Just before Bulls training camp opened, Derrick Rose said his aim was to be league MVP.
That shouldn’t be his only goal — obviously, every NBA player should want to win a championship — but Rose is making a statement on the floor nearly every single night.
His 29 points last night helped lead the Bulls back from a 13-point first-quarter deficit to an 88-84 win over the Lakers, a team no Bulls squad had been able to defeat in nearly four years. Rose’s average of 25.3 points per game is fourth in the league, behind Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Amar’e Stoudemire. Stoudemire’s performance is one of the reasons the Knicks are off to their surprising 15-9 start.
The Bulls, at 13-8, currently rank only sixth in winning percentage in the Eastern Conference — although since they lead the Central Division, that would give them the No. 3 seed if the playoffs were to begin now, and of course they’re still a long way off. The Bulls have also played the second-fewest games in the league (21; only the Kings with 20 have fewer). That’s about to change, with a back-to-back tonight vs. the Timberwolves and 10 more games before the end of December.
With Carlos Boozer seemingly back to his usual form, the Bulls have solid rebounding and defense to back up Derrick Rose. It could be an interesting season, at last, for the team that’s been rebuilding seemingly forever since Michael Jordan’s departure.