Derrick Rose hit the game-winner for the Chicago Bulls last night as they beat one of the NBA's hottest teams, the Golden State Warriors, on their home floor.
That sentence suggests Rose probably had a good game. He did not. The Bulls point guard ended up with a seriously ugly stat line, missing 20 of his 33(!?!) shots on the night.
He committed 11 turnovers, and criminally for a point guard, he had just one assist.
In the process he broke an NBA record, becoming the first player ever to score more than 30 points, with at least 10 turnovers and one of fewer assists.
But that game winner...
The fact he's even on the court, after aborted comebacks over the last two seasons, is progress. But those arguing that Rose is back to anywhere near his peak are further off the mark than a Rose jump shot.
He's shooting just 41.6 per cent on the season, 106th in the league, and just over 31 per cent on three pointers.
He's averaging 4.9 assists per game, which means Rose has a worse assist rate than shoot-first guards like Kobe Bryant, Tyreke Evans and Dwyane Wade.
He's turning the ball over too much as well, although again, the fact he's averaging 30 minutes on the court is good news for a player returning from traumatic knee surgeries.
Game-winners make for nice headlines, but the truth is, if Rose was near his peak form the Bulls would be running the East this season instead of the Atlanta Hawks.
As Bill Simmons said…
Rose still talks like the old Rose though.
"A player like myself, I want them moments," Rose told ESPN.
"I want that shot. My teammates gave me the ball to take the shot and it looks good on the resume. I'm not running away from them shots, I'm not turning them down. If anything, my teammates are going to give me the ball to take the shot, so that's a good feeling."
But he lacks that first step and pop that made him such a dynamic talent before the injury. Now, it seems like his Bulls teammates are waiting to see whether he'll take over, and responding accordingly.
When he doesn't, they have the talent to compensate - something they didn't possess previously.
Jimmy Butler is a force on both ends, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah make sweet music down low and rotation players like Nikola Mirotic, Taj Gibson and Aaron Brooks have been valuable contributors.
Ultimately, the Bulls will live and die by their franchise guard. They've invested time and money in Rose, a proposition that looked risky at the time and is now a straight-up gamble.
Still got the backing
Simmons floated ideas on possible cash-in trades on Rose for the Bulls in his recent Grantland column, but Thibodeau is firmly backing the Chicago-born star.
"He didn't allow missed shots to take away from the belief that he could still make and take a big shot," Tom Thibodeau said after the game.
"That's all a sign of his greatness and him working his way back to being the player we all know he can be."
He's along way from that yet, as last night proved, game winner or no game winner.
Do you think Rose will ever get back to MVP form?
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