Dear Derrick Rose's Jumpshot,
I've read a lot about you this summer. Apparently your presence is having a large influence on the art of Derrick Rose's game. Derrick talks so highly of your influence on his game's development this summer, and your role on the Bulls is one of the more anticipated things that fans want to see during the upcoming season. From some of the quotes Derrick has made, I'm beginning to think that he's already fallen in love with you, Jumpshot. I know they are just words, and that the slow trickle of news during a 24/7 news cycle causes reporters to hyperbolize your influence. But the tales of your influence coupled with watching Derrick during the World Championships are making me think that you have the potential to be more of a problem than a solution this year.
Earlier this week Derrick was quoted saying "Why can't I be MVP?". And on the surface that seems to have nothing to do with you, Derrick's Jumpshot. But I couldn't help but recognize your possible influence on the statement. In theory, I love the idea of a point guard with an offensive game that is unstoppable both on the perimeter and going to the hole. A player like that could easily win an MVP. But the truth is, as amazing as Derrick is at attacking the basket, he isn't what I would call unstoppable...yet. I don't want him to be a jack-of-all-trades but a master of nothing. I want him to work more at perfecting what he's good at: attacking the basket; as well as the area where he has the most room for improvement: defense. Though you are important, Derrick Rose's Jumpshot, your presence will only create subsidiary gains. The order of operations that should be stamped upon Derrick's brain is as follows: 1. Attack the rim, 2. Pass when after having drawn too much attention to proceed attacking the rim, 3. Shoot a jumper. That's the only order that should conceivably be followed. Your ability to hit the three pointer, Jumpshot, won't help all that much because Derrick is going to be the one initiating the offense most of the time. And the times when he isn't the initiator, your three point range is really the fifth option at best. I don't want to diminish you completely. You really are a nice compliment with your mid-range ability. And in that respect you legitimately seem to make it easier for Derrick to have more room to get to the basket. But I just wanted to go on the record and say that I don't want you to mean much more than that at this point.
I know one day you will be more important to Derrick's game, Jumpshot--when Derrick is forced to be a player who relies on you, but we aren't there yet. For now Derrick needs to attack, learn how to attack better, and reach a level close to perfection in the art of attacking the basket. And he needs to do this while he still has this incredible physical advantage over every possible defender. Only when the moment happens that Derrick cannot rely solely on his tremendous physical advantages to score, and only then, can he start to even think about wanting to use your three pointers as a first option. We aren't there yet. We won't be there for a while. And despite his physical advantages, Derrick still needs a lot of work on improving his ability to effectively attack the basket. Case in point: the lack of free throw attempts Derrick earns per game. Derrick's primary focus of offensive improvement should be to add something to his basket-attacking where he can absorb contact and still convert those ridiculous twisting layups. I know there's the legend of star treatment in the NBA: where refs give certain players foul calls that they don't to others. And there is a lot of evidence that shows that this practice is not legend, but rather reality. However, if this purported star treatment were to be exercised on Derrick, wouldn't evidence of those "star calls" have happened by now? Wasn't Derrick Rose elevated to the "star treatment level" the moment he was selected to the all-star team? I remember hearing both National and Local TV Commentators specifically commenting on how they were surprised that Derrick Rose didn't get to the line more, given the number of times he drives. You know, because he's a...ahem...star. Derrick has to meet the officials halfway on this. If he perfects converting drives with contact the calls will follow. We know all this though. Hopefully, you know it too Jumpshot.
I shouldn't get so caught up in words, but a statement like "I don’t think I drove the ball to the hole this whole camp. I haven’t shot a layup yet, nothing but jumpshots. They've been falling." via K.C. Johnson's twitter makes me think that Derrick Rose is on his way to being in the tank for you Jumpshot. To being in love with you. I wouldn't be all up in arms about a quote like this if I didn't have some evidence of how you affected Derrick at the World Championships, Jumpshot. You are so much easier fall back on than driving to the lane, and drawing contact. I get it. But as Stacy King often says, "Derrick Rose is too big, too fast, too strong", and it is such a physical advantage that it's insane for his primary focus to be somewhere other than thinking of ways to attack the rim. I watched how Russell Westbrook and even Chauncey Billups attacked the rim at the World Championships, and by comparison Derrick was so tentative. The thing is, I know that he is physically more suited to carve up an International defense than either of them with his slashing. The difference was that they appeared more willing. It was baffling to see Derrick's approach contrasted against those two. Especially Westbrook in that title game. If the zone was such an impediment to Derrick's ability to attack the basket, why was Westbrook (whose jumper is even less effective than Derrick's) getting to the basket so easily? I blame you, Derrick Rose's Jumpshot. I blame you for convincing Derrick that you are a better option. You're not. You just aren't. Jumpshot, you are making me think that Derrick will eventually use you as an excuse to avoid contact. What were the best games Derrick played during that whole international experience? The preliminary ones against Spain and Greece where Rose attacked the rim with reckless abandon, and put both defenses constantly on their heels. That's the Derrick I want. Even as good as he was, he still didn't get to the free throw line. There lies the potential improvement to be made. Maybe management called Derrick and requested he be less aggressive after that game, and that's why we didn't see that side of him again. But comments like "I haven't shot a layup yet" make me think you, Jumpshot, are to blame.
So, Derrick Rose's Jumpshot, you now know where I stand on your role in Derrick Rose's game. Maybe I'm overreacting, and Derrick's use of you will be healthy to the general goals of the team and organic to the situations he finds himself in. I know that one day, Jumpshot, you are going to be a very valuable weapon in Derrick's arsenal, but right now there are more important things for him to work on like his defense or getting to the line more than four times a game. You know, things that are actually pertinent to the success of the 2010-2011 Bulls and Derrick Rose as a player. I feel like your emergence as a topic, Jumpshot, can be partially explained by the ghost of the purported perfection of Michael Jordan's all around game. But sometimes people need to be reminded that even MJ can win an MVP while shooting 13.2% from the 3-point line in 87-88. The thinking that "if only Derrick Rose has a jumpshot, he'd be unstoppable" is putting the cart before the horse. Sometimes a player can be so good at certain areas that what he can't do isn't relevant to his success. So, Derrick's Jumpshot, back off. Don't ruin this thing for us Bulls fans. For now, you have your place as a tertiary option. Because the last thing the Bulls need is a point guard who dribbles around looking for an open jumper. We already know that type of strategy isn't effective. Just ask Steve Francis. Derrick's not even close to that level yet, I'm just trying to nip this one in the butt. You know. Just in case.
Thanks for hearing me out,