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Commentary: Derrick Rose has no reason to play against the Heat

BY IAN MARTIN | MAY 07, 2013 5:00 AM

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Derrick Rose owes Bulls’ fans nothing. While they may have bought the jersey or just a shirt with half of Derrick Rose’s face combined with half of the Bulls logo, Rose owes the Bull fans nothing. Mr. Rose is calculated in his prolonged return from a torn ACL more than a year ago, and he might even be doing fans a favor by sitting out.

The Bulls will lose to the Heat. This isn’t a prediction; it’s a pretty solid assumption. Even if Derrick Rose made a miraculous return, he hasn’t played in an NBA game in more than a year. His pace, chemistry with teammates, and general skills might take a game or five to readjust. If Rose were playing, or had been playing, the Heat would still be heavy favorites in the series.

Now, it just leaves Bulls fans a minor excuse when the Heat win in four or five games.

Clearly, Rose is thinking beyond this season.

Miami is the favorite in the NBA for the near future. If the Heat don’t win it all this year or next year, the Western Conference supplies the next two or three favorites. Instead of hastening a return, even if he feels fully healthy now, Rose is conserving his body and prolonging his promising prime to (maybe) play in a season or two when he can be on one of the top three teams in the league.

A number of top-tier basketball players played through the pain in their careers with early retirement as a consequence. Pete Maravich and Bill Walton lasted 23 years combined in the league and had Hall of Fame careers. But both were hampered by constant injuries they often played on and were out of the league much earlier than they had hoped.

For a more recent example, Brandon Roy won NBA Rookie of the Year in 2007 but retired by 2011 because of bad knees. The shooting guard knew his knees were bothersome before the 2008 season, but he played as many games as he physically could, resulting in a quick deterioration of cartilage. A return this past year was unsuccessful, with Roy playing in just five games all season for the Timberwolves.

Points to other sports for examples of success don’t fly, either. Just because Adrian Peterson and Willis McGahee returned from horrific knee injuries to be as good as they were doesn’t mean Rose automatically will, too. Basketball involves a lot more jumping and landing than football, and there are 82 games in an NBA regular season, not 16.

Rose is biding his time this year while the King reasserts his claim for the throne. This decision isn’t sexy now, but the former Memphis star is calculated.

Derrick Rose is 24, while basketball’s best LeBron James, is 28. There will be a time in the NBA future where Rose will be in his prime while James will be on the decline, assuming both stay healthy.

Rose will likely be a Chicago player for his entire career. He’s a Chicago native that invested in a Chicago pizza chain. It’s when he’s 30, one of the league’s best, and on a contending team that Chicago fans will realized Rose knew what he was doing in 2013 all along.


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