What post Derrick Rose life looks like for Chicago

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Losing to the Charlotte Hornets at home, a team missing their leasing scorer in Kemba Walker no less, was rather disheartening for the Chicago Bulls. As bad as the Hornets are, nine games under .500 with the win, Charlotte is now tied with the Brooklyn Nets for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Michael Jordan’s franchise has now moved out of lottery land for the time being, and the Bulls fell from third to fourth. It’s tragic what’s happened to Derrick Rose. His career arc has drawn comparisons to Mark Prior, Penny Hardaway and Grant Hill.

So much is still up in the air with him.

“We’re all optimistic about it,” said Jimmy Butler after the game when asked about Rose’s potential return this season.

That of course hinges on whether they decide to remove or instead repair the torn meniscus. And that decision hinges on the extent of meniscus damage, which hasn’t been made public yet.

derrick-rose

I discussed Derrick Rose, Patrick Kane and “Black Tuesday” in Chicago, in detail on 750 The Game Portland. (here’s the link to the audio) 

Rose is owed $18.9 million this year, $20.1m next year and  $21.3m in ’16-’17, so obviously the franchise revolves around him moving forward, no matter what happens with his knee. His .403% field goal percentage this season was a career low. Conversely, his January scoring average was a career high for a single month.

Including tonight, Rose has missed 193 of the last 288 Bulls regular season games– that’s 67% missed. The Bulls need to prepare moving forward as if Derrick Rose won’t be there. Now it’s time to think more about Aaron Brooks and Kirk Hinrich.

aaron-brooks

Last night Brooks dismissed the idea that the Bulls suffered an emotional hangover from the Derrick Rose development.

“You definitely think about it, but this is professional basketball, you got to go out there and play for him and try to put it behind you a little bit,” Brooks said.

“Just a weird game, we have to adapt to each to each other.”

Wednesday night brought a rather gloomy atmosphere to the Bulls locker room, and the United Center at large, for obvious reasons.

Pau: “It’s difficult to deal with, we feel for him… right now we just support him and we wish that everything goes well.”

aaron brooks

“He doesn’t deserve it, it’s just really disappointing,” said Noah.

“It is a tough day because of the concern for Derrick, but the games are going to keep coming,” said Thibodeau after the game.

It’s likely the Bulls will fall below the Washington Wizards to fifth, but falling to sixth might not happen because the Milwaukee Bucks currently hold that spot. They’ve been a tremendous surprise, but I can’t picture them keeping it up. Seventh place Miami is now without their best player in Chris Bosh so they’re not going anywhere. Eighth place Brooklyn has already started the process of being blown up. Their window shut rapidly, and when it was shut, it was shut with authority.

Joakim Noah Derrick Rose

In other words, it still looks really likely that the Chicago Bulls could win their first round playoff series. Winning a second round series, that isn’t outside the realm of possibility. It’s not likely but it could happen. If the Bulls could make it to the Eastern Conference Finals without Derrick Rose…well, that would be the ceiling. The championship level aspirations of October are long gone now.

Paul M. Banks owns, operates and writes The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with Fox Sports Digital, eBay, Google News and CBS Interactive. You can read Banks’ feature stories in the Chicago Tribune RedEye newspaper and listen to him on KOZN 1620 The Zone.

Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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