The past 10 months of Chicago Bulls basketball have been an exercise in expectations. When the 2012 regular season ended, those expectations were that the no. 1-seeded Bulls — one year older, one year wiser — would give Miami all it could stand come the Eastern Conference Finals. When Derrick Rose crumbled to the court in the first game of the first round of the playoffs, those expectations changed.
This season — without Rose and without much of a bench to allow them to survive for stretches in his absence — came with its own expectations. When the Bulls were threatening to overtake the Knicks for the no. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, and with Rose’s return supposedly on the horizon, those expectations changed again.
The reaction to Rose’s comments yesterday is a consequence of those changing expectations. The thought became that if this team can win without Rose, imagine what it could be with him. After a year spent reconciling being jettisoned from the contender ranks, Bulls fans immediately wanted back in. This is the disconnect between expectations and reality. In October, there was willingness for patience. That’s now gone, and it’s without reason.