There was talk that one reason LeBron James soured on Chicago as the place he would be taking his talents was the shadow cast by Michael Jordan. Let’s hope that was not the case, because great players embrace the challenge of living up to the past of a legendary franchise (see Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant for examples).
“I want to be that guy,” Rose said Tuesday in an interview with ESPNChicago.com before the start of Team USA’s training camp. “I want to be the reason why the Bulls are back to what they were [during the Michael Jordan era].”
“Why wouldn’t I want to be [the face of the franchise]?” Rose asked. “That’s the point of playing the game. That’s the greatest thing right now.
“I came to a team where they didn’t make the playoffs, not for a couple of years. No one was really interested in the Bulls like that in Chicago, not like [it was during the Jordan era]. And I’m making it back [to being] exciting. I’m from Chicago, [and] it would mean a lot if I would just bring back one championship there, or even get past the first round. The city would go crazy. So for me to even bring that team back to like the old days, it would mean so much to this city.”
The Bulls are going to be good. A front line of Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, Rose back healthy (remember he wasn’t for much of last season), Luol Deng plus some shooters such as Kyle Korver who can space the floor. The Bulls didn’t make the big, splashy move they tried to make, but they also made smart moves.
But just how far they go will depend on Rose. He’s been working on his three-point shot (26 percent last season) and if it goes anything like his work on the midrange he could be even more dangerous. (From 10 to 15 feet, Rose improved from 38 percent his rookie year to 50 percent last year, according to Hoopdata).
New Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau wants to have the offense centered around Rose driving and kicking (or the ball going into Boozer, who has those same shoot or pass options). Rose knows he has to have the outside shot to open up space on the drives. If he can make that happen, the Bulls will be on the road to where Rose wants them to be.