Pump Up Music: Under the Influence of Giants -- "Mama's Room"
The Big Picture: The Charlotte Bobcats will play the Chicago Bulls twice more this season, though tonight's game is fraught with much more meaning. Chicago is 1.5 games behind Toronto for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot (and the right to get demolished by Cleveland), and 4 games behind Charlotte. A Bobcats win in Chicago tonight puts them 5 games up on the Bulls with 6 games to play. Though the playoffs are virtually assured if they Cats don't crap the bed, it would be nice to make the final games a mere formality.
Key to Victory: One of the truly odd players in the NBA plays point guard for Chicago. Derrick Rose, understandably, gets heaps of praise and inspires breathless commentary because of his elite physical gifts and unflappable demeanor. However, he's headed for a crossroads in his career, and Vinny Del Negro probably isn't the coach to shepherd him through.
For this season, Rose is averaging 20.1 points per 36 minutes. However, Kelly Dwyer can explain why Rose's process is troubling for a Bulls fan:
Rose doesn't hit threes, and he only makes three free throws a game (his fault, not the refs). Derrick Rose averages 20.4 points per game, and he needs 17.6 shots per game to get there. People, that's not too sterling, and if the twos aren't falling, he has no ugly game to fall back on...
All that's to say that Rose has to decide who he is, and soon. Chris Paul and Steve Nash can score, but they don't take quite that many shots. Rose's closest physical comparable is probably Rajon Rondo, and he doesn't take nearly that many shots (though, granted, his teammates are far better). If Rose wants to be a score-first PG, that's absolutely fine. It can work. However, his ceiling is going to be limited if that's who he tries to be because those guys don't make their teammates as good as they can be, and teams know it.
As an opponent, I'd let Rose shoot away. He's not efficient enough to warrant extra attention, but he is confident enough to soak up all the offense. Not good for the Bulls.
Detail That May Interest .08% of You: Last season, Jannero Pargo played for Dynamo Moscow and Olympiacos, and for various reasons, wasn't exactly stellar. Yet the Bulls brought him back this year. Huh.