Chicago Bulls Star Derrick Rose Needs to Adapt Game to Avoid Shortened Career

Bob BajekAnalyst IIIFebruary 9, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 08:  Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls shoots the ball over Jarrett Jack #2 of the New Orleans Hornets at New Orleans Arena on February 8, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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Derrick Rose is falling apart despite being a youngster. Part of Rose's health problems can be attributed to his extremely aggressive playing style of constantly driving to the hoop

For Rose to prolong his playing career, last year's NBA MVP needs to adapt his game by further developing his passing and mid-range shooting effectiveness.

At just 23, Rose is having some troubling injuries. D-Rose has turf toe affecting his left big toe and left Feb. 6's New Jersey Nets game with back spasms.

A more concerning condition Rose revealed to reporters is he's had tendinitis in his legs since playing at Simeon High School. Rose said he tends to overcompensate his back because of the tendinitis, thus indirectly affecting his lower back.

The first three-plus NBA seasons had Rose constantly driving to the basket with strong penetration. The Chicago native has taken numerous beatings inside by bigger players like Jeff Foster of the Indiana Pacers and Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic.

When Foster clobbered Rose, that started a heated fight. Howard was no better, as the behemoth D12 stonewalled D-Rose in 2010, resulting in Rose spraining his left wrist.

Rose's style of play certainly is not conducive to staying healthy. He's 6'3", 190 pounds and driving the lane like a bigger small forward like LeBron James (6'8", 250 pounds) who could take taxing punishment better.

However, Rose is going against very physical post defenders like Foster (6'11", 250 pounds) and Howard (6'11", 265 pounds) who make Rose pay by laying him out with elbows, body shots and high-impact landings.

Having tendinitis and lower back problems don't help matters much for Rose, especially with this relentless driving style. Tendinitis weakens his jumping abilities, so Rose overcompensates his back to gain extra lift.

Putting extra stress on his lower back greatly increases more concerning back problems like pulled muscles, slipped discs or vertebrae compression.

A good back is essential to being an effective NBA player, just ask Hall of Famer Larry Bird. When his back gave out, Larry Legend was just a shell of his old self.

To avoid debilitating back injuries, Rose needs to do is become more of a facilitator and jump-shooter so he will not physically burn out before his time.

Every summer, D-Rose has constantly worked on his three-point and mid-range shooting, improving each year. Rose has been scoring 22 points a game this year on just 17.4 shots a game, down from 2010-11's 19.7 attempts.

Rose has become a more efficient scorer, and he needs to use his mid-range shot more. While Rose's superior driving skills sets him apart, his career stands a high chance of ending early if he fails to change how he scores.

The second part of Rose's game is becoming more of an efficient facilitator like Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul. That is something Rose has shown this season, as he has made better decisions with the ball.

Rose has improved his high-low passing and has been able to set up teammates like Kyle Korver and Richard Hamilton for wide-open baseline jumpers.

With offensive weapons like Carlos Boozer, Hamilton and Korver, Rose doesn't have to score 30 points every game for the Bulls to win. Rose can pick apart defenses more with his passing, as the Bulls are 11-1 in games their star collects eight or more assists.

While Rose's strong driving abilities make him a special player, it can also shorten his playing career as it draws damaging contact. Further honing his jumper and passing skills will prevent Rose from taking on too much taxing wear and tear.


Bob Bajek is a featured columnist for the Chicago Bulls. He is also a freelance reporter and can be followed on and Twitter.