Derrick Rose backs up promise of strong play against Slovenia

Derrick Rose told everyone he made one little adjustment and to watch and see tomorrow. Well, he didn't really shoot a whole lot better, but we did get a glimpse of classic Derrick Rose anyway.

Here's a clip of all of Derrick's made baskets and most of his assists:

Derrick did most of his scoring at the rim, but he did have that one sweet cross over dribble deep mid range jumper that he nailed. Was that just his second jump shot hit this tournament? It might be. He's still 1-13 from beyond the three point line, and off the top of my head, I can't think of any other mid range shots.

Still, that jumper looked like classic Derrick Rose and was a nice sign to see. Derrick looked much more in control finishing at the rim, and while the rumor was he wasn't going to elevate as high on his jump shots, it looks like he also took a little bit of elevation off his attacks to the hoop, maybe focusing more on body control than get leaping over everyone.

His assists were generally not difficult plays, the alley oop to Thompson was nice and a big improvement on the last alley oop he threw to DeRozan a couple games back where he fumbled the ball and had the pass off target. His other assists were just swing passes, and a dump off pass to DeMarcus Cousins after he made a great steal to start a two on none breakaway where he could have dunked it himself if he wanted to, but left it for the big man.

Of his missed shots, two were threes, one was the missed shot seen early in the video that he scored the putback on, and the other was an ill advised drive into maybe three players where he tried an aggressive spin move into a jumping one hander about five feet from the rim that missed but could have been called a foul and wasn't. He also had a turnover on a drive to the basket, and several drives that led to kick outs that missed.

It looked like overall Derrick took the advice of coach K and started playing like the old Derrick Rose instead of just getting guys touches. He probably made about 12-13 drives to the basket in his minutes which shows plenty of aggressiveness for a guy only playing 18 minutes.

So this was great to see from Derrick. This is what I've expected the entire time against the caliber of teams that Team USA has played to date. I don't expect it to be so easy against Spain and perhaps not Lithuania, but against teams like Mexico, Finland, Ukraine, Dominican Republic, Slovenia, etc, Rose should have been doing this the whole time.

These are all teams without any interior shot blocking and guards who shouldn't have a hope of staying in front of him. In terms of proving himself ready for the NBA season Rose still has a long ways to go. His drives were still coming in transition rather than the half court, we've still seen him hit a total of two? three? jumpshots in the tournament as well.

However, Derrick showed when he chooses to he can still dominate the lower level of competition which is a big step up from where we were at after the first six games and the exhibition contests.

The next two games will represent more exciting tests as Lithuana and Spain (assuming US/Spain win as expected) both have legit NBA big men on their rosters.

He has a little African in him

The full quote is even more damning:

he has a little African in him. Not in a bad way, but he's like a guy who would have a nice store out front but sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back.

However, I don't think it's as bad as it sounds. First, it's worth noting the following things:

1: He's not making a racial stereo type. African is not a racist. The context is clearly African and not black.

2: There are stereotypes for African players (often guys who haven't played a lot of basketball, require a lot of development, are there because of size/athleticism, frequently high risk, high reward, Deng doesn't really fit any of these, but it's worth noting.

3: If we said Mirotic has a little European in him, no one would be offended, and we'd know what it mean (he's a soft, white, shooter)

4: If we talked about any white player and stereotyped him as being white, we'd know exactly what that means, if he's a guard, he shoots well, has high basketball iq, no athelticism, but hustles, if he's a big man he has no skill or athleticism, but eats up minutes and can foul six times.

I don't think there's anything racially motivated behind the quote, and my guess is that the second half of the quote is not connected to the first half in terms of African's being con men, but two different ways to describe how Deng's game won't live up to its potential.

The comment about the store, IMO, means Deng looks like he's got a good game, good points, good rebounds, good character, good defense, but his game is fake. He can't create his own shot, he can't shoot threes, post up, bring efficient offense, and he doesn't move the meter.

Whatever was trying to be said there wasn't said clearly or cleanly, and who knows what is meant. However, it seems extraordinarily unlikely that the second quote was meant to imply Deng was dishonest, and I think the African quote was more based on how many African prospects end up being frauds on the basketball court.

