Derrick Rose is now listed as day-to-day after he sat on the bench with the team for the first time this past Sunday against the Pacers. Rose is still recovering from ACL surgery which he suffered in the first game of the playoffs last April.
It’s been nearly a year since Rose has played an NBA game, but the former MVP can change the landscape of the Eastern Conference if he returns healthy. Rose has been adamant that he will not return until he is 100% recovered.
If Derrick Rose returns, healthy and effective, what does it mean for the HEAT?
It means a more difficult playoff run
As it currently looks, the Bulls are fourth place in the East, but they are also only a half game out of sixth place and a game and a half out of 7th place, so a lot can change depending on how well the Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics play. What Miami would ideally like to see is Chicago and Boston in the 6th and 7th seeds on the other side of the bracket with New York and Indiana. The HEAT have had their way with Brooklyn and Atlanta this season.
If the Bulls were to advance and play the HEAT in the second round, it would be a much more difficult series than a Brooklyn/Atlanta matchup. The Bulls have already beat the HEAT once this season and they have shown, even without Rose, that their defense is for real. They give up 91.3 PPG, good for 3rd in the NBA behind Memphis and Indiana. If Rose comes back healthy to help their offense, the Bulls have a punchers chance against Miami.
It means more hype
The Bulls didn’t like how quickly the HEAT eliminated them in the 2011 Conference Finals, and felt they were the best team in the East last year. Chicago plays with a lot of pride and if their guys are healthy, they can give the HEAT problems. Boozer and Noah have hurt the HEAT before. Either way, with Derrick Rose playing, it makes it a lot more interesting than a second round matchup with Josh Smith.
It means more fun
Listen, I’m the type of fan that really enjoys the HEAT to play with a 10-12 point lead for the whole game. It makes me feel comfortable and not get so stressed about what’s going to happen. But we all know that the best memories come from tight playoff games in long series. Adding Rose to the mix will legitimize the HEAT’s run to their second straight championship. If it were up to me, I’d like to see them beat Chicago, Boston, New York and Indiana in the playoffs, but that won’t happen.
You have to want the HEAT to play against the best and beat the best. That’s what it’s all about. Miami has the #1 seed in the Conference all but locked up, so Rose needs to come back, get some games in and gear up for a great playoff series, whether it’s against Miami or someone else. Certainly Miami isn't scared of anyone or any team. They have the confidence to win and beat everyone.
What do you think? Do you think a healthy Rose gives the Bulls enough to beat the HEAT in the playoffs?