The NBA has lacked those dramatic storylines thus far this season that we have seen in the past. We fully expect this to change moving forward.
However, there’s a heartwarming story coming out of Detroit that has flown under the radar. It’s the performance of former NBA MVP Derrick Rose in his first season with the Pistons. It is, without a doubt, the story of the NBA season at about the midway point.
Here’s the gist: Rose’s career has fluctuated between widespread irrelevance and pretty much coming to an end since he earned the NBA MVP back in 2010-11. It’s been all about the injuries. Injuries that would normally cripple a players’ career.
- 2012: Torn ACL
- 2013: Right knee surgery
- 2015: Torn right meniscus
- 2015: Orbital fracture
- 2017: Torn meniscus
That’s five long-term injuries that would normally derail a players’ career. For Rose, the threat of that happening has led to a rebirth we have not seen in the recent history of professional sports.
How we got here: It’s a story that’s almost comparable to Leo Tolstoy‘s “War and Peace” in its length. That’s not as much hyperbole as it is reality.
- Rose played in a total of 156 games over his final five seasons with the Chicago Bulls after earning the MVP back in 2010-11. That’s 38% of Chicago’s games.
- The ACL and knee injuries impacted his ability to play at a high level when on the court. Rose averaged 16.3 points on just 43% shooting in his final season with Chicago.
- From there, it was completely downhill. After averaging 18 points in 64 games for the Knicks in 2016-17, Rose saw action in just 25 games the following season between the Cavaliers and Timberwolves. In Cleveland, the hope was that LeBron James would help lead to a rebirth. He averaged 10 points in under 20 minutes of action.
The seedlings: Despite playing on a bad Minnesota Timberwolves team last season, Rose made waves and put up his best single-season performance since that 2010-11 campaign.
- Rose averaged 18.0 points and 4.3 assists on 48% shooting in 51 games with Minnesota lst season. Sure his season ended prematurely due to another injury, but it became apparent he was back.
- No longer the dynamite athletic performer we saw in the Windy City, Rose started to use his veteran savvy to change his game.
- It’s the guard’s ability to change what he does on defense that laid the seeds for the success we’ve seen thus far this season in Detroit.
The rebirth: Despite playing on a struggling 15-27 Pistons squad, Rose has been the story. It’s no small thing. To see someone come back and perform at this level has been amazing.
- The now 31-year-old Rose heads into this weekend’s action averaging 18.1 points and 5.8 assists while shooting at a resounding 50% from the field.
- Most recently, Rose has put up the best stretch of games we’ve seen from the guy in nearly a decade.
- The guard is averaging 23.7 points on 54% shooting from the field over the past seven games. That span has also seen Rose average north of 31 minutes per game.
Inspirational. That would be the best way to describe what we’ve seen from Rose this season. It flies under the radar. That’s a given seeing the star power we’re witnessing in Los Angeles and other larger markets.
Even then, it’s the idea that the ups and downs have not gotten to Rose. He’s done everything within his power to move on from the injuries that derailed a career that was once destined for the Hall of Fame.
It’s stories like these that we should be focusing on. A man overcoming the trials and tribulations to maintain a high level of play. All the while, Rose continues to act as an inspiration to countless people who have been handed lemons only to make lemonade.
This is indeed the story of the season. Let’s just hope it continues with Rose heading to a contender ahead of February’s NBA trade deadline. The former MVP playing meaningful playoff basketball would be the ultimate culmination to this story.