In a tight battle for the third seed in the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls may be getting the services of Rose back sooner, rather than later as the former Most Valuable Player is aiming to return sometime this week. Five games remain on the schedule for the Bulls, as they hold a one game lead over the Toronto Raptors and two over the Washington Wizards.
"If anything, I'm just trying to get my mental [approach] together so when I come back it won't be like my previous times," Rose told Salters of ABC7. "I think I was away from the game too long [during] previous injuries, and with me missing five, six, seven weeks now, I think that my return is about to be [smoother]."
Rose, however, has only appeared in 46 games for Chicago, with the last coming on February 23rd against the Milwaukee Bucks. Averages of 18.4 points, 5 assists and 3.1 rebounds. Although his turnover and shooting percentages are cringe worthy, with 3.7 giveaways per outing and hitting 40.7% from the field and 28.% from behind the arc.
Toss in a bit of rust, which we saw affect Paul George as the Pacers got drubbed by Miami in a critical game for the final two playoff seeds, and this return may also backfire, costing the Bulls the third slot, which may not be all that bad looking at the full picture. The Bulls are 4-2 over the last six, with the two losses being a four point drop in Milwaukee and a five point loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers. A Florida two step is in line next for the Bulls, as they visit the Orlando Magic prior to the Miami Heat, on consecutive nights. Returning home, in what should be a guaranteed victory against the Philadelphia 76ers follows suit to a visit to the Brooklyn Nets before closing out, at home, against the Atlanta Hawks.
As stated before, dropping to the fourth seed may benefit the Bulls better, depending on if they view the Cavs or the Hawks as the bigger threat, as Atlanta has secured the top seed while Cleveland is all but penciled in at the third slot. However, the trade off then becomes the Bulls play the Wizards or Raptors in the first round, as opposed to the Bucks, who have greatly struggled since trading for the services of Michael Carter-Williams.
The key, however, remains how long it will take for the rust to wear off, as the key for Chicago, and Rose, will be to get him, and his "muscle memory" ready for the post season.