Zuba: Rose’s Decision-Making Questioned

By Sam Zuba-

(CBS) Few aspects of Derrick Rose’s game can reasonably be questioned.

His toughness? Certainly not. You’d be hard-pressed to find a player in the NBA who takes more of a beating than Derrick Rose. Coming into the 2012 season, he had missed just six games in his first three seasons.

His ability? No chance. Unlike many top draft picks who bust in the NBA, Rose became the league’s MVP in his third season.

His decision-making in key situations? On Wednesday night, the answer to that question was yes.

With the Bulls trailing the Pacers 92-90 with 23 seconds to go, the MVP of the league had the ball in his hands and a chance to tie the game.

After all, who else would you want taking the final shot other than Derrick Rose? No one. But that’s not quite how things played out.

With time running out, Rose dribbled to the corner before attacking the basket. As he went in for the contested layup, the Pacers defense collapsed, leaving Brian Scalabrine wide open just beyond the 3-point arch.

Yes,  that Brian Scalabrine.

Rose kicked it out to the open Scalabrine, who missed a wide open 3-pointer, sealing the Bulls’ fate and their first home loss of the season.

“I was trusting my teammate,” Rose said. “I thought it was a good shot. At the time, I thought I didn’t have a shot. I think I made the right play. If anything, I’m going to learn from it.

“I thought I did what I had to do. I thought I had the lane, but then somebody stepped over. There are so many ways I could’ve played it out. I could’ve held it for another shot, but I saw that they weren’t ready to defend (Scalabrine). I just took off and tried to get the easy basket.”

This game was one of the Bulls’ first real tests of the season. Coming into Wednesday night’s game, they had the second highest scoring margin in the NBA, but that was all put to test against the Pacers.

I have no problem with Rose finding the open man on most plays, but when the game is on the line, I want the ball in his hands.

He’s the MVP for a reason. He’s one of the best players in the league — it’s his shot.

As I watched the game unfold, I couldn’t help but think what other MVPs would have done.

Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant? Wouldn’t have even thought of kicking it out. Great players put the team on their backs when the game is on the line. It’s that killer instinct that people often associate with Jordan and Bryant — the ability to put the game away. On Wednesday night, Rose didn’t do that.

He dished it out.

After the game, Rose was noticeably upset, as he should have been — upset with his team, with their overall performance, but more importantly and more deservedly, himself.

He’s the MVP of the league, but he still has some learning to do.

“Don’t get ourselves in this position again,” Rose said. “When we’re up by 10 at the half, we just gotta learn to put teams away. That’s something we gotta learn quickly.”

sam zuba Zuba: Roses Decision Making Questioned

Sam Zuba

Sam is the Sports Content Producer for CBSChicago.com. Before earning a degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, he spent two summers cover the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago Cubs for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SamZuba and read more of his columns here.

  • Jake from da burbs

    Its just one game. Lets not go overboard here. From a pure basketball perspective, Rose made the right play. He drove, found the WIDE OPEN shooter, and the ball just didn’t go down. It happens.

    Fact is… teams need to see that Rose will trust his teammates to take the final shot because being undersized, teams at the end of the games are just going to run 2-3 guys at him and force him into a bad shot.

    I’m not worried about last night’s game. Had no Deng, no Gibson and there are new lineups on the floor with Scal and Butler getting more minutes. This team is learning how to play with new lineups. Pacers also had a great game behind the 3pt line (50%) while the Bulls were pretty terrible (23%). Seems like anytime the Bulls were about to make a run to make it out of reach, Pacers knocked down huge 3pters. Roy Hibbert was also a big problem all night long.

    If you want to place blame, dont look at Rose or even Scalabrine. Look at Boozer and his 11pt performance in 38min and his terrible defense against West and psycho T… Boozer needs to have 20 every night with Lu out for a few weeks.

  • Meatless Meatball

    Sam, I know you’re not responsible for the titles of your articles, but this whole thing about “people” questioning Rose’s judgment… It’s really just you, isn’t it? Yeah, Rose made a mistake. But there were plenty of mistakes to go around, and it’s not solely on Rose that they lost. In fact, I don’t even know how big of a mistake it was; you go with the open shot. I guarantee you that if Jordan or Kobe was in the same situation and there was a guy sitting there open, they dish it. Jordan did exactly that — in the Finals, no less — when he drove, got triple-teamed, and dished it to Steve Kerr at the free throw line. Why? Because Kerr was open, and he wasn’t. So don’t give me this nonsense about how the star always has to have the last shot.

    Rose made the right call. Scalabrine should have nailed a wide-open shot. That he couldn’t speaks volumes about his game, not Rose’s. Your overreaction really smacks of needing something to fill up space for today’s column, and that’s well beneath you.

    • Meatless Meatball

      I realize now that I said, “Yeah, Rose made a mistake.” I would like to retract that part, because in thinking about it, I don’t think it was a mistake. My bad.

