Derrick Rose is finally gone and the Bulls are much better for it
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Stand up in your chairs, Chicago.
Clap, scream and celebrate in welcoming Derrick Rose back to the United Center on Friday night.
And then once that cloud of enthusiasm is done rushing over you and those memories of Rose streaking down the court toward some mythical move at the rim fades, please take a moment to offer up thanks.
Thanks that Rose is now in the visitor’s locker room.
Thanks that the headache that was the Rose camp, the Rose brand, is now a New York problem.
Thanks that the Bulls are a better team without Rose, this season and moving forward.
Let’s stop sugar-coating what the Rose Era actually was for the Bulls. It was three-and-a-half great years, and then four-and-a-half years of misery and excuses for the one-time basketball prodigy from the Englewood neighborhood.
A player that was never wired to deliver a seventh Larry O’Brien Trophy to the Bulls, whether his knees eventually betrayed him or not.
A player that cared more about his next pay day than his teammates or his organization.
The poster boy for “Me first.’’
“He should definitely be given a standing ovation,’’ guard Jimmy Butler said of Rose. “He did a lot of good things for the city of Chicago.’’
Before Rose was finally traded to the Knicks in the offseason, however, he was doing more harm than good for a hometown team that so badly wanted him to be a decade-long face of the franchise.
As the 3-1 Bulls prepare for both Joakim Noah and Rose’s homecoming, that harm he inflicted on the organization has been made more evident.
Butler admitted the other day that the old Bulls core was getting stale, and while this current roster is still not good enough to stop LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers from the inevitable, it’s at least a roster that likes each other, respects each other, and more importantly, plays for one another.
“We’ve got a bunch of good guys, they want everybody to do well and want to do well themselves, so everybody is in the gym, everybody is around one another,’’ Butler said.
Very few people enjoyed being around Rose, because he simply shut himself off from that aspect of being on a team.
His true team? The Rose camp. As this offseason civil case showed – a case that Rose won – not exactly a collection of choir boys to embrace.
But forget the off-the-court Rose lifestyle. At the end of the day, he was never a good teammate.
Rose’s refusal to recruit was of course spun like only the Chicago media could spin it. “Old school,’’ “Michael Jordan wouldn’t have recruited.’’
Meanwhile, forget the fact that every superstar that wanted a title has been recruiting other players the last 10 years. But Rose’s dirty little secret that people chose to ignore. He actually did recruit. Twice. He called Kirk Hinrich and he made a call to Pau Gasol.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony? Nah, he couldn’t be bothered reaching out to them. Why? Because those players were a threat to his kingdom. Hinrich and Gasol? Safe phone calls to make.
Then there was the way he treated teammates. He wasn’t mean to them, but he wasn’t anything to them. Unless your name was Noah or Taj Gibson, Rose couldn’t be bothered. There was no team functions, no working out together. That’s why the last few years looked like disheveled pick-up games.
While there’s no doubt that Rose was diligent in his rehab workouts, multiple sources have talked about how poor he was in partaking in drills and practices, even when he was medically cleared. He was a worker in making sure to get back on the court, but wasn’t going to go that extra mile to improve his game if it meant jeopardizing his eventual cash flow.
Finally, there’s Rose self-proclaimed “high basketball IQ.’’ Really? That’s why Fred Hoiberg had to dummy-down the playbook for Rose last season, and now Rose seems to be having trouble figuring out the triangle offense with the Knicks.
Rose was never a smart basketball player. He was given an athletic ability from the heavens, and once injuries stripped some of those layers away, his true game and self were exposed.
A poor decision maker both on and off the court.
If any other athlete in Chicago said and did what Rose got away with the last five years, the villagers would have gathered and torches would have been lit.
So enjoy the video montage Friday night on the United Center scoreboard. Try and remember the good times. Sure, give Rose that standing ovation.
Most of all, be thankful that he’s no longer in a Bulls uniform, dragging an organization down.
Welcome home, Derrick.
The visitor’s locker room is that way.