With the Bulls recent hot streak, many fans have been starting to ask the question what could have been if Derrick Rose was healthy? Unfortunately this question has been asked too frequently over the past two seasons. The Bulls superb play this year has surprised many people because they keep finding ways to win although their talent level is not as high as most teams. Watching this depleted Bulls team keep racking up the W’s, it is hard not to think about how good they could be with a healthy Derrick Rose.
Had Derrick Rose not gotten hurt this year, many people believe that the Bulls would not have traded Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavilers, but instead they would be preparing for a championship run with those two at the head. With Rose, Deng, and Joakim Noah (who is playing the best basketball of his career) leading the way, the Bulls would have been a tough team to beat in the playoffs.
Although this core of Bulls players had been defeated in the playoffs before, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson’s breakout seasons could have changed the results this year. Even with a healthy Rose, the Bulls do not have as much talent as their Eastern Conference rival Miami Heat, or Indiana Pacers. However, the old saying is “defense wins championships” and over the past few seasons the Bulls have shown that they are one of, if not the best, defensive teams in the league.
Having a healthy Derrick Rose by no means makes the Bulls title favorites, but it makes them legitimate championship contenders. With the development of shooting guard Jimmy Butler they now have a reliable 2 guard, something that they lacked in previous seasons. Even without Rose or Deng, the Bulls have put together a very strong season, bringing a high level of energy to every game, as a Bulls fan it is painful to think how the team would have played if they had everyone healthy.
Even without Rose at the helm, the Bulls will make the playoffs and most likely wind up with the 3 or 4 seed, however there is not much excitement about the playoffs in Chicago this year because no one thinks the Bulls are title contenders. The Indiana Pacers or the Miami Heat are the clear favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA finals, but had the Bulls been healthy they would have had something to say about that. Regardless of whichever team ended up winning the Eastern Conference championship it would have been an exciting playoffs to watch, seeing the Bulls take on their hated rivals the Heat, the Pacers, or maybe even both.
Unfortunately, reality has to set in, Derrick Rose is rehabbing his knee and Bulls fans can only hope he returns to his MVP form, while Luol Deng plays for the Cleveland Cavilers. Having the two back wouldn’t have guaranteed the Bulls a championship, but it would have put them in the running. Sadly, instead of watching the Bulls compete for a title the past two seasons, Bulls fan can only wish their hometown hero Derrick Rose was playing.