By Adam Harris–
Derrick Rose is an angry player. He holds grudges, never forgetting an opponent, and Chicago fans should be very excited about that.
On Monday and Tuesday, Rose and the Bulls faced the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks respectively, two teams who previously constructed huge comebacks against Bulls. The Kings made a 35 point comeback last year against the Bulls in the United Center, and earlier this year the Hawks made a 17 point comeback defeating the Bulls in Atlanta.
Rose was asked before the Kings game Monday about remembering the comeback, and he gave answers showing anger and a desire to gain redemption.
“I remember that game, for sure,” Rose said. “The celebration that they were doing after they won, I remember. It’s a heart breaker, but you learn from it. If we’re up 30, we’re going to try to push it to 40, 50 points.”
This attitude is a requirement if a player wants to be an NBA superstar who can be the defining player in every game he plays. Just off the top of my head, players with the same mentality include Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and even Dwayne Wade (notice I did not mention LeBron James like in previous posts).
This is amazing company to be put in, but Rose’s actions on and off the court recently have shown early signs of being able to will his team to victory. There were countless times in the mid 90’s where the Chicago Bulls would be losing a meaningless, regular season game, but Jordan would still take over in the end and will his team to a win just because he hated losing.
How many times have you watched Kobe late in the fourth just out hustle and out play his opponent no matter who it is? Kobe turns on that scowl and everyone in the building knows a huge push from the Lakers is brewing.
Dwayne Wade willed his team to a 4th spot in the Eastern Conference last year with his second best player being Mario Chalmers or Michael Beasley. Wade has been seen standing on the media bench on the sideline of American Airlines Arena screaming “this is my house!” He takes ownership in his game and his team’s record.
Kevin Garnett willed his team to a championship in 2008. Before he arrived in Boston, Paul Pierce was a lethargic player at times, but Garnett came in and changed the mentality of an essential player to the Boston championship of ’08.
Now Chicago’s own Derrick Rose is willing his team to a number one spot in the Eastern Conference, and home court advantage through out the playoffs. He took ownership in the games this past Monday and Tuesday and he willed his team to blowout victories.
After Rose said the quote above, the Bulls went on to beat the Kings by 40, scoring 132 points and then the next night beat the Atlanta Hawks by 32, scoring 114 points. That’s a combined 72 point win in the two games. Oh, and by the way, Rose scored 18 in the first game and 30 in the Hawks game with 10 assists.
Rose listens to everything his coaches and teammates say and gains knowledge to make him better on the court. He thinks big picture but still plays in the moment of every game, never wanting to overlook an opponent.
This attitude coming from a leader, and a future MVP (youngest ever) creates a winning mentality on a team which has needed to “buy in” since 1998. The Bulls have a great bench, great coach, and a superstar with support.
These are essential ingredients to an NBA Championship, if not this year, then certainly in years to come. For those who are scared that this is the Eastern Conference Utah Jazz of the past five years, shame on you. This team is light years better. The Bulls have a better superstar.