Jul 12, 2011, 10:15 AM EDT
It seemed at times during the playoffs (and regular season) the Chicago Bulls offense was a playground style “give the ball to Derrick Rose and let’s see what he can create.” It wasn’t, there were plays and everything, but Rose is the one guy on that team who can consistently create shots for himself and others, so he had to. Virtually every time down.
No player since Allen Iverson dragged the Sixers offense to the 2001 NBA finals seems to have been asked to do that much for an offense that deep in the playoffs. (Iverson had a usage rate of 35.9 percent that season, compared to 32.2 percent for Rose last season, and while Kobe Bryant had similar usage rates during the Lakers two recent titles he had a lot more talent around him than Rose or Iverson.)
League MVP Rose admitted that he wore down, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo.
Rose validated his MVP credentials during the playoffs, playing as well as anyone in the first two rounds. Quietly, however, he was dealing with troublesome wrist and back injuries, in addition to the left ankle sprain he suffered in the first round against the Indiana Pacers. Rose had become used to simply putting on an ankle brace and playing whenever he had previously sprained an ankle. This time, he required an hour worth of treatment before each game….
“I just learned from last season where my conditioning wasn’t up to par at the end of the season,” Rose said. “That’s what I’m working on this summer, getting my conditioning right. There was just fatigue. My body wore down. Just going through the rounds, the first time being there past the first round, it was hard. I’m just learning from it.”
Rose is back in the gym, saying the problem was not that he didn’t have any help around him but rather that he was not in good enough condition. You love to hear that if you’re a Bulls fan, but it doesn’t mean he is right. Carlos Boozer can score, but the Bulls need to get another shot creator on the team, ideally at the guard spot. Someone who could bring what Lou Williams brought to the Sixers off the bench last season.
After LeBron James had success guarding Rose in the Eastern Conference Finals other teams will try bigger players on Rose. Which will quickly show a lot of teams that they don’t have LeBron James — he has the combination of size and speed to stay close to Rose, no other player his size does. But that will be the plan, Rose will see a lot more physical play from teams that try to wear him down as a strategy.
Rose will be ready for it. You just know it. But the Bulls still have to get him more help.
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