The Chicago Bulls have a stiff test on their hands, and it's not just a one- or two-game thing. Derrick Rose is out with an ACL injury, and he's the primary source of offense on a team that struggled to consistently create scoring opportunities even when he was around. To replace him, Chicago signed long-time Bull Kirk Hinrich, who will try and fill that void as best he can.
SB Nation's Blog a Bull previewed the upcoming season and talked about the team's strengths, weaknesses, goals and then the best- and worst-case scenarios. Of particular note are the goals, in which they note that the team simply needs to put themselves in the best position possible while Rose is away:
So while the Bulls will undoubtedly struggle with Rose out, they need to be in a position to where when he returns they can still get a playoff spot. And preferably a high-enough seed to avoid the Miami Heat. Because beyond them (and heck, they can have a catastrophic injury in round one too!), with a healthy Derrick Rose the Bulls are just as valid of a threat as the other next-tier teams in the conference.
Also of particular note are the best- and worst-case scenarios. In the best-case, they talk about Rose coming back near the All-Star break, which would give him plenty of time to really work at things and slowly get back to his usual minutes prior to the playoffs starting.
Still, they do caution about the style of play the Bulls are likely to resort to through the first half of the season. Without Rose, games are going to have to be won by the defense and keeping things really, really close. Hinrich will be counted on to make it a tough, gritty game for the opposing team and that may not be that entertaining to watch, as they say.