#1 Derrick Rose - The Hometown Hero

Published by Axel on 23rd June - 01:32 (CET)
In before the 2008 NBA Draft lottery 11th seeded Chicago Bulls had a 1.7% chance of winning the lottery for the number one pick in the upcoming draft. The chances for a player to tear his ACL ones and his MCL twice during a two year span? Can't be that big. Neither are the chance of a player achieving what Derrick Rose did in that time span in between.
I still remember the draft night very clearly. As a Bulls fan that endured the somewhat frustrating baby bulls era I hadn't been that hyped since LaMarcus Aldridge was traded for the super athletic Tyrus Thomas during the 2006 NBA draft. Let's not never talk about how that story ended...
Anyways, I remember thinking 'Please, please.. don't pick Michael Beasley. Pick the hometown point guard who just set the NCAA mark for most wins in a season with Memphis!' over and over the minutes before it started.

'With the first pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Chicago Bulls select Derrick Rose, from the University of Memphis'. The first guard to be selected with the 1st overall pick since Allen Iverson in 1996.

Since the Bulls had a disappointing season the year before they fired head coach Scott Skiles and hired rookie head coach Vinny Del Negro to straighten things out. Led by Derrick Rose, Loul Deng and Ben Gordon they managed to improve and finished with a 41 - 41 record, good enough for a 7th seed.

Rose blew everybody away with his speed and athleticism, and ended up averaging 16.8 points, 6.3 assists, 3.9 rebounds while shooting .475 in field goal percentage in his rookie season. This was by a big margin good enough for him to win the 2009 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, where the only other players who received first-place votes were Brook Lopez and Russell Westbrook.

The 7h seeded Chicago Bulls went up against 2nd seeded Boston Celtics, a team considered to be a top contender for the title. Remember the ol' big three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen?!
And wow, what a series it was.

Rajon Rondo had a great start of the series as he and Rose had a fierce duel over the first game.
Rose had 36 points, 4 rebounds and 11 assists while leading his Bulls to a tough 105 - 103 win in a overtime game in front of a stunned crowd at TD Garden.
Derrick's 36 points was the most ever by a player in his first playoff game, and some of us couldn't help to think back to another young player who had a great game in TD Garden.

Next game was equally close, this time with Ben Gordon and Ray Allen dueling for the win.
Allen ended up on the winning side with a contested 3-pointer with 2.0 seconds left on the clock. 115 - 118, and the series was tied at 1 - 1.

Game 3 was the only game in this series that wasn't any close, as Celtics blew by the Bulls with a score of 107 - 86.

In a Game 4 that was even closer than the previous games Rose nearly had a triple double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 9 asssists. After double OT's the Bulls comes out as the winner with 118 - 121.

Game 5, and guess what?! Yes, overtime... this time in Celtics' favour, 104 - 106 and Celtics took the series lead with 3 - 2 in games.

Game 6 was insane and one of the better playoff games that year. Even though Ray Allen had 51 points Bulls managed to win the game with 127 - 128, after a tough battle that went to triple overtime. Led by their rookie sensation and NBA veterans John Salmons and Brad Miller.
Rose had 28 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in the game, but another player who deserves props for that game is Joakim Noah, who had the incredible late OT play you see below.
Game 7 ended in Celtic's favor, and one of the best first round playoff series ever played was over.
But Boston and all NBA was very impressed by that young kid that so easily could slash and get himself to the basket. He was so explosive NBA analysts instantly tried to find other players in history who could match his explosiveness, mostly without finding any.

2009 NBA Playoffs Round 1 - Chicago Bulls (2) vs. Boston Celtics (7) Recap

His sophomore season was just as promising and he ended up averaging 20.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists while shooting .489 in FG%. He was also selected to his first career All-Star Game, making him the first Bull to be selected since Michael Jordan in 1998. But even though Rose played great and averaged 26.8 points in the series the Bulls once again failed to advance from the first round of the playoffs, this time stopped by Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James, a player who would stand in the their way a lot in the upcoming years.

Before the 2010 - 2011 season Bulls fired Vinny Del Negro after his relationship with the front office got so infected that GM John Paxson apparently tried to strangle him...
Next up was the defensive minded Tom Thibodeau from Boston Celtics. Another rookie head coach, but probably the most experienced assistant coach in the NBA. He often orchestrated the whole defense of his teams and was regarded as a big part of the success Boston had when they won the title in 2008.
Thibs and the hard working young Bulls core immediately clicked, and became one of the most feared teams in the league. Mostly because of the brilliant performances of Derrick Rose.

This was while second option Carlos Boozer missed most of the early season due to injury, and Joakim Noah only playing 48 games. Both with lingering injuries when they returned.
His backcourt partner that season was either Keith Bogans, a shooting guard who averaged 4.4 ppg, or Ronnie Brewer, a not so good player who's more of a small forward than a shooting guard. 38 year-old center Kurt Thomas started and finished the games. Sometimes subbed by rookie Ömer Asik or a not yet developed Taj Gibson.

So Rose had to carry the offense with some help from Luol Deng, who's not even a natural scorer.
Because of this he had to fight double teams and triple teams every night. Still he was responsible for over 70% of Chicago's offense per PTS/AST when he was on the floor.
In a game against the Mavericks in January 2011, Rose scored 26 points to win the game. This was very special, as none of his teammates scored in double digits. He became only the third player the last decade to do so after LeBron James (30pts, 2008) and Kobe Bryant (62pts, 2005).

