Fans must temper expectations for Derrick Rose

One of the hardest things to cope with in sports is realizing that a beloved athlete may have lost his edge. It’s such a natural reaction to ignore all signs that indicate otherwise, especially when the athlete is a highly favored one. This is especially true in the case of Derrick Rose, who is certainly […] The post Tempering Expectations For Derrick Rose appeared first on The Sports Fan Journal.

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Jalen Rose: Chris Webber needs to say he’s sorry

Jalen Rose still has hard feelings about how Chris Webber broke connections with the Fab Five.

      
 

 

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Derrick Rose Should Have a Great Preseason

Chicago Bulls PG Derrick Rose says he’s ready to go. Not that it matters in the record books, but Derrick Rose should have a solid preseason for a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at a couple of the reasons here.
Opponents
Rose and the Bulls will begin their preseason at home against the Washington Wizards on October 6th. John Wall is a handful, but the crowd will be jacked up to see Rose play for just the second time in 10 months.
The next night, the Bulls head to Detroit. Despite the quick turnaround, the Pistons will be running out Brandon Jennings and D.J. Augustin. Jennings is very good defensively, but Rose should have a solid day if he shoots even 40% from the field. If Thibs is smart, he’ll keep Rose from trying to finish strong at the rim, due to Monroe and Drummond regulating the Pistons’ paint.
The Bulls then get a break until the 11th when they travel to the Chicago suburb of Milwaukee. This could be a game Rose really struggles in, depending on minutes and matchups. If Jason Kidd ke

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What Did the FIBA World Cup Teach Us About Derrick Rose?

Derrick Rose made his return to the court during the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain, helping Team USA to a gold medal. What did the tournament teach Chicago Bulls fans about the status of their young superstar?

Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders joins Stephen Nelson to offer his take in the video above.

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Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose Wins Gold And His Confidence

Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose Wins Gold And His Confidence
By Mike Elworth: Owner and Publisher/Hoopstuff…
The 12 man USA Men’s Basketball Team has won the FIBA World Cup gold medal. Excellent job by each player, but this is about Derrick Rose. With a healthy Derrick Rose the Chicago Bulls are 1 of 2 teams (Cleveland) that are likely to win the Eastern Conference. Rose wasn’t elite in the tournament and was the 3rd point guard and the 4th or 5th guard in their rotation, but him playing healthy and staying healthy is bigger for Derrick Rose than winning gold, although he won’t admit it. Rose has won his 2nd gold medal, but he has gained something far more vital, confidence.
He only averaged about 5 points and 3 assists per game and his jumper is off, but he proved that he has the athleticism and quickness that made him League MVP 3 seasons ago. He has the it factor again, which he lacked in the 10 games he just played for the Bulls. His athleticism and his ability to get where he pleas…

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Should Bulls Fans Be More Excited About Pau Gasol or Worried About Derrick Rose?

If the Chicago Bulls are using Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol‘s FIBA Basketball World Cup performances to preview their season ahead, chances are their feelings are somewhat mixed.

Gasol has looked like a new man with Spain. The 34-year-old is averaging 20.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks through six games. As he prepares for his first season in Chicago, the four-time All-Star is picking up where he left off after finishing the 2013-14 campaign in top form.

For the season, Gasol tallied 17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 31.4 minutes per contest with the Los Angeles Lakers. But his numbers improved as the season progressed. After a sub-par November and December, Gasol averaged 20.8 points in January and made at least 50 percent of his field-goal attempts in January, February and March.

The FIBA production—which includes converting on an impressive 64.4 percent of his field-goal attempts—suggests that Gasol’s late-season ascendance wasn’t an anomaly.

He’s playing his best basketball in years.

And he’s even doing it against top-shelf competition.

As Sports Illustrated‘s Jeremy Woo notes, “A 26-point, 9-rebound game against Brazil’s NBA-quality set of bigs was vintage Pau, and the Bulls will hope he’s the missing piece in a balanced Eastern Conference as they gear up for another playoff run.”

Indeed, Gasol scored 12 of his points in the first quarter against Brazil, making an early statement that could foreshadow the kind of aggressiveness he’ll display with Chicago this season.

After doing his best in head coach Mike D’Antoni’s helter-skelter offense, the Bulls’ approach should be a welcome change of pace—and it should come with plenty of opportunities.

“[Gasol is] someone that I knew I could play with,” Rose told reporters. “You think about Pau, him now being in the East, what he’ll be able to achieve with the way we play, the way we dump the ball in the post a lot. It could be great.”

Head coach Tom Thibodeau‘s commitment to an inside-outside strategy will preserve Gasol’s rhythm.

The rest is up to him.

