Even watching the game on TV, you could feel the tension in the United Center when Derrick Rose went down, grimacing in pain and holding his knee. The crowd's reaction was immediate — stunned silence. Analyst Stacey King said of the arena, "You could hear a pin drop." Since then, after learning that Rose tore his ACL and will be out for the remainder of the playoffs, the Bulls have dropped the next two games to Philadelphia.
So now the question on the minds of Bulls fans around the country is, "Can anyone step up in his place?"
The short answer is nobody can. The longer (and more accurate) answer is that everybody must.
Look, there's no 'replacing' Derrick Rose. His salary accounts for 30% of the Bulls' total cap. For those playing the home game, that is the maximum portion you can give to one player, according to what is now referred to as "The Derrick Rose Rule." Even with the entire NBA at your disposal, you would have a hard time finding a worthy replacement. But that fact is entirely unproductive, so let's talk options.
Watson has been the stand-in for Rose in the past, taking the Bulls on an 18-9 run in the regular season. But the playoffs are a totally different beast — the stakes are higher and the competition is tougher. But then again, CJ was born in Las Vegas, so maybe that will translate into the cold-blooded production the Bulls are going to need going forward.
Not counting Brian "The White Mamba" Scalabrine, Rip is the only player on the team with a ring. That's not to say the team is lacking in high-pressure post-season experience, but around here, we like to count experience on our fingers.
Personally, I'm a huge fan of Luol Deng; he plays strong even when the rest of the team is dragging their feet up and down the court, but since his wrist injury, his shooting percentage has been steadily declining. While he makes a great effort to make up for it on defense, without Derrick Rose putting up epic points, it's just not economical to keep a hobbled utility player in that can only really help on defense.
Here's the big one. Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah are both going to need to start putting up the points that the dollar amounts on their contracts entail. Rose was one of the best in the league at drawing the defense out, so without him, we're going to need to see some more movement on the part of the Chicago bigs. This was the biggest problem in Game 2; the transition defense fell apart and nobody was in position to contest shots, allowing Philly to push 60% from the floor.
Up until this point, it has been taken as fact that the Bulls sported some of the best defense and strongest bench players in the game. Now it's crunch time. Things are getting real for the old bench mob, and the success or failure of the team is going to rely largely on everyone showing up and playing good old-fashioned smashmouth ball.
Fan Hub Action
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
Scott Cohen May 1st
but it shouldn’t require guts. .like you said it’s nobody’s business but his own
Hisham Zameeth April 30th
best player ever…..
Kareem Musa Mayowa April 29th
We don’t need to be hopeless about the situation bryant his. Because even david villa situation also up to the level of his own to…
Maritess Lim April 28th
I still believe in KOBE’s power…… He is still the best…… He will make it possible no matter what……
mimi_aragon84 April 28th
I feel no pity for him. First of all, it is EAGLE, COLORADO, not Eagleton, secondly he enjoyed success and adulation from fans from 2003…
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