Derrick Rose has said several times over the last few weeks that he’s been finding his voice.
Right about now would be a good time for the former face of the Bulls franchise to find out exactly how loud that voice can be raised.
With Tuesday’s off-day coming in the wake of a disastrous 2-5 road trip, the Bulls have been kicking around the idea for a team meeting since they let go of the rope late in the Utah game. That was seven days and three losses ago.
It’s not getting better.
As a matter of fact, what trips to Minneapolis and Charlotte have shown is it’s getting worse.
Joakim Noah wouldn’t stand for this type of play, but the problem is Noah’s not standing for much these days, not even with the team because of season-ending shoulder surgery.
Jimmy Butler has tried the leadership role, but with some early resistance in the locker room by several players, and now with his own injury problem (left knee), that responsibility should fall elsewhere.
So why not Rose?
Veteran Pau Gasol welcomed the idea of a gathering of the players last week. It has seemingly remained an open invitation. And at this point they don’t need a good guy to run it. They need harsh criticism from one of their own. Whether Rose can pull that off is up for debate. The real concern is that type of eat-nails personality might not even exist in this locker room.
“There’s not a-holes on this team,’’ Gasol told reporters on Monday. “Sometimes it is useful that a guy gets on somebody else’s [case] just to make him react or do better and not take it personally. There’s a fair argument that that’s something that could be used and it could be useful, and it is useful at times. But we don’t have that type of personality in the team here, in that way.
“You could approach a guy and say, ‘Hey, let’s just try to do this better, let’s just pick it up, let’s try to figure this out.’ Communication, it’s important. I don’t think you really have to say, ‘What the [bleep], wake the [bleep] up.’ Some guys are comfortable using that type of language but I’m not going to do that.’’
Very few are with this team.
The one impactful meeting they did have this season came back in December when VP of basketball operations John Paxson addressed the team. Things turned around for a bit, including a six-game winning streak.
But now it feels like it has to come from one of their own. Someone has to try and keep what’s left of this this group together. Rose at least seems to understand that.
“We have to,’’ Rose responded, when asked how this team stays on the same page at this point. “We just have to find a rhythm some way. I like the way we were playing defense earlier in the year when we were closing games because of our defense, and the offense was behind.
“It kind of switched up where it’s the defense that we lack right now towards the end, and I think all that starts with communication, as far as getting back, who got the ball, guards talking, bigs talking, making sure everybody is on the same page.’’
Because right now it looks like the players aren’t even reading from the same novel.