Myriad theories are floating around regarding the Bulls' recent struggles. Most of them don't address the core issue, beyond the obvious that Rose has yet to play: This roster isn't as good or as deep as the one from the last two seasons.
Rose's torn ACL changed everything. The depth that arguably served as the team's greatest attribute besides Rose's transcendent talent went elsewhere in a series of mostly financial decisions cloaked in basketball reasoning.

For every back-and-forth argument — the Bulls spent more for Kirk Hinrich than they would have on C.J. Watson; Kyle Korver is leading the league in 3-point percentage — it might be time to forget statistics and contracts.
Really, the numbers most worth comparing between last season's team and this season's are these: 37-14 in 2011-12 and 15-17 in 2012-13. Those are the different won-loss records when at least one starter was out for the Bulls. Don't forget: Rose missed almost a lot of time last season, as he has this one. Still, depth and defense, not to mention the occasional John Lucas III's heroics, often prevailed.
That difference in winning percentage is .725 and .469, or roughly the disparity of contribution between Omer Asik and Nazr Mohammed. For another comparison, this season's winning percentage of .561 trails last season's of .667 from the 27 games Rose missed with injury.
There has been much romanticizing of the Bench Mob, some of it from here. And granted, injuries to Hinrich and now Taj Gibson have affected this year's fortunes. Plus, sideline any valuable player — Kevin Durant off the Thunder, LeBron James off the Heat —for the whole of the season to this point and struggles will happen.
But what that dismantled unit possessed beyond numbers is a collective spirit and ability to understand roles that didn't make Thibodeau's "we have more than enough to win with" mantra sound hollow. Does anybody really believe Nate Robinson or Vladimir Radmanovic are Thibodeau-type players?
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