There were two pieces of news from Bulls camp today.
1): Derek Rose has been cleared to play. But he doesn’t feel confident dunking off his left foot so he is not comfortable about returning. Seriously.
2): Sacramento Kings blew out the Bulls by 42 on Wednesday. The Kings and their dead-last-ranked defense held Chicago to 79 points, including 38.6% shooting, 2-21 from three (they made their last shot in the final minute; were 1-20 before), and 17 turnovers. On the other side, the 23-43 Kings against the #3 ranked Bulls defense dropped 121 points, 54% shooting and just 5 turnovers. By the way, the Bulls had two days off, last playing Sunday.
That may be the ugliest and biggest upset of the NBA season.
The Bulls are free-falling in the East, going 7-12 since the end of January. After contending for the 2 seed (perhaps holding it for a short time?) they are now tied for the 7 spot with games @Golden State, against Denver, Portland and Indiana upcoming. Yikes.
And their superstar guard, who they desperately need back in a wide open Eastern Conference where they would have a legit shot for the Conference Finals, “doesn’t feel confident dunking off his left foot” so he is holding out.
Who cares? Aren’t you a former MVP? You are a point guard! Can’t you do anything else?
Deron Williams has had ankle pains (both) all season and hasn’t dunked in 11 months. But he has played nearly every game despite being less effective than he usually is, faced a lot of criticism, yet his Nets are right in the thick of it just two games behind the Knicks. Where would they be without D-Will? Probably not in the playoffs. That’s what a leader does.
Derek Rose has had nearly a full year to get ready. It is a cryin’ shame that the only thing holding him back is his head and his pride. Suck it up and do your best; your team needs you, and they are paying you a helluva lot of money ($16.4M) to at least be mentally ready. Quit making excuses and figure out how to play.
Until then, the Bulls are likely to continue to get pounded and blow a good shot at a playoff run.