That said, I could be wrong. It could be something that was meant offensively. However the context noted above makes far more sense, and so it's the one I would assume is correct.

My guess is that it's quite common for scouts to use terms like European, African, or whatever to lump together a bunch of stereotypical traits of people form those regions, but it's probably not a great practice. Throwing around negative stereotypes of people is never a good idea.

--updated
I read further and there's more information apparently:

"Ferry completed the racial slur by describing the player (and impliedly, all persons of African decent) as a two-faced liar and cheat."

This is inexcusable. It's also bizarre. Deng has a reputation of being one of the highest character guys in the NBA. He's definitely one of the nicest players I've met personally. I don't get that one at all. So in this sense, throw away the rest of my analysis.

The only caveat I'd add is that the quoted text isn't actually quoted from Ferry while everything else is. I find that odd, since the call was recorded. Why leave out the worst part in the actual quotes? It makes me wonder if the quoted text here is actually someone's interpretation of the exact quotes that we know Ferry said.

Either way, given what's reported, it appears this is entirely inexcusable.

Deng gave a classy response, and no one should be surprised by that:

"HE HAS A LITTLE AFRICAN IN HIM "

"These words were recently used to describe me. It would ordinarily make any African parent proud to hear their child recognized for their heritage.

"I'm proud to say I actually have a lot of African in me, not just 'a little.' For my entire life, my identity has been a source of pride and strength. Among my family and friends, in my country of South Sudan and across the broader continent of Africa, I can think of no greater privilege than to do what I love for a living while also representing my heritage on the highest stage. Unfortunately, the comment about my heritage was not made with the same respect and appreciation.

"Concerning my free agency, the focus should purely have been on my professionalism and my ability as an athlete. Every person should have the right to be treated with respect and evaluated as an individual, rather than be reduced to a stereotype. I am saddened and disappointed that this way of thinking still exists today. I am even more disturbed that it was shared so freely in a business setting.

"However, there is comfort in knowing that there are people who aren't comfortable with it and have the courage to speak up. In the same way a generalization should not define a group of people, the attitude of a few should not define a whole organization or league.

"Ultimately, I’m thankful to be with an organization that appreciates me for who I am and has gone out of its way to make me feel welcome."

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  • I suspect it would be a real eye-opener if every NBA scouting report was unsealed and available to be read by all. This report on Deng would probably come out on the tame end of the spectrum.

    Having said that, why is there a need to resort to colorful language to produce a scouting report that is useful to a personnel director? Maybe it is out of boredom that people feel the need to spice up the report but I don't see the point.

    The Deng report is easy. Exceptional person, great teammate, above average on most basketball skills, except for three-point shooting, not superior at anything, doesn't meaningfully impact the outcome of games. Why not leave it at that?

  • In reply to bjb57:

    People can't help but fall into stereotypes and I personally have always found it annoying. Early in Kirk Hinrich's career, I heard folks comparing him to John Stockton and I knew even that it was based upon physical resemblance as much as anything. Obviously that turned out to be pretty far from an apt comparison. Similarly, McDermott will be compared only to white guys throughout his career no matter what he does. He's already compared to Korver. If he turns out to be great, he'll be compared to Bird.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Why stop there, Mirotic is white and European so he has an upside of Dirk. Tony Snell could potentially turn out like Kawhi because he had dreadlocks and went to the same school.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I suspect that it is hard wired into the way our brains work, we compare things to other things that we know, that is how we learn about or make sense of the world around us. It is also the easiest way to comprehend something or communicate to someone else what something or someone is like. We do it with a lot of things in our lives besides athletes or other people. Simply put it is human nature. Doesn't make it wrong(or right for that matter) it is just the way we are.

    P.S. for whatever reason, McD does make one think more of Korver, rather than say Ray Allen or Reggie Miller. and Hinrich elicits Stockton or Price, rather than Chris Paul or Isaiah Thomas even though all four are totally ludicrous.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    My guess is the reason you would "spice up" a report is to make sure people notice it. There are probably hundreds of these reports that a GM reads, I bet they start to blur together after awhile. It wouldn't surprise me to hear that scouts try to write them in a way that they stick in your boss' head.

