The Chicago Bulls won't be hoisting the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy in 2013.
So what's the point in rushing the team's unquestioned best player and leader in Derrick Rose to come back from a potential career-ending injury?
With Rose coming off knee surgery, John Paxson should be holding off on having the 24-year-old superstar to the Bulls' lineup, because regardless of whether the former NBA MVP is on the court or not, Chicago's not going to be challenging the Miami Heat this season.
And it doesn't hurt that in his absence, the Bulls haven't exactly been struggling.
Bolstered by Luol Deng's offensive wizardry and Joakim Noah's defensive dominance, the Bulls will undoubtedly make the postseason, but how far could they possibly go from there, even if Rose is in the starting five?
Rose is a great player, one of the game's finest, but after nearly a full year without game-pace basketball, there's simply no point in throwing him into the fire when the rest of the league is nearing the time of year when teams get desperate for wins.
With Chicago comfortable, sitting a full seven games over ninth-place Philadelphia, the Bulls have all but locked up a playoff berth, and the team's ability to do that without Rose says a lot about the quality of its players as a whole.
But at this point, this is hardly a team that could put together a deep playoff run.
Rose will need time to get back to where he was a year ago, and the Bulls shouldn't be in any hurry to bring him back.
The team is doing just fine in his absence, and there's no reason for the team to change anything right now, because unless Paxson believes this squad has a realistic shot at taking down the Heat or the Oklahoma City Thunder, there should not be any urgency to get Rose back on the floor.
In a year, though, the decision to keep him off the court until he's fully healed might pay off, and that's what Chicago's priority should be.
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