It’s been a while since our last 5-0n-5, where five of our writing staff weigh in on five pressing questions about the Bulls or the greater NBA. Given the utterly depressing news that broke late Tuesday night concerning Derrick Rose and yet another knee injury likely to rob him of several weeks or more of competitive action, it’s time to go back to the well and get the general consensus of the BbtH crew.
(Yes, we’ve gone for 6-on-5 this time, because we all needed a little space to vent).
1. What was your first reaction to the latest Derrick Rose injury?
Caleb Nordgren: I smacked my desk at work and swore loudly.
Kelly Scaletta: Oh well. We all knew it was possible.
Peter Owen: The first time I read the initial tweets breaking the news, it failed to process. The second time, it felt like a freight train hit me.
Trenton Jocz: I just assumed I would wake up in a minute.
Avi Saini: Nothing more than blinking my eyes a few times and sighing deeply. You know it’s bad when the reaction is no longer “Oh my God this is terrible!” like it was when Rose first got injured (or Paul George broke his leg).
2. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
CN: Because happiness is a lie and nothing good can ever come of hope.
KS: I’ll actually answer the question literally. Or at least what believe. Rose is too big, strong and fast for his own ligaments.
PO: This is basically karma rebalancing itself for all those titles and relatively injury-free Michael Jordan years.
TJ: Because for all we know, this isn’t that strange of a surgery and is just clean-up. Panicking never really makes things better. If this came in early January, with a mid-March return date, it wouldn’t sound as dire. Instead, this could very well impact the playoffs, which amplifies it.
AS: Because the world is a cruel place that refuses to let anyone have fun.
3. How does this impact the Bulls both short- and long-term?
CN: Short term? Another depressing end-of-season slog to the playoffs and likely exit before where they’d hoped. Long term? Time to start building around Jimmy and Mirotic.
KS: Not as much as previously. Rose is the third-best player on the Bulls this year. I think they are better prepared to survive this one.
PO: It’s going to feel like a funeral in the Bulls training center today and until there is a firm timetable in place for Rose’s return. The short term, it categorically ends Chicago’s slim title chances. Longer term, the Bulls really can’t build around Rose as a franchise cornerstone which, on that contract, is going to be a difficult task. However, the Bulls front office managed to put together a 2nd-round team without Rose last year and this year’s team sans-Derrick is easily superior in terms of overall talent and depth. It’s not the death sentence it was in 2012 or early in his first return in 2013.
TJ: Short-term, it takes them out of the title conversation. I’ve maintained all year I’d pick them to win the East but lose in the Finals, so unless you think they’d beat a more talented, better coach team like Golden State, the binary goal of winning it all is likely unchanged. Funny how people thought Rose had lost his game yet now take the Bulls out of the contender group. Long-term, not much. Franchise players aren’t readily available, so Rose is still vital to their future. However, it does make the decision to consolidate two first round picks into one player who is highly unlikely to be a real franchise changer (Doug McDermott) look even worse.
AS: Short term I don’t think it does much. Truth be told the January stretch of terrible play has made me 180 on my hopes of a title this year. Taking Rose out of the equation pretty much solidifies that thought. Long-term I think it removes Rose as being the focal point of the team. Thibs has been a point guard guru since taking over the Bulls because his system focuses around scoring first guards. Unfortunately his health just doesn’t allow that. The team is now going to have to make a tough decision on who to keep versus let go, who to build around, and who will manage that restructuring. Oh… and long term I think this probably seals Thibodeau’s firing even though it isn’t exactly his fault… but that’s a topic for another time.
4. Should the Bulls target a free-agent point guard, and if yes, who?
CN: I guess? Dunno who would be available, given they won’t have cap space.
KS: Well, they have to. Kirk’s health is questionable too. Nate’s the easy answer, but I’m not sure he’s the same Nate.
PO: Nate Robinson is available, loves the Bulls and I know I would at least enjoy seeing his energy out on the court. He had a down year this year before being bought out by the Celtics post-trade. You gotta make the phonecall.
TJ: I doubt it matters. Good vets aren’t available. Good D-League guys won’t earn the trust of Thibs. Bad vets are… well, Mike James.
AS: I’d like them to but a few things hinder going after a point guard in free agency. First: Cap space. The Bulls would have to sign and trade to get someone respectable. Secondly: Kirk Hinrich because we know hell hath no fury like Kirk Hinrich.
5. How much are you looking forward to Kirk Hinrich playing 30 minutes per game?
CN: Kill me now.
KS: Sigh. Grit.
ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha—*jumps under a bus*
TJ: I don’t think his body can handle 30 minutes a night, but I’m trying to be positive and think that his skills will play better as a point than a wing. There will actually be a reason for him to handle the ball as opposed to having a terrible shooter play a spot-up role.