Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
If you’re a Bulls fan, do you want Derrick Rose back at 80 percent?
Steve Aschburner: Absolutely. The Bulls need to get Derrick Rose back on the court ASAP — with “possible” defined as the point from which their doctors see no greater chance of Rose re-injuring his left knee than when he originally tore that ACL. Of course he won’t be 100 percent and of course his percentage of ability could rise, fall and loop back on itself multiple times — 80 one night, 85 the next, 70 the night after that — before he’s back to the Rose of old. But there’s a point in any rehab when the only remaining step is live competition, which eventually leads a player to trust the surgical fix. Whatever learning curve the point guard and the Bulls have to travel in re-acclimating to each other, they’d be better off traveling along it now. As for those cynical calculations that say, “If Chicago can’t win the title in 2013, why bother rushing him back?” that shouldn’t be muddying a strictly physical assessment. Doesn’t mean Bulls management or Rose’s agents/marketers aren’t doing it, but they shouldn’t be.
Fran Blinebury: Rose has said that he is not coming at back “80 percent.” In fact, he said he wants to be 110 percent, so the only question would be about his math comprehension. Yes, if he’s healthy, I want him back now. You don’t ever throw away a prime season of a superstar’s career. You never know what’s going to happen. Injuries? Upsets? If Rose is back and they’re in it, they can win it. He plays.
Jeff Caplan: If Rose is 80 percent, forget about it. Now, 100 percent physically, and with 100 percent psychological trust in his knee is a totally difference scenario. But, 80 percent? No. I just don’t see the Bulls being able to knock off Miami if he’s not fully trusting the knee and able to perform at an MVP-caliber level, because that’s what the Bulls will need. He’s too young, too talented, owed too much money to risk further injury this season. If he’s not 100 percent, see ya next year. Seems even Derrick exhibited this sentiment when he said last week that he might sit it out if he doesn’t feel right.
Scott Howard-Cooper: I’ll take him back if he’s at 80 percent in terms of conditioning and timing, and then be patient as he gets to full speed. But not 80 percent healed. Don’t increase the chances of aggravating the injury or, worse, turning it into missed games for next season as well. Rose obviously makes a difference, even at less than full strength. That’s why he shouldn’t come back unless he is healed.
John Schuhmann: I would always defer to the doctors and make sure that he’s not risking further injury by playing. But I would want him to come back this season if all is clear. And it’s not just about the Bulls’ chances of winning a playoff series or two. I think that any games that he gets under his belt this season can help his post-injury confidence and rhythm going forward.
Sekou Smith: I don’t want him back at 80 percent. It might make a little difference, but the Bulls aren’t going to knock off the Heat with Rose at 100 percent. This is the face of the franchise we’re talking about, the backbone of Chicago’s basketball identity for years to come. There is no reason to rush Rose back any sooner than he’s physically, mentally and emotionally ready to play at his highest level. An early return is not necessary. The Bulls have shown themselves to be much more than the one-man show some assumed they were when Rose was winning his MVP trophy and they were piling up the best record in the Eastern Conference. They have two other All-Stars now in Joakim Noah and Luol Deng. They have one of the best coaches in basketball in Tom Thibodeau. They can manage the rest of this season without Rose, if need be.