No one on the face of the planet truly believes the Chicago Bulls are better without Derrick Rose. If someone makes that suggestion, they are either delusional or flat-out lying. However, that doesn't mean the team can't buy into the idea that they can be good without him. In fact, coach Tom Thibodeau is has been preaching an overall team effort since the injury, and it seems the team is buying in.
Rose is not a selfish player, and the idea that a newly-founded team concept should reflect poorly on Rose is ridiculous. When Rose is on the court, he is often the best player out there - either side. So, the Bulls go to him when they need points. Without him, the team as a whole has to contribute. The team has to move as one and become a replacement Rose. And that's what they are trying to do.
Joe Cowely of the Chicago Sun-Times says Coach Thibodeau has made the team's weakness of being without Rose seem like an opportunity for strength. And the truth is, it really is an opportunity. Take a look at the Bulls roster. They have talented players. They have the type of players that, when playing together as one, can play with any team in the NBA.
"In this league, in order to be a great team, you’ve got to have production from all the guys on the floor,’’ guard Richard Hamilton said. ‘‘You can’t just have one guy do the bulk of the scoring because good teams key on that, and — later in the playoffs — it’s hard to win like that."Unfortunately, the Bulls didn't get a chance to test this theory in full last season. Derrick Rose went down with his torn ACL in the playoffs - at a time when the Bulls seemed exceptionally unbeatable. And they made their run to that point with Rose as their main scorer. But Hamilton's point is well made and should be well taken by the team. To win, they must win together. To live without Rose, they must all perform at their best, all the time.
What is Chicago trying to replace? They are trying to replace 21.0 points per game, 6.7 assists per game, and leadership. Who do the Bulls go to for their leadership?
Playing as a team and getting everyone to contribute to their fullest has worked so far for the Bulls. They are 2-1 on this young season and have the third-highest point differential. How good they can truly be without Rose is up to them. The Bulls can be competitive, or they can fade into obscurity without their star. The choice has to be made in the locker room, on the court, and during the game. And make no mistake, it is a choice.