By Dastan Haghnazari
“With the first pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls select Derrick Rose from the University of Memphis.”
Derrick Rose was the youngest player to ever receive the MVP award. Derrick Rose was also one-of-twenty first round picks to receive the Rookie of the Year award. Rose competed in the playoffs five times during his tenure with the Bulls (two after his injury) and signed a 185-million-dollar shoe deal with Adidas in 2012. However, when Rose returned from injury, he was never the same. He was traded to the Knicks, Cavs, and finally to the Jazz who waived him from their roster earlier this month. Rose is considered to be washed-up, broken, and unproductive nowadays, which is hard to comprehend, considering he used to be the top point guard in the NBA.
After his injury in Chicago, Rose returned to the league and averaged 16.6 points per game. Although a step-down from his former average of 21.1 points, Rose was also playing around 5.7 fewer minutes per game for the Bulls. His “poor play” may have been attributed to his injury, but his injury only caused him to play less than before. His play style was a little slower, his shooting was still abysmal, and he still lacked important cutting fundamentals that star shooting guards like Dwayne Wade possessed, but through all that was still showing signs of his former MVP self. While rose returned as a top guard in the league, he failed to show the X factor his fans were used to. He was eventually traded, along with some teammates, to the New York Knicks during a Bulls “rebuild.”
Rose’s time in New York kicked-off with bold claims, including his statement to the NBA saying “… they’re saying us and Golden State are the super teams.” Nobody agreed with him, and everyone had a good reason why. During his time with the Knicks, Rose averaged 18 points per game with solid auxiliary stats, but most still argued that he was washed-up and unimportant. For being “washed-up,” Rose still receives much media attention and a large shoe endorsement. After only one year of playing relatively well compared to the other players in New York, Rose was traded to the Cavs. Rose’s playing time was limited to 19.3 minutes per game where he averaged almost 10 points. These stats are no doubt lackluster compared to Rose’s level of play on other teams, but with other all-star players and offensive masterminds on the Cavs, his stats should suffer. The Cavs however thought Rose wasn’t fitting in with their offense. and Rose was sent off to the Jazz. The Jazz then waived him and Rose currently resides in free agency.
The turn from MVP to being without a team is one of the most disappointing and quickest downfalls of a player I have ever seen. But I still see hope in Rose, and believe there are destinations he would be a perfect fit.
Sports Illustrated published a video showing Rose shooting around in a recreational gym alone, and they describe it as a “new low.” It is surprising that Rose remains in free agency and has not been looked at by the many teams that are in dire need of a decent point guard (i.e. the Pelicans, Magic, and Clippers). Also it is hard for me to believe there isn’t a team that could use Rose as a backup. Rose is a fantastic inside player but he’s limited by other players, coaches, and systems that do not agree with his play style. Rose would fit great in a system formed around feeding “bigs” with a dead-eye sharpshooter. I think his best options are the Pelicans and Timberwolves. The Pelicans provide Rose with Cousins and Davis, arguably the best current players at their position, and a solid shooting guard in Holiday. The Timberwolves provide not only Rose’s old teammates, Butler and Gibson, but also Wiggins and KAT, a solid young core of players led by Rose’s former coach, Tom Thibodeau, a great defensive mind. Despite the injuries that limit his aggressive-inside play style, Rose is still a proficient point guard and a good player. He could contribute to a big man system and help push for a playoff run, but a team will need to recognize this first. His willingness to take relatively low pay is a definite plus (he took a 90% pay cut when signing with the Cavs). Rose had a huge rise from his time at Memphis to an all star, but his “fall” was more of a stumble than a collapse. I believe someday he will find his feet again, and become a solid contributor to a consistent playoff bound team.