“I turned down bigger offers, and I prioritized being on a championship-caliber team and being in a position where I can hopefully put that team over the top with my game, as well,” Gasol explained earlier this summer, per ESPNChicago.com. “I felt that here, I was going to have that opportunity, and now it’s just a matter of getting to work.”

Suffice it to say, Gasol has already gotten to work—even if it’s in the context of trying to win a gold medal with Spain.

The Bulls will take it. If the summer version of Gasol is any indication of the player Chicago is inheriting, the organization is getting a huge upgrade over the amnestied Carlos Boozer.

Meanwhile, the Bulls are almost certainly hoping the summer version of Derrick Rose is anything but a harbinger of things to come.

Through six games, the former MVP is averaging just 4.5 points and 2.7 assists in 17.5 minutes per game. The most troubling sign of rust is that he’s made just 21.6 percent of his 6.2 field-goal attempts per contest.

Rose’s touch has eluded him from all over the floor—from perimeter jumpers to layups around the basket.

The struggles probably aren’t reason to panic. The 25-year-old played in just 10 games last season and has played in only 49 over the last three years. It was never realistic to expect he’d come out of the gates with guns blazing.

To the extent there’s been disappointment regarding Rose’s play at the FIBA Basketball World Cup, the early reviews of his performance at training camp may be partially to blame.

“I think he’s exceptional in every way,” Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski exclaimed to reporters after practices in Las Vegas earlier this summer. ”He went right at it. The first defensive exchange in the camp, he was all over the ball handler, moving his feet, attacking him. There was a buzz right away because it was basically his saying, ‘Look, I’m not just back. I’m back at a level that’s elite.’”

Krzyzewski added, “Derrick was sensational the whole week. He really did that every day, how fast and strong and decisive he was. He really created an air of excitement for the team because we all were anxious to see who he was right now.”

The air of excitement quickly turned into some much-needed patience once tournament play actually began. Krzyzewski’s raving was replaced by cautious optimism.

I think basically we’re waiting for Derrick to have kind of a bust-out game,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo recently suggested on ESPN, per the Chicago Sun-TimesJoe Cowley. “And if that were to happen, I think he’d take off from that point.”

Team USA has the depth to withstand Rose’s struggles at the World Cup, and fortunately Chicago has some time on its hands—including a few preseason games in which its star point guard can continue his reclamation project.

And to be fair, Rose may be making more progress than meets the eye. That’s certainly how he sees it.

His coach is on the same page, with Thibodeau telling reporters: 

There’s nothing negative about this. This is all positive. As I said, the more he practices, the more he plays, the better he’ll get. He’ll be fine. Just take it day by day, keep doing the things that he’s doing and get ready for training camp when we get there. When you’re off as long as he’s been out, I mean there’s a lot of plays where he blows by everyone and he’s not finishing. To me, that’s timing. He hasn’t done it in a long time. The more he does it, the more comfortable he’ll get, the more he’ll get into a rhythm … Each day he gets a little better, gets a little more confident. 

Thibodeau‘s tone is a reasonable one to be sure, but it may not be especially reassuring to Bulls fans awaiting their game-changing, would-be savior. Chicago hasn’t been to the conference finals since 2011, and two of the subsequent three campaigns resulted in opening-round postseason defeats.

The franchise needs Rose at his best to turn those fortunes around, but there’s really no telling when he’ll return to form.

The Memphis product made just 35.4 percent of his field-goal attempts during his brief stint last season, and similar numbers may be in the offing early on in 2014-15. It may be a matter of weeks or even months before Rose looks like an All-Star again.

While there’s some silver lining in the fact that Gasol already looks like an All-Star, there’s little doubt the Bulls are only going so far as their floor general takes them.

The good news is there’s plenty of time between September and April. Bulls fans just have to practice a little patience in the interim.

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Derrick Rose continues to struggle at World Cup

Rose missed all five of his shots Saturday and is shooting just better than 20 percent

      
 

 

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Coach K: Health isn’t a worry for Rose now

Krzyzewski says everyone should be focused on other angles about Rose

      
 

 

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Can Chicago Bulls Still Rely on Derrick Rose as Their Franchise Building Block?

The Chicago Bulls are deep enough into their design that they can’t swap out the centerpiece now.

Their linchpin, Derrick Rose, remains their ultimate source of optimism, their key to joining the uber-exclusive fraternity of full-fledged NBA contenders.

As the former MVP goes, the Bulls will follow. That portion of the program hasn’t changed.

Yet Chicago’s foundation is frighteningly flimsy. As good as this house looks from the outside, its main support beam has already faltered twice. The Bulls can hope that Rose’s knee problems—first a torn ACL in his left one, then a torn meniscus in the right—are behind him.

