Derrick Rose, obviously, isn’t anything close to his old self. The Chicago Bulls star is averaging fewer points than shots per game this season and sports a dismal true shooting percentage of 41.9, numbers more associated with a replacement-level backup as opposed to a former MVP.
Those early-season struggles have evaporated the last vestige of hope that Rose will ever regain his prior form. Nevertheless, this telling tidbit still paints a more depressing picture of the 27-year-old’s current limitations than even his poor performance over the first two months of 2015-16.
In a sprawling story exploring the Bulls’ increasingly tenuous grasp on contention, ESPN’s Zach Lowe reports that Rose’s teammates treated his casual dunk in a recent practice as they would one by a player like pint-sized guard Aaron Brooks.
When [Rose] dunked in shootaround on Wednesday morning, it was an event, team sources say — perhaps the first time anyone could remember him dunking all season, and a signal he was ready to flash back into the past that night.
According to basketball reference, Rose has yet to dunk in a game this season.
Either way, he somewhat delivered on that supposed glimpse of vintage athleticism against the Memphis Grizzlies later on Wednesday. Though Rose scored 19 points on 19 shots, he showed off the relentless aggression and natural explosion that first propelled him to superstardom a half-decade ago.
That success proved fleeting. Rose combined for 14 points on 28.5 percent shooting in Chicago’s consecutive losses to the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks earlier this week, and failed to manage average efficiency during his 34-point outing in a quadruple-overtime loss to the Detroit Pistons Friday night.
As Fred Hoiberg continues shuffling his rotation and Jimmy Butler pokes and prods the organization with incendiary post-game quotes, it’s Rose who remains arguably the Bulls’ biggest problem. The eye test and statistics of all kinds support that line of thinking. But just in case you doubt it, wide-eyed optimism gleaned from a casual dunk by a player who used to do things like this certainly support it, too.
(Via ESPN’s Zach Lowe)