An ACL ligament might have dropped bona-fide title-contenders to team-who-could-be-eliminated.
Let me explain.
Derrick Rose has torn his ACL. As stated, it could drop the Bulls out of the playoffs all together.
And this time I won’t reiterate, I’ll explain.
The Bulls were built around Derrick Rose. That’s not to say they can’t win without him, it’s just going to be tough. This team is built on defense and supporting pieces around the MVP. None of the other players are guys who are going to carry a team. Carlos Boozer can score, but works better with Rose. Luol Deng could be a possibility, as could Rip Hamilton. Outside of that there aren’t a lot of consistent high-volume scoring options. Ashton Kutcher Kyle Korver is a three-point specialist at best. There aren’t a lot of bright spots that stand out without Rose.
The injury means the Bulls have to take up a new identity. One like the Detroit Pistons teams of the mid-late 2000s. They, like the Pistons team that went to the Finals and won, have a defensive-minded center, who doesn’t need consistent touches (Joakim Noah) like a Ben Wallace. They also have a talented four-man who, when on, is a deadly scoring option, (Carlos Boozer) like a Rasheed Wallace. Then there’s each teams’ long, ace perimeter defender who can also score (Luol Deng for the Bulls, Tayshaun Prince for Detroit). Each team even has the same shooting guard (Rip Hamilton), so no explanation there. The one glaring difference with the two teams is the point guard position. In clutch time, Detroit went right to Mr. Big Shot (Chauncey Billups). The Bulls predictably did the same with Rose. Now the topic of conversation leads to who replaces Rose. To be honest, even if Chicago could go out and get any other point guard they wanted, the only ones who would fill the gap are Chris Paul and maybe Russell Westbrook. The last similarity between the teams is that neither team has a defined top scorer. Just a bunch of guys who can get it done when called upon. (This is the Bulls without Derrick Rose, mind you).
Now the Bulls are without Rose and are knotted at one game-a-piece with Philly in the first round. Will we see the team that sinks without their MVP and point guard, or will we see a team that reminds us of the Pistons of somewhat-old?