Number One Selection in 2008 NBA Draft
2008-2009 Rookie of the Year
2009-2010 NBA All-Star
2010-2011 NBA Most Valuable Player
“Holding onto his knee. Holding onto his knee, and down.”
I watched that play live on television, having just wondered “Why is D-Rose still in the game?” and then “WTF why is he going all Tasmanian Devil at the hoop?” and then “Oh my, he’s hurt.” A million Leonardo DiCaprios simultaneously said “Rose!? What are you doing!? You’re so stupid Rose!”
The deflated Bulls lost the series to the scrappy but overmatched Sixers. Derrick Rose’s ACL tear would mean that he wouldn’t be back until late the following season.
A.K.A. this season.
That overplayed commercial of the Chicagoans freezing in time as Rose suffered his injury was brilliantly made. The Chicago Bulls were on a path to play for an NBA Championship, and it was suddenly derailed when their best player was suddenly and unexpectedly taken from them. But, as the commercial shows, D-Rose isn’t gone. He’s coming back, and that smile he gives as he turns to the camera says it all: “I’m coming back, and there’s only one place for someone to go after ROY, All-Star, MVP. You better hope I’m not at full strength. You can only wish you had more time to get this season finished before I come back. Because when I return, I’m going right back to where I left off.”
Derrick Rose is really freaking good, even if he’s not the point guard I would ask for. I’ll take 14 and 11 over 25 and 7 (if I’m going to have a player who scores 25 on my team, I want him to be any position but Point Guard). But he can take anyone not named LeBron James to the hoop just about any time he wants. He has steadily improved his outside shooting, and I’m willing to bet that he has worked on that and his post game a lot during his rehabilitation.
In case you didn’t know, 29 other teams have been playing this season besides the Lakers. In fairness, their failure is probably the most interesting ongoing team story, but let’s be real about the coverage they’re getting. Of those 29 teams, well, of all 30 in the league, few have had to play in the manner that the Chicago Bulls have had to. Without their star playmaker, the Bulls have had to rely on defense and toughness to win games. With the third worst scoring offense in the bottom third of the league for FG%, the Bulls have made up for it with the third best scoring defense (second in FG% allowed). Led by Joakim Noah, they are the fifth best rebounding team in the league (as far as rebounds per game and rebound differential).
The result has been a lot of wins and a lead in the Central Division. Carlos Boozer is having a resurgent season, Luol Deng is playing at a high level, Richard Hamilton is healthy, and bench players (like my boy Jimmy Butler ayo) have stepped up to play above and beyond. By playing tough basketball, a team without its superstar is winning.
So what happens when their superstar comes back? The guy whose jersey sold like a Playstation 4. The guy who had SportsCenter segments dedicated to his ability to contort in the air when going to the basket. The guy who just can’t help but make some Chicagoans think of a man with a number 22 digits higher than his.
The NBA news coverage is keeping the status quo right now. The Lakers dominate the headlines, LeBron and the Heat make the rounds, occasional streaks or droughts from various teams draw some talk. With Lance, Te’o, and the NFL postseason and Super Bowl all in the news, stories like the Bulls aren’t going to make much of a splash. Some experts have mentioned the Bulls when talking about teams who can challenge the Heat, but is the average Miami or OKC fan really sitting at home worrying about Big Bad Mr. Rose and the Bulls?
But they should be.
It’s Still Your Turn Countdown
10. John Wall
9. Tim Tebow
8. Carmelo Anthony
7. Derrick Rose
6. Coming soon
Yeah, it took way too long for me to finally continue this countdown, but hopefully I can be more committed to finishing it. Like, comment, subscribe/follow, post to Facebook and Twitter, follow @TheSneakySports, email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for reading!
Soli Deo Gloria