Chicago is a tough city. That’s its rep and it lives up to (and beyond) the hype. The Bulls, even when they were winning championships with the elegant Michael Jordan, were a gritty team. Pippen, Jordan, Rodman and company grinded on opponents. And the current Bulls roster takes the grind maybe even a step further, playing defense like the basket is a sacred idol. Coach Tim Thibodeau’s Bulls are like the ’85 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears–they’re stingy and brutal. And then there’s Derrick Rose.
Four years removed from being the youngest MVP in league history, Rose is back this year after 2 1/2 years out with injuries. He’s back, but not really. Rose played 21 minutes in the first game, 25 in the next. He hurt his ankle–maybe both–and sat out the next one against Orlando. It’s probably not Rose. Derrick Rose has willed himself back from injury with hard work and dedication. He’s tough, obviously. But if the Bulls have to treat him this gently–watching his minutes and waiting for him to go down–is he a fit for the Bulls? Does he dilute the tough team chemistry? A really strong machine can’t have even a single fragile part.