Derrick Rose recently spoke about feeling uncomfortable regarding his stardom and his celebrity status. Immediately, people connected that with Rose struggling in the postseason or late in games, shying away from attention and responsibility. The only thing worrying about Rose this season are his injuries, not his ability and will at crunch time.
Rose wants to play the Miami Heat, wants to play in general. If resting him seemed important as the season winds down, unlike last year when Rose and the Bulls pushed with all their might to secure home advantage through the entire postseason (which didn’t help them eventually), it’s a little bit different this season, with Rose missing so many games.
The 2010-2011 NBA MVP hasn’t exactly fallen from grace this season, but it’s been frustrating, maybe a bit disappointing . He has played in 37 games (30-7), averaging 22.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 7.9 assists this season. He’s fallen in scoring, along with his field goal percentage and three point shooting. His erratic fitness hasn’t exactly helped him find rythm with his teammates.
It’s not like the Bulls have been completely healthy. Rip Hamilton has missed most of the season. Luol Deng is struggling with his fitness as well. Depth and great defense has kept this team together, just a bit above the rest of the league. Maybe not in style, with an offense that can be painful to watch at times, but with enough good coaching, smart players and good execution coming from a different someone each time.
Rose may be uncomfortable with being a celebrity, with being famous and with being unable to visit his old neighborhood without hundreds of people crowding his arrival, but it has nothing to do with him and his play on the basketball court. The Bulls aren’t like plenty of other teams, where it is very clear who takes the final shot, but Rose doesn’t hide behind anyone.
You could see he doesn’t like too much happening around him that doesn’t have to do with basketball during the All-Star presentation a couple of months ago. While everybody was dancing an enjoying the entrance, Rose stood frozen, barely smiling. Maybe he was awestruck from the occasion, maybe it was his back nagging him. But Rose never looks like he’s afraid to be in the spotlight when it’s on the basketball court.
Something in his aggressiveness has gone missing during some of the games, but that has more to do with his back/groin/ankles. When healthy, Rose keeps driving inside, something he does better than anyone else in the league. The Bulls are a better team when Rose doesn’t rely on jump shooting but uses his athleticism and dribbling to penetrate the paint.
But Rose has got to play a couple of games before the playoff starts. Too long off the parquet and the rust will cost him and the Bulls in the playoffs, maybe even dearly. He doesn’t have to start against Miami and the rest of the way, until the postseason actually begins, but some playing time, 20-25 minutes a night or as much as his body allows, will do him and the Bulls some good as a preparation for the postseason.