There were a great deal of storylines and key takeaways from Derrick Rose’s return to the United Center Wednesday night. His homecoming and chants of ‘M-V-P’ brought back all the exciting feelings of what Derrick Rose was as a Bull and what he meant to the city.
However, the league’s youngest MVP was a different player last night. Marking year 10 in the league, Rose has become a much smarter and a more mature player and understood that his game had to change with league trends over the last few years.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 27, 2018
After his career seemingly was over with short and unsuccessful stints in New York, Cleveland and Utah, his old friend and mentor Tom Thibodeau gave him one last olive branch. But there was only so much Thibodeau could do for Rose, as it was now up to him to work his way back to form.
Derrick Rose’s story in 2018 is an incredible one, and one I never thought we would see. After four knee surgeries, he couldn’t simply just rely on what got him to the NBA to survive, even though that talent made him one of the most dynamic players in the NBA.
And while off the court issues may still haunt his legacy, on the court, his resurgence and adaptation to a new NBA in 2018 is remarkable.
What Rose now lacks in his explosiveness, he’s gained in understanding how to keep his body in control when driving to the hoop. Gone are the wild jump stops that tore his ACL, and that is replaced with efficient scoring opportunities. And the biggest change in Rose’s game; his three-point shot.
— NBA (@NBA) December 27, 2018
Rose never had a particularly good three-point percentage during his time with the Bulls, Knicks, Cavaliers or Jazz shooting a career 34% from behind the arc. This season, Rose is shooting 46.9% from three, understanding that you have to be an effective scoring threat from distance to stay afloat in the modern NBA.
If the 2018 Derrick Rose represents one thing, it is a modern NBA Player. And he represents everything the Bulls continue not to have.
Rose is a player that has learned what it takes to be in the NBA with the players like Luca Doncic, Steph Curry and Trae Young. They can score from anywhere, and most notably, from any long distance.
And every Mavs fan shouted Halleluka. pic.twitter.com/cBKM9SKnhp
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) December 24, 2018
Rose’s offseason workouts to enhance his long range shooting has paid off, and may even make him a Sixth Man Of The Year Candidate. The Bulls, however, continue to sit in the bottom of the league in three-point percentage. The Bulls have had trouble adapting to the modern NBA, even when Derrick Rose was in a Bulls uniform. As I reference in almost every Bulls article, they thought Rip Hamilton was the answer for a scoring shooting guard. But I digress.
If a fan watches any other game around the league, they will see high-octane offenses, with three-point threats at every end of the floor, from Point Guard to Center. The Bulls continue to not understand that you need to possess that skill to win in the NBA.
While the Bulls sat 5th in the league in 2015 in three-point percentage, since Rose’s departure, the Bulls have not made it out of the bottom 10 in three-point percentage. And they’ve only been outside that bottom-feeding tier three times since 2010.
Injuries have deeply affected the Bulls’ offense, whose pace under Jim Boylen ranks 20th.
The new coach inherited the league’s 30th-ranked offense.
— Chicago Sports (@ChicagoSports) December 19, 2018
The Bulls continue to lack viable scoring options from behind the arc on a consistent basis. This organization was even unable to get solid production from Kyle Korver when he was here, one of the best three-point shooters in this generation.
The Bulls are now running an offense under Jim Boylen that mirrors the NBA Rose joined when he was drafted in 2008. They are running an isolation-first mentality on offense, causing stagnation and an unhealthy reliance on defense to win them games with a team that ironically employs Jabari Parker, Mr. ‘No Defense.’
Steph Curry was drafted just a year after Derrick Rose in 2009, meaning the Bulls have had nine years to figure out how the modern NBA should look offensively. Yet they continue to run an offensive scheme reliant on an old-school offense in a league that has passed them by.
Will it truly take seeing Derrick Rose in a Timberwolves uniform to get the message crystal clear to this organization? Derrick Rose, one of the more electric and polarizing figures was able to change his game and attitude against all odds, yet the Bulls seem to think it is still 2008, and that athleticism alone will win titles.
While incredible athletes are important, there is a reason why Steph Curry has won three championships and Tyrus Thomas is out of the NBA.
Derrick Rose evolved his game into a true 2018 NBA Player and a player that could very well be an All-Star. All the Bulls can do is watch the development of a player that embodies everything they do not have.
Derrick Rose went off for 50 POINTS TONIGHT‼️ pic.twitter.com/oywkrDIqIi
— Courtside Films (@CourtsideFilms) November 1, 2018
And while the right move was made in 2016 to trade Derrick Rose, for both personal and basketball reasons, it is incredibly ironic that he has come full circle to truly being a great talent in a changed NBA. And the Bulls, as they did while he was here, continue to cling on to the hope that hustle, raw talent, and teamwork will propel their team to the Finals vs proper development and adaptation to a three-point heavy NBA.
Derrick Rose will be a free-agent in 2019, and while I do not believe the Bulls should re-open that chapter of their franchise, they should take note that the type of player Derrick Rose has become is exactly what they need to compete offensively. It’s amazing how everything comes full circle.
Derrick Rose evolved, while the Bulls sadly, still have not.