Derrick Rose whipped out FIBA Derrick Rose for 20 minutes. His return was perhaps punctuated by his second to last play when he went coast to coast in transition, weaved in and out of three players, and scored on a high speed layup.
Other than that single play, we more or less saw the stand around and shoot three pointers version of Rose that doesn't do much useful for Chicago. He didn't create much in the way of opportunities for anyone, nor did he do much to score himself.
I didn't expect anything else. I doubt you did either. Since Derrick has returned from the ACL injury, we've not seen a whole lot of good Derrick Rose, and we've seen him consistently try to ease himself back into the game when returning from injury rather than trying to assert himself.
Given his history it's hard to blame him for playing overly cautiously.
He was just one for seven from beyond the arc and is shooting at a shade over 28% on the season. At some point, the Bulls need to sit him down and say, "no more threes" or cap his attempts to three a game.
The problem with that, of course, is that the Bulls offense is designed in such a way to generate that open three point shot as one of its options. When Rose plays passively in the offense then he tends to end up in the shooter role rather than the creator role, so he either takes the shot the offense generates or he doesn't.
This is one of the reasons passive Derrick Rose hurts the Bulls. The offense is designed in such a way that Rose needs to be the primary creator or will end up in a position that doesn't suit his strengths.
I believe the Bulls are running a variant of a motion offense where the guards are somewhat interchangeable. The PG starts out as the primary creator and more or less has option, then everyone moves based on the option he chooses. He can attack, feed the post, or swing the ball.
Derrick is in swing the ball mode right now, where he reverses the flow of the offense then takes a cut to the basket and runs down to the opposite corner, then will typically rotate out to the wing as the play develops. This leaves Derrick with plenty of open threes.
If he feeds the post, opponents will be smart enough to simply double down on the post and close back out on Rose slowly daring him to shoot and defending the drive. Rose is taking the right shots when he launches his threes, at least in terms of the offensive design, but his lack of aggression up front is what is forcing him into so many.
As for the rest of the game, Chicago lost to a Magic team that has now won three in a row, but prior to that lost 11 of their previous 12. In short, they aren't a good team. They are a team the Bulls should easily beat with or without Rose.
The overall hand wringing can now continue as to whether the Bulls simply aren't that good or whether they take these poor teams too lightly. I tend to think it is simply the first at this point.
Chicago had a huge lead early, but took their foot off the gas and Orlando fought back to bring the game close at half time. They then slowly chipped away at the Bulls lead until it was a back and forth game and won in the final minutes with better execution as the Bulls simply couldn't stop Victor Oladipo.
The Bulls opted to play Derrick Rose his 20 minutes in three stints in the early quarters and rest him in the fourth. Given the way he played, that decision was probably just fine as Rose certainly didn't look like he was going to do anything significant to initiate offense down the stretch anyway.
It was a warm up for Derrick, and the good news for Chicago is that he is back on the court at all. There's relatively little time left in the season for him to get to where the Bulls need him to be. Earlier word was that Rose would likely not play the second half of the back to back tonight, so we'll see if that's the case.
Personally, I hope they rethink that decision. Rose only played twenty minutes last night. He played them at a low intensity, rarely pushing himself or trying to do much.
My guess is that his action last night was considerably less than what he's been doing in practice. It would benefit Chicago to get him out there against NBA players as many times as possible before the Bulls run into Cleveland or Atlanta in the playoffs, assuming they can even make it out of round one which is no formality with their current level of play.
The Bulls are a talented team searching for answers. They haven't found any recently and are running out of time quickly. Integrating Derrick and getting him comfortable attacking defenses has to be one of the biggest concerns. Hopefully, Rose goes again tonight to help build as much continuity as possible.
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