I admit I was over-hyped after his preseason performances. I thought, wow, Derrick just may have an Adrian Peterson-like start to the season. But in the back of my mind I also kinda figured this would happen. It was tough not to have high hopes that Rose would have no drop off in production and little to no rust.
But nevertheless, Rose is rusty.
At times he flashes his ability to finish at the basket and he gets in with ease. That is certainly no problem for Rose, as he has been living in the paint through his three games this season. He is shooting terribly and seems to not know what to do when he is in the air — as well as passing the ball like Jonathan Quinn did for the Bears.
But all of that stuff is minor. Give him a month and shots will start falling; his ability to finish consistently at the rim will return, and Rose will dominate once again. Who knows, Rose may not be Derrick Rose until around the All-Star break.
But it was refreshing to see him maintain his top notch clutch gene against the Knicks, hitting the floater for the win after struggling all game. As soon as Derrick gets that floater to start falling consistently he will begin to return to form.
Most of his issues now are timing related and getting back to game speed. Panicking Bulls fans need to relax and take a breath. Rose will return to being a top three player in the game and among the MVP conversation.
He hasn’t played basketball in 17 months, coming off of major surgery, and this should of been the expectation for him in his return. At some point that breakout game will come where he scores 25 and dishes out seven assists en route to wrecking the opponent.
But there is still a concern — at least in my eyes — and it is with regard to his defense. Rose seemingly can’t stay in front of his man right now, as seen when the Bulls played the Sixers. Michael Carter-Williams made him look silly. That is the concern for me, because Rose has never been a lock down defender to begin with. But it wasn't ever a significant issue.
Admittedly, this may just be attributed to a guy whose reaction time on defense just isn’t fully back yet. He’s a step behind so far through three games. I’ll bite my tongue in the meantime when it comes to complaining about his defense.
But when he gets back to being D-Rose, his defense needs to improve and take the next step. I dream of days where it’s Rose vs. Westbrook in the NBA finals, but I am not so sure Rose could handle Westbrook that well.
The bottom line is this: the Bulls will be fine. No, they are not winning a championship without everyone being 100% healthy and playing perfect. But they can be trouble for anyone they play in the postseason because of the way they will play team defense. And because of that Derrick Rose fella.
Patience will be a word that needs reiteration every single game until Rose looks like Rose again. It is coming, it just might take longer than we all expected.
This is the final step of ACL rehab. Like it or not.