Derrick Rose is ready to go; what does this mean for the Bulls championship hopes?

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Derrick Rose taking full contact practice

Derrick Rose taking full contact practice

For Bulls fans, the return of Derrick Rose has been a test of patience to say the least. When the young point guard tore his ACL in Game 1 of the 2012 playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers, there was no chance the Bulls would win a title in his absence.

During the 2012-13 campaign, fans were again forced to wonder how long it would take for Rose to make his long-awaited return to the court. Well it seems that question has now been answered. According to HoopsHype.com, Rose stated that he will be playing in the team’s preseason opener and offered the following statement with regards to how he feels mentally about his return:

Mentally I’m just strong as I’ve been. I had the time to think about what’s important in my life, getting better on the court, watching a lot of film with Thibodeau, asking him questions, talking to him about two times a week. So he’s been kind of a professor to me.

While Rose’s statement finally puts to rest the biggest question that has hovered over the team during the past 14 months, there are still a few areas of concern heading into next season.

For starters, how long will it take for Rose to return to his MVP form of two seasons ago? In addition to that, how much time will be needed before he can play heavy minutes on a consistent basis?

Rose’s return to the lineup gives the Bulls’ roster an instant upgrade, but are they the only team with a legitimate shot at winning the title? The answer is absolutely not.

The Brooklyn Nets acquired Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce via a trade with the Boston Celtics, which gives them one of the most formidable starting fives in the conference. Fellow contenders, the Indiana Pacers, pushed the eventual champion Miami Heat to seven games and they are bringing back most of their key players. That being said, the Pacers will be a right in the thick of playoff hunt and should not be overlooked by any means. The New York Knicks, who finished with the second best record in the Eastern Conference, have reportedly reached an agreement with former Laker Metta World Peace, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Needless to say, this acquisition provides New York with a defensive presence that has been absent the past few seasons.

Last, but certainly not least, we have the Miami Heat. LeBron and Co. have gone to the Finals three straight years and have won the last two championships. It should also be noted that Miami has eliminated Chicago from the playoffs two of the last three seasons and don’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

So while Rose’s return will be good for Bulls fans, as well as the league, it will be interesting to see if the Bulls finally have what it takes to compete for a title.

By: James Tillman III

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