Derrick Rose Shouldn't Play for the Bulls

So say Bulls fans, starting with Derrick's brother and manager, Reggie:

It's frustrating to see my brother play his heart and soul out for the team and them not put anything around him.

Or this question to Bulls beat  writer KC Johnson:

Do the Bulls have a justified excuse for not having enough talent around Derrick Rose to win it all? They are following the same pattern that was used around MJ. If I was Derrick Rose, no way I’d stay in Chicago if the Bulls don’t win a title before his contract is up. He’ll be another John Stockton and Karl Malone, for sure. -- John Coleman, Mansfield, Texas

Or these comments on Doug Thonus' outstanding Bulls Confidential blog:

Rose has to be cautious about his career cause afterall he is a franchise type player and if the Bulls aren't going to have his best interest in mind and that includes trying to win championships then he has to be very cautious for his future just in case things dont work out in Chicago. -- Reese1

I'm only scratching the surface here.  There's a lot of sentiment that Derrick Rose should not only not work hard to return from injury as fast as possible, but that Rose should be planning an exit, similar to what Lebron did in Cleveland.

Here's the premise:  Derrick Rose is a championship-caliber player and any decent front office would have put the right parts around him for a championship by now.  If they're going to continually fail to do so, either due to cheapness or incompetence (the 2 are often used interchangeably even though they are very different ideas), then Derrick Rose should take his talents to a 'better" organization.

I've followed the Bulls since MJ's rookie year (not much reason to prior to then) and I have hard time discussing the NBA in general because I think it's the most flawed of the major sports leagues, even more than MLB, which is saying something.  But this stinks on so many levels:

1. Derrick Rose has a $95MM  contract to play basketball.  He owes it to whatever he team he plays for to play his best.  And I think he does, but I can't believe fans suggest that he shouldn't.

2. Derrick Rose is a phenomenal player and the best we've seen in Chicago since MJ, but he's probably not even 1 of the top 5 in the game.  To act like having him should mean a championship is a leap.

3. Derrick Rose is 24.  We have a good 5 years before we can worry about him "wasting" his career as some suggest.

4. The Bulls FO has put a good team around him.  Not a championship team, but probably 1 of the 4 best teams in the NBA prior to Rose's injury.

5. Have you taken a good look at the other NBA organizations?  How many do you really think are doing a better job?  A common commenting tactic is to say, "the Bulls can't keep up with the Heat and Lakers, etc."  There is no etc.  List the teams out and there are only a handful, if that.

6. The Miami Heat are the Bulls' primary obstacle and they have a once-in-a-generation collection of talent.  They're the best team in basketball and will win at least one more title with this group.  Is that the Bulls' FO's fault that they can't beat one of the best collections of talent in NBA's history?

Before we get any further, let me state in no uncertain terms:  I'm very frustrated with the Bulls "GarPax" front office.  They are great at both identifying and developing talent (Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Omer Asik, Jimmy Butler, many more) but are bad at making the big move.  They just plain struck out in the Summer of Lebron.  I wanted for years to see them bring Kevin Garnett to the Bulls, only to see Garnett go to the Celtics and win a championship.  They offered a nice deal for Pao Gasol, only to see the Lakers get him for less and win a championship.  I don't know if that's necessarily GarPax's fault but this is the big leagues and you need to get it done, and they aren't.  They also have their share of blunders:  Losing Tyson Chandler and more recently Omer Asik for nothing, hiring Vinny Del Negro, re-signing Kirk Hinrich.  But their blunders are only their share, and they've outperformed a lot of FO's over a similar time period.

The Bulls FO owes their best efforts to put a champion roster around Rose, and I can't with a straight face tell you that they haven't.  They hired a great head coach, might be the best in the league at finding late-round talent (Gibson, Butler), made the right choice between Deng and Ben Gordon (though a lot of fans did not, including myself) and put a team around Rose that was good enough for the best record in the NBA.  For $95MM, Rose has no reason not to give his best effort.

There are better players than Derrick Rose.  Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant are all probably better players than Derrick Rose and I'll throw in Dirk Nowitzki as well: All 4 can't really be guarded.   Rose can be guarded, though, at least by Lebron.  Dwyane Wade is arguably a better player as well and in terms of overall effect on the game, even an aged Tim Duncan might be as much of an asset as Rose.

How many teams are really better than what the Bulls were prior to Rose's injury?  The one organization that gets it done and I'm envious of is the San Antonio Spurs.  Having Tim Duncan (a #1 lottery pick for the ages btw) helps an awful lot in building a foundation, but they continually find and develop great talent around Duncan.  They also might have the game's best head coach in Gregg Popovich.  If I could trade the Bulls' FO for San Antonio's, I'd do it in a heartbeat.  After that it gets dicey.  The Miami Heat have one of the best collections of talent in NBA history but it was put together by Dwyane Wade, a player, not the FO.  The Lakers have pulled out all the stops to try to catch the Heat.  It didn't work but I give them an A for effort.  The Lakers, however, are the Yankees of the NBA, the one team that always wins and everyone else aspires to be, and I feel like they could do it regardless of who's pulling the strings.  After that, we're running out of juice.  The Thunder?  They've done an incredible job catching lightning in a bottle, with Kevin Durant turning into  one of the game's top 2-3 players, Russell Westbrook developing into a legit superstar and Serge Ibaka a legit star.  They also developed James Harden into a star and made a nice deal getting assets back for him.  But I don't think Oklahoma has a superior organization though so much as things have gone their way.  If they are truly a better organization, they'll have to prove it over time the way the Spurs and Lakers have.  So ok, let's say all 4 organizations are better than the Bulls (only SA and LA are clearly better IMO), can you really point to a 5th?

All the howling last year was this team wasn't good enough to win a championship and now there's howling this season about the Bulls not being better, and all because GarPax is incompetent and/or Reinsdorf is cheap.  I can only say:  What did you expect?  The Bulls have without question unloaded some payroll but there was absolutely no scenario where they'd compete for a championship in 2013.   I'll go further and say that bringing the same team back for 2014 wasn't going to get them past the Heat.  They are trying to reload for when Derrick reaches the ripe old age of 26.  Will they pull it off?  History tells that no, they don't know how, hence my frustration.  But I don't really know what else is expected of them.  I've listed my grievances but you'd get no worse from 25 or so other NBA teams.

There is absolutely no reason Derrick Rose should be planning an exit at this point in his career.  He has 2 all-stars -- lite all-stars IMO but both good players -- around him in Deng and Joakim Noah plus another big-contract guy in former all-star Carlos Boozer.

If 5 years go by and the Bulls still haven't put the pieces around Derrick Rose, then perhaps it's time for him to pull a Clyde Drexler and find a big man he can team up with for a NBA Championship.

Leave a comment