He ended that season averaging 25.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists. Enough to give him more than 2000 points and 600 assists. Since 1972 only two other players had done so. Michael Jordan in 1988 - 1989 and LeBron James in 2009 - 2010. James Harden also managed to do so this very season!

With a very special season behind him, facing hard odds with a pretty bad roster and a rookie head coach he still managed to carry the offense and help the Bulls end up with the 1st seed and a very good 62 win season. Enough to make him the youngest player in NBA history to win the MVP award. He got more points in the vote than 2nd placed Dwight Howard and 3rd placed LeBron James together.

Remember the pre season interview below? All media was laughing at him then, no one was anymore.

Derrick Rose - 'Why can't I be MVP of the league?'

Chicago swept the newly formed super team in Miami in the regular season, and mostly with quite ease.
But with Ömer Asik going down, and key players Noah and Deng both playing through injuries it just wasn't enough in the playoffs as LeBron, Bosh and Wade stepped it up and eliminated the Bulls from playoff contention in the Eeastern Conference Finals.
Rose averaged more than 27 points per game during that post season.

Next year came the shortened lockout season, and Rose for the first time in his career had some lingering injuries. But he still put up great numbers and again Chicago got the 1st seed in what felt like "the year".

Then it happened... With just about a minute left of Game 1 in the first round of the playoffs Rose landed awkwardly after a hop step on a drive and tore his ACL. In front of a cheering Philadelphia crowd...

Nothing was ever the same, and gone was the humble MVP everyone loved. A player who brought so much joy and attention to the NBA as a whole. So much that his jersey sold the best among all NBA players for years to come.

Head coach Thibs took a lot of the blame for letting Rose stay in the game with a 12 point lead and just about a minute left on the clock. But no matter whose fault it was Rose still missed the whole 2012-2013 season, and some people started to question his motivation. Much thanks to Bulls General Manager Gar Forman who sold him out to the media by declaring him ready to play.

He tried to come back for the 2013 - 2014 season and looked good in the preseason, but 10 games in he blew another knee, but this time he tore his meniscus and he missed the rest of the season.

The 2014 - 2015 season was supposed to be his comeback season, but he seemed afraid of driving, the game that had made him so special. No more of the flashy dunks we all loved, and his shot selection was poor. Around All-Star break it was announced that he had re teared meniscus. And again the season was gone. Even if he came back for the playoffs, looked good and averaged 23.0 points, it wasn't enough. But us Chicago fans will never forget the buzzer beater that gave the Bulls a 2 - 1 series lead against LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers in that years playoffs.

2015 Playoffs - Derrick Rose's Game-Winning Buzzer Beater vs. Clevelandh
Meanwhile the Bulls managed to keep putting up pretty good seasons much thanks to coach Thibodeau's defensive system and a hard working, over achieving roster. But with Rose taking up such a large chunk of the pay roll while not playing, it wasn't enough anymore as Bulls offence suddenly was non-existent and one of the worst ones in the league.

After again a much infected coach/front office relationship Tom Thibodeau was fired. And yeeet another rookie head coach was brought in to replace him in what was thought of as one last try before breaking up the core.

Derrick didn't start the season well, and had problems finding his shot. But anybody who watched the latter latter part of the season knows that he looked really good again. But he still had to rest with soreness every now and then and only managed to play in 66 games while playing 31.8 minuter per game.

Former MVP Derrick Rose was traded for those guys?!

But as we all know Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler got injured, and the Bulls failed to get into the playoffs for the first time since Rose's arrival in Chicago. So the front office of Chicago Bulls decides to rebuild the core., and thus they trade Rose for those two guys (Jose Calderon and Robin Lopez) he just blew past in the video above, among with former Bull Horace Grant's draft bust of a nephew..

The fear of Rose walking in next years free agency for nothing must have been too much for GM Gar Forman and VP John Paxson. Us fans are only left here stunned, to watch him go to New York to finally/hopefully have the fully healthy season we all have been waiting for.
I really hope, and believes that he will ball in New York City!

And yeah, as if it doesn't get any worse New York Knicks just tweeted highlights of Rose against Lopez, Calderon and Grant. But hey, if they bring in Dwight Howard the Knicks easily have the best team of... 2011! Miami Heat with Amar'e, Wade, Bosh and Deng might have a thing or two to say about it though.

This also means that Chicago will be done with former DPOY Joakim Noah, or vice versa. There's just no way he stays now, after an infected relationship with Jimmy Butler and coach Hoiberg, and now the departure of close friend Rose. Who knows, maybe he goes home to New York too.

Pau Gasol will probably never play in Bulls uniform either. The trade of Rose fills both a point guard spot, and center spot, however. Which means that Chicago still in in position to attain a big time free agent this or next summer.
But the Windy City is cold, and after the way this front office have treated its players these last years (almost killing Deng) it's hard to see which free agents would want to go here. After all, the best free agency signing by during the reign of this FO is Gasol, who was already too old and wants to leave.

This probably means that the dark ages are coming. Rebuilding will take some time, and FO will have to decide if they should build around Jimmy Butler, soon turning 27, at the top of his market value, or make a trade while they still can get this much for him.

With the departure of Deng and Boozer a couple of seasons ago this effectively means that a Bulls era has ended. Where the team that for a long time was viewed as the largest threat against LeBron James in the East no longer exists. With only Taj Gibson still left from that squad.
Without injuries who knows, but that's unfortunately basketball.

As for Derrick, Thank you so much for your time in Chicago!
Personally you've brought me more joy than any other player.

The Windy City Assassin has left Chicago...


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