    That said, this sounds like a real tortured reading to me, Doug. Stereotypes like "white" or "European" are bad enough but at least they're only shorthand for a set of basketball skills. The "African" phrase clearly seems to be a reference to character. The fact that the report had to explain what was meant doesn't really support the idea of it being a common shorthand for a basketball skillset. And the explanation...if that was supposed to be clear that it was talking about basketball it wasn't clear to me. I've never heard that idiom/metaphor before.

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    In reply to bjb57:

    Above it says and I quote "Well, he didn't really shoot a whole lot better, but we did get a glimpse of classic Derrick Rose anyway."....Um how is 6 for 10 not a whole lot better. Above 50 percent is WAY better than 2 for 10. Did the guy who wrote this article not watch the game? Doesnt know facts? Or just doesnt like Drose? Lol because to start an article off with something dumb as shit makes you really not want to read the rest...

  • In reply to George Sartzetakis:

    We all love when a newby comes on the site and attacks Doug over some nearly trivial if not meanless point. Especially since we all know that Doug "has a little Luol Deng in him", i.e. he is an eminently good guy.

  • In reply to George Sartzetakis:

    He did not shoot, as in his jump shot was not better.

    His drives were much better, his shooting was not. He only hit one jump shot.

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    In reply to bjb57:

    For the man who wrote this article, D rose shot 6 for 10! How is that not good shooting??? Wake up and watch the games!

  • I'm not sure about your characterization of the Deng scouting report. The two sentences before where you started the quote make it pretty clear (IMO) that the report was talking about Deng's character, not his on court abilities: "He’s a good guy overall. But he’s not perfect. He’s got some African in him." Not as widely reported, but to me that is the most damning part.

  • I didn't even know who that quote was by until I clicked on the link. Danny Ferry always struck me as a cocky guy who couldn't reconcile the fact that despite college excellence he just wasn't that much of a factor on basketball's biggest stage, the NBA. Every time I saw him play against the Bulls I always thought he was a negative rather then a positive for his team or against any other top talent, upper echelon team. Though his career numbers to me are not terrible accept when put into context of how little playing time and points he put up on the board. Which pretty much says it all.

    So I can't say it surprises me too much that he would make these dumb ass comments about African's selling counterfeit items out the back door... that is just some stupid shit. This stupidity matching his inability to intellectualize his limited role in the NBA and accept it rather then sneer his way through it. And yet this is executive material based on competency, but not rather on his name or time with the club(ha, ha).

    As for Derrick, until he gets a different identity as in out from under his brother's thumb and a head coach and staff to change both himself and the way he plays the game I seriously doubt he's going to be a really good, effective player in a playoff setting. People that say he doesn't need to score to be effective, to quote Mike Tyson "that's ludiquisss." Derrick was regarded as a difference maker i.e star because of his scoring. Period. The Bulls won't win jack if Rose isn't scoring at minimum 18ppg and more likely into the 20's.

  • Updated the article to link to more information. The updated part where it says he's clearly talking about Deng's character is both totally baffling and inaccurate as far as I can tell.

    However, it appears my guess at context was way off.

  • Ferry's comment sounds ridiculous. Doug makes it sound not so bad, but I think it just sounds horrible.

    Ferry probably should not lose his job, but it will be interesting to see how the black attendance is in Atlanta this season. I'd be offended and would not support the Hawks - even is the current owner sells before the season. If the blacks stop attending the Hawks games, they'll draw like 4000 fans/night. It will be dreadful. Honestly, I hope the black fans boycott to show that they do matter.

  • I just don't understand what it is supposed to mean. It is so far from anything I have ever heard about Deng, that it is hard to believe they would characterize him in such a bad way. Also, if it is true that Ferry was just reading words off of a page, he might have an out on this one. I heard that there is a recording of this, so it will be interesting to hear it. Does he read it like he believes it or does he read it like it is just words on a page. Connotation does matter.
    I also believe it is interesting how the idea of boycotting the Hawks seems like a real possibility, but with the Ray Rice situation in football, nobody believes their will be a boycott of any kind.

