Which Chicago Bulls player was the MVP of the Bulls’ 2011-2012 season? It definitely wasn’t Derrick Rose who missed nearly half the season due to injuries.
No Chicago’s most valuable player this season was Luol Deng. Although he missed 12 games himself, Deng was the player that held the ship afloat in Rose’s absence.
And even when Rose struggled with his game during his various attempts at a comeback, it was Deng who kept the team on course with his efficient play and it is Deng who will shock the world by helping the Bulls navigate the Eastern Conference playoff terrain without the Bulls’ most potent scorer and all-around player.
It has been a weird season for the Bulls though. Rose missed a total of six games during his first three years in the league while power forward Carlos Boozer who is notoriously injury-prone is the only Bull’s starter who didn’t miss a regular season game this year.
This team will be alright though. They were still able to secure the number one seed in the East while missing Rose for most of the season and they are still too deep for most of the teams they will face in the playoffs.
They are also a well-coached team with Tom Thibodeau being probably one of the three best coaches in the league in terms of X’s and O’s. His players play extremely hard for him which includes Rose.
That also may be the reason Rose is injured. Rose hates not being on the floor for his teammates and his coach so it’s likely that he rushed to come back from some of the injuries he suffered.
Especially since Rose’s game revolves around his ability to penetrate the defense. Those drives into the paint are why he takes all the punishment he takes on a nightly basis so Rose will need to refine his game if he wants to stay on the floor and off the injury list.
In the meanwhile his team will move on without him. You could see it in his teammates’ faces when he came up lame at the end of their Game 1 matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers. It’s like they collectively lost their breath; terrified that they would have to play the rest of the playoffs without their fearless floor general.
But now that they are over the shock of losing Rose, they can continue to grind out wins the way they have all season. And don’t count this team out because they have even beaten the Miami Heat with Rose in street clothes so this team won’t quit just because they’re a man short.
Still, things will be tough going forward and all eyes will be watching to see how Deng leads this team in Rose’s absence. Teams are about to find out what kind of a brawler the Bull’s small forward is though because they will be getting a heavy dose of Deng, Deng and more Deng.
Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He is also a Sports Reporter for Pro Sports Lives. He can be contacted at RHall_TPFB@Yahoo.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.