The second comeback for Derrick Rose is taking time and understandably so, or is it? After all, the NBA has a business side to things and no matter how unfortunate injuries may be, the reality is that an athlete’s value has an expiration date for franchise with a small window to contend for a title.
Rose is getting his legs under him and regaining confidence in his physical ability but more importantly, durability. The minute restriction he was on for the first half of the season has been lifted. The former MVP probably won’t make the 2015 All-Star team and he shouldn’t. I will same though, that his workload will have to get bigger in order for the Bulls to finally get over the hump to win the Eastern Conference.
Rose still has explosion attacking the basket and finishing with contact. His shooting has gone through ups and downs, especially from downtown. The key for Chicago has always been defense, rebounding, and the intangibles. Those three focuses were installed by coach Tom Thibodeau, but the nightly results are slipping and this team is trying to pinpoint an identity. Adding offensive firepower was a priority and it shows, and will show more as rookie Doug McDermott gets healthy, and as Rose inches closer to his dominant form.
What often gets lost is the art of the mid-range game, and a low-post game for a guard, both of which Rose has a routine advantage over opposing guards. We’ve seen him scratch the surface during his MVP campaign from mid-range, but rarely down low. The stocky guard still elevates over defenders with the body control for a circus shot or reverse layup. With all the floaters and scoop shots he puts up inside the paint, you would think Rose would expand his game and simplify the offense. Rather than go up against five defenders, he can initiate offense or be a second option near the block, like Mark Jackson and Sam Cassell used to do. That would result in easier possessions, more free throw attempts, and then the point guard in him can find the open man cutting or spotting up. Whether it stems from Rose being cautious or out of rhythm, or the Bulls running a predictable offense, I hope they both realize the potential that has yet to be fulfilled.
This improves Rose and the Bulls just on the offensive side of the ball. If only Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler’s intensity to defend, crash the glass, and play every game like their last, were contagious for Rose and most players in general. Rose is playing in a lineup with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Noah, and All-Second Defensive Team teammates in Butler and Taj Gibson. Not to mention playing for former Coach of the Year and defensive guru, Tom Thibodeau. Rose has the talent to excel on this end of the floor and the supporting cast to retake the throne. None of this is impossible, even accounting for his recovery and mental process to come around. A mature Rose would make him the best guard in the game again, with these very simply steps that he can take, as early as his next workout session.