With Derrick Rose emerging from the World Cup healthy, the debate is likely over on whether or not it was a good idea for him to play. Rose now has a six week head start on removing some rust which can only be viewed as a good thing.
Despite his poor play, he's happy with where he's at. He's happy with his game speed. He thinks he's just a few adjustments away from being the player he once was. That's great news for Chicago, and even if he's not correct the fact that he's coming away from the experience happy, healthy, and confident is better than having not gone.
However, Derrick's opportunity to play some real basketball is but one of the benefits the Bulls reaped from our national team.
An overlooked benefit is the impact it will have on Tom Thibodeau
Derrick Rose isn't the only one who got to perform amongst great peers. Tom Thibodeau got to coach with another all time great head coach in Mike Krzyzewski. Another great college head coach in Jim Boeheim, and he had the opportunity to scout and analyze International basketball in depth to pick up any wrinkles for his own schemes on either side of the ball.
I'm sure for a basketball junkie like Thibodeau, the experience was quite enlightening and that he soaked up every ounce of new information possible and will begin incorporating it into his own plans.
Team USA likely benefited significantly from Thibodeau's defensive schemes as well. Despite not having the most dominant team overall, this team dominated its competition like no team has since the original dream teams in 92/96. Even with basketball catching up around the globe and Team USA not sending their best, they routed the competition even when their shots weren't falling.
I'm guessing Tom Thibodeau has quite a bit to do with that.
Recruiting, we're not good at it but...
Beyond Tom and Derrick's personal journeys. Both player and coach had a chance to create bonds with other players who were there. Maybe nothing comes of that, but maybe if one of these guys is forcing their way out of a bad situation they think that playing for the Chicago Bulls seems like a better idea than it did prior to the tournament.
I have no doubts that Tom Thibodeau left a great impression on all of the Team USA players with his preparedness and coaching talent. Derrick Rose is an introverted guy and didn't play well, but if he bounces back in the NBA what he showed every other star there is that he's willing to share the spotlight, set other guys up, and doesn't need to hog the glory.
Odds are against this being a big deal for Chicago, but every chance major Chicago basketball pieces get to bond with big name players in the NBA and create friendships is a great opportunity that could pay dividends down the road.
Spain's loss also likely motivates the hell out of Pau Gasol
Gasol looked outstanding all tournament. Heck, he might have been the best player in the tournament even in the game where Spain was eliminated. The loss hurts but will keep him motivated and hungry as well.
We also got to see that when properly motivated, Pau still has it. He didn't play well the past couple of seasons but was stuck on a team of poor players with no shot to win in a tough conference. Bulls fans have to be feeling at least a smidge better about Gasol now than prior to the tournament.
Chicago will get the benefit of an even more engaged fan base.
The Bulls didn't quite have the huge headline off-season that fans hoped for. It was always a long shot to get Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Love anyway, but it still left an initial sting, especially Love joining LeBron in Cleveland.
However, much like 2010 when the Bulls missed the big fish, they made quality smaller moves that should put together an outstanding team. No, the Bulls won't be the favorite and for the "win a championship or I hate my life" crowd this season will is more likely than not to end in disappointment.
What Chicago did is put themselves in the discussion. They're ready to make a big jump forward again after a couple of down years. They have a shot, albeit a small one (to win Ben Stein's money?) to win a championship. That's as much as was realistic. They maintained flexibility for the future, plenty of good assets, and will have a chance to make a trade if a big name player becomes available.
After the initial disappointment of losing out on the big name players wore off and looking at what the Bulls pulled off became more clear, the fans I talk to regularly seem awfully upbeat about having a good season. They're all talking Bulls again. A surprisingly large number of fans were watching the World Cup just to see Derrick play.
I'd guess the Bulls had more fans watching the World Cup than any other fan base. Derrick may not have played great but most fans I've talked to don't seem about as worried as Derrick. The vibe for the season is great. The city is primed for Chicago Bulls basketball again.
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