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Derrick Rose: “I’m not playing well right now”

Nov 3, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

Derrick Rose AP

The numbers are just ugly any way you slice them up.

Derrick Rose is shooting 28.8 percent overall and 27.6 percent from three so far this young season. He has taken nearly half his shots (48 percent) inside the restricted area but is shooting just 36 percent on those. He is 5-of-22 outside the paint, 1-of-7 from the midrange. The Bulls were up 20 on the Sixers Saturday yet lost and Rose was a big part of that collapse with five fourth quarter turnovers.

He’s had more rust than the Tin Man.

And he isn’t oblivious to it, as he told Aggrey Sam of

“You can call it whatever you want to call it,” Derrick Rose said after his 13-point, 4-for-14 shooting, eight-turnover game in the Bulls’ Saturday-night loss to the 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. “I’m not playing well right now.”

“I would have to say the turnovers,” Rose responded when asked what bothered him most about his performance. “The missed shots, I could deal with. My rhythm’s going to come. But the turnovers, I had two or three in a row. We couldn’t afford them at the time. But all I could do is work hard and like I said, it’s going to come to me.

“Me just doing too much, overthinking the play,” he continued when asked why they were occurring. “Easily could have dropped the ball to Booz or Jo, but just thinking too much. But it can easily be fixed. We blew a lead and at the end, they got to almost every loose ball, hit almost every shot they needed to win the game.”

I went back Sunday morning and watched every Rose shot and turnover through the first three games and if you want the silver lining it’s that his knee is just fine — he’s quick and explosive like his old self. That’s not the issue.

But the problem is not complex, it’s pretty obvious — he isn’t finishing shots he did before. He’s making bad decisions with the ball on the attack.

Part of what made Rose compelling to watch was his Iverson-like ability to both penetrate and finish among the trees in the paint in the NBA. We’ve seen that in flashes — his first bucket of the season, his game winner against the Knicks — but mostly if he’s contested at all he’s struggling to finish. He’s had better luck in transition, but usually there he has a little more room to operate.

He also seems more confident in taking the three, he isn’t shying away from it, but that isn’t going in either.

Three games in is small sample size theater and we should say, “It takes a while to get back up to game speed and adjust.” No matter when he came back there were going to be bumps in the road because there is simply no substitute for playing at the speed of an NBA game and dealing with the length of those players. He’s in that period.

The next question is this: How long before we should be worried?

  1. nflcinbengals - Nov 3, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Take your time big guy, it takes awhile to come back from an injury like that. We still believe in you and you leading us back to prominence!

  2. xli2006 - Nov 3, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Shades of RG3 right now.

    Bulls fans assumed they’d just wake up contenders. This is a different East since Rose last played. They might not even be the best team in their own division, especially if Rose takes awhile to return to form.

    • belleby123 - Nov 4, 2013 at 7:25 AM

      The RG3 comparison is a good one. He started the season rocky, and is now playing very well. We’ll see how D. looks by the All Star break.

  3. iowahbr - Nov 3, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    The question is not how long but rather how quickly Rose gets to learn to adjust his own game. I am sure his finish will return and the turnovers will drop but getting the ability to adjust his focus to the facts of the game is not a skill he has ever mastered and it will become necessary or he will find himself guarded by LJ again and he and the Bulls will need a different approach than the last time it happened in a close play-off game. Right now pass the D _ _ _ ball quicker.

  4. 1972wasalongtimeago - Nov 3, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    But the commercials are great!

    • herlies - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      Great commercial:

      Sports car
      Rap artists

      Nope, no stereotypes here.

  5. jzone954 - Nov 3, 2013 at 2:46 PM


  6. peddealer - Nov 3, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Kurt Hellin = Homeless mans Craig Calcaterra

  7. johngalt1783 - Nov 3, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    In addition to the rust psychological affects of injury may be negatively affecting his game. The last two seasons before his injury he was a high contact player on offense as shown by his ave FT to FGA ratio of about .346. This season so far it is only .192 which is lower than it was his rookie season.

    He had a major injury. It is rather obvious that it will take him a while to get back to his old form and it could be he won’t return to that form until 2014-15

    • belleby123 - Nov 4, 2013 at 7:26 AM

      Has anybody considered that Rose’s problems stem from sitting out too long?

