In the past decade, Isiah Thomas has become a punch line. Actually, the better way to phrase that is he made himself a punch line— his wounds are self-inflicted. He wrecked the Knicks.
But before that, Thomas was one of the best point guards ever to play the game. A little guy who led his “bad-boy” Pistons to multiple NBA titles. He was as good on the court as he has been bad off it.
Derrick Rose wants to be like Thomas on the court — be the dominant little guy, bring a title back to Chicago. Rose is young and passionate (oh, and pretty good attacking the rim) but inexperienced.
So he turned to fellow Chicagoan Thomas for advice, reports ESPNChicago.com.
Isiah Thomas said he met Rose last year after a game in Detroit and that Rose contacted him after the Bulls’ season had ended.
“He was pretty down,” Thomas told ESPNChicago.com by phone on Wednesday. “He asked me ‘How did you do it? How did you win back-to-back championships at this size?’ And my response to him was that once you understand your opponent and know your opponent better than you know yourself, you’ll win.”
In other words, gain experience. And watch a lot of film. Study the game.
The other part of the discussion was putting up with the physical pain and grind — little guys who drive the lane like Rose take a lot of punishment. Rose has already missed games for turf toe and almost sat out Wednesday due to back spasms but decided to play. Thomas’ advice is basically get used to it. But a sprained ankle in the playoffs last year slowed Rose and he is now on pace to go into these playoffs more injured — the Bulls need to start finding a way to get him some rest. Let his body recover a little.
Or that dream of being a little guy who wins a title isn’t happening.