  • Haven't read or heard what Ferry said, but whatever it was he should have known better. No matter what he meant as I said a couple of days ago it is a no win proposition for any white person, especially a white man in a position of power to comment on race. You can never be right, even if you are factually correct, you can only be wrong, especially in a PC media looking to make a scandal out of everything.

    However, the discussion by Doug and others today perfectly illustrates the question that I asked the other day, what is the difference between a stereotype and a cultural heritage. Deng even alluded to it himself by saying that depending on what was meant he would be proud to "have a little African in him".

    If you are honest with yourself you can't have one without the other, they are the exact same thing except that one is a set of characteristics associated with a certain group of people that are negative and one is a set of characteristics associated with a certain group of people that are positive.

    Frankly I am sick and tired of the oversensitivity of every "victims" group(i.e. women & minorities, who in aggregate are neither by the way) to everything that is said about them. The other day a female state department spokesman(whoops, I mean person) addressing the press said that using the phrase "that woman" when referring to a woman was sexist simply because the comments that followed were negative. I am sure had a compliment followed she would not have objected. Things are really getting insane as far as public discourse goes.

    I find it hard to believe that Ferry was trying to personally slander Deng as a human being using his race, since Deng is generally known for being an excellent person. His comments only make sense in the context that Doug presented them, a basketball stereotype. In any event Ferry should have known better and not gone there, it is a lose lose proposition.

  • It doesn't matter if the comment wasn't racially motivated or meant in a bad way. We got to stop diffusing racial comments or activities by hypothetically turning the tables, because either way it still is not right.People can say racist or prejudiced things and not be racist, but we can't let them slide because we know they're a good person, we need to check them and tell them why they're comment was wrong. Deng should be proud of his African heritage but that comment was stereotypical, there are no good stereotypes, all contribute to the oppression of people of color and reduce their character to a few traits.

  • In reply to nickyberry:

    The minute that his African heritage refers to anything more than the location of his birth or that of his parents, it essentially is/becomes a stereotype.

  • Just came across this article in Time magazine on Kareem's response to the Levinson email. Kareem has always been a different thinker for an athlete, and even different in terms of his views on race as a black man in America.

    http://time.com/3296175/bruce-levenson-atlanta-hawks-racist-email-kareem-abdul-jabbar/

    Interesting that his take is almost identical to Doug's and most of the readers on this site. It is very pragmatic and obvious to anyone who isn't looking to make a racial mountain out of a non racial molehill.

    If more African American's were as open to being honest about race relations as Jabbar has demonstrated on a number of different issues in the past, we wouldn't have nearly the level of race problems that we do now.

    When you don't take a totally partisan position on every issue, you have much more credibility on all issues.

    I'll be interested in seeing his take on the Deng situation. Also wondering how much "Uncle Tom" hate mail he got as a result of this Times article since it clearly doesn't parrot the "required" viewpoint.

  • Oh now, Pau Gasol sucks, Spain just lost to France, what are we going to do now.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Let's throw our hands in the air and proclaim that all is hopeless until Reinsdorf sells the team.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Not sure from your response if you got that I was being(attempting to, anyway) sarcastic/ironic.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yes, me too.

  • My friend and I both remember Marcus Camby trying to fight Danny Ferry outside the locker rooms after the game because he said something racist to him, so we have always hated him. I don't even understand what the racist analogy meant, none of them apply to Deng at all other than he is from Africa. Doug's good try at giving them the benefit of the doubt is a real stretch. I like to think I would've fired the scout who wrote it or really have a long talk as to what that even meant and how u could put something so offensive and off topic, it's also just bad scouting. No horrendous scouting. That guy can't scout for me.

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    Derrick scored 12 pts while his opponent Goran Dragic scored 13 pts. Less not get too hyped bout his efficiency yet. Thank goodness this tournament is almost most over, and preseason is a couple of weeks away.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    The difference is that Dragic is their number one guy, star, and third team all-nba and Rose is the backup.

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