All the kind and positive words from Team USA assistant coach and Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau, USA Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski and managing director Jerry Colangelo can’t hide the fact the Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose is having a terrible FIBA World Cup in Spain and just maybe these basketball gurus knew it was going to happen.
After six games Rose is shooting 21.6 percent from the field and 9.1 percent from three point range and those statistics are worse than they seem. As a team, USA is shooting 52.7 percent from the field and everyone is looking to feed Rose wide open jump shots and easy straight line opportunities for layups and dunks – it’s not working.
“I’m loving the way that I’m playing,” Rose told reporters. “Of course missing shots, that’s part of the game. But just conditioning-wise and how I’ve been playing defense and low turnovers the last couple of games, I’m loving it. I feel like me picking up fullcourt, really getting into people, running the team (helps) me knock this rust off along the way for the regular season. I’ve exceeded my expectations. I’m not sore. My knees are good. I know a lot of people are concerned about that, but I think I’m playing well.”
Rose’s defense with both feet planted on the floor has been good. He does move well without the ball and looks like he is playing without pain, but his skills fail him time-and-time-again at the offensive end of the court and the Chicago Bulls weren’t looking to add a star defensive point guard to next season’s roster, they need scoring.
What should be raising eyebrows are the comments from the guys who decided to keep Rose on the Team USA roster over other healthy players that were available.
“The thought is that if he were to have a game where he had some real success, then that would get him over the hump,” Colangelo said. “Not just for us, but for him in terms of the upcoming season.”
“Well he hasn’t played in a long time,” Thibodeau said. “I think that was to be expected. I think the more he plays, the more his timing will come around. Right now he has missed some layups that are usually automatic. That will come.”
If you take these comments at face value, then why is Rose on Team USA? The FIBA World Cup isn’t supposed to be an opportunity for Rose to shake off the rust before the Bulls season starts. They are supposed to be in Spain to win a Gold Medal and when they play Spain (and they will play Spain) the USA can’t afford to be a man short so the Bulls point guard can get some playing time ahead of the upcoming NBA season against weaker teams.
Everyone wants Rose to make a comeback. He’s young and far too many NBA players have seen promising careers cut back or down because of knee injuries. One only has to think of Gilbert Arenas, Baron Davis, Penny Hardaway, Michael Redd or any number of other NBA stars that never got back to their old form. However, while watching Rose try to regain his old offensive rhythm in Spain, one has to wonder why he is doing it on this stage?