Ask any Chicago Bulls fan, and they likely will not have many positive things to say about their team’s superstar right now. In fact, in an effort to keep this blog post rated PG, we won’t even repeat some of the sentiments being thrown around about injured/but-not-really-injured point guard Derrick Rose.
On Monday night, the Bulls fell in another one-sided affair to the Miami Heat, dropping Chicago into a 3-1 hole in the NBA’s Eastern Conference Semifinals. This was after the Bulls squeaked out a victory on the road in game one.
It’s all but official that Rose will not return to the floor from a knee injury to try to salvage the series. Team doctors and his personal doctor, though, have cleared Rose. The decision has been completely his, thus the frustration among Bulls fans.
Still, the dilemma is not completely cut-and-dry. Here are some reasons Derrick Rose is royally failing Chicago’s fan base, but also why those same fans are being too hard on the guy.
Earn your keep
Fans have little sympathy for athletes that get paid millions of dollars to play a game. Not only does Rose haul in a bloated salary, but he also has millions upon millions wrapped up in endorsements. Eventually, you have to earn all that money.
The franchise has been good to Rose, and all it expects is for him to deliver when it matters most. The playoffs are the epitome of crunch time and despite being cleared to play, Rose is opting to play it safe at the expense of the Chicago Bulls.
Everyone else is digging deep
Injuries and illnesses have been a theme for the Bulls during the playoffs, but they overcame them in the first round. Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng have been sidelined. Joakim Noah has battled through a foot injury to play and Nate Robinson spent a game puking in a bucket on the sidelines while playing a ton of minutes and carrying his team.
Rose’s teammates are doing everything they can to stay out on the floor. He seems to be doing the minimum.
Could he have changed the complexion of the series?
If there was any time that it made sense for Rose to return, it was after his team’s stunning Game 1 road victory over the Miami Heat. The door was left cracked open for the Bulls, who are overwhelming underdogs in the series. Why Rose did not try to ride the momentum and make his return is a true mystery.
Not mentally ready
Essentially every Derrick Rose apologist points out that a player can only return from a devastating injury once they are ready mentally. One can only assume this is what is holding Rose up. And, as a Bulls fan, do you really want him out there running the show if his mind isn’t right?
Fact: Rose wouldn’t change the series
Others argue that Rose’s return would do little to increase Chicago’s odds of defeating the defending champion Heat. Miami’s one-sided victories in the series have indicated the Heat are on a crash court with NBA Finals, and probably another NBA championship.