Derrick Rose is going to miss the remainder of the season, opting to take a more long term approach on his torn meniscus. It makes sense for him, of course, just ask Dwyane Wade how doing the quick fix meniscus removal feels 10 years later, but for his team, well its another season stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place.
To add insult to injury, the Bulls lost their first game without Rose by 39 points to the Clippers, the largest margin of victory so far this season. But fear not, Bulls fans. There's time to turn this around still, and even make a playoff run. They did it last year, hell, they even won a series!
So here are 10 ways the Bulls can still make the playoffs again without their starting point guard.
1. Remain In The Eastern Conference
This one is pretty easy, don't sign off on any cooky realignment plans that David Stern cooks up on his way out the door this February. The Celtics won the seventh seed last year by finishing .500 (well, actually 41-40, as a late season game was canceled after the Boston Marathon bombing, but work with me here) and the eighth seed Bucks actually finished six games under .500. The Bulls already have six wins, so just 32 more guys!
2. Bring Allen Iverson Out Of Retirement
I know A.I. has a cool $32 million waiting for him when he turns 55, but he's had huge money problems recently and a lot of bills to pay between now and his 50s. Not to mention, he's had huge money problems Why not offer him $1.4 million, the veteran's minimum for a player with the stature of Iverson, to play 70 games for Chicago with zero expectations.
If you've seen the Bulls play this year when Rose went to the bench, you know that they desperately need someone, anyone, who can penetrate defenses past the three-point line, and the Answer can be just that. Sure, you might suffer a lot on defense, and with ball movement, but Iverson is as tough as they come. At the least, he could do a Nate Robinson impression without making every person watching hate him.
Wait, speaking of Nate...
3. Trade for Nate Robinson
The Nuggets have too many point guards, while the Bulls have too few. This just makes too much sense. We know that Tom Thibodeau wasn't much of a fan, but these are desperate times in Chicago. The Bulls O is going to be bad, asking Kirk Hinrich to run the offense on a team full of wings that you can never ask to create shots off the dribble. Chicago needs a guy to take shitty shots at the end of the shot clock. Isn't that the perfect role for Nate: shoot bad shots we'd hate if we had another option?
This should have happened already. Don't act like no one remembers how he willed them past the Nets in last year's playoffs.
4. Don't Watch College Hoops, Ever
I'm pretty sure the Bulls front office has heard plenty about the exciting crop of college freshman just waiting for the day they can officially enter the NBA draft and get picked in the lottery. I'm sure they know these guys are great, franchise cornerstone great, and they probably realize that adding one of them to a healthy Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah and whoever else they bring back this summer would make them contenders for the next decade. I know all of this, but if the Bulls want to make the playoffs this year, they need to not watch any college basketball games this year because the temptation may be too much to resist.
The Bulls are built for a serious tank job. Just 11 games into the season and loaded with big expiring deals attached to players that could help any team looking to make a leap, all they really needed was an excuse. Blowing the team up and somehow ending up with hometown kid Jabari Parker, a natural successor to Loul Deng, is almost too perfect.
However, if the goal here is to make the playoffs, avoid watching Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Marcus Smart, Aaron Gordon or Julius Randle at all costs.
5. Use David Arseneault's "System"
Who? David Arseneaultl is the head coach at Grinnell College, the home of Jack Taylor, as in 138 points in a single game Jack Taylor. Arseneault's system is actually pretty simple: constant substitutions, a lot of cherry-picking, tons of intentional fouling to get the ball back as fast as possible and one lucky guy with the greenest green light ever. Sit Mike Dunleavy on the offensive side of the court at all times (he's not playing defense anyway), throw tons of NBA 2K cherry-picking outlets and watch the points pile up.
Wait, speaking of 2K...
6. Use The 1-3-1 Zone and Half Court Trap
Otherwise known as NBA 2K's answer to the Madden nano blitz. If my 2K experience serves me correctly, the 1-3-1 will make it impossible for opposing guards to ever, and I mean ever, penetrate the defense and the power forward will be able to constantly jump into passing lanes and start fast breaks. When the Bulls get tired of doing that they can switch to the half court trap, double-team opposing guards, and stop their dribble immediately, and by stop I mean leave them with zero control of their body as they get sucked into double team animations that don't allow them to dribble.
Somebody get Thibbs a Playstation 4 immediately.
7. Join The Atlantic Division
If David Stern does commit to that realignment, make sure you somehow wiggle your way into the Atlantic division. The NFC East of basketball currently houses the murderers row of that is the Raptors, 76ers, Celtics, Nets and Knicks. Not a single team in the division is at .500, and the Knicks and Nets are both about 10 games away from a Grambling State-style mutiny. The Celtics are tanking, the 76ers will soon be reminding Michael Carter Williams and Spencer Hawes that they, too, are tanking. If the Bulls want to sneak into the playoffs, this is the place to do it.
8. Send Derrick Rose To Germany
The Bulls front office might want to talk to Kobe Bryant about this, as he's taken several trips to Germany in the last few years to have mysterious procedures on his ailing knees. If they have the fountain of youth to inject into Kobe's knees, surely they have something for Rose. Best case scenario, they have a few of those Med-Bays from Elysium, and the Bulls can get Rose back next week.
9. Hire Avon Barksdale As Assistant Coach
In order to get into the playoffs, sans Rose, the Bulls are going to need some breaks, that's just the reality of the situation. Well, you know what's better than breaks? Do overs. Remember that one year, when Madden had "rewinds," well Avon is so intimidating, that he is afforded those in real life basketball games. Miss a game-winner? Oh well, Avon chews a shaky terrified ref out and gets a do over. Don't like a foul call? Do over. Costly late game turnover? Do over. Really it's a miracle a team hasn't hired him already.
10. Trade For LeBron James
This is the only plan that has a 100% success rate. All the Bulls have to do is coax Pat Riley into letting LeBron James go via trade. Chicago can start off by reminding Riley that there's a good chance Lebron walks away for nothing in the summer anyways, and that he might as well take Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler and Carlos Boozer now for him rather than letting him go in the summer for zilch. This plan will probably require some sort of hypnosis or Hunger Games-style brain-washing of Pat Riley, but again, it does have a 100% success rate, so it's worth a shot.