Derrick Rose, encouraging performance or ugly foreshadowing?

As the Bulls clobbered the Indiana Pacers by 16 points at the United Center, Derrick Rose put on a curious performance. He was 7/16 from the field for 20 points. A stat line that wouldn't be all that unusual for Rose if that were the end of the story. However, his 7/16 came with 11 three point attempts and six makes.

The initial reaction to a guy drilling three pointer after three pointer as his team rolls to a huge victory against a bitter [non] rival is to cheer the performance.

In fact, if Derrick Rose continues to knock down threes with such consistency then look out NBA. However, over the past two games Derrick Rose has had 37 field goal attempts without making it to the free throw line. While 6/11 from beyond the arc is amazing, 1/5 from inside the arc is a bit scary.

Derrick Rose wasn't getting to the rim and finishing. He wasn't creating havoc for the Pacers defense by penetrating and scoring and causing huge adjustments.

In the end, pre-season Derrick Rose looked pretty amazing, but against pre-season competition he as able to drive in more of a straight line. He still looks lightning fast to the hole when he goes in a straight line.

Regular season Derrick Rose needs quicker change of direction to create seams in the defense and has struggled to find it. This was Derrick's best scoring game of the season in terms of both efficiency and total points made doubly great based on who it came against. However, I have an underlying concern over how it was done and whether such a performance is really sustainable during the season.

Bobcats come into town playing a bit better

The Bobcats are currently in playoff contention, and this early in the season it appears as though the Bulls might just get that first rounder from the Tyrus Thomas trade this season. It's top 10 protected for the year, so the best pick Chicago can get is #11.

In fact, while I've long been hoping the Bulls would delay getting this pick until 2016, I now think Chicago's best bet is to collect the pick now. With a star laden draft this season, if the Bobcats have two draft picks [they are owed one from Detroit] then they'll have a very good chance at significantly improving the team next year and giving the Bulls a worse pick in a worse draft.

So let's root for Charlotte to finish 9th in the conference this season.

The Bulls can help out that cause with a win tonight at the United Center as the Bobcats are tied for sixth presently. While Charlotte is certainly playing better, they don't offer anything the Bulls shouldn't be able to counter.

Their big signing, Al Jefferson, has missed all but three games and is questionable for tonight. They've been living off the offense created by their guards with Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions leading the way. MKG is finally showing some signs of why he was drafted so high and is having a quality season as well.

Still, the Bobcats are largely a group of sub 40% shooters that can struggle to put the ball in the hoop. Without Jefferson they have very little inside presence, and their best scoring big man is Josh McRoberts who's doing most of his damage by shooting threes.

After a shaky start, the Bulls defense has cranked things up to elite level again and is shutting down opponents left and right. I expect the Bulls defense to contain a fairly one dimensional Bobcats offense well.

How will Rose look against these little guards?

Derrick Rose should be able to beast these guys. He's got way too much strength and size for them to hope to contain him. Nor do the Bobcats have much in the way of interior help defense.

It was understandable why Rose took what the defense gave him against the Pacers, but this defense should give him plenty of opportunities at the rim. Let's see how he does taking those.

This is one of those games where the Bulls interior advantage should be extremely pronounced. The Bulls should score through plenty of drives as well as post ups against a pedestrian, undersized Bobcat defense.

Bismack Biyombo is the only quality interior defender on the squad, so the Bulls will need to focus on attacking the basket all night long.

Get this one before hitting the road

This should be a fairly easy win for Chicago, and they had out of town for the circus trip after the game. While the trip overall isn't as daunting as the past (Cavs, Pistons, and Jazz are on it), it starts off with three straight tough opponents over four days in Denver, Portland, and the Clippers.

Chicago needs to continue to bag the easy wins to balance out some of these tough upcoming games.

