When I found out I’d be attending the Chicago Bulls home game against the Charlotte Bobcats tonight, my blood started to boil in anticipation.
After all, this pesky Bobcats squad has handed the Bulls one-eighth all their losses this season.
Apparently, Derrick Rose shares my feelings.
According to several reports, he bluntly stated that his team is looking for “revenge” on the Bobcats. The Bulls have lost to Michael Jordan’s squad both at home and on the road, with the defeat at the United Center being the only loss in Chicago’s last 14 home games.
With all the reports about Jordan practicing with the Bobcats, perhaps it’s appropriate to compare Rose’s willpower to His Airness.
Look, D-Rose will never be MJ, but still, his heightened ability to sense the type of leadership his team needs at certain times speaks volumes about how great of a player he can become in the Windy City.
After a loss in Portland, in which Nicolas Batum called out Rose for his poor defense, Rose responded with two stellar performances—on both ends of the court—against Deron Williams and Chris Paul, two of the best point guards in the NBA.
I also think back to Christmas Day against the New York Knicks. Even though the Bulls lost for the second time to New York, I was encouraged when Rose started jawing with Amare Stoudemire. It reminded me of the fire Kirk Hinrich showed when Rajon Rondo threw him into the scorer’s table during the playoffs.
Experts obsessed with Player Efficiency Rating bemoaned Rose’s inability to draw contact and get to the free throw line. All of a sudden, Rose is shooting more free throws than ever before and also making them at a better rate.
His three-point shot has been well-documented. He couldn’t do it before, and it left a hole in his game. Last offseason, he filled that hole.
What’s my point? With a comment about “revenge,” against a team owned by Jordan, it has never been more apparent that Rose carries Jordan’s will to win and be the best.
Name one player who has had that mentality since 1998. Hinrich, Gordon or Deng? Captain Kirk maybe, but he didn’t quite have the athletic ability to back that up.
Elton Brand, Jalen Rose, Jamal Crawford? Don’t make me laugh.
The Bulls have acknowledged that the Bobcats present matchup problems for them. Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace present length and playmaking ability on the wings, and together they are hard to contain, even for Ronnie Brewer and Luol Deng.
Rose himself said it would also be challenging to perform in the first game at home after a long roadtrip.
Still, does anyone really believe Rose is going to put up a dud, a la Golden State? Not with the way he has backed up his words so far this season.
Remember when he asked, “Why can’t I be MVP?” People scoffed. Now, I’d guess more than half of NBA writers would consider Rose the favorite to get the award.
That’s why I looked to see what the Chicago native had to say about this game. It seems somewhat insignificant in an 82-game season, but with the Spurs looming on Thursday, the Bulls have to take this one against the Bobcats to avoid a possible two-game losing streak heading into the All-Star Break.
Derrick Rose may be just 22 and in his third year in the Association. But his indomitable will and quiet leadership have convinced me to take what he says seriously.
So if Rose wants revenge, I have to believe he’s going to get it.