What a damn week for Derrick Rose.
We already knew that Rose is in this select zone of athletes (along with: Tiger Woods, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler) where every performance seems to generate a referendum on the entirety of his career. It's been that way for years at this point. But with Rose, it comes with the caveat of every dumb controversy and boom-or-bust performance also counting as a referendum on his character. That point was hammered home again this week in a big way.
There was a lot going on, so let's just recap everything with bullet points:
- The week begins with Rose deciding to play a facilitator's role against the Magic. He finished with six points (on 2-of-8 shooting), eight assists and seven rebounds as the Bulls edged Orlando 92-87. "It's no point in shooting when you can't see," said Rose -- who still says he's experiencing double vision -- after the game.
- To put it lightly, Tuesday's game against Charlotte was a fucking disaster. The Bulls allowed 130 points to a previously winless Hornets team and were promptly stomped out of the gym. It was bad and everyone sucked. That included but was not limited to Rose, who finished with four points and five assists on 2-of-8 shooting. Rose was far from the only culprit in this one, but I don't think it's unfair to say he looked disinterested and unengaged.
After the game, Rose and Fred Hoiberg seemed to have differing opinions on his performance:
Rose: "As far as my performance, I love the way I pushed the ball." Hoiberg: "We gotta get (Rose) back to playing with more pace."— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) November 4, 2015
- The effort in Charlotte made it three straight single-digit scoring games for D. Rose, the first time that's ever happened in his career. That made him an easy target, and people took their shots. Brian Windhorst -- a fine reporter who does not spend his days humping LeBron's leg, as many of you believe -- said on ESPN Radio he believes Rose's time in Chicago is coming to an end:
- Thursday! Ohhh, Thursday. It was beautiful. Rose started 1-for-8 against the Thunder, but took over down the stretch, abusing Enes Kanter on a series of switches late to score 10 straight points himself in crunch-time and will the Bulls to a 104-98 win. The final numbers: 29 points, seven assists, five rebounds on 12-of-25 shooting.
"The Derrick Rose breakup with the Bulls has begun. I don't know how long it's going to last, I don't know when it's going to be complete, but you can sort of see it. The team and the franchise have moved on to a little bit of a certain extent. And while i am one of the people that will pound the desk and say it's not Derrick Rose's fault that he got hurt, same with Kobe. These people who apply this dislike to these guys, it's not their fault. Maybe Kobe overdid it, it's not Derrick Rose's fault that his knee got hurt. But his attitude has been not terrific. The comments that he made about his contract in 2017, you want to talk about being tone deaf?"
So now everyone loves Derrick Rose again? Now the Bulls aren't breaking up with him? Is that how this works?
There's a couple things we need to consider here. I'm going to switch it up from bullet points to numbers, if everyone is OK with that.
1. On the whole, Rose really wasn't very good last year. It's easy to make (totally legitimate) excuses for him, seeing as it was his first full season back since 2012. But at a certain point, people are wondering if Derrick Rose can still be a good NBA point guard -- forget MVP level -- and he simply hasn't proven himself to be that on a consistent basis since he tore his ACL. I say this as arguably the Internet's premier D. Rose fanboy.
2. Rose's intensity really does vary from game to game. I hope that doesn't sound like a ~hot take~ because I really don't think it is. There are days when Derrick is going to be a high-usage supernova offensively (with efficiency pending), and other days when he looks downright passive. It's easy to say "it's a long year, he's saving himself for the playoffs" ... but he also looked passive in Game 6 against the Cavs last year. Were there biggest issues at play in that game? Perhaps. But I'm not here to speculate on that. All I know is he should have ripped Matthew Dellavedova's limbs off that game, and he didn't.
3. The Bulls need D. Rose. In a micro sense, he's the point guard so they need him to push the pace in Hoiberg's revamped offense. In a big picture sense, they need him because this team has no other quality point guards. So when Windhorst says the Bulls and Rose are heading for a breakup, it might seem to pass the sniff test ... until you remember there's no one being groomed behind him.
Hopefully when Rose's vision comes back to normal, the days of him playing hard some games and seemingly not playing super hard others goes away. Until then, I fear this same back and forth will continue. He was amazing against OKC, but he also played that way against Toronto and Washington and plenty more teams last year.
No one is winning a title in November, and I think that's important to remember. I just hope Rose can get up for every game -- even if it's in a facilitator's role where he's simply pushing the tempo and getting all of these other offensive weapons involved. He doesn't always need to take 25 shots to be engaged. I'm gonna write that sentence again and bold it this time: he doesn't always need to take 25 shots to be engaged. I hate this back-and-forth and it needs to end.
I'm giving Noah the last word:
Noah on Rose criticism: "Sometimes he says crazy sh*t, gets him in trouble. But at the end of the day, he's a competitor."— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) November 6, 2015
Thibs has friends
Hornets coach Steve Clifford, close friends with Tom Thibodeau: "Thibs gave me 37 suggestions on the game tonight."— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) November 3, 2015
I can't be the only one who finds the idea of Thibs having friends to be extremely confounding, right? It's not just that Thibs seems like he spends all day in his office watching tape -- OK, it's mostly that -- but, like, how do 60-year-old dudes hang out when they're not golfing?
Are Thibs and Clifford smoking weed, playing video games and talking about pick-and-roll defense? Actually, let's stop the speculation there because that has to be it.
Related: this is the best tweet of the week.
Thibs is treating this exactly like a real breakup. Dropped weight and became physically very sexy just for moments like these.— Yung Mom (@rickybrunson) November 4, 2015
Don't text Bobby Portis
Am I the only person who hates texting?— BOBBY BP PORTIS (@BPortistime) November 2, 2015
Call him, email him, snapchat him, whatever. Just stop texting him.
Playing dress up
Halloween posts feel dated now but I'm low on stuff this week.
I still can't get over how perfect this Mirotic Instagram caption was:
My favorite thing about this is Nikola Mirotic deeming Halloween "a performance" pic.twitter.com/LWmOWpxTwO— Ricky O'Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) October 31, 2015
And, as always, Lolo Jones can take a hike:
Hit me with Lolo Jones' theme music:
The No. 1 day to enjoy Aaron Brooks on a hoverboard listening to Young Thug, probably.
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