Why fans (and skeptics alike) of Derrick Rose can’t have it both ways…

Rose has heard his skeptics loud and clear over the past 2 seasons and says he harbors no bad feelings towards the naysayers...
Rose has heard his skeptics loud and clear over the past 2 seasons and says he harbors no bad feelings towards the naysayers…

Published by Jerz 7/30/2014

The thing about sports and the fans of them is sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in “hype”. Some people are brainwashed to the point that they forget how easily things can change for the better and for the worse as it relates to the teams they cheer for and the players that play for them. We overvalue and underplay so many different things that it can be hard to determine what we as fans should truly believe. The eventual “return” of one of the better NBA talents the league has to offer is no different. I’m almost amazed, some what stunned and absolutely insulted at how some have “written off” Derrick Rose and the ripe “old” age of 25? The way this man has been mocked by the “meme” community for the hard luck injuries that have robbed him the last 2 seasons has been hard to watch. I won’t act like I haven’t seen a few that made me chuckle and shake my head at times but it’s hard for me to find humor in someone’s misfortune. It actually made me think of guys like Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, Gilbert Arenas and Anfernee Hardaway (to name a few) that were either robbed of longer NBA careers because they were never the same after serious injuries or their careers were cut short because of them. Any true fan of the sport should be happy to see one of the most dynamic talents in the game today embark on his return to glory but Rose’s impressive showings this week in Team USA tryouts in Las Vegas have received mixed reactions from fans and skeptics alike. Let’s try to breakdown why.

The JerzeeWorld Report archives will show an article I wrote last May talking about Rose’s inevitable return from his 1st knee surgery (torn left ACL). As an optimistic fan of the Bulls, I too had my doubts about why Rose didn’t attempt to comeback at the end of the 2012-13 season (or in the playoffs). The reality was that if he wasn’t able to contribute close to 40 minutes a night at an MVP level his team would’ve succumbed to the same fate at the hands of the Miami Heat. That, in my opinion, would’ve been asking too much of a guy you expect to carry your franchise for the next 10-12 NBA seasons. He was absolutely raked across the coals for deciding against it and doing what not only was best for him and HIS career but what is best for the organization writing his check. His mental toughness was questioned. His heart and desire was questioned. After dealing with a whole summer of “why didn’t he help his team when they needed him?”, Rose pushed his physical limitations to the max and was determined to be ready for 2013-14.

Rose was determined to return to his MVP form after missing all of the 2012-13 season and playoffs...
Rose was determined to return to his MVP form after missing all of the 2012-13 season and playoffs…

There was no question about Derrick Rose’s work ethic and how he attacked his rehab. Adidas designed a clever line of commercials around the former MVP that gave Bulls fans hope and may have put more pressure on him to return than there already was. Never the less, he was poised to get back to the form that made the jaws of fans drop all over the world. He showed glimpses of what fans remembered about him in the preseason but struggled with his shot through the first 10 games of the regular season before a torn meniscus in his other knee ended his season against Portland in late November. It was another fluke injury that would require surgery and fans and skeptics everywhere uttered “here we go again”. The difference in how he approached his rehab this time was his mindset. There was no question in his mind if he’d be able to do it again (come back strong after another knee injury) because he’d just worked his butt off to get back to the point he was before this most recent setback. He paced himself accordingly and again was ready to get back to action on his terms. This is where things get tricky.

The video below is an example of the type of pressure Rose had to live up to in his first return. Unfortunately, promise was replaced with despair as Bulls fans watched their superstar fall to another season ending knee injury…

It’s funny how Rose was attacked by the masses for not coming back when people felt he should have (when the decision is ultimately up to him). Some of these same individuals scoffed at the notion of him competing for a spot on Team USA in Las Vegas this week. Forget the fact that he’s been playing competitive 5 on 5 basketball for months. Forget the fact that he’s been one of the most impressive players in camp (as told by players, coaches and members of the media). The skeptics would rather question why he’s doing it saying “He should be focused on getting ready for the Bulls upcoming season” or “What if he gets hurt again?”. In reality, he IS getting ready for the upcoming season by testing his stamina and getting his wind back in addition to knocking off the rust that can build up from just playing 10 regular season games in the last 2 seasons. The fact that he can attack this opportunity with NO physical limitations or restrictions is encouraging and should be looked at as a good thing. First you crush him for NOT coming back when you felt he should and NOW you want to treat him like the Bulls should just keep him in “bubble wrap” until NBA training camp this fall? Unrealistic expectations set by people who ultimately don’t matter in the grand scheme. The bottom line is he was bound to step back out on the floor for the world to see at some point. Why not gauge where you are against the best possible competition (if anything, at least at your position)? There is no harm in being cautious and concerned but let’s not be ridiculous about it. What some fail to realize is that Rose is only 25 and one of the most gifted athletes to ever play the point guard position if not in the league period. His career isn’t to be compared to Andrew Bynum and Greg Oden and is no where close to being over. I applaud Rose for not buckling under the immense pressure to comeback before HE felt his body was ready to endure the physical pounding it’s due to take (due to his style of play). I ultimately look forward to how much his game has grown, from an IQ standpoint, being able to see the game from a coaches perspective these past few seasons and how he will adjust his game (with all the offensive firepower at his disposal). This too is reason for excitement. All of the skeptics that are waiting to see Rose get through a full season, I understand that also but know to that even that has to start somewhere and that somewhere is now…

Rose has turned heads in Vegas showing a familiar burst and explosion that fans remember along with a more confident jumpshot (Photo by Getty Images)
Rose has turned heads in Vegas showing a familiar burst and explosion that fans remember along with a more confident jumpshot (Photo by Getty Images)
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