The recent news of one of the league’s former prominent superstars, Derrick Rose, taking time away from the game to consider his future is one that struck an all but familiar cord. If the stars had aligned, Rose should have been enjoying the later years of his prime at age 29, most likely still as a member of a finals contending Chicago Bulls squad. In a perfect world, we’d be enjoying the trail blazing, captivating performances of the former league MVP on his quest to further solidify his elite standing around the league. With top tier athleticism, crafty playmaking ability and an explosive quickness, Rose flaunted his unique talents on a nightly basis. However, time would undoubtably tell that the highs were unsustainable, as the wear and tear of playing under Thibodeau’s shorthanded rotations and ultimately repeated misfortunes have left Rose today as a shell of his former self still fighting to play up to his own unreachable expectations. That being said, maybe he himself sees the writing on the wall and we must now wait and see whether there is still a desire to continue on or if this truly is the tragic ending to a career full of what ifs and what could have beens.
Whether using his first step to blow by his defender(s) or executing otherworldly acrobatics in traffic with his incredible leaping and body control, Rose had played his early years with a sort of reckless abandoned that made him close to unstoppable. In my honest opinion, Westbrook and Rose were 1A and 1B in terms of that freak of nature athletic capability of creating out in the open on the break and flushing it down on the other end at blistering speeds. All of this changed after having suffered his first major injury to his left ACL during the closing minutes of game 1 of the 2011-12 Eastern Conference Playoffs. That game is seared into the back of every single Bulls fans’ mind, as it should never have happened in the first place. A Game 1 victory against Philadelphia was imminent, making Thibodeau’s decision to keep Rose on the court as time expired late in the 4th one of the most infuriating and depressing moments in fandom. A completely and utterly irresponsible decision to keep Rose out there effectively slammed the Chicago Bulls’ title window shut, and more importantly, contributed to the untimely demise that we’re all witness to today. With a litany of subsequent injuries particularly affecting both of his knees, Rose never fully recovered and his game regressed to what we see now. A half a step slower, a little more timid at times, and an overall more cautious player compared to the daredevil we had known and loved half a decade ago. The game has seen its fair share of players’ having their time in the spotlight cut short due to injury, and its painful to possibly add Rose to this growing list. From Brandon Roy, Penny Hardaway and even Michael Redd, its always an interesting thought of what could they have achieved had they stayed healthy. Should Rose call it quits for good? I believe that he’s still worth a roster spot on some teams, so I would have to say no personally, but I guess we are left to simply wait and see.