Derrick Rose is back, but he hasn’t been making the impact many thought he would through the first three games of the season. One noticeable change in the point guard’s game is that he’s not being rewarded with as many free throws.
During the preseason, Rose averaged 9.4 free throw attempts per game. Now that the regular season is here, Chicago’s wunderkind has gotten to the line just 10 times in three games, and Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said he might have an idea why.
“I don’t know of anyone who drives as hard as he does. Nor as fast as he does. And I think sometimes he’s penalized for being a nice guy. I’ll leave it at that,” Thibodeau told reporters Monday.
Maybe it’s that Rose doesn’t complain to officials, or maybe it’s because he’s not drawing visible contact. Either way, Rose said all he can do is play his game.
“I can’t complain about it,” he said. “It’s just the way the game has gone. All I can do is continue to drive. I guess I’m not getting fouled or I guess they’ve got to get used to me. I understand I’m creating contact, but I’ve just got to get through it.”
Rose is well behind his peers when it comes to free throw attempts this season — Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are tied for the most attempts, both average 14 per game, and Rose is tied for 74th with the likes of Kemba Walker, Jrue Holiday and Caron Butler. Rose is 9-for-10 from the foul line but has yet to attempt more than four free throws in a game this season.