File this latest explanation from Bulls point guard Derrick Rose under “decent idea, poor execution.’’
After his best performance of the season Tuesday in the victory over the Pistons, Rose discussed Wednesday the sprained ankles that forced him to miss four games.
That’s when the media session became a bit of a head-scratcher regarding Rose’s priorities.
“I’m good, man,’’ Rose said when asked to assess how he’s been playing. “I feel I’ve been managing myself pretty good. I know a lot of people get mad when they see me sit out. But I think a lot of people don’t understand that when I sit out, it’s not because of this year. I’m thinking about long term. I’m thinking about after I’m done with basketball, having graduations to go to, having meetings to go to.
“I don’t want to be in my meetings all sore or be at my son’s graduation all sore just because of something I did in the past. Just learning and being smart.’’
Learning? Maybe. Being smart? That’s relative to the situation.
Rose said he had no swelling in his ankles but he wasn’t feeling the burst that he likes. Meanwhile, Joakim Noah has been playing on one good knee, Taj Gibson sprained his ankle the same night as Rose and missed one game and Jimmy Butler has played the last six games with a taped left thumb and shoulder.
Rose talking about being comfortable at graduations and in business meetings after basketball isn’t exactly what a blue-collar team playing in a perceived blue-collar city wants, or needs, to hear.
But the kicker in the Rose drama over the last week was this: After he gutted out 31 minutes last Wednesday against the Bucks and did so noticeably laboring, Rose said he learned he doesn’t need to be 100 percent to affect a game.
He shot just 4-for-10 and scored 13 points, but he also had seven assists and two steals.
Then he inexplicably opted out of the next two games, including the loss to the Celtics on Saturday.
Asked on Tuesday if he actually had learned that playing at less than 100 percent was OK, Rose’s responses were again cloudy.
“In Milwaukee, I was just trying to get the win and go out there and play a game,’’ Rose said. “I don’t have to score all the time to affect the NBA game. But I think everybody just wanted to see me score the ball. It’s fine. That’s the way I normally play. I think everybody loves the excitement.’’
Asked if he’s been fighting the idea of playing at less than 100 percent, he said, “I’m not fighting it at all. I know it. I’ve been playing this way ever since high school. In high school, I only averaged 13 or 12 points, and we won two championships. So everything I’m doing now, being on a good team, actually playing with guys who can really affect the game themselves on the offensive side and defensive side, I just have to find my role in that game. Whatever the game needs at that time, that’s what I’m going to try to bring to the game.’’
He brought 24 points and seven assists to the game against the Pistons. He came out unscathed and ready to face the Raptors on Thursday in Toronto.
Hopefully, that’s the most important meeting Rose has scheduled on his calendar the next few days.