For six and a half of the last eight seasons, the Chicago Bulls looked to Derrick Rose to bring them back to greatness. And by “greatness” the front office meant championships.
Rose found major success with the Bulls, both on and off the court. A Rookie of the Year in 2009 and the 2011 MVP, he was an icon in his hometown. However, one thing eluded Rose: a championship. Why couldn’t the Bulls get over the hump? LeBron? No. Because they were missing a pass-first point guard. Enter Rajon Rondo.
Let’s take a step back. Frustrated and determined to change things up, Bulls front office made significant changes this past offseason which included trading Rose and center Joakim Noah, another beloved player for the team. Although it appeared they were lightening the load to the prepare for the distant future, Rondo signed and Dwayne Wade followed suit about a week later. Soon the Bulls found themselves with a new ‘Big 3’ (Jimmy Butler as the third), the formula many teams are using now to create a championship-caliber team.
With Rondo at the helm, players like Niko Mirotic, Doug McDermott, and Bobby Ports (a future all-star IMO) can relax and do what they do best: shoot or pump fake and then shoot, often times from comfortable spots on the floor. There seems to be an immediate difference with Rondo than with Rose in the positioning of players on the court. Knowing they can get the ball anytime and anywhere, there also appears to be a sense of creativity and trust that wasn’t there before. They are making different cuts they could not make with Rose running point. Not because Rose wasn’t a great passer or a smart player, but because he often took difficult shots leading to quick changes of possession which didn’t give the other players opportunities to find a rhythm on offense. With Rondo, his teammates have time to think and react as opposed to unpredictable Derrick who would often accelerate into the lane and put up a ridiculous layup before his other 4 teammates even crossed half court. The point is, a more patient, poised point guard with a talented supporting cast that he makes better gives the Bulls, especially those who grew accustomed to playing with Rose (AKA Jimmy Butler) a completely new look at the floor. Apparently it’s working, as the Bulls are exceeding expectations and should make the playoffs barring any major injuries.