On the verge of playing the Magic, there is once again talk about the potential of Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard playing together in Chicago. Rumors about this have been swirling for over a year. Bulls fans instantly dream of Rose teaming with Howard to give us real-life NBA Jam. There would be plenty of dunks, alley-oops, oohs, and aahs.
But while the thought of Rose and Howard on the same squad sounds delightful, would the Bulls really be better than they are now?
Consider what they’d have to give up, which would most likely be Noah, Deng, Asik or Gibson and a draft pick. If Orlando bites at such a deal, the Bulls would then feature a starting five of Rose, Hamilton, Brewer, Boozer, and Howard. Certainly a title contender, but is that team better than what they currently possess? I don’t believe so.
First of all, the prospective starting five with Howard looks great, but the bench would suddenly be slim. Brewer would now be thrust into a steady starting role, and the depth at the 4 and 5 would be abruptly absent (as Asik or Gibson would be gone). If Dwight got into foul trouble, there would be limited options to fill his massive void. The “Bench Mob” would simply not be nearly as ferocious and the Bulls would lose one of their greatest assets: depth, particularly in the frontcourt. The Bulls can currently insert Gibson and Asik for Boozer and Noah and not lose a step. This is a rare privilege that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Having multiple big men is crucial, especially come the playoffs. I’d rather have multiple quality big men who can defend than one monster who could get in foul trouble or perhaps get injured.
Secondly, acquiring Howard would throw off the current chemistry the Bulls have been building for over a year. The camaraderie of the Bulls is second to none. They enjoy each other, feed off one another, and seem to each buy into their roles. The machine is running well. Why tweak things?
Thirdly, assuming Howard considered the Bulls a desirable location, would he really be okay playing second fiddle to Derrick Rose? Could these two end up subtly clashing and not mesh as well as what everyone thinks? The likelihood is that things would not flow between these two as well as we think. It would at least take some time. It could potentially delay their title run — a delay that’s entirely unnecessary because they can contend with the team they have right now.
Last, but not least, something must be said about parting ways with Luol Deng. The versatility of Deng is so often overlooked. He deserves to be an All-Star but he probably won’t get it because his game lacks flash. What it doesn’t lack is defense, steady offensive production, and team-driven effort. Losing this would hurt more than we realize.
For months, I was all about going after Dwight. I thought, Trade the whole team but D-Rose! Dwight + D-Rose= Dynasty! But I’m no longer convinced this is the best move. The Bulls have something special brewing and altering the recipe right now would be more foolish than anything. There’s no reason to think that a title is out of their reach this year, and there’s also no reason to think that adding Dwight Howard would instantly make them better.