This is how it all started. A mere 1.7% chance and the Bulls landed the number 1 pick in the 2008 NBA draft. While there was some debate about Rose v Beasley, it seemed like fate that the Bulls would pick a hometown product in Derrick Rose. We all know what happens from there. Rose wins the Rookie of the Year award and has a marvelous debut in the NBA playoffs against the Celtics. In his 3rd season, Rose would become the youngest MVP in NBA history. In year four, Rose would have an injury plagued season and would injure his ACL in the first round of the playoffs. Nothing was the same since.
Now here we are. It's officially the end of the Derrick Rose era in Chicago. I always hoped this day would never need to come because the story is just too good, but unfortunately, Derrick Rose has not played like the player he used to be. The final trade that sends Derrick Rose to the Knicks is:
Bulls Trade: Rose, Justin Holiday, and 2nd round pick
Knicks Trade: Calderon, Jerian Grant, and Robin Lopez.
So, what will this do to the Bulls on the court?
Places the Bulls Could be Better
Derrick Rose was not a great product on the court last year. Even if you were a Rose optimist, the only real argument you had was that he was half blind for much of the early part of the season, missed lots of training camp time, and was criminally misused by Fred Hoiberg. Note, none of those arguments actually state that Rose played well, just that the potential was there. So, getting rid of him has to leave room to improve somewhere, right?
Looking at the potential Rose replacements acquired in Calderon and Grant, the one place there might be some improvement is in 3pt shooting. Rose was a sub 30% 3pt shooter the past few seasons, but Calderon has shot over 40%. The shooting should help. However, Jerian Grant only made 22 3-pointers last season.
Truthfully, that is the only place I can think of the Bulls improving in this trade.
Places the Bulls Could be Worse
As bad as Derrick Rose was, he was still great at getting shots at the rim. Rose took about 15 FGA per game and about 8 of those were from inside of 10 feet. His finishing from those areas was not great, but improved greatly once his vision returned. 13% of Calderon's 6.3 FGA/g came at the rim. Yikes. Jerian Grant did a decent job of getting to the rim. and even finished reasonably well inside, however, he couldn't hit a shot from anywhere else on the court. Unless he can start hitting midrange shots or 3's at a decent clip, he will still have a hard time getting to the rim. The Bulls will certainly be worse at getting to the rim with a combination of Grant/Calderon than they would have with Rose.
The Bulls will also certainly be a worse rebounding team. Lopez is locked in for several seasons, and my guess is that the Bulls see him as a starter on a bargain salary. However, the Bulls are likely to lose Noah and Gasol. Lopez's best rebounding season was this last one in which he pulled in 13.9 TRB/100 poss. Gasol pulled in over 17 per 100 possessions and Noah over 20! Lopez is not really a great rebounder, and the Bulls' rebounding stats started falling when Noah went out. If the Bulls don't pick up a solid rebounder via free agency or the draft, their rebounding could get even worse than it was after Noah went out with a shoulder injury.
Places the Bulls Should Stay the Same
I actually think the defense will be a wash. Rose was awful defensively, but Calderon is a poor defender and not getting any younger. Jerian Grant rated out terribly defensively as well, though he at least has room to grow in that area. The Bulls D also plummeted when Noah went down for the season. Lopez rates out as a below average defensive center. With a coach in place that has no clue how to coach defense, the Bulls likely don't get any better than they were last year, and they really need to improve there.
This trade puts tons of pressure on Jimmy Butler to perform. Plenty remains to be seen on how the Bulls handle the draft and free agency, but right now, Jimmy appears to be the only solid player on the roster. The ball is going to be in his hands much more, and Jimmy is going to have to prove that he really can lead the team both on and off the court.
I like the Bulls being proactive and at least getting a decent bargain in Lopez, but I wish they could have gotten some more youth. Jerian Grant was awful on both ends his rookie year, and while the potential is still there, not getting any more youth in return hurts.
Finally, this is a gut wrenching trade even if you thought Derrick basically was done as a player. He went from hometown hero to guy that was traded away for barely anything. He was so close to leading us to a championship (I still believe that if the Bulls were healthy that they get past the Heat in Thibs' second year), and then it all just tragically fell apart. The story just wasn't supposed to end this way.