Buying or Selling Chicago Bulls as Title Contenders Upon Return of Derrick Rose

Mike Hoag@MikeHoagJrCorrespondent IIJanuary 19, 2013

Apr 21, 2011; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) celebrates against the Indiana Pacers during the second half of game three of the first round of the 2011 NBA playoffs at Conseco Fieldhouse. Chicago defeated Indiana 88-84.  Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls have won seven of their last 10 games and are holding steady at the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

It hasn’t been easy, sure, as the team has hit some rough spots along the road and floated around the .500 mark for much of the campaign.

But the team’s current surge has made us wonder a few things about this year’s Bulls team.

Are they better off having lost Rose for this extended stretch this season? That doesn’t mean that the team is better without Rose on the floor. But their loss and perseverance could have rewarding benefits down the stretch this season.

Rose expects to come back in the coming weeks, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

He would get thrust back into a lineup that has grown together in his absence and could be even more deadly with his scoring and ability to facilitate the team’s offense.

In the past, without Rose on the court, scoring was at a premium for the defensive-minded Bulls.

Others, though, have been forced to step up in his absence.

Five players are averaging double-digit scoring totals per game and Marco Belinelli has been a pleasant surprise off the bench by contributing 9.7 per contest.

It isn’t so much one guy who has shouldered the weight, but a collective effort that has extended to the team’s bench, too.

Deep teams often make noise in the postseason, and the Bulls will arguably be one of the deepest in the playoffs as a result of their hard work this season.

Without Rose, the Bulls have grown and established other “go-to” players that can and will step in and take the heat off of him in the postseason.

The East is getting crowded, though, with the rapid rise of the New York Knicks this season. Competition will be stiff, but the Bulls will undoubtedly be in the mix to earn an NBA Finals trip once the playoffs kick off this summer.

They are just too deep and talented across their roster to be considered anything but title contenders.

Buying, definitely.