Coach K is convinced Derrick Rose is returning to his elite level with Team USA. What could that mean for the Chicago Bulls this season?
Top NBA scoring ability
To understand the magnitude of that statement is to go back and look at what Rose accomplished prior to his first knee injury, the torn ACL. So that means taking a close look at his 2011-2012 season. An overview of the stats reveals something very simple that the Bulls really haven’t had for two years: scoring ability. One of the most basic values of the 25-year old former MVP is he can put the ball in the basket. Rose averaged 21.8 points per game that year. Here’s an idea of what that means. Of all the Chicago players in 2013-2014 who played at least 60 games for the team, the highest scorer was D.J. Augustin. He finished the season with 14.9 points per game. That kind of differential is why Derrick Rose has been sorely missed.
A third passer alongside Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah
Yet the true value of Rose goes deeper than that. The Chicago Bulls don’t just rely on him to score offensively. People so often forget how good of a passer he can be. Two years ago he set a career-high by averaging 7.9 assists per game. That alone will help the offensive production, but what makes it such great news for the team is he won’t be the only one on the floor who can pass anymore. All-Star center Joakim Noah set his own career mark last season with 5.4 assists per game, making him one of the best passing big men in the NBA. One of his challengers? Veteran forward Pau Gasol, who just so happened to sign with the team in free agency. In addition to his 17.4 points, he also dished out 3.4 assists per game last year. As the San Antonio Spurs showed, a team that can move the ball can win championships.
Tom Thibodeau has an athletic point defender
Perhaps the most overlooked value of a Derrick Rose return is what he can offer on the defender end. Head coach Tom Thibodeau certainly hasn’t forgotten. In 2012-2013, their first years without Rose, the Chicago Bulls as a team surrendered 21 points per game to opposing point guards. That ranked them 23rd in the league. The year before when he was largely healthy? It was 16.3 points, good enough for 3rd overall. While he isn’t a polished product, Rose brings tremendous value not just in score the basketball but also stopping the opponent from doing so as well.
In the end it all comes down to the buzz word everybody wants to hear. An “elite” Derrick Rose means more “wins” for Chicago.
Image Source: Balls O Hard Blog