Resume: 21.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 35.3 minutes, 44% FG, 31% 3PT, and 81% FT… Team record in games played: 32-7 (18-9 without)… Playoffs: 23 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, 1-0 record (1-4 without)… All-Star, 11th in MVP Voting
Hey football fans, remember last season when Peyton Manning missed the whole year and the Colts stumbled to 2-14 record with the three-headed monster of Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky and Kerry Collins at quarterback? I made the case that Peyton Manning should’ve won MVP because the Colts stunk like rotten egg fart without him. Well last season Derrick Rose missed a good chunk of time and the Bulls managed to win 67% of their games without Rose. Even though he was off to another MVP caliber year (highlighted by a pretty convincing outplaying of Chris Paul and a furious comeback vs. Atlanta early in the season), the loss of Rose didn’t feel nearly as drastic as the Peyton Manning situation because the Bulls were so good defensively and so well coached. Then the playoffs started and Derrick Rose tragically went down in the 4th quarter of game one, a game the Bulls were leading by double digits with less than two minutes left. In that moment, you instantly knew that the Bulls had absolutely no chance of making an extended run in the playoffs.
I don’t know if the recipe to winning a title is having your point guard shoot 23 times a game and only shoot 39 % from the field (Rose’s 2011 playoff stats). However, it became very clear that the Bulls championship recipe was missing a key ingredient when their most talented player (one of the most talented and God-given athletic players in the league) was suddenly on the sideline with a torn ACL. It became a double-whammy when we all started to see that Rose the heart and soul of the Bulls as well. When Rose was on the ground writhing in pain you could almost sense the Bulls conceding their season. It was like the city of Chicago was hit with the worst stomach punch you could imagine and the collective air of the city was lost in that very instant. It was a totally devastating for Rose, the Bulls, Chicago and the NBA.
As someone who obviously is a die-hard basketball fan, the Rose injury hit me pretty hard. You don’t want any players to get injured like that, but Rose would’ve been a top three guy on my wish-list going into last season of players you absolutely do not want to suffer a career altering injury. It goes deeper than the obvious reasons like the fact that his all-world speed, quickness, jumping ability, athleticism and shiftiness all could be drastically compromised. From what we know about Derrick Rose, it seems like he has an insatiable love for the game of basketball and it’s hard not to feel for a guy like that when it’s taken away from him so swiftly.
Can Rose come back and be the player he was prior to the injury? With all of the advancements in surgery it’s not totally far-fetched to believe that if Adrian Peterson can come back from a torn ACL in less than 10 months and have a pro-bowl caliber season, then Derrick Rose can return at some point and remain one of the NBA’s best players. If Rose can retain 90% of his explosiveness then he might come back as a better player than he was before. Maybe Rose returns with a better understanding of the game, a more consistent jump shot and an even greater hunger to be the best player in the world. It’s not out of the question. However, there is some uncertainly. I initially had Rose ranked in the mid-teens because there were question marks surrounding when he would return and how effective he would be when he did return. Some of those question marks disappeared, or at least momentarily became irrelevant when I watched the series of “The Return of D Rose” videos on You Tube. Watch the videos and try to tell yourself Rose can’t make it all the way back. It’s impossible.