Bulls star Derrick Rose says he's not getting any pressure from anyone to play this season, and that he hasn't heard any of the criticism directed toward him because he doesn't pay attention.
If you think the criticism against Derrick Rose and his continuing to take his time getting back on the court was bad in the first round of the NBA Playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets, the Bulls' second round series against the Miami Heat will make things even worse for the former MVP.
D. Rose has been called everything from selfish to mentally weak as the Bulls continue to play shorthanded – and win – due to injury and, most recently, serious illness. With each victory, the public pressure for the Chicago native to put on his uniform and play just intensifies.
But against the rival Miami Heat, every game that Rose doesn’t play will start to become more of a story regardless of the outcome on the court, unless somebody, anybody, steps up and shuts down all the speculation.
How do you do that? By announcing that no matter what happens from here on, Derrick Rose is “officially out” of the postseason.
That statement can either come from the Bulls, adidas, Derrick Rose himself or someone in his camp, but it needs to be made and it needs to happen NOW.
D. Rose has always maintained that he’s just “trying to stay positive” with his rehab and if you read between the lines of his most recent interview, part of staying positive for the Englewood native seems to be not closing the door on his season. He says he doesn’t hear the criticism from what now seems like an angry mob preparing to assemble and march down to his condo at Trump Chicago and protest outside. And while that seems highly unlikely, Rose has to at least understand how his not playing has become the big story and the way it diminishes what his teammates have accomplished on the floor this season.
For what it’s worth, every guy on the team has said both publicly and privately that they have his back no matter what and Tom Thibodeau’s “more than enough to win” mentality has been seared into the minds of all his players who have truly bought into what the coach is selling. But regardless of that fact, D. Rose still finds himself in a no-win situation.
Nobody expects the Bulls to defeat the Heat and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, and with each Chicago loss in the series, the venom spewed at Rose will become more and more toxic. That’s not to say it won’t if ‘The Return’ is officially shut down for the remainder of the 2012-13 campaign, but continuing to keep the door open for a possible comeback this season is like adding gasoline to what is already a raging inferno of denigration.
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