Lowest Lows Don’t Deter D-Rose


Every once in a while, the basketball gods smile upon a player to make the whole NBA community embrace them. Legends like Allen Iverson, Magic Johnson, Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal are just a handful of the select few who nearly every fan seems to love.

With the resurgence of the New York Knicks, one player once again finding himself in the spotlight is the Chicago kid and former MVP himself, Derrick Rose. With a New York playoff berth clinched for the first time in eight years, the legend of D-Rose has been one of the best storylines in recent memory. For someone who has been knocked down countless times, Rose is finally fulfilling his destiny in the second half of his legendary career.

Getting Rid of a Narrative

D-Rose isn’t “turning back the clock,” “playing like MVP Rose,” or “looking like vintage Rose.” Now, he’s just playing like the authentic man from Chicago we all grew to love and root for through every obstacle he’s faced. In his second stint with New York, he seems at home. The difference between this D-Rose and 2016-17 D-Rose is that now, he’s playing like he has nothing else left to prove anymore.

The First Knicks Stint

With the 2016-17 New York Knicks, Derrick departed with his hometown of Chicago through a trade to the Mecca of basketball. That season was somewhat of a disaster. Under the leadership of Phil Jackson in the front office, the Knicks only won 31 games and missed the playoffs.

With all of the drama spurred by Phil Jackson and James Dolan that season, there was a moment in that ’16-’17 campaign that stood out the most. In a game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Rose showed up for shootaround, but disappeared right before tip off. Executives, coaches and teammates were