By Craig Fields
By now most Chicago Bulls fans, NBA enthusiasts, or just overall Derrick Rose fanatics know and realize that the odds of Rose playing in this years’ playoffs is slim to none. And everyone is perfectly fine with that. It is no big secret that Derrick has been cleared to play for quite some time. He has chosen not to come back due to the psychological barriers or mental blocks that he has admitted to being exposed to after such a long time away from competitive basketball. But in a profession that sees men play in exorbitant amounts of pain as well as push themselves past common acceptable human limits to play a game, it is rather refreshing to see an athlete of this caliber take this approach that just may become the new standard among players.
Rose has not been one to hide from the public eye because of his controversial decision. According to a USA Today report, “I’m waiting to that day where I feel normal,” Rose told Johnson and others before a practice at UCLA. “Until then, I will just wait. I haven’t had any pressure from the organization. No one has to push me to go out there to play.” On a few occasions this or something similar to it has been his answer when questioned about his possible return this season. Rose is working on regaining and rebuilding his mental focus and toughness. When that time comes when he can react and make his body do what he wants it to, without thinking about it, he’ll play. Simple as that.
His coach has talked the obsession of Rose returning and about giving his star player all the time needed for his recovery. According to Coach Thibodeau, “Look, this was not unexpected. A player like Derrick there’s going to be a lot of attention on and rightfully so. This guy has done an incredible job with his career, with this franchise, and we understand how important it is. …We knew (missing the season) would be a possibility all along.”
Whether that is or isn’t the case, we have to take the Bulls for their word, though, and assume that a season without their All-Star point guard was somehow a part of a make shift plan that has seen this Rose-less team make the playoffs for a fifth straight year. Something is working in Chicago and it involves a very intense defense oriented coach and a slew of role players that the organization seemingly develops in a team ready-made factory.
Simply put, the Chicago Bulls have kept to their guns and team concept even without their star. Dedication to a system that is unwavering and steady even through these controversial times is refreshing and will undoubtedly set this franchise apart from others. When Rose comes back, he just might be better than the pre-injured Rose and he will owe that entirely to the Chicago Bulls organization.