Chicago Bulls fans who wanted Derrick Rose back in the worst way got their wish. Derrick Rose has played in the worst way possible since returning from his year-long layoff.
Some transition was to be expected. No amount of preseason basketball can get a player ready for the pace and pressure of the regular season, especially after he's spent an entire season off the court. Even for a player of Rose's ability, you had to figure that it would be rough going for the first few weeks of the season.
However, few could have foreseen how poor Rose would be so far.
In the Bulls' first six games, the star point guard is averaging 14.7 points per game, third on the team. That's not the major problem. What's the issue is how he's getting those 14.7 points a game. Rose is shooting a paltry 33.3 percent from the floor, with a true-shooting percentage of .420 and an effective field goal percentage of .365, according to Basketball-Reference.
All of those numbers are the worst of Rose's career and rank last among the Bulls players who've played in every game so far this year.
To make matters worse, Rose is turning the ball over an average of 4.2 times per game and has a turnover percentage of 19.3.
Not coincidentally, Chicago has started out 3-3.
Simply put, Rose has to do something differently. He has to adjust to the new version of himself.
Maybe he could look at video of Tony Parker, who's more of a slasher but has figured out how to attack the basket without putting his body in harm's way every time.
Dwyane Wade could be another example. Sure, LeBron James' arrival meant D-Wade would have less of the offensive burden, but there's no question the mileage he's put on his body has forced him to change his game. And yet Wade continues to average 20 points a night with a shooting percentage at or near .500.
Yes, this is a small sample size to base these conclusions off of, and yes, Rose should only continue to improve as the season goes on.
You have to wonder how much that improvement will be, though.
Not every athlete can recover from an ACL injury like Adrian Peterson did. While Rose can still be one of the best players in the league, he may lack the same explosiveness he had before the injury.
Now he's got his right hamstring to worry about as well. Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com reported that Rose might have to miss the Bulls' game with the Toronto Raptors on Friday as he rests that hamstring.
While that's not his surgically repaired left leg, it's still cause for some concern. It's easy to forget just how many injuries Rose had during that 2011-12 season before he tore that ACL. Some players have a habit of picking up niggling injuries, and Rose appears to be one of those players.
And that will only be exacerbated by his physical style of play.
Something's gotta give for Rose, and sooner or later he'll hit a reckoning point where he'll be forced to change his game. He might as well get ahead of the problem now and begin tailoring his style in order to become a more efficient scorer.