Specifically, the Bulls should transition Rose from point guard to shooting guard in order to extend his career and provide greater roster flexibility.
Why move Rose at all?
We all know that Rose is aggressive. It is what has defined him as a player since he was in high school. It is what earned him the 2011 NBA MVP Award. His aggressiveness also contributed greatly to each of his injuries.
Consider that he suffered his ACL tear driving the lane in the fourth quarter of the first game of the 2011 Eastern Conference playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers. Granted, head coach Tom Thibodeau should have been proactive and pulled his star point guard since the Bulls were in no real danger of losing. That doesn't change the fact, however, that Rose was too aggressive for the situation.
And, frankly, it's not like the injury should have come as a surprise to anyone at the time. Rose only appeared in 39 regular-season games that year because of a variety of injuries, including back spasms, turf toe, and numerous other ailments. In other words, he was always hurt. In fact, he didn't appear in two consecutive games for over a month before that fateful drive to the bucket, according to ESPN.com's Scott Powers.
The second knee injury -- this time a meniscus tear -- was also non-contact, but was arguably the result of a career worth of self-inflicted abuse. Rose is a glutton for punishment. How else do you explain his propensity to drive the line with reckless abandon? There are only so many times a player can absorb as much contact as Rose does without certain parts of the body breaking down.
Moving Rose to shooting guard is a matter of forced preservation.
Moving Rose makes the Bulls better
Another byproduct of moving Rose is that the Bulls will be a better team. Now, that does not mean that he is a bad point guard. Quite the opposite, actually. He did win an MVP playing the position, so there isn't a reasonable argument that moving him will improve point guard play.
What it will do is make the team more complete.
The Bulls will be more athletic at the two and have a point guard whose primary responsibility will be to share the ball. Now, that does not mean that D.J. Augustin is the long-term solution for the Bulls, but his performance to this point has been nothing short of eye-opening. The front office would be wise to remember the lessons of seasons past (think Nate Robinson here) and ensure that he doesn't end up finding another team at the end of this season.
The frontcourt and backcourt will also improve because of the versatility of Jimmy Butler. He can fill in at shooting guard or small forward, which will give Thibodeau added flexibility with his rotations. And after seeing how jimmy Butler has struggled for extended stretches since moving to shooting guard, getting him back into a comfort zone will surely prove beneficial.
To be sure, no position on an NBA court is an easy one to play. Each of them take a serious physical toll on the player, but each position has different levels of responsibility. Removing as much from Rose's plate will benefit him and the team.
Now, even if Rose is moved, there is no telling how he will react. He could accept the switch as is or be resistant. If winning a championship is as important to him as he has says it is, though, the transition should be smooth.
After all, it is in the team's best interest to find a way to keep Rose on the court, and putting him at shooting guard is the best place to start.
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- Derrick Rose
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