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Derrick Rose is playing like his next free agent contract will be in China

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Of all the issues the (still 3-2! not bad!) Bulls have been dealing with this season, perhaps the most glaring of all is the play of Derrick Rose. So far, this hasn't been a case of whether Rose can get back to MVP level, or All-Star status, it's can he stop being one of the worst players in the whole league?

That's day-old news, maybe another player sunk below him. But any way you spin it the numbers are ugly. Rose is currently sporting a PER of 6.6 (joining him in the sub-10 area: Gibson, Moore, Snell, Noah). He's getting to the line under 2 times per game, hasn't hit a three-pointer, and is 1-15 on shots outside of sixteen feet.

Worse yet, the effort just doesn't seem to be there. His defense has been atrocious, seemingly unable to stay in front of anybody. And as had been the case even with Thibodeau last year (and thus you'd think even more annoying for the more up-tempo Hoiberg), isn't pushing the ball offensively and downright loafing when he doesn't have it.

Obviously, there's some important factors to consider. The truly snakebitten Rose had finally used a summer for basketball instead of rehab, and then on the first practice of training camp broke his face. According to him (in his case, an untrustworthy source to be sure) he's still experiencing vision issues and more worried about his conditioning.

That begs the question of if he should even be playing, at least this much, if he's still experiencing so many physical limitations. But the Bulls front office painted themselves in this corner by failing (yet again) to come into the season with a suitable backup at the PG position. Maybe if they had sufficient depth there they wouldn't require so much of Rose this early, not to mention for somebody criticized in the past for sitting out too many games that'd be an especially dicey proposition now.

It's rarely easy in the PG-laden NBA, but tonight Rose has a particularly tough matchup with Russell Westbrook.  Historically, even in his injured states, Rose has 'gotten up' for matchups like these so here's hoping. Maybe they don't even use him defensively that much on Westbrook, which would help too.