Throughout the course of the season, Derrick Rose has struggled mightily from the field, putting up 776 shots to score just 846 points. He's been a high-volume, low-efficiency shooter, which is just about the worst possible scenario for anyone with a scoring mentality.
And yet, his presence will help to improve the Bulls when he hits the floor again.
Rose, while inefficient, remains highly creative in the open floor and can be downright unpredictable in half-court settings. A string of moves and acrobatic finishes (let's not forget that he can still do those) will do wonders to force defenses to re-adjust, even if it's something he can't pull off consistently over 48 minutes. Rose in an aggressive mode, will force opponents to zero in on his whereabouts, leaving a pretty stellar supporting cast somewhat ignored. Imagine for a second Rose dancing with the ball at the top, with Jimmy Butler lurking on the baseline. Or maybe Pau Gasol sneaks a few steps backwards to make himself available for a lob-play. Hell, even Mike Dunleavy might not see his defender glue himself together with him in the corner, giving him more space to move freely.
When Rose plays Chicago is 29-17, a winning percentage of 63%, and that includes games such as him playing nine minutes, or playing without Mike Dunleavy and/or Jimmy Butler. So from a winning perspective, Rose isn't hurting the product. With a healthy team around him, Rose should be able to fully maximize the attention he receives by playing a constant decoy. This is where the beauty of Rose's game comes in. If he drives the lane, and the entire point is for him to swing the ball out to the corner for Butler, who in turn makes the extra pass to Dunleavy on the wing for an open three, and the defense sniff that out, Rose is capable of seeing that and taking the score himself. He leaves opponents to constant guessing or second-guessing themselves on every decision they make when he's involved in the play, even on the perimeter when he begins dancing with the ball and the defense starts to gather around the hoop in fear of the crossover move.
Obviously, having Rose play exclusively on the ball is not a good idea. He's at his most effective when he combines that with moving off the ball and seeking out mid-range jumpers. His percentages this year doesn't back that up for a scoring perspective, but the way the whole defenses change when the Bulls are seeking out scoring plays for a on-the-move Rose remains as uncanny as ever.
The underlining goal here, with all the Rose/attention talk, of course is Jimmy Butler.
Butler is so adept at moving off the ball, and likewise on it. He's a 6'7 bulldog who is not only highly efficient, but also long and athletic enough to go through stretches where he completely dominates the paint either through post-ups, cut-throughs, lobs, and forcing himself to the line. Butler is shooting 63.4% at the rim on 276 attempts this year, but what's most impressive is that only 56% of those makes are assisted. That means 44% of the time, he creates these opportunities himself, and for a long while he did this without Rose on the floor. Butler should be able to pick and choose his spots considerably more carefully when Rose returns, possibly increasing his already tremendous efficiency.
Finally: Nikola Mirotic. Rose has yet to play with this version of Mirotic, who is kicking butts and taking names. This is another long and skilled player who can get to the line and squeeze out free points, who is capable of playing either on, or off, the ball. The offensive versatility in having Mirotic, Butler, and Rose out there, possibly with Gasol and Dunleavy, should present opponents with a huge headache in terms of making the proper defensive adjustments over a seven-game series. Theoretically, the Bulls have four guys in the rotation who can go off for 25 points any given night, but in a myriad of ways. That will always be hard to defend against.
In short, Rose presents a ripple effect that the Bulls currently do not have, but sorely need.