Published on March 21st, 2018 | by Chimdi Ike
Can Derrick Rose ever regain his NBA MVP form?
Derrick Rose’s recent CV doesn’t make for good reading.
The 29-year-old point guard is currently trying to resurrect his career at the Minnesota Timberwolves after being waived by the Utah Jazz back in February.
This came shortly after being traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers after a year, who in turn picked him up after a season with the New York Knicks.
In short, Rose has suffered perhaps one of the most devastating career declines that has befallen an NBA star player in recent years.
He was originally recruited by his hometown team the Chicago Bulls as the first overall pick in the 2008 draft, after a year of playing college ball for the Memphis Tigers, and soon became one of the brightest prospects in the NBA.
Rose went on to earn Rookie of the Year in the 2008-09 regular season and then at the age of 22 became the youngest player in NBA history to win the MVP title.
His athleticism, speed, ball control and ability to blow past defenders in a flash to get into the lane and finish was unmatched, and at such an early stage he widely tipped to go on to be one of the sport’s greats.
Unfortunately, in 2012 – just a year after being crowned NBA MVP – Rose suffered a devastating season-ending injury when he tore his ACL, and even though he has recovered from that he has suffered more injuries since and is no longer the elite player he once was.
But can he hope to ever recapture anything even close to his MVP form again? The answer to that question is, sadly, no he can’t. In essence, his career is over.
‘So, what happens to a player like this after a series of serious injuries means they are simply not as explosive as they once were?’
Why? Well, let’s talk about some other point guards in the NBA currently, notable reigning MVP Russell Westbrook as to me he is the only player whose game compares to that of Rose back in the day.
He is lightning fast, athletic, blows past defences to get to the bucket like no other and finishes with assassin-like precision. Although Rose possesses these skills too, there are reasons why he will never come close to Westbrook, even though they’re both just the right side of 30 and playing the same position.
The main one is Westbrook also has the fundamentals in his back pocket, something Rose never has had. Rose’s style of play in his prime was quite selfish, ball watching on defence and taking the ball to the rim himself and scoring, with not many assists.
In his MVP-winning season he averaged 21.8 PPG (points per game) and only 7.9 APG (assists per game) but was never held accountable as he was scoring plenty and leading the team to wins, but as a point guard that assist percentage is pretty poor.
His long-range shooting was also always suspect, but again he wasn’t taken to task for this because he could get to the rim whenever he wanted.
So, what happens to a player like this after a series of serious injuries means they are simply not as explosive as they once were?
That is where Rose has found himself in the past few years and that lack of the fundamentals now means his game isn’t even close to being good enough for the elite standards currently on display in the NBA.
‘First of all, Rose needs to accept he is no longer an elite point guard, go back to the basics and work on his defensive game’
Still trying to ball watch on defence is not working for him anymore because he can’t gather the speed to chase down a defender after losing them to make a block.
His shooting is still below average so you don’t have the confidence in him hitting most of his shots like other point guards including Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving, Westbrook, Damien Lillard… this list could go on and on.
So, no Rose will never be able to rub shoulders with the elite of NBA again and get in on the MVP conversation, but that’s not to say he can’t rebuild his career and secure his status as a reliable above-average player again.
But first of all, he needs to accept he is no longer an elite point guard, go back to the basics and work on his defensive game, his shooting and his basketball IQ to improve his assisting ability.
I used to love watching Rose before his sad decline, and I just hope he makes these improvements before it is too late.