Chicago’s championship aspirations all come down to the health of former MVP and human pinball Derrick Rose, but, are equally dependent on the right stockpile of complementary ingredients. An acquisition of Aaron Brooks, and possibly John Lucas III, are further indications that its current stockpile could be made up of championship ingredients.
In 2011, the Bench Mob was said to be the right complement to Rose’s abilities but a newly formed Heat team not-so-respectfully disagreed. With Rose hurt for two-and-a-half seasons, it hasn’t been possible until this point to discover just what combination of talent was necessary to put the Bulls over the top. That time might finally be upon us.
In Aaron Brooks, the Bulls get a very serviceable third string point guard who can work stints at shooting guard and provides bench scoring, additional ball handling, and outside shooting. And, he doesn’t shrink in big moments.
Brooks is a tiny guard, listed at six feet but is probably an inch or two under that, so he’s not going to help bolster a backcourt that will be working through Rose’s acclimation and an older Kirk Hinrich. But that’s why you have a Jimmy Butler or a Tony Snell to help make up for the defensive slack. He’s had a below average PER since the 2010-11 season but is a solid facilitator and has averaged 17.0 points per 36 minutes for his career. Bulls desperately need both from anywhere in their rotation.
Lucas III isn’t on Brooks’ level but provides some depth at the point guard spot which will be important when it comes to resting a post-double-injury Rose and a greybeard Hinrich throughout the season. Neither he nor Brooks provide the height or defensive grit necessary to bother point guards like John Wall or Kyrie Irving out east but are instant offense for a team that treats it like an afterthought.
Plus, adding two other ballhandlers/buckets-getters would take pressure off of Rose to treat himself like a human bowling ball. Not to mention that it would open up an array of possibilities for the team as various combinations of the below offer the right dosage of offense, defense, spacing, and matchup advantages.
Rose/Hinrich/Brooks/Lucas III (maybe)
There still exists a lack of a go-to guy at the 2 spot but many are overlooking how much easier life will be for a guy like Butler when he’s not counted on as a top-five scoring option. As option six, seven, or perhaps even eight, Butler will be able to focus on what he does best: working the baseline, driving against shifting defenses, and cleaning up colleague misses. Knockdown shooting isn’t the only form a serviceable two can score in an offensive scheme that will rely on Rose’s drives, a bevy of spot-up shooters, and big men with supreme passing abilities and at least two working post-up games.
Of course, even with all gears functioning at maximum capacity in Chicago (and a lot of ifs to account for), there’s still a superteam to beat in the NBA. But, the Bulls are certainly building in the right direction, and that’s the first step in getting the dominoes to fall where you want them.