Once upon a time, Derrick Rose was looked at as one of the best young stars in the NBA. He was easily the most talented player the Chicago Bulls had drafted since Michael Jordan retired and even had fans in the Windy City thinking about a seventh championship at one point. Unfortunately, a string of injuries derailed Rose’s career for a number of years. While he’s been able to put together a nice comeback over the past couple of seasons, it’s likely that the former number one overall pick will be on the wrong side of history when he retires.
Derrick Rose made an immediate impact in the NBA
Taken with the first overall selection in the 2008 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose made an immediate impact in his hometown. Averaging 16.8 points and 6.3 assists, he won NBA Rookie of the Year. He was even better in year two, averaging 20.8 points, which earned him his first All-Star selection.
In year three, he averaged 25 points and 7.7 assists and became the youngest player in history to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award at just 22. That same season, he led the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since “The Last Dance” season of 1997-1998, losing to Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat in five games. Unfortunately, that would be the best it would get for Derrick Rose.
Injuries derailed Derrick Rose’s career
Following his MVP season, the injuries began piling up for Derrick Rose. In a 2012 playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers, he tore his left ACL, which caused him to miss the rest of those playoffs and then the entire 2012-2013 season. 10 games into his return, he tore the meniscus in his right knee and missed the remainder of the 2013-2014 season. The following season, he missed another 31 games. The season after that, he actually played in 66 of the Bulls’ 82 regular-season games but certainly didn’t have his signature explosiveness and sometimes seemed a little hesitant to attack the rim.
In the summer of 2016, Rose was traded to the New York Knicks. In his lone season in the Big Apple, he played in 64 games and averaged 18 points. However, yet another knee injury, which led to a fourth surgery in nine years, ended his season early. He signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017 but appeared in just 16 games before being traded to the Utah Jazz, who waived him after two days.
Rose signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the remainder of the 2017-2018 season, averaging just 5.8 points in nine games. He signed a one-year deal to stay in Minnesota for the 2018-2019 campaign and played well, when he was healthy anyway. More injuries cost him 31 games but he averaged 18 points in his 51 games, mostly coming off the bench, which he parlayed into a two-year/$15 million contract with the Detroit Pistons in 2019. Rose was averaging 18.1 points per game when the league was shut down in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
He’s likely to become the first NBA MVP to not be inducted into the Hall of Fame
While it’s certainly been great to see Derrick Rose perform well over these last couple of seasons, it’s not likely we’ll ever see him hoist another MVP trophy. And while he once seemed destined to wind up in the Hall of Fame, it’s now more likely that he’ll be on the wrong side of history when he retires.
Since the inception of the NBA MVP in 1955, every single player that has won the award has gone on to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, at least those who have been eligible anyway. And it’s just about already a certainty that the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook will get that call once they decide to hang their sneakers up. The same certainly can’t be said for Derrick Rose, who is likely to finish his career in a supporting role as opposed to the player leading a team.
But that certainly doesn’t mean that Derrick Rose was a failure by any stretch of the imagination. He was just unlucky. If the injuries don’t happen, maybe he goes on to become one of the best players in NBA history. It’s just another one of those unfortunate “what if” stories that happen all the time. Whether he ever gets into the Hall of Fame or not, Derrick Rose can look back on that MVP season and smile, knowing that he was once one of the best players in the world.
*All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference