By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) Derrick Rose is angry. And not that good kind of angry we see so often on the court when the Chicago Bulls are losing that leads to him going into assassin mode.
You know that kind of angry. Nostrils flared, chest puffed out, that thousand-yard stare at no one and everyone, the “Oh, $%&*” reaction in the eyes of the opponent. You love that angry.
But now Rose is angry with how hard he believes he’s being fouled. That’s bad angry.
“I was mad,” Rose said after the Bulls 100-94 win over the Detroit Pistons in overtime Sunday. “I’m sick and tired of people trying to take cheap shots at me. You got to say something.”
Specifically Rose was alluding to a fourth quarter foul committed by Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva. The foul left Rose with a bleeding cut on the bridge of his nose and got Villanueva charged with a flagrant foul.
“He didn’t even aim for the ball,” Rose said. “At least go for the ball. I felt like he didn’t and that’s the reason why I got mad a little bit.”
I’ll give Rose credit—throughout his career he’s been largely a great guy. Rarely is he chippy when answering questions, even though talking into microphones is blatantly apparent to not be one of his favorite things. For Rose it’s almost always been about the bottom line—win and nothing else is important.
But as he’s matured in the league and begun to accept his role as the face of a franchise and major representative of the game, we’ve started to see some of that quiet, aw shucks Rose exterior chip away, especially as he feels he’s being chipped away by others as he drives the lane. Rose was fined $25,000 about a month ago for criticizing referees and how often they put him at the free throw line.
Those comments at the time made Rose look a bit foolish, since at the time of the fine he was attempting 6.3 shots from the charity stripe per game, ranking him thirteenth among all NBA players and third among point guards. As of now he stands at 6.4 attempts per game, which would rank him atop the category for NBA point guards and ninth overall in the entire league.
Sunday’s comments make Rose look equally foolish, if not whiny.
The vast majority of shots he gets fouled on are during his trademark cutting and slashing to the hoop, oftentimes enduring the brunt of centers and power forwards much larger than him while he is in midair and essentially defenseless. Many of those fouls leave fans holding their collective breath as Rose hits the floor hard, sometimes even wincing in pain or sporting some other unpleasant look on his face.
I hate seeing him crash to the floor looking like a failed BASE jumper amid sequoias. My heart hits my throat every time Rose is confronted midair.
But that’s the game. And that is the role Rose chose a while ago. He can’t be angry now about such aspects of the job.
Hard fouls exist for a reason. They mark territory. They remind the opposition “Hey, if want to score from down here, this is what you’ll have to go through to do so.” Some players then shy away from driving to the rim. Others, like Rose, continue undeterred.
Rose needs to know, though, he can’t have it both ways. Big men can’t be expected to open the door for him and carry his luggage. Most times the hard fouls are not with intent to injure.
Villanueva’s, for example, wasn’t malicious. I didn’t believe it warranted a flagrant call either, and the only reason it got one was the immediate sight of a ticked off Rose bleeding. A hockey reaction—blood means it must have been more serious. The drawing of blood was completely unintentional. Villanueva, too, does not have a reputation as a head hunter.
Rose is no robot, I get it. I’d get mad after getting whacked in the nose, too. But he needs to learn to harness that anger into on-court play only. The type of play that hits a game-tying three pointer with 6.4 seconds left in regulation, like the one Rose hit Sunday.
It does not need to be expressed in the postgame comments, though. That accomplishes nothing but the negative. It hurts Rose’s reputation, and it creates undue controversy for a team preparing for a difficult playoff journey, one where big men down low certainly won’t take it easy on him.
If Rose doesn’t like the treatment he gets at the hoop, there is an alternative. He can become predominantly a jump shooter. That option isn’t immediately enticing since it’s apparent his legs have let him down and have led to him being short on many shots of late. And I doubt Rose or Bulls fans want to see him reduced to living on the perimeter.
He needs to accept the hazards of his job, unpleasant as they may be. Nobody is intentionally trying to hurt him, and until someone does show dirty play, Rose will have to endure the beating he takes at the rim. That’s the price a point guard has to pay if he wants to score inside.
Rose said after Sunday’s game about hard fouls, “I’m a man, where in situations like that you have to say something.”
No, you don’t have to say something. You let your play talk. You continue to be the good angry Derrick. Bad angry Derrick doesn’t win, especially off the court.
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget , but please don’t follow him in real life. He grew up in Chicago’s Beverly To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.