Derrick Rose finally made his long awaited return to the NBA on opening night against the Miami Heat. It didn’t go exactly as planned for the young point guard, however, as Rose and the Chicago Bulls were soundly defeated by the Heat. Now the Bulls sit with a 2-3 record and even though the season is still extremely young, one has to wonder if Rose is still inside his own head causing him to not play up to the level we have come to expect from the former MVP.
Derrick was cleared to return to the court late last season but chose to sit out until this season because he felt he wasn’t ready or up to par to return to the Bulls. Rose has struggled since his return which leads me to question whether or not he still feels he’s not able to play up to his old level. The mind can be a very mysterious thing, and when someone gets in their own head it can take quite a while to counteract the damage that may have been done. Derrick doubting his ability at the end of last season could have quite possibly carried over into this season and he may still be carrying that burden with him each time out on the court.
Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng are both playing well for Chicago, but the Bulls will only go as far as Rose can take them. Boozer and Deng are superior role players, but they aren’t great enough to be considered a star and someone who can be the main go-to player on a team. I expect Rose to regain his old form. It may not be the MVP form he once had, but in due time that will return too.
Derrick is still very young and has plenty of years ahead of him so his career is far from plummeting. However, it all depends on how long it takes Rose this season to get back to playing at a high level that will determine which seed in the East the Bulls end up getting. If it takes Rose a quarter, a third or maybe even half of the season to get back to the high level he was playing at just before his injury, Chicago will likely be in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference standings. If it’s just a few games until Rose can be officially declared back then Chicago has nothing to worry about and they’ll be in the top half of the East standings. Either way, as long as Rose is playing at a high level the Bulls will be competitive come playoff time.
Rose still has every ounce of ability he had before his injury. It just seems to be taking him a bit longer than everyone thought to start realizing that himself. Whether it’s a mental thing or a physical thing preventing Rose from dominating on the court, he’ll eventually be able to shake it. When he does, not only will Rose be considered the best point guard in the NBA, but we may finally have found the man who can dethrone LeBron James and the Heat as the best team in the East.
Michael Pidgeon is a Los Angeles Dodgers writer for Rant Sports.com: “Like” him on Facebook, Follow him on Twitter @1AndOnlyPidgeon, add him to your network on Google or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org