As the city of Chicago’s new savior, new hope for a championship-heavy era post-Michael Jordan laid in pain on the hardwood of the United Center, I could only feel for a city that craves and desires a resurrection, 14 years in the making.
But as the Rose-less Bulls withered away in Games 2 and 3 against the coming-of-age Philadelphia 76ers – a team similar in long desolation from championship accolades – there’s no doubt that the hope must be kept alive, but Rose – out for the rest of the playoffs (and so could the Bulls after the first round against the Sixers) with a torn ACL – can’t accomplish this on the shooting guard mentality he possesses inside that point guard body of his. He needs an assist and who better to dish such hope out than soon-to-be free agent Steve Nash?
Old in age but not in heart, Nash has done all he can with the Phoenix Suns, but the franchise is headed in a direction that doesn’t promote him as its poster man. The 38-year-old two-time MVP is on his way out and has already declared to be on a team on the verge of an NBA title so retirement wouldn’t look so bittersweet. Apparently the Miami Heat and its Big Three (lacking a dominant point guard though) would be the ideal place, but the Bulls may need Nash’s services more. Head Coach Tom Thibodeau has done a magnificent job over the past two seasons with a squad that lacks in star power, but makes up in effort and defensive prowess. As a result, the Bulls have had the league’s best record over the past few seasons and foundation for consistent success heralded by one of the league’s more dynamic players.
But Rose’s dynamics have often come to hurt him, as he often puts too much of the game on his shoulders, turning the team into a one-trick stallion with constant daredevil drives to the basket as stars, and watch on. Rose is a point guard first, but sometimes forgets that notion in big games. Rose has averaged seven-plus assists per game since Thibodeau has taken the helm, but his embodiment at the position isn’t simply managing the game. He is a finisher; one who can take over a game with sheer will and electrifying playmaking, but his daring has cost his body, missing 27 games and the remainder of the playoffs, to be specific.
Rose is fighting to save this franchise from obscurity, but who is saving Rose? Nash can in his final run, making sure even a fellow former MVP gets his comeuppance in transition and on open looks in the perimeter. Nash is what Rose isn’t accustomed to being; a dominant facilitator who can make scrubs look like stars for 48 minutes a given night. He’s averaged double-digit assists seven of the past eight seasons and could be the reason Amar’e Stoudemire (minus the glass-punching) has ascended to bigger contract deals, like his back-breaking, $100 million (to management) one in New York.
Just imagine a backcourt the caliber of Nash and Rose; Rose would finally have a guard that can complement his style because he can and should play the shooting guard position more often.is quality player at the position and C.J. Watson is a solid defender, but both can’t make anywhere near the impact Nash can at this point. And at this point guard spot, the Bulls need someone who will not only see Rose finish off premier teams like the Heat, Celtics and Pacers in the East, but ensure that the team has a commander forcing the ball into winning situations. Nash will do so and he could be in prime position to leave the game at the finest moment possible.
Nash’s style and court recognition should rub off on Rose in extraordinary ways, possibly giving Rose newer ways to tear through defenses without tearing his own body up. Besides, the offense-challenged Bulls need some of the high-powered formula Nash headed in Phoenix. While defense does win championships, point guard play can make a big difference in games that go the distance.
The Windy City should make it a priority to breeze the possibility of mentor/savior/contributor to Nash, who has had enough of mediocrity and underwhelming finishes in the Western Conference. Countless critics question the strength at shooting guard for this team, but Rose may do it better than anyone else on the team. Give Rose a hand by giving Nash the ball and the Bulls may give the city what Jordan spoiled it with for years; the mark of a champion.