It’s no secret that Derrick Rose is struggling to find his MVP ways this season. After a wonderful preseason all Bulls fans were high on Derrick and this team as a whole. Going 8-0 in the preseason is nothing to really brag about, but it did give us a little more confidence as fans that this could be the year. After all, it was supposed to be our year in 2011 before the injury that rocked Chicago occurred. With this being perhaps the best Chicago starting five since 1998, expectations were not only high for the fan base, but also for the players. Guys came to camp early, looked in shape, stayed after practice to work on holes in their game. They were setting the tone early for a great run. But Derrick and this team is struggling.
In just 3 games Derrick is shooting 28.8% (15-52) from the field and averaging 14.0 ppg. His shot is endangered, his finishing is horrible, and he can’t seem to hang on to the ball to save his life. With so many unforced turnovers and ill advised passes Derrick finds himself only ahead Steph Curry for most turnovers in the NBA with 17. His 3-point shot that he has said to have added to his arsena,l is a struggling mightily also at 26.7% (4-15).
The one aspect of his offensive game that stands out to me is his mid-range game. Derrick has also shown the ability to hit that 10-18 footer since his rookie season. This year however Derrick is 1-8 between 8ft and 22ft. His only basket in that range, was his game winner over Tyson Chandler on Halloween night. A shot that not only won the game in his first regular season game at home since the injury, but also has kept the Bulls from falling to 0-3.
So why the struggles shooting? Why the turnovers? What is with our beloved MVP?
Pressure: Derrick may be feeling the weight of Chicago on his shoulders. He heard the critics, fans, and certain members media, call him out for his decision to sit out the entire 2012-13 season. Pressure to come back after such a layoff and prove to these doubters that it was the right choice. That he could get back to the “old” Derrick with properly rehabing his knee, and being careful with his timeline. With those types of “pressures” Derrick seems to be forcing the issue, taking it upon himself to get to the basket like the “old” Derrick. Trying to prove the doubters and haters wrong has led to his 17 turnovers and poor shooting.
Changed Shot: Any fan of the Bulls and Derrick Rose may have seen the different mechanics in Derricks jumper. Although he has said he worked on getting a higher arc on it and becoming a more natural shooter, his shot looks flat, and worse that pre-injury. Now I know this is only a small sample size of the difference but see for yourself, look at some of Derrick’s past vs. present footage and you will notice this is a change that looks consistent.
You will notice in his before he wasn’t leaning into the shot. He jumped straight up feet spread about shoulder width apart and had a slight fade away as he came down. He landed on his left leg first. The same leg that he tore his ACL. In his new shooting form he is leaning forward, legs almost seem to cross midair, and as he comes down he is twisting his body to the left to insure that his right foot is the first one to come down. Now this could be nothing, coincidental, or maybe this is the shooting form he adopted while going through his rehab to help protect that knee and make adjustments so he could work on his jumper.
Whether it be the pressure, the rust, or the changed shot, one thing is for certain. Derrick Rose is back in a Bulls uniform, we all expected struggles to happen during his comeback process but its important we don’t lose hope. This is a long season. With this team, its leaders, and the coaching staff, it’s impossible to imagine the struggles we are seeing from not only Rose, but the entire team last too much longer.
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