All Eyes On Derrick Rose


The Chicago Bulls have won just three of their last 12 games dating back to Jan. 20. With their other backcourt star on the shelf, the Bulls now look to a familiar face in Derrick Rose to carry the load.

There’s an old saying that goes: If there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Right now, there’s a raging blaze and the Chicago Bulls are slowly walking towards the exits despite being surrounded by an inferno. This team is a game away from the All­-Star break, but sit uncomfortably as the Eastern Conference’s seventh seed and are three games away from being a subpar, under­achieving, mediocre .500 team.

No one thought this team ­­that started the year off winning 11 of their first 16 games ­­would be here midway through the regular season.

Yes, it should be noted that Mike Dunleavy has been out for quite some time and just returned this past Saturday in Minneapolis during the Bulls’ 112-­105 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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In addition, Derrick Rose missed a few games this season and dealt with a serious eye injury. On top of Rose’s injury issues, there was Joakim Noah’s injury exit, return and shortly thereafter, his exit again, which may possibly be his final one in Chicago.

To make matters even worse, it was announced on Tuesday afternoon that Jimmy Butler may be sidelined for 3­-4 weeks.

That brings the spotlight to one man: Derrick Rose.

Let’s first reflect on how the Bulls got in this dark space.

The West Coast Horrorcoaster:

The Bulls started their West Coast trip and things quickly went wrong.

After beating the Los Angeles Lakers handedly to start the trip, it seemed as if the Bulls would be able to use that momentum and string together some wins. However, they did the exact opposite.

The Bulls played the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 31 and were down 51-­47 in a competitive game at halftime. It didn’t take long for the Bulls to decide that the game was over and didn’t show up in the second half.

The Clippers blew the Bulls out of California in a 120­-93 loss.

The very next day, the Bulls came into Salt Lake City with the intent to beat the Jazz, but to their surprise and everyone else’s, the Bulls winded up going into overtime and again, they didn’t show up. With many heads down in the locker room, the Bulls seemed to have hit rock bottom.

Rose was asked if the team should have a meeting to sort out their issues.

“Right now wouldn’t be a good time to think about it, but over the next couple of days I’ll probably take that into consideration,” Rose said.

Across from Rose sat Jimmy Butler, whom looked rather exhausted and defeated with a swollen eye.

Reporters ask Butler about how he felt physically and repeated said that no one cared.

“Nobody cares how I feel. I’m supposed to help us win games… I didn’t do my job,” Butler said.

Butler would sit out the next game where the Bulls were victorious against the Sacramento Kings. E’Twaun Moore had a stellar night coming in with 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field. After this bounceback win, would the Bulls move two steps forward?


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  • The Bulls blew a 18­-point lead in Denver and lost that game and Butler for the next month.

    The next night in Minneapolis, the Bulls got outscored 12-­3 by the Timberwolves in the last three minutes of that game to add another loss to their record.

    Lastly, the Bulls got flat­out embarrassed in Charlotte. That’s about it for that game.

    The Bulls have dropped nine of their last 13 games and of those nine losses, four of them were to team at or below the .500 mark.

    That’s problematic, wouldn’t you say?

    Like Chicago’s nickname ­­– “The Second City” — the Bulls are supposed the be that second team in the Eastern Conference behind LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    However, they are far from that and are on their way to not making the playoffs at this rate.

    No, this isn’t being over the top. That’s just a fact.

    One thing that is very concerning is that no one seems to think this is a problem, or they aren’t reacting to the problem I should say. After the loss in Minneapolis, Rose was asked about frustration and when does it starts kicking in.

    “Not now, you can’t do it now. I’m not worried about it. We just got to find away to hold on to the lead in the fourth quarter. I’m not worried about it,” Rose said.

    He was then asked why he’s not worried about and he went on to say, “It’s a lot of basketball to play.”

    This is somewhat problematic because the question is, at what point do you become frustrated?

    This record isn’t ideal, nor is the lack of communication or giving up leads in the fourth quarter so one must ask the question, if not now then when? Some would go as far as saying this team has become lackadaisical. There’s fear if this team continues on its current downward spiral and Fred Hoiberg may have lost his team.

    Granted, after the All­-Star break, the Bulls could come together and turn things around.

    However, the mentality is quite concerning, but there is hope.

    There’s a small dim light at the end of the tunnel.

    Bulls woes lies on Derrick Rose’s shoulders:

    It should be noted that the Bulls are no strangers to adversity. They are facing adversity and are losing at the same time, which isn’t the norm. Butler’s injury will sideline him for about a month and that puts all the weight on Rose’s shoulders. He’s stated many times before that being vocal isn’t his nature, but he’s working on it. This team needs him to lead not only by example on the court, but be a leader with his voice.

    If the Bulls aren’t careful they could find themselves losing more and more, as they have some relevant opponents coming up in the next few weeks. Teams like Atlanta, Cleveland, Toronto, Houston, Miami and San Antonio could be a problem for the Bulls without a surge in Rose’s play.

    Despite the emergence of Butler, Rose is still the rock and anchor of this team. He will have to instill the confidence in his fellow teammates that they are still that team that can beat Cleveland and make a playoff run, despite their record and injuries.

    Next: Jimmy Butler to Miss 3-4 Weeks with Knee Strain

    Rose has a great point that there is plenty of basketball left.

    But, the problem is that mindset ­­– if not careful — ­­could lead to complacency and in return, the results may lead to utter mediocrity.