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No evidence that Rose would face too much hometown pressure
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Columnist

Would Derrick Rose buckle under the pressure of returning home to play? Nah.

 

Associated Press file

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Published: 6/9/200 12:02 AM

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Jerry Krause was blamed unfairly for plenty of things that happened during his tenure as general manager of the Bulls.

But there is one area where he probably deserves blame. I'm talking about the "Don't draft a homegrown player" argument.

The first time I ever remember hearing such a line was to explain why the Bulls passed on Maywood native Michael Finley in the 1995 draft to choose obscure power forward Jason Caffey.

Finley, of course, went on to become a star. I remember asking during the peak of his success if he still was upset by the Bulls' snub, or just glad things worked out well for him in Dallas.

Finley's answer? Still angry.

Finley argued that even if he sat behind Michael Jordan for three years, he still would have won three titles and been on the same team as Jordan.

Now, we can't be 100 percent certain that Krause did, in fact, pass on Finley because of the hometown rule. Krause did tend to draft questionably talented power forwards in the 1990s (Mark Randall, Byron Houston).

But the hometown rule is back in play since the Bulls are favored to select Simeon High School product Derrick Rose with the No. 1 pick. The theory is there are too many pressures and distractions on a player when he is drafted by his local NBA franchise.

Robbins native Dwyane Wade was asked during an appearance last week on WMVP 1000-AM if Rose can handle playing for the Bulls.

"You've got to be very good at saying the word no if you're going to play in your hometown, because you're going to get a lot of requests," Wade said. "You're going to get a lot of people calling you about different things.

"If Derrick winds up getting drafted by Chicago, hopefully he has the right people around that are going to help him and protect him to focus on what he's here for, and that's to play the game of basketball at his highest level."

Sounds easy enough. Wade said he's glad he ended up with Miami and not the Bulls, but that's mostly because the Heat won a championship.

My question is, where are the examples of a player buckling under the pressure of playing in his hometown?

LeBron James seems to have worked out well in Cleveland. Byron Scott grew up in Inglewood, Calif., then played for the Lakers. It's difficult to say Eddy Curry struggled with playing in Chicago, since he has only gotten worse after moving to New York.

Heck, the NBA used to hand out territorial picks in the draft. What about Wilt Chamberlain in Philadelphia or Jerry Lucas in Cincinnati? Any issues there?

I suppose someone could point to Todd Hundley failing with the Cubs, but he was an established star on the downside of his career, a completely different situation.

The entire hometown argument seems to be a fallacy. Chances are, there would be more pressure on Michael Beasley if he's the No. 1 pick, because the Bulls would have passed on the hometown favorite.

• Some are calling the Bulls' false flirtation with Doug Collins a public-relations disaster, but I'm not so sure. I heard more negative responses from fans last week than positive about Collins' potential return.

As was written here last week, it's just tough to tell what Collins would bring to the table, good or bad, because he hasn't coached since 2003 and hasn't coached a good team since 1997.

Now, if the Bulls follow up in the next couple of days by hiring someone with no coaching experience, who wasn't seriously considered for the vacancy on the team he has been working for -- such as supposed hot candidate Vinny Del Negro -- then the p.r. spin might take a turn for the worse.

mmcgraw@dailyherald.com