We were all excited to see Derrick Rose back on the court in the NBA regular season opener, and after great plays in the pre-season, we expected that the former MVP would be at the top of his game already against reigning champions Miami Heat.
But unfortunately, Rose did look like he is just coming back from a serious injury. After 18 months, that was his first regular season game, and it definitely showed.
If we start with something that his head coach Tom Thibodeau expects first from the players, tough defence. We could see that Rose wasn't able to play at the same level as the opponent's point guards Mario Chalmers (13 points) and Norris Cole (11 points, 7 rebounds).
They were both penetrating into the paint a lot easier than they would have thought, and they both had a lot more open shots than expected. That's all because Rose wasn't able to guard them on Tuesday night, as he was late in rotation, and sometimes we were able to see miscommunication between him and his teammates. And even when playing one-on-one, he wasn't able to stop either Chalmers or Cole.
If we look at the offensive end, Rose struggled also on this side of the floor. He had a bad shooting night, making only four shots out of 15 attempts, including six missed threes with only one made, and added just four assists, which is not enough for a starting point guard.
He also had five turnovers and had his shot was blocked three times. Before he got injured, Derrick was known for forcing fouls and going to the free-throw line constantly. In his MVP season, he averaged almost seven free-throw attempts per game (6.8). On Tuesday, he had only four, making three of them.
Of course we all know this was just a first game, and that there are still 81 left. But we could see that Rose and the Bulls are not there yet, especially in terms of competing for a championship.
We can be sure that Rose will start making shots, but he needs to shake off all the rust that is preventing him from playing the high level defence that we know he can.
But right now, there should not be any panic, as the Bulls and Rose have a long season ahead, and the Bulls fans are sure that their team will play better in every aspect of the game on Thursday night against the New York Knicks.
Because you only get better by playing minutes on the court.
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