    • Sam Zuba

      I don’t normally comment on my work, but I’ll bite here:

      From an X’s and O’s stand point, yes. Scal was WIDE open. You can’t ignore the situation, though. The Bulls had one shot. What would you rather have: Rose taking a contested layup (most likely drawing a foul) or Scal with a wide open 3? My money is on Rose any day.

      To compare Scalabrine to Paxson or Kerr is irresponsible. Had Rose dished to Korver, I’d feel better about it. But Scal? Give me a break.

      • Reading Rainbow

        And sure, you can make just a blanket statement about what is irresponsible. Don’t worry about not backing that up somehow though.

        Point is, this was a regular season game where each game really isn’t going to matter for the Bulls, especially with injuries. You could make the argument this game was pointless so you gained more knowledge about one of your player’s ability to make the big shot under pressure which could be used in the future.

        In other words – stop making up BS to write about

      • Markie Maypo

        You mean Rose with 3 – 7′ behemoths right next to him about to block his shot? THAT “one shot”? How do guys like you even get THROUGH journalism school? You’re nothing but an over-reactionary fanboy who thinks he has all the answers. You’re no different than the guys who call up the score every day and whine because “Lovie isn’t anything like Ditka” or whatever other nonsense they want to spew. Derrick made the right decision, and I want to see him make that decision 100 time out of 100 in that situation.

      • Reading Rainbow

        Brian Scalabrine is a professional basketball player with some offensive skills that’s not a Center. I don’t care who else has the ball if the player’s wide open you give them that shot. Even though Steve Kerr made the shot to with the Championship with Jordon do you criticize Jordon for not taking the shot himself???

  • EJ

    Ask Steve Kerr or John Paxson if Jordan ever passed up a shot with a game on the line;’ in the Finals no less.

    • Markie Maypo

      This isn’t the finals…it’s the 20th game of the regular season…shut up.

  • Andrew

    People if you don’t play the game. Don’t place no blame.

  • EJ

    Sorry MM, you beat me too it.

  • Cris Benson

    Sam great column! While I agree with your point it was the wrong decision to kick the ball out and instead get the two and hopefully the foul.

    But! Having trust for a teammate who is within 15 feet of the closest defender is a natural play choice.

    Scalabrine plays in the NBA right? He has a NBA title with Boston right? So by now he is a NBA veteran who should be more then capable of hitting a wide open three point shot. RIGHT?

    I can’t help but think your column is just as easy to write if Rose doesn’t pass the to Scalabrine and misses the two point attempt on his own.

    Then Rose becomes a selfish player who needs to pass the ball like Magic Johnson, Gary Peyton, and many other famous who were famous for finding the open man.

    By the way MJ passed the ball to Steve Kerr, John Paxson, even Craig Hodges to end many a game including the NBA Finals. He may have been aggressive but he wasn’t always putting it on himself to finish the game.

    One thing Rose has learned is you’re dammed if you do dammed if you don’t.

    • Markie Maypo

      You and Sam need to go to basketball school. Derrick had NO CHANCE to get a shot off. And we all know, judging by how the officiating was for most of the game, that there WOULD NOT have been a foul called. Rose made the RIGHT decision. Period. Leave him alone, he’s the MVP for a reason, and it isn’t because he sucks.

    • Markie Maypo

      I suppose it would have been better if I would have read your ENTIRE comment before getting angry…? Sorry Cris.

      SAM on the other hand……

  • Dean

    Does anyone read this stuff before it’s posted? One would hope that the editor would have the knowledge to remind the writer the number of times MJ or Kobe passed at the end of a game to a wide-open teammate for the game winner.

    Or, would have let the writer know that Scalabrine had time to make another pass. Rose passed to an open Scalabrine with 13 seconds left on the shot clock and 24 seconds on the game clock. If you want to question judgment, question Scalabrine for shooting or Thibs for having him on the court.

    But to question Rose is simply demonstrating a lack of understanding of the game and the situation. And giving an example of poor editorial judgment.

  • AC-WEB

    It was the right call. He has to trust his teamates to make an open shot. If Scalabrni can’t make that shot, he should not be on the floor and positioning himself to take a three. That’s coach Thibs fault.

    Also, I seemed to remember Jordan passed the ball to Wennington for a game winning shot.

    It’s a regular season game and not a big issue. The biggest issue was not the shot, but letting the Pacers stay in the game.

  • Jonathan

    haha. If Scal does knock down that shot, this same guy is writing a story today praising Rose’s unselfishness. There were enough things about that game to criticize – Rose passing to a wide open teammate in the waning seconds isn’t one of them.

  • Harold Jr.

    Dear Score Please only let people who know about the NBA game write about the NBA game. Yes if Scalls knocks down the shot then great pass. HE DID THE RIGHT THING !!!! KNOW THE DAMN GAME BESIDES SOME LAZY POPULIST BS..

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