They bet the farm on that fact before knowing this was a battle he would fight. And outside of crossed fingers, well-wishes and all the patience they can muster, they have nothing to help him wage that war.

It used to take something special from Rose—a killer crossover, a rapid-fire offensive outburst, a Tom Thibodeau-approved highlight hustle play—for the Windy City to erupt. Now he can spark mass hysteria simply by stepping inside the lines.

After watching him log just 50 games (regular season and playoffs) the past three years combined, hoop heads are just happy to see him in any type of action. They can look past the rust (5.4 points on 25 percent shooting through five games at the FIBA World Cup), sweat out his injury scares and buy every last bit of his hype still up for sale.

When Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski tells reporters how Rose has shown his teammates he’s “back at a level that’s elite,” fans can take his comments at face value and start counting down the days until Rose’s real return (Chicago’s season opener on October 29).

The Bulls don’t have that luxury. They are far too invested in both his present and future to hear that he’s back and immediately subscribe to that theory.

Fans and analysts alike want to stretch out the small strides he’s made into something bigger than they are. The Bulls just hope that each baby step can be followed by another.

“We just want to keep building, just daily improvement,” Thibodeau told reporters last month. “That’s what he’s concentrating on.”

Rose might not have a choice since he’s peppered with questions about his health on a daily basis. 

As he should be. It’s not as if his play on the international stage has really answered any on its own.

Some nights, he has looked like that athletic superhero NBA fans remember:

On others, he has seemed to be locked in a battle with his body:

With rust to shake off and fuel tanks to fill, these inconsistencies will likely persist. And so will his media-administered medical checkups.

“I know the questions are going to come and they’re going to be there the whole year,” Rose said, via ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. “So I can’t get tired of it.”

The Bulls can, though.

Every inquiry made is a reminder of their franchise face’s fragility. It’s also a suggestion that the Rose coming back to Chicago may not be the two-way force who had the entire basketball world in his palm just a few years back.

Realistically, when a 25-year-old player whose game depends on explosiveness undergoes two knee surgeries in 19 months, perhaps the best isn’t yet to come,” wrote David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.

There is no way to know for sure whether his best days are behind him. That answer will come with time.

The Bulls have hinged their hopes on a full recovery. Despite parting with Thibodeau-favorite Luol Deng last season, they stopped short of holding an all-out fire sale. They entered this offseason fully embracing the buyer’s market, trading up on draft night for Doug McDermott, inking free agent Pau Gasol to a three-year deal and importing draft-and-stash prospect Nikola Mirotic.

Combine that with the key returning pieces—All-Star center Joakim Noah, perimeter stopper Jimmy Butler, super-sub Taj Gibson, rising swingman Tony Snell—and this looks like the recipe for a contender.

It should be one if Rose is healthy enough to lead the way. As ESPNChicago.com’s Mike Wilbon noted, it’s hard finding certainty with this type of recovery:

His second injury makes you reconsider everything … such as, maybe D-Rose simply can’t play the game the way he wants to play it, maybe he can’t explode and cut with the ferocity he has until now. Maybe it isn’t advisable he come back firing fastballs, but instead rely for the first time on changing speeds and sleight of hand.

Can Rose still be as effective as he was if he changes his style of play? Can a career 31.2 percent three-point shooter afford to stop attacking? Does he even have off-speed stuff in his arsenal?

These are the questions the Bulls need answered. There is no reliability in their world or in his. Two seasons (essentially) lost to injury can have that effect.

But at this point, what else can the franchise do other than hope its brightest star can realign himself? The Bulls’ base is unnervingly wobbly, but attempting to remove it will only bring their foundation crashing down.

There is no way to recast his role. There are maybe a handful of players who can match his talent, and perhaps none are better suited for this supporting cast. Even if a better fit for this roster existed, he wouldn’t be available on the trade market.

And while Rose hasn’t played consistently well on the international circuit, he has said he’s pleased with the stuff that doesn’t make the stat sheet:

Considering Rose’s age, his obvious ability and what this team can potentially accomplish if he’s right, the Bulls have no option but to proceed with him as their primary building block.

Their road ahead is lined with uncertainty, but it’s the only one available that might lead to a world title. As long as that remains true, there is no other choice worth considering.

 

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Is Derrick Rose the Most Scrutinized Superstar in the NBA Today?

Unlike LeBron James, this player never thought to forsake the franchise that drafted him. Unlike Kevin Love, he hasn’t plotted to buy his ticket out of town. Unlike others, his face hasn’t appeared in court rooms or above police booking numbers.

Unlike scores of his basketball brethren, this man’s fall from limelight had nothing to do with coach beefs or bad decisions.

