Team USA had its first practice yesterday and will televise camp today. It will be the first chance for Bulls fans to see Derrick Rose play since last November when he tore his knee (2pm CST on NBA TV for those recording at home). However, we got to hear some quotes out of Rose for the first time in awhile.
“I’m able to control my body a little bit more, using my speed more, being smart with my speed rather than just running wild out there,” Rose said. “I’’ve become a smarter player, but I’m mad it took me seven years to learn it.”
“Trying to use a lot of floaters, a lot of pull-ups, stuff like that so you aren’t touched as much,” Rose said.
“I think when I came back last time I wanted it too bad. I was trying to force the game,” Rose said, having missed a full season then getting injured on a cut just six games into his return. “This time around I’m trying to let the game come to me, of course be aggressive at times, but be in control of the game and be smarter, and be able to run the team at the point guard position.”
Derrick Rose has never been much of a wordsmith. I'm not really going to place too much emphasis on what he says and instead watch to see what he does. However, the point he makes is that he wants to play more conservatively, absorb less contact, try and free himself up for more shots without so many hits.
I find two things to be quite ironic about this view. His knee injuries didn't happen from contact. His first happened on a move more designed to avoid contact than take it. His second just happened out of nowhere with no one around him while he wasn't doing anything special in particular.
Also, if he's going to play with varying speeds, more pull ups, more floaters, and less banging, then he probably didn't need to bulk up like the hulk this off-season. His upperbody looks jacked, and while I don't think more muscle is ever likely to hurt you, Derrick might be carrying an extra 15-20lbs on his upper body he's so buff.
That's great if you intend to play like a Bull, but if you're going to be shift and tricky and use floaters and avoid contact then well, it's probably not all that useful and might even harm you. It's actually going to put more stress on his knees landing rather than less.
So with all that said, I don't fault Derrick or his reasoning. Fans have thought for awhile that he needs to play more in control and adapt his game coming after the ACL injury. I think I speak for all Bulls fans when I say we don't really care so much about his style as we do his effectiveness, so whether he's viewed as smarter or scared will be based on the results not the mentality.
If he can be successful while avoiding contact then everyone will applaud the move of his adaptation. If he can't, then he'll get slammed for going away from what made him great.
Think that sucks? Yeah, I suppose it does, but life's not fair, and part of that "not fairness" is that Derrick Rose has earned around 300 million dollars. Another part is that he'll be judged on some unfair double standards, because in the end all we really care about is the result.
So in order to not cheat out on this one, I'll say this without seeing the results yet.
Rose has only played as an MVP caliber player when he was drawing a lot of fouls at the rim. For him to still be an MVP caliber player he'll still likely need to do that. If he's overly conservative at picking his spots and is looking to avoid contact then he might become an all-star caliber player again, but he won't be a superstar.
Rose doesn't have amazing court vision. He's not an amazing passer. He's not a great jump shooter. What he's really great at is driving to the basket and finishing. If that ability diminishes we'll have to hope he really improved in one of those other areas.
I find it highly unlikely the developed amazing court vision while sitting out. His shot? Well he may have improved that considerably. That's certainly a possibility, and we'll find out if it's true or not as time goes on but I wouldn't hold my breath.
However, a healthy all-star caliber Rose destroys a superstar caliber Rose on the bench. It's a tough debate, I can see myself landing on either side. My biggest concern with a real shift in playing style is that I'm not sure avoiding contact will really improve his odds of avoiding catastrophic injury.
Moving in a straight line into contact is probably harder on your upper body, but it's less pressure on your knees than a bunch of quick moves designed to avoid it where you are putting all the pressure on your weaker muscles designed to help with the lateral movement.
In the end though, Derrick just said some words to reassure fans. It's probably not worth reading into them at all. Especially not when Derrick Rose's vine from team USA practice shows him diving straight into guys again. It's just another speech that will perhaps be overanalyzed (and perhaps only by me) during the off-season because there's not much else to talk about.
The proof is in the result, I look forward to seeing a sneak peak at those results this afternoon.
Filed under: Uncategorized