seasons. This does not cease the chatter from taking place, though Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg spoke to reporters in defense of his star (courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times).
“Look, I trust Derrick. I had a one-on-one talk with him before he came into my office before the last game, before we played Washington, and he talked about the pain that he had. He talked about, you know, not being able to play his game, being cautious out there, and that’s when I think when you’re not going full speed and you’re thinking, is when major, serious injuries happen. So I trust Derrick. I know he wants to play, I know he wants to be out there. His teammates want him out there. But at this time with his leg feeling the way it is, we all feel it’s best that he doesn’t play.”
Comments made by Derrick Rose did nothing to help the doubters feel otherwise.
Rose called everything a “process.” He would go on to suggest that he would sit out a playoff game if he did not feel ready to go.
“I already put into my mind that it’s a long year. All I can do is work on my body, control what I can control, and all the other stuff is out of my hands.
“Like I said in the beginning of the year that it was a process and can’t lose sight of it.”
“Nah. If I can’t play I’m not going to play. It’s a process, like I said.”
It is words like “process” that angers fans. They see other players who have played with far worse injuries.
Versus the Washington Wizards, flu-stricken center Pau Gasol played with visible discomfort, yet flirted with a triple-double.
On Saturday night, fans watching the Golden State Warriors play the Oklahoma City Thunder saw Stephen Curry leave the game with a severely sprained ankle. Curry came back late in the third quarter and scored 27 points, leading the Warriors to a win in overtime.
Fans want Derrick Rose to have that will and determination to win. The fans have been disappointed thus far. They must understand that Rose does have the will and determination, and after so many years of having to be the one held accountable for the Bulls collapse, it is time to look somewhere else. In Derrick Rose’s eyes, him playing today means nothing if he tears up his knee tomorrow. And although that may anger people, he is right. Fans have to temper their frustrations.
The vitriol that is being thrown in Rose’s direction must be given to the Chicago Bulls’ front office for fostering a particular culture and not doing anything to help him or the team.
When most NBA franchises would have convinced their star players to return on schedule after tearing their ACL, the Bulls allowed Derrick Rose to take off for an inordinate amount of time in 2013. He should have been back in March of that season, versus being allowed to continue to sit out. What it has done to Rose was destroy the muscle memory in his legs and have factored into additional injuries. Derrick Rose’s body got used to rehab, not normal basketball duties. Easing him back into the lineup, or at least pushing him to ease into things would have gone a long way.
Other Bulls players were not afforded such liberties when it came to their injuries. That is still the case this very day, and it could have led to a slight divide inside the locker room.
Knowing that Derrick Rose can get hurt, or sit out at any time soreness takes place, the Chicago Bulls’ front office is supposed to find some adequate help. They have failed to do so in the offseason. Nothing was done prior to the NBA trade deadline and thus far there is nothing being done in the current buyout market.
Several players who could help the Chicago Bulls are signing with other teams, or linked to every playoff contender except for the Bulls.
Long-time Bulls’ target Joe Johnson signed with the Miami Heat.
Another one-time Bulls’ target Marcus Thorton has been linked to the Pistons.
Point guard Andre Miller agreed to play for the San Antonio Spurs. With Derrick Rose out, the Bulls do not have a true backup at the position. They can certainly use some help there.
Lastly, it is being reported by ESPN that the Spurs are favored to sign guard Kevin Martin if a buyout can be reached with the Minnesota Timberwolves by Tuesday. The Bulls have targeted a trade for Martin as recently as the beginning of the season; however, they are not among the teams listed who are interested in signing him.
Kevin Martin, a proven scorer could help the Bulls with his shooting prowess. But, it is becoming clear that the team does not want any help. It seems that they are content with just making the playoffs, though with how things are going, the NBA draft lottery seems like a more realistic possibility than a playoff berth.
These are some sad times for the Chicago Bulls, who have placed themselves in a bind while using the excuse of injuries to mask what is truly going on.
[Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]