Rose gets shooters, not shot creator

The Bulls are still searching for a scorer to play alongside Derrick Rose.

The Bulls are still searching for a scorer to play alongside Derrick Rose.

CHICAGO – Almost from the day Derrick Rose arrived, the Chicago Bulls have sought a second shot-creator to ease his workload and pose as a secondary threat when the defense stymies their explosive point guard.

Six seasons in, they still don’t have one. Call it the curse of Keith Bogans or something.

What the Bulls do have, though, as camp opens on the 2014-15 season is a squadron of shooters unlike any in recent memory at United Center. None of them is likely to put the ball on the floor and make something out of nothing the way Rose and a few other rare talents in the NBA can.

But as far as putting it in the air to great acclaim — spotting up on the perimeter or cutting-and-catching for opportunities near or beyond the arc –the Bulls have upgraded considerably. They ranked dead last in effective field-goal percentage last season (47.1 percent), 24th in 3-point accuracy (34.8) and last on anything inside the arc (45.6).

It hasn’t been a constant — they had Kyle Korver from 2010-12, and Mike Dunleavy shot 38 percent on 3-pointers last season — but it has been a problem. Now, by design, after going to school on rivals such as San Antonio, Miami, Atlanta and others, Chicago can spot two, three or even four shooters in the halfcourt.

Consider:

The idea, of course, is to spread defenses and open seams for Rose. It’s the next best thing – or maybe an equally effective strategy – to having that second creator, with Rose coming off high pick-and-rolls and finding a quiver full of arrows.

Rose sounded excited after the Bulls’ first scrimmage Tuesday, seeing the new options and how diligently defenders stayed home.

“Just thinking about how I’m actually going to attack in the offense,” Rose said. “I’ve got a lot of space now, especially with Pau being able to knock down that li’l 12-foot shot or 15-foot shot. … It’s just going to be space to really move around.”

Space is important to Rose, providing the lanes he needs to get to the rim. It’s also important to his health because, barring some alternate uniforms made of bubble-wrap and Kevlar, the best way to keep Rose on the court is to keep crowds away from him in the paint. (Asterisk time: Rose was untouched on his two season-snuffing knee injuries.)

Having played only 50 games since his MVP season of 2010-11, Rose might seem ripe to make some serious adjustments in his style of play. He might not be able to do much to lessen the torque of his violent cuts and leaps in attacking the rim, but he can throttle back occasionally and be a little smarter in traffic. He knows it and so do his coaches.

“They’re trying to make the game as simple as possible,” Rose said of some intended tweaks this season. “If I have an open shot, shoot. If I have a pull-up, shoot it. Shoot a lot more floaters so that people won’t touch my body like they did in the past throughout the entire game. I think that really hurts you I think as an athlete — you need your years.”

Chicago needs Rose’s, certainly, after waiting for his knees and his psyche to fully mend. Being wary of unnecessary contact is one of the concessions he’ll try to make to the blown opportunities of the past two years. Not rushing to show everyone, all at once, just how back he really is? That’s another.

Thibodeau, an assistant on the Team USA staff this summer, talked with Rose prior to their FIBA World Cup tour about the impatience he showed last fall. His rush to return to his spot in the NBA’s hierarchy was rusty – until it ended abruptly with torn meniscus in his right knee after just 10 games.

Rose eased back a bit this summer, playing with Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry in the USA backcourt. The Bulls don’t have that depth at point guard but they still don’t want Rose taking on too much, soon.

“Last year he was trying to get it all back in one day,” Thibodeau said. “I thought right before he got re-injured, he was starting to find a good rhythm again. This time, he’s not rushing like he did. But there’s a fine line for him, to still be aggressive, find a rhythm but not force it. I don’t want him to overthink it, I want him to play.”

Whether Rose is working the high pick-and-roll with Gasol or just bursting inside to kick out to Dunleavy, McDermott or Mirotic, the results can be just as effective as standing out top while Carmelo Anthony goes iso again and again.

“Just take pressure off of him,” said Gasol, who will try to develop an offensive chemistry not unlike what he had with Kobe Bryant in the Lakers’ best-of-times. “By playing well, by doing your job, by not having him have to force too much offensively or the pressure to create too much. When you have the weapons that we have, I think it takes pressure off of him. Creates and gives him space, and things become easier for him.”

Healthier, too.

6 Comments

  1. jerome says:

    bulls go all the way print those rings up

  2. Kareem says:

    D Rose is a top 3 ball player in the league when healthy. I don’t see them beating my favorite player in the league in LeBron James though. However I do give them a chance. I will judge Rose in January or after All- Star break being that he has missed the past 2 seasons. The bulls are loaded and will be a force in the east and the nba for that matter if they can stay healthy. The addition of Paul Gasol should give them a more consistent low post presence. Gibson Noah and Gasol is a great combination, can’t wait to see how they play off of each other. A. Brooks is a great pick up very underated player. Should provide a spark off the bench with kirk. Good draft and a real stretch 4. Butler Dunleavy Snell and the rook are the wings. Bulls fans should be excited when healthy D Rose is the best PG in the game. Hopefully he puts a little pressure on himself to distribute the ball like his college days at Memphis and control the tempo creating shots for the team because he will always have opportunities to score the ball. Also look for him to be disruptive on defense… Should be a very exciting and interesting year for the bulls. Welcome Back D Rose!!!

  3. harriethehawk says:

    Derrick Rose will be fine and so will the Chicago Bulls. Coach Thibbs has GOT to be excited about this year. It’s just been awful for them these past couple of seasons and they REALLY hung in there. Best wishes beating the Cavaliers.

  4. We are looking good. The knees are healed. More importantly, his mind is at rest. The summer helped. Being pushed by Kyrie in practice and humbled by sitting on the bench for Team U.S.A., I believe did wonders.

    Put a taste in his mouth of: Oh, you all have forgotten about me.. Ok.. Banging around in practice.. Cutting.. Dunking..
    Once he can get the jump shoot half way right, we will see what the business is..

    As far as playing with Melo’.. That would have worked too.. People, please stop hating on the man.. Or, continue.. Don’t matter.. New York will not defeat Chicago in a series (if they meet) You can’t doubt Mr. Anthony’s talent and what could have been, if he would have came to Chicago..

    We have to sit back and watch things unfold.. There is no clear cut winner for the Championship this year.. I believe that this will make for a very exciting year.. Better than the past several years..

  5. jhoodthyg says:

    Chi town is back in full swing let’s just pray no injuries befall any of the players but if they do, then I hope they are minor and nothing major this season, BULLS ALL THE WAY BABY, WHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!