Is this Derrick Rose’s moment?

David Friedman Columnist

By David Friedman, David Friedman is a Roar Expert

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    Larry Bird once said that he did not play to post certain specific statistics but rather he played for that moment when he controlled the game.

    That statement is a bit disingenuous – Bird was known to ask what the scoring record was in a certain arena and then do his best to break that mark – but it is true that the touchstone of greatness is not measured by numbers alone but by impact.

    An average player might shoot 0-7 from the field in a game but a great player would not do that (unless an injury forced him out of the contest in the early going); a great player would keep shooting because he would think that he is due to make his next seven shots in a row.

    When a great player keeps shooting he is putting pressure on the defence because the opposing team usually has to tilt their defence toward him, meaning that his missed shots are more likely to be recovered by his own team. In contrast, when an average player forces shots it is less likely that his teammates will get offensive rebounds because an average player does not attract extra defensive coverage.

    Derrick Rose’s value as a basketball player is more than the sum of his individual statistics. His impact can be seen in the standings. The Chicago Bulls were 33-49 in 2007-08, the year before Rose joined the squad; by his third season in 2010-11, they had the NBA’s best record (62-20) as Rose became the youngest regular season MVP in league history.

    Rose led the Bulls to the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals but he toreĀ up his knee in Chicago’s first playoff game in 2012 and the Bulls have never been quite the same since that injury.

    Rose played in 51 games in 2014-15–his most games played since 2010-11–and, not surprisingly, the Bulls posted their best 82 game regular season record since 2010-11 (50-32, including 33-18 when Rose played). He averaged 19.0 ppg and a team-high 6.5 apg during Chicago’s 4-2 first round win over Milwaukee.

    Rose increased those averages to a team-high 23.0 ppg, a team-high 7.3 apg and 6.3 rpg (second on the team) as Chicago took a 2-1 lead over Cleveland in the second round. The Bulls swiped home court advantage at Cleveland in Game 1 and they maintained it in Game 3 after Rose hit a game-winning three point shot at the buzzer.

    One of the things that I most respect about Derrick Rose is that he is a no-nonsense player. He does not say much, he does not make excuses and he does not whine: he just plays. After he hit the game-winning shot, Rose did not act the fool and jump around like he had just clinched the NBA championship. His stoic reaction showed that (1) he expects to make big shots, and (2) he understands that there is a lot of basketball to be played before the championship is decided.

    If the Bulls beat the Cavaliers and go on to win the NBA championship, Rose’s three point shot may be remembered as one of the defining moments of this season and his career. Rose did not have a great shooting game (10-26 from the field) but he made the big shot when it mattered most – and, even more significantly, the Bulls outscored the Cavaliers by 10 points when Rose was in the game.

    Rose scored 14 of Chicago’s 25 points in that pressure-packed fourth quarter, so he did not just show up at the last second to hit one shot; he controlled the game down the stretch before delivering the coup de grace.

    Every year when the newest group of top free agents become eligible, teams and players try to recruit stars to join forces with them – but not Rose. He always has the attitude that his team has enough talent to win now, that he will not disrespect his teammates by trying to replace them and that he is not going to beg anyone to play with him.

    Is Rose aloof or just quietly confident in himself and in his teammates? For all appearances, Rose has welcomed new teammates as they have arrived – much like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Julius Erving did in the 1980s when they were competing against each other for championships – but Rose has not publicly tried to form a super team the way that LeBron James has on two occasions.

    LeBron James has many physical and skill set advantages over Derrick Rose, including size, shooting touch and the ability to guard multiple positions. I expect James’ Cavaliers to eventually prevail over Rose’s Bulls in this series – but James has lost playoff series before while being outshone in key moments by lesser players, including Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry and Kawhi Leonard.

    Derrick Rose, who is a great player and former MVP in his own right, has a tremendous opportunity in front of him right now.

    David Friedman
    David Friedman

    David Friedman has covered the NBA for more than a decade, and in doing so, has interviewed nearly two dozen members of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players List. You can find his work at 20SecondTimeout.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • Roar Rookie

      May 11th 2015 @ 8:10am
      josh said | May 11th 2015 @ 8:10am | ! Report

      as a LeBron James fan, I hope not. At least not this year

      • Roar Rookie

        May 11th 2015 @ 9:50am
        Squidward said | May 11th 2015 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        Ditto. But I guess LBJ played the role today. With 0.1s left

        DRose had a great game though and looked like he broke Cavs hearts again

        Series will go to 7

        • Roar Rookie

          May 11th 2015 @ 11:13am
          josh said | May 11th 2015 @ 11:13am | ! Report

          It probably will go to 7, and really shapes up as the winner of this series (i.e the Cavs) will be the winner of the East.

          The Hawks wizards series a battle for second really.

    • Columnist

      May 11th 2015 @ 10:29am
      Ryan O'Connell said | May 11th 2015 @ 10:29am | ! Report

      Maybe Rose should try and form a super team. It might help offset the times when the Bulls couldn’t make a basket in a lonely gym.

      • May 13th 2015 @ 1:04pm
        astro said | May 13th 2015 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

        What if they had Melo?

    • May 11th 2015 @ 11:49am
      rouleur said | May 11th 2015 @ 11:49am | ! Report

      im a neutral (celtics) fan but i gotta say im rooting for the bulls here. love the way rose has comeback. im also a fan of the organic way the bulls have grown as opposed to trying to form a “superteam” overnight.

      BTW, its a shame Wall is injured as I think the wizards wouldve got past the hawks and a wall-rose matchup wouldve been unreal.

      • May 12th 2015 @ 2:40pm
        Clark said | May 12th 2015 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

        Yes I agree, really thought Wizards could really go for it this season.I still think they could get Atlanta but may but up against it after that. If they can keep this squad together they will give it a good run next year again for sure.

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