Don’t call it a comeback, but Derrick Rose appeared in the most games since his MVP season of 2010-11. His 66 games played are five more than he played in over the past three years; he appeared in 81 during his MVP season. Rose fought through an orbital fracture to start the season and, despite not putting up astronomical numbers, had a season that left hope for his production level to rise.
After averaging 16.4 points, 4.7 assists, and shooting 42.7% this year, Rose told the Chicago Tribune that “I love the way I played this season.” There were times this season where Rose really looked like his old self; blowing past defenders and finishing with an incredibly acrobatic reverse layup. For someone who has suffered from many knee problems as he has, it’s amazing he can still make plays like that even if it’s not at the level of consistency he used to.
His aggression never ceased, either.
Despite having restricted minutes (31.8), Rose attempted nearly 16 shots per game — just one shy of his career average. His shooting percentage was lackluster, but he’s always been that way. If anything, it’s remarkable that he was above 40% after barely playing over four seasons. There was a dramatic improvement in Rose’s mid-range game, and he’s at 47.6% (second-best in his career) on shots between 10-16 feet; within the restricted area (0-3′) Derrick finished 51% of his attempts.
After what the Windy City has gone through with their former superstar, I’m sure they’ve concluded he won’t return to MVP-level. What’s good, however, is that Rose can be a legitimate 18-21 PPG scorer next season if he refines his jump shot.
He also told the Tribune that he feels the Bulls can challenge for a playoff spot next season with the talent they have. Pau Gasol has a player option for next season, and could look to test free agency. Jimmy Butler has no intention of moving on from the franchise despite the trade rumors that circulated a few weeks ago.
After bearing such an excruciating offensive load, the duo will get some much-needed rest during the summer. Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah, both of whom missed a majority of this year’s games, will also come back fully healthy. As far as depth, Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott will become more involved in the rotation after superb sophomore seasons.