Yet somehow—despite a meteoric rise typified by brilliance on the hardwood and humbleness off it—Derrick Rose has become the most closely scrutinized player in all the NBA.

Of course, the speculation surrounding Rose has more to do with genuine concern than pointed criticism. Which, by one way of thinking, is bound to happen when you miss the vast majority of the past two seasons recovering from a pair of knee injuries.

The relationship we’ve forced with Rose, and especially those of us in the media, has been one of protection, rooted in a genuine worry that this physics-defying basketball maestro might be taken from us—formally and finally—far too soon.

Thankfully, the past month has been something of a refresher on Rose’s ultimate potential, centering around the Chicago Bulls point guard’s participation with Team USA as it vies for gold at the FIBA World Cup in Spain.

For a while, it looked as if Rose might even usurp the starting spot from a training-camp crop that included Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, John Wall and Damian Lillard.

Rose’s play was so strong, in fact, that it prompted Team USA head coach to tell ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell, “I think [Rose] is exceptional in every way…There was a buzz right away because it was basically his saying, ‘Look, I’m not just back. I’m back at a level that’s elite.’”

But as the team’s inter-squad scrimmages gave way to friendly tune-ups for FIBA, Rose’s rust began to show through. The floaters sailed a bit wide, the lead-ahead passes were just off-stride, and the aerial acrobatics—a Rose signature for as long as he’s donned NBA garb—noticeably ill timed.

On August 26, Krzyzewski officially tapped Irving as the team’s starter for its final pre-FIBA friendly against Goran Dragic and Slovenia. Since then, the media microscopes have only become more intensely trained, much to the chagrin of Rose himself.

Just how tired is Rose of the constant check-ins? According to ESPN.com, Krzyzewski has ceased asking for updates, saying that he sensed “a part of [Rose] that’s like, ‘Quit asking me how I feel, I’m good.’”

To be fair, Rose has seen plenty of action (17.5 minutes per game, compared to Irving’s 23.5), owing in no small part to a helter-skelter tournament structure whereby teams are forced to play five round-robin games in six days.

The production, on the other hand, hasn’t exactly been encouraging.

But the spotlight set about Rose goes well beyond Team USA’s gold-medal gambit. In three short weeks, Chicago’s floor general will arrive at Bulls’ training camp awash in expectations of a different sort: parlaying the acquisition of Pau Gasol, Euroleague superstar Nikola Mirotic and sharpshooting rookie Doug McDermott into the franchise’s first Finals appearance since 1998.

The Bulls didn’t make these moves to improve by a handful of games or a seeding spot; they made them because they still believe—as do most of Chicago’s fans—that Derrick Rose is still a cornerstone-caliber player.

Viewed from this perspective, it only makes sense that the attendant scrutiny would be so searing. When it feels like your best player is perpetually one freak play or bad landing away from another disaster, an air of doubt-ridden doting is bound to arise.

Writing at Lake Show Life, Valarie Morales poetically captures how a looming sense of dread from fans has begun to color not just how they feel about Rose, but how they watch him:

Fear weighs a ton. What surrounds the United States World Cup team, what is hamstrung around their precious necks choking off oxygen has nothing to do with how good this team may be. Or if Spain playing on Spain soil is better because of home country advantage. That is a secondary story in the United States, nationalism be damned. Occupying the World Cup narrative is the appearance of Derrick Rose.  How does he look? How will he play? Will he…get hurt?

This naturally invites the question: Is it fair? Even granting society’s built-in connectedness, where everyone and everything is subject to exposure and scrutiny almost as a matter of fact, how much is too much?

For many a Bulls fan, however, the questions have to do less with the facts of Rose’s health than some weirdly-held belief that their star point guard—a kid as tough as the South Chicago neighborhood from whence he came—missed an opportunity to return from what was, by all accounts, a much more minor torn MCL last season.

Needless to say, it’s a barb Rose has no choice but to ignore.

“I can’t get mad at that, man,” Rose recently told ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell during. “People are going to say anything. For me, just try to take and try to use it when I work out. Use it as motivation, and try to prove people wrong. I know how special I am as a player. And I know what I still can do.”

It’s the only response worth offering, really, even if it masks an all too human hurt, wrought from the knowledge that the same fans to whom you’ve given so much have—out of sheer lack of patience and prudence—taken to looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Just don’t expect FIBA to be his point’s proving ground; the stateside stakes are simply too high for Rose to let his run with Team USA define his next trajectory, noble as the podium pursuit may be.

Instead, Rose should state his case the only way he knows how—by being so impossibly good that the only question left for us to ask won’t be why or where or when, but the one that meets the best of basketball feats: How?

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