suntimes
SPOTTY 
Weather Updates

Defenses using double teams to take ball out of Derrick Rose’s hands

Derrick Rose has committed 25 turnovers has handed out only 20 assists Bulls’ first five games. | Michael Conroy/AP

Derrick Rose has committed 25 turnovers and has handed out only 20 assists in the Bulls’ first five games. | Michael Conroy/AP

storyidforme: 57582614
tmspicid: 21029836
fileheaderid: 9839068

Updated: December 11, 2013 6:52AM



How would Derrick Rose guard Derrick Rose?

The same way the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers have this season. Hard double-team traps as soon as Rose gets the ball over the half-court line. Frustrate him. Force him to make the tough pass. Most important, make one of the other players beat you.

Until the rest of the Bulls can step up and take advantage of the double teams on Rose by making easy baskets, the team will continue to struggle offensively.

‘‘Get the ball out of my hands? I guess, yeah,’’ Rose said when asked if that’s how he would defend the Bulls as an opposing coach. ‘‘It’s kind of slowing me down because it’s forcing my teammates to kind of make plays. At the same time, it’s easy basketball when I pass it to them. I know I’m going to have my opportunity to go at them or
explode, but I think jelling is the biggest thing right now.’’

The good news for Rose is there are only a handful of teams that have the personnel to double-team him successfully. The bad news is two of them — the Heat and Pacers — are teams the Bulls will have to get past in the Eastern Conference.

‘‘Somebody that’s quick on their feet,’’ Rose said when asked what type of big player is hurting him on the trap. ‘‘Usually when I would see a double team, it would be in, like, a contain. I would be able to go at the big, and the guard would be on my hip or kind of behind me.

‘‘They’re not even doing that anymore. They’re on me the whole time, forcing me to pass the ball, jumping in the air, doing all kinds of things. So they are really trying to take me out of the game with that double team. This is the first time in my career that I’ve really had to deal with this, and it kind of makes me feel good because I’m getting respect out there. At the same time, I’ve got to find a way to beat it.’’

Forget about Rose’s scoring
average and shooting percentage to date. That’s a timing issue after he missed all of last season to recover from a surgically repaired left knee. That will change.

The bigger concern is the blueprint the Heat laid out on opening night and the Pacers caught on to. There’s a reason Rose has 25 turnovers and only 20 assists in the Bulls’ first five games: He’s not making the smart pass.

‘‘As a basketball player, as long as I’ve been in this league, it’s something you just get used to,’’ Rose said of the defenses he’s seeing. ‘‘Early in my career, when they were double-teaming me, they were giving me an opportunity to go at the big. They’re taking that away now. I’ve just got to learn it.’’

Or have a teammate step up and take over the playmaking. Forward Luol Deng did that in the Bulls’
97-73 rout Friday of the Utah Jazz, falling an assist short of a triple-double.

But there still have been too many lulls in which the starting unit looks out of whack as it again gets used to having Rose on the court.

‘‘You don’t want to measure every play for him,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said of Rose. ‘‘It’s a long layoff. Each game, he’s gotten better; each day, he’s gotten better. The big plus is he’s completely healthy. He’s explosive, so the timing is
going to come. Guys are getting used to playing with him.’’

Now Rose needs to get used to playing with them. And that starts with trust.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.