  8. lenbias34pt - Nov 3, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Only a fool wouldn’t consider the possibility that Rose is fragile between the ears.
    Love the kid, but he has a lot to prove after his choice to NOT play after he was given the go ahead.

    Also of note, as much as the Bulls do lack depth, i’m not sure any team has a better 6 players.

    • antistratfordian - Nov 3, 2013 at 5:12 PM

      I thought Rose said he was “way better.”

      Rose’s period of poor play actually dates back to before he tore his ACL. The last chunk of the 2011-12 season was a struggle for him as he was dealing with some nagging injuries. I think he might have problems playing with any sort of injury or recovery related issue – his body might be fine, but his brain seems preoccupied. Remember, he only finally said he was 100% in September. So him being fully healthy is still a relatively new idea for him.

      In any case, I said earlier that during the preseason that Rose didn’t look that great against some starting units, but filled up the stat sheet mostly late against backups as the Bulls went for the preseason crown (I was harangued for saying that, like I didn’t know what I was looking at). So maybe we should’ve seen this coming.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 3, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        Sorry, I wasn’t supposed to have replied to you… but I guess that is as good a place as any.

    • lowpostfootwork - Nov 5, 2013 at 2:31 AM

      Trying to Prove anything is why he sucks right now. He’s forcing everything….. I thought I was watching 2012 Russell Westbrook for awhile.

  9. buttfumbles - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    He’s gonna be rusty after missing a full season.

  10. papichulo55 - Nov 3, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    DRoss needs to trust in his team. They had his back last year, and they will have it for as long as it takes. He is being over-critical and self-conscious. Soon, he will go back to fully concentrating on ‘Team’, and start Balling for his teammates, and not for himself.

  11. asublimeday - Nov 3, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    So Kurt, you pompous windbag: what happened to “bulls fans with their panties in a twist will forgive Rose three games into the season.”

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 4, 2013 at 12:52 AM

      You still mad at him for last year? Seems like you all moved on to being mad about him for other BS now.

  12. cpcheung - Nov 3, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    Let us review what Derrick Rose said on October 28, 2013, just less than one week ago:

    “Derrick Rose explains the evolution in his game, and warns the rest of the League of what’s to come once the regular season begins Tuesday night.

    Per the Chicago Sun-Times:

    “I bet I surprised a lot of people, but at the same time, I know how hard I worked in the offseason just to get back on the court,” Rose said. “My hard work is paying off. I’m not in my groove yet, but I’m still able to go out there and control the game a little bit. I guess when I get back into my groove, it’s really going to be scary.”

    “I think then I was just running,” Rose said of the way he used to play. “[Now, I’m] just controlling the game as a point guard, instead of just coming down. I think I’m shooting less shots this year, getting to the line more, just being smarter, being more efficient. I think [previous years] I was just coming down, jacking shots sometimes. But this year, that’s going to change.”

    Was it too arrogant for Rose to make the above self-boasting comments too early ? Even if it comes true, should he avoid too much bragging with the extreme terms like “scary” to the entire NBA? Do we have any basketball player being more humble than Rose?

  13. thethrill1111 - Nov 4, 2013 at 4:36 AM

    When he claimed he wasn’t rusty, I think he was overlooking that. In the Knicks game, he was taking layups that he would’ve made during his MVP season, only that night, he struggled in a major way. Yes, having the game winner is a confidence booster and looks good, but beyond that, he just missed a ton of shots. I would be shocked if he were to still struggle making the layups in traffic that he used to always make in a month or two. The preseason doesn’t really give an amazing indication of how well someone/ a team will perform during the regular season. So it’s not a shock of how Rose fell back to Earth a bit (also the speed and level of difficulty increases).

    If Rose continues to struggle on the offensive end, the Bulls can try to continue to lean a bit on Boozer, who has been solid out of the gates. Maybe Rose can fix things come Wednesday night at Indiana, but I have my doubts as many probably do (whether the Bulls win or lose). Rose can get back to his level of play (we know how determined that guy can be), but it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon. I don’t know; just my take on it.

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