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Bulls Get Good News Pau Gasol Bad News Derrick Rose

The preliminary round of the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain is three-fifths done and the Chicago Bulls have received some good news and some bad news about their best players heading into the upcoming NBA season. Pau Gasol has been great and leads the tournament in scoring, but Derrick Rose has struggled mightily on offense.

Gasol has been nothing short of dominant for Spain shooting 65.1 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range and looking a lot like the four-time All-Star that’s won two NBA Championships. Averaging 23.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists 2.3 blocks and 26 minutes, the only thing holding Gasol back from better numbers is Spain hasn’t needed anything more from him. As of now, the Bulls have to be very excited about their big upgrade at power forward.

Rose, on the other hand, hasn’t looked anything like the pre-injury All-Star of a couple of seasons ago. Team USA assistant coach and Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau is waiting and hoping for a breakout game from his point guard, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Going back to the 10 NBA games Rose played last season there were strong signals that finding his old offensive rhythm wasn’t going to be easy as Rose shot 35.4 percent from the field and 34 percent from three-point range. Coming into Team USA training camp Rose looked good physically and his mobility generated a lot of excitement, however, his former offensive prowess was still missing and he hasn’t found it yet.

Ross played in three of the four exhibition games before the World Cup and in just over 19 minutes per game he averaged 5.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2 turnovers while shooting 36.4 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from deep. There were concerns about his knees or maybe it was just game conditioning, but he wasn’t the best point guard on Team USA before Spain and seemed to get the spot on the team because Thibodeau wanted him to have it.

The first three games in the FIBA World Cup group play only confirmed what the friendlies beforehand were showing, Rose still struggles with his offense. The 5.7 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 2.3 turnovers and 19 minutes are eerily similar to his exhibition games. The 22.2 percent shooting from the field and 14.3 percent from three-point range are worse. If one ignores Rose’s 3-8 performance during Finland’s collapse, he has shot 1-10 from the field and 0-5 from three in his last two games.

The good news for Rose is he still moves well on the court and there doesn’t appear to be anything physically wrong with him. He just doesn’t have anything going on offense. Fortunately in the group stage and probably right through until the semi-finals, Team USA isn’t likely to win a game by less than 20 points even if Rose and several other players don’t have their best games. Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Thibodeau can keep throwing Rose out there in the hope he’ll find his offensive rhythm before they have to play Spain.

It appears the Team USA coaching staff can see something with Rose that hasn’t become obvious on the court just yet.

Thibodeau’s Chicago Bulls have a lot riding on Gasol and Rose. If both players can find their former All-Star form, Chicago will contend to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. The bad news is if Rose continues to struggle offensively those expectations will have to be severely tempered.


Stephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.



2 thoughts on “Bulls Get Good News Pau Gasol Bad News Derrick Rose

  1. b

    I love all the articles talking about D Rose’s play but no one is talking about the whole play of the guards for Team USA. Kyrie is playing decent but look at the players who’ve not missed games like Derrick. Steph Curry, James Hardin, Clay Thompson are shooting particularly well and the USA is shooting around 70% from the free throw line so it’s just not Derrick. Give him time, he’s two years and Thibs said all along this is the perfect platform for him to get the rust off, play with his peers and get ready for the upcoming season.

    Whomever wrote this will be kissing his ass come the middle of the season!

    1. Stephen BrotherstonStephen Brotherston Post author

      This is nothing to do about the middle of the season – that would be another story. This is about why Team USA brought along a player they knew – at least from their own comments – wasn’t ready to play.

      Team USA is winning easily, but everyone knows they won’t face the true test of this tournament until they play Spain.

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