Cleat Geeks

Different Line-ups May Cause a Big Let-down in Chicago

derrick-rose-acl-injury       The word surgery has been, sadly, a reoccurring event for the Chicago Bulls.  Derrick Rose is coming off his third knee surgery in his career.  It has kept him off the court from some time and has really hurt his career the past three seasons.  But despite that, the Bulls have made the playoffs the past three years, become defensive machines under Tom Thibodeau and now may have the best team Rose has been a part of. It’s not just Rose that has sustained injury, others have also been hurt too: Noah (knee), Taj(ankle), and Butler(wrist). Can this team stay healthy and make a deep playoff run?

The 2014-2015 season has been an up and down year for the Bulls but it’s almost playoff time.  Derrick Rose is back, again, with the addition of Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic.  Also the new and improved Jimmy Butler who has shown he can be a star in this league.  The Bulls look good and I mean real good.  This team showed that they will give you trouble in a seven game series.  Rose had some minor injuries but nothing to be concerned with.  His backup, Aaron Brooks stepped up when Rose experienced some rough patches. Brooks has now become a huge role player and a key contributor in Rose’s absence.  The Bulls have found yet another very good bench point guard. Brooks provides the ability to get out and run.  He also has the ability to get to the rim and is an excellent three point shooter.bulls depth chart

Now Rose’s injury this year became a little bit of a guessing game.  During an off day, the bulls announced that Derrick Rose will have knee surgery on a torn meniscus.  One day after practice, Rose felt some discomfort in his knee and was examined.  And to no prevail, Rose would need surgery and there was no timetable for return.  It left fans speechless and dashed their hopes and dreams for a NBA title. But we all know Rose got it removed and will be back in time for the playoffs. After that all occurred, Taj Gibson rolled his ankle and put him on the injured list.  Noah has not been himself all year and his knee put him on the bench for some time.  Then you think it couldn’t get any worse, Jimmy Butler hurt his elbow coming off a screen and that kept him from the game for several weeks.  This Bulls team was hanging in their but it left a lot of questions about how the Bulls will be come playoff time.Boston Celtics v Chicago Bulls

Despite all that, the Bulls have kept it together and stayed atop the Eastern Conference.  Bulls center Pau Gasol leads the league in double-doubles, Nikola Mirotic led the league in fourth quarter scoring in the month of March and is making a strong case for Rookie of the Year, and Tony Snell has stepped up and played really well.  And the unsung hero Aaron Brooks has taken Rose’s spot as the starter and continues to produce for the Chicago Bulls. These guys know how to play together and that helps the Bulls out a lot come playoff time, but one problem exists, the Bulls starting lineup of Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Joakim Noah, and Pau Gasol have not played a whole lot together.  noahChicago

The biggest adjustment the Bulls will have to make is to find the chemistry.  When playing with the core starting five, the Bulls were fantastic starting the year off.   With Rose being out and Butler and Noah dealing with their injuries, the lineup that started the season lacked experience together down the stretch.  Experience is important for any team to be successful. For example, just look at the San Antonio Spurs.  The players on that team knows each other inside and out and because of that fact, play fundamentally sound basketball.  The Chicago Bulls will hope to pick up where they left off with the starting lineup and be successful come this postseason.  During this up and down season, the Bulls have used over 20 different starting lineups and the one to start the season hasn’t been together for all that long.  So as the Bulls finish off their season, that lineup of Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Noah, and Gasol should be ready for Game 1 but the question is how ready.  Those names will be on the media report, but will those guys be ready physically and mentally to be a fighting force to contend for the ultimate goal of every NBA team: the NBA Championship Trophy.  The NBA playoffs start April 18th and I’m ready, but the big question that surrounds Chicago and its fans is: Are the Bulls core guys going to be healthy and ready to go?


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