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Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose has received significant criticism over the past two years, but his recent comments and actions threaten to alienate him for good.
The backlash that the 26-year-old received on Tuesday night was arguably the worst in the period of time that he has been plagued by injuries. His decision to sit out the previous two seasons was huge, but what makes this potentially worse is that his mentality is being brought into question too.
Rose has spoken this year of “trying to be smart” with his injuries and he is considering his life after basketball and how he doesn’t want to be effected by knee problems and the like when his career comes to an end.
While that is a fair point on a personal level, that doesn’t help ease an already frustrated fanbase that has seen their explosive star point guard in limited action over the last three years as he continues to make millions of dollars.
Admittedly, I still feel sorry for Rose to a certain extent as he evidently loves the game of basketball and as with any player, his ultimate dream of playing consistently and winning a championship is looking problematic due to his body letting him down.
Having already missed eight games this season with sprained ankles and a hamstring strain, the pre-season optimism surrounding Rose is rapidly disappearing after he featured in the FIBA World Cup this past summer and looked to finally be ready to make a sustained and successful comeback.
Rose’s absence is an irritation for fans beyond Chicago, as the former league MVP is, or perhaps was, one of the most exciting talents in the NBA. That plays a part in the frustration of not seeing him in regular action, and he has come across as “soft” by suggesting that he is not willing to play through any pain or nagging injuries.
Bulls fans will try to remember that it is still early in the season, and in an Eastern Conference in which there are only six teams with a winning record which leaves Chicago third at 9-6, there is still plenty of time to get Rose right and firing on all cylinders ahead of the playoffs.
However, if these problems persist and Rose is not prepared to put his body on the line like some of his team-mates have and continue to do, then it threatens to derail their championship push as there is a legitimate argument that he is the difference between them being a perennial playoff team and a contender.
While hamstring strains are complicated and require care, Rose has a short window of opportunity over the course of the next few months to prove to himself and his fans that he is still capable of putting everything on the line and sacrificing his body to win.
Naturally, when Chicago lose in his absence it only exacerbates the issue, but this will undoubtedly become a distant memory if Rose is leading the charge come March. There are still plenty of ifs and buts involved in this scenario, and for now Rose will have to deal with all the criticism and doubts that are being thrown his way.