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  • Doug listening to your podcasts and your comments its seems like your worried about drose being the player he once was. It being so early I'm trying to be optimistic but I gotta admit what I've seen thus far does worry me a lil bit

  • It was nice seeing Derrick drill 3s but the lack of a midrange game and not getting to the line is worrying. Jeremy Lin who wasn't even drafted is getting 5 FTA per game. It's just getting ridiculous with the refs disrespecting Rose, does he have to flare out his arms searching for contact like Dwayne Wade does. I just want to see Derrick balance out his offensive game and not rely on one thing whether its the 3 or the drive, I'd like to see the use of the midrange jumper and floater.

  • My take on Rose has been that while he looks like he can penetrate the lane and get to the rim, he is not finishing well and therefore not getting free throws because he doesn't seem to have enough vertical lift once he gets to the rim. Right now he is playing below the rim, where he used to finish at or above the rim. Only time will tell if this is temporary, or if this is the future for Rose, and he will have to adjust to this new reality.

  • Derrick said it in his post-game interview...the Pacer defenders were going under the screen, giving him the wide-open shot. That was probably not a bad strategy from Indy's perspective, based on Rose's shooting up to that point in the season. I don't think that mistake will be made again by any quality teams. And obviously that type of performance will not be consistently sustainable, so no need to worry about that becoming Rose's long-term plan. If the opponent is going to give Rose open looks, however, I say start jacking up shots; he's good enough to hit those.

    Otherwise, I like the fact Rose is taking what the defense gives. The scoring seems to be more evenly spread among the entire team, which will be critical to going deep into the playoffs; especially considering there is no second superstar on the team. As long as everyone else can maintain respectable shooting percentages, this team will be able to generate some solid offense.

    I will also be looking for Boozer to have another solid game against the Bobcats tonight.

  • It was encouraging, he has to put up shots. As he keeps putting them up his % should keep getting better til he's back in form.

    Get used to him shooting the 3 a lot too because he's made a conscious decision to do it. It's situational. He seems to be going in with the mindset every game that if his man goes under a screen, backs off, or picks him up in transition with his hands down he's going to raise up for 3 right away. Since his shot selection is based on those fundamentals I'm fine with the increase in 3pt attempts.

  • It's a double edged sword... you want Rose to rely more on mid-range and 3's so he does not get clobbered at the rim. But, you want him to get to the line so he can get "easy" points - even if getting fouled hard puts him at injury risk.

    It's a long season. He did not play last year and is returning from a major injury. His mid-range came should be fine over time.

    Rose has NEVER been an efficient player. He's never drawn fouls and only recently has begun to shoot from 3 with any acceptable percentage. It's not like he's going to change over night. He's still DRose.

  • On a different note, I like how Rose played off the ball with Hinrich at the point. Hinrich is a nice player still, but I'm not sure how long he'll last. (Maybe Hinrich signs another season at a min-type deal?)

    The Bulls should consider finding a versatile shooter who can also play some point. Instead of finding a SG, maybe the Bulls can play Rose at SG more and go find another PG.

    I think the conversation needs to start with Eric Gordon, although he's risky since his salary is near max and he's always injured. It would likely force amnestying Boozer, although that may not be such a bad thing since Boozer is not the future. Perhaps if the Bulls get that Charlotte pick in the 2014 draft they should consider this type of player.

    This would take the Miami strategy of doubling Rose early in the shot clock out of play - whether he has the Ball or not. As long as Mirotic comes over, it will be impossible to double Rose on pick 'n rolls, too. Imagine a pick 'n roll with Rose and Mirotic with a shooter like Gordon (or someone else) to space!

  • I say lets wait until All-Star break before we dissect Rose and his return from surgery - or at most monthly evaluations. His recovery will be a work-in-progress for some time, maybe even into next season.

    I was very happy to see Rose not play on Friday. Is a culture change occurring within the Bulls? Starters minutes are down, no Bulls are near the league lead, players sitting games out as precaution, a new director for training-physical therapy hired (Jen Swanson), the new practice facility being built next to the UC. I have a suspicion Michael Reinsdorf's influence is beginning to be felt and he's bringing some fresh ideas into the organization.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Those changes should upgrade the team year after year. It's been needed, and it can be a key factor to the Bulls becoming annual contenders.

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