Mazurek: Rose injury shakes up NBA
Marek Mazurek | Tuesday, March 3, 2015
It’s been a tough week for Chicago Bulls fans.
Former MVP Derrick Rose was seriously injured for the third time in his career as the team is in the midst of a dogfight for the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The ramifications of Rose’s injury are evident and far-reaching, so here is a look at the rest of the NBA season with the Rose injury.
Obviously, Derrick Rose’s injury hurts the Bulls the most; however, there is some good news for Bulls fans. Rose’s surgery went extremely well, and he will miss only four to six weeks, meaning he will most likely be back before the playoffs. The only hitch for the Bulls? They don’t know how good he will be. The Bulls faced the same question with Rose’s two previous injuries, and for the most part, the answer has been that he’s not quite as good as he was before.
Rose went from being an MVP winner to an All-Star caliber player to just a solid starter in the last three years. Rose’s newest injury is not as devastating as the prior two, but it comes right on the heels of the other two. With a cloud of doubt already existing over whether he can ever get back to his MVP level, the newest injury will undoubtedly create a mental obstacle that Rose must overcome if the Bulls are to have a chance of winning the title.
In the long term, Rose’s injury leaves Chicago in a tough spot. Rose’s contract goes through the 2016-17 season, and he is owed around $20 million a year until then. It has become increasingly clear that Rose will never be able to return to the MVP-caliber player the Bulls signed.
Rose’s most recent injury also raises the question of whether or not he will be a perpetual injury risk. No team wants to pay a player if he will only get injured, and the Bulls will be left with a tough choice in the years ahead. Obviously, how Rose plays (or doesn’t play) in the next two years will impact this decision, but right now, Rose’s long-term future and legacy are in limbo.
The Bulls do have a better team this year than in the prior two Rose injury years, but can one honestly expect a first-year All-Star in Jimmy Butler and an aging veteran in Pau Gasol to carry the Bulls far into the postseason? I think not. Rose can overcome the mental barrier of injury, but he won’t be able to do it quickly enough for the Bulls to have a chance this season, and without Rose being Rose, the Bulls can be ruled out as title contenders.
Rose’s injury is not bad for everyone though. If you are a Cleveland Cavaliers or a Golden State Warriors fan, you should be rather happy about the recent turn of events. The day after Rose went down, Las Vegas casinos shortened the Cavaliers’ odds of winning the NBA championship to 15-2 while the Golden State Warriors’ odds also dropped to 4-1.
With Rose out of the way, the East is Cleveland’s to lose. No other team in the East has a combination as dynamic as Kyrie Irving and Lebron James, and with the recent addition of Kendrick Perkins, Cleveland has enough power in the front court to win the East.
Rose’s injury has less of an impact on the Western Conference because a team from the Western Conference won’t have to play Chicago until the NBA Finals — if the Bulls make it. Should Chicago make it to the finals, it would have given any team it played a tough time. Chicago’s disciplined half-court defense would have slowed down Golden State’s fast-paced attack, and Chicago’s length up front would have stymied the San Antonio Spurs’ aging Tim Duncan. Now, with Rose injured, it is very unlikely that Chicago will make it to the finals, and thus, the Warriors and the rest of the Western Conference will have one fewer potentially tough opponent to face.