I was finishing up this week’s power rankings when I saw the news.
NBA TV was on in the background, and, with the volume lowered, I just happened to glance up from my laptop. In the lower left-hand corner of the screen, I discovered a small box with text that broke my heart.
“Derrick Rose out for the season.”
The Bulls point guard got just 10 games this year after missing all of last year while recovering from a torn ACL. A torn medial meniscus suffered Friday at Portland and requiring surgery Monday has stolen the rest of this season from him.
And I’m like most throughout the NBA world.
Saddened for D Rose. Basketball is much better with him around. Keep your head up my friend.
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) November 23, 2013
Rose is my favorite player. I’ve loved his game since scouring his high school YouTube highlights the year before he enrolled at Memphis. I immediately became a fan and followed him ever since. His explosiveness drew me in. His humbleness kept me hooked.
Selfishly, I hate that I will have seen Rose suit up for just 21 percent of his team’s games from 2011-14. That’s what makes the reality of this latest setback so sad. Rose will have appeared in just 49 games in three seasons, the 2011-12 season being the lockout-shortened, 66-game season.
But this blow to Rose holds far more significance than fans like me simply not having a chance to see him play.
Most important for Rose is it sheds a third year off his career. He sustained his ACL injury in Game 1 of the Bulls’ 2011-12 playoff run, which flushed a year down the drain due to the injury derailing that year’s potential title team. He then missed all of 2012-13, and, of course, this season is now gone.
The last time we saw Rose injury free and at the top of his game was 2010-11, his third season. He was 22.
Rose has been robbed of prime developmental years, from 23 to 25, and that means there’s a chance we may never get to see how great he could be.
Ditto for these Bulls.
With Rose again on the shelf, Chicago’s championship hopes this season have been destroyed. This is a team that was built around Rose, and without him the Bulls don’t have a chance at a championship.
Which is a shame.
Because this is likely to be the end of the Bulls as we know them. Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich are in the final years of their contracts. And Carlos Boozer has long been an amnesty candidate, one that many observers think will finally get waived using that one-time tool this summer. The Bulls could blow it up before then. If so, it would bring an end to a gritty bunch that played a beautifully unselfish, hard-nosed brand of ball but never got to see how far it could take them.
Finally, with the Bulls no longer a threat, a crummy Eastern Conference only gets weaker. Going into Monday’s games, only three Eastern Conference teams had a winning record. One of them was the 8-6 Atlanta Hawks. That means the East is just a two-team race between Miami and Indiana. It’d take an act of God for one of those two to not be in the NBA Finals.
So get well soon, Derrick Rose. Basketball is indeed much better with you around.