Like most Chciago Bulls fans, I watch every game on the edge of my seat for one reason and one reason only: I am praying to the basketball gods that Derrick Rose doesn't get hurt again. Every time the man drives the lane, I feel like a parent that is worried sick for their child about to tumble down the stairs.
But, that's just it -- when he drives the lane, I get worried sick. So far through six games, Rose hasn't done that as much as he should. What has confused me, though, is the widespread belief as to the reason why he hasn't driven to the basket as much. 'His vision is still a little blurry.'
If his vision is still a bit blurred, why would he opt for a step-back, pull-up or well-defended jump shot over driving the lane and potentially drawing a foul?
Now, I'll be honest. After watching his performance against a strong Western Conference contender in the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night, I put the duct tape over my own mouth. The guy was flat out unbelievable in the second half. He closed that game by himself.
So, is he back? Hold the phone, is the Derrick Rose of old back in the flesh? Don't hold your breath. It's a long season. Remember what I said about feeling like a parent worried sick over their child?
Let's shift gears for a minute. We're not too sure who the real Derrick Rose is on the court just yet. But, at the same time, we're also not too sure who he is off the court. He has always had the perception of a hometown kid who is heavily involved in the community; he could do no wrong in the eyes of Chicago.
That notion went out the window after Chicago Bulls Media Day prior to the 2015 season. Rose chose to address 2017 free agency instead the important stuff like, you know, the upcoming season.
“This whole summer I had tunnel vision. My mindset was just making sure that I was working out every day, and spending as much time as possible with my son. And focusing on those two things. Making sure my family is financially stable, as far as seeing all the money that they’re passing out in this league. Just telling the truth. Just knowing that my day will be coming up soon, and it’s not for me. It’s for P.J. (his son) and his future, so that’s what I’m thinking about now.’’
Derrick, Derrick, Derrick.
First of all, the fact that you are so "tunnel-visioned" on free agency nearly two years from now is absolutely ludicrous. But, the reasoning behind why you're so caught up in it is even more ludicrous. Your son, P.J., will be just fine on the 5-year, $95 million deal you signed with the Bulls a few years back, not to mention the fact that Adidas is paying you twice that amount ($185 million) over 13 years to wear their gear. According to Forbes, Rose was the 20th highest paid athlete for the year of 2015, and he's barely touched the court.
Why do I bring up this media day interview? Brian Windhorst reported on the apparent 'impending breakup' between he and the Bulls, stating that it had already begun and that the Bulls have moved on. Now, Windhorst threw absolutely zero factual basis in his report and named no sources. But, could he be right? Oh, absolutely, he could.
If Rose continues to spit nonsense in front of the media, it will catch up with him. Sure, only his coaches and teammates know how committed he is to the organization. But, you have to believe his publicity team shapes up his media game sooner or later, right?
If he doesn't show consistency on the court in the least bit, the Bulls may have other plans after his deal is up in 2017, and he very well could be looking at a pay-day elsewhere. The jump shots haven't fallen early on. He has defied his coach at times, opting for an outside shot versus cutting to the basket on a called play by Fred Hoiberg in the waning seconds of a tie game.
I say all of this in the truest, most honest means that I possibly can. I have been, and will be, a Chicago sports fan until I die. But, part of that means supporting the organizations in Chicago over the players at times. Do I take a particular liking to certain players? Of course, that's why there are about 40 jerseys hanging in my closet. But, do those players always remain the same? Do they always remain in Chicago? Rarely.
People change. Players change. Sometimes, it's for the better; other times, for the worse. Sometimes, they return to the form fans are used to; other times, they don't. Sometimes, their heart falls out of love with the game; other times it doesn't. Sometimes, it takes a change of scenery to provide the spark needed; other times, it doesn't. Derrick Rose has been on quite the journey, gone through several changes, faced many trials, said a handful of stupid things, been involved in a few rumors, and surely has us wondering... Who is he, really?
With that, I have this to ask -- will the real Derrick Rose please stand up?