NBA Handicapping Impact of Derrick Rose Injury
by Trevor Whenham - 4/12/2012
Derrick Rose is making it very tough to figure out how to deal with the Chicago Bulls this year. When Rose is playing he is the best point guard in the league, and one of a very small handful of truly elite players overall. He has a team around him that is very well suited for him, too.
In my eyes the Bulls are the best team in the league when Rose is playing. The problem, of course, is that Rose hasn’t been playing nearly enough this year. He has missed 22 games for the Bulls, including all but one of the last 14.
His status heading into the playoffs is uncertain, too. That means that NBA handicappers have to be prepared to evaluate this team with and without him and to grasp what the difference between those situations is likely to be when the intensity of the playoffs arrives. Let’s take a look at some of the issues:
It has been one thing after another this year for Rose. A sprained big toe kept him out of action early in the season. The back that has bothered him in the past has been an issue this year, too. He missed 12 games recently with a groin pull. He came back from that on Sunday and sprained his ankle right away. That injury has kept him out of one game, but he’s recovering quickly and it doesn’t look like it is going to be a lasting issue.
Rose plays a style of game that is very hard on his body because he’s so aggressive. Injuries are something he is going to deal with throughout his career — if he doesn’t then he isn’t playing like he can.
The good news, at least, is that none of the injuries this year have been recurring, and they aren’t related to each other. It would be far more concerning if he kept re-injuring the same thing.
Now he just needs to have some good luck when he does return and he’ll be fine. He showed last year that he can stay healthy — and that he can still be extremely effective when he isn’t at 100 percent. He just needs that luck this year. For bettors the challenge is determining whether he’ll have the luck he needs or not.
Performance without him
As good as Rose is the team has fared reasonably well without him. They are 16-7 without the reigning MVP. That’s a .696 winning percentage — less than the league-best .759 they have overall, and much less than the .800 they are at with Rose playing, but still better than all but three other teams in the league. In his most recent absence the team beat Miami, Orlando, and Boston, so they measure up reasonably well without their star.
A big part of the credit for the success without Rose falls on C.J. Watson and John Lucas III. The two have the impossible task of filling in for Rose, and they have done a remarkably good job of it. It’s not like Rose is expendable or anything, but the two have certainly been much better than you would expect them to be on paper.
Things might sound rosy (excuse the pun), but make no mistake — Rose is sorely missed. Without Rose this is a Top 5 or 6 team in the league, and they’ll win a playoff round or two. They absolutely cannot win a championship without him, though. More than perhaps any other player in the league right now he is the entire difference between pretty good and outstanding. Simply put, the attractiveness of betting on this team long-term relies entirely on Rose’s health.
Betting performance without him
The news here isn’t as good. The team is 12-10-1 ATS without Rose — profitable, but just barely. With Rose in the lineup they are a much more impressive 21-14 ATS — despite the fact that Rose is a highly public player who attracts money like a magnet.
This is an even more stark illustration of what we learned earlier — this is a solid team without Rose, but with him they are special. There really is no way to sugarcoat this or get around it — the Bulls absolutely and fundamentally must have Rose to be a factor in the playoffs and for bettors.
We’re getting into the home stretch of this abbreviated regular season. The Bulls have just eight regular season games left.
They are not at all in a tenuous situation — they have clinched their playoff spot, essentially locked down their division, and would have to really tank to lose their lead over Miami for home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. In that sense Rose isn’t really needed until the playoffs start.
He really needs to get back into the lineup as soon as he can, though.
When he played his first game back on Sunday his numbers wound up being pretty strong — 29 points, six rebounds, and four assists. There were issues, though — he turned it over eight times, his shooting from two-point range was brutal, and he seemed out of sync with his teammates.
He needs to spend as much time as he can on the court before the playoffs start so he can get his legs in shape, develop his timing, and get into top form for when games matter most. The more time he misses from now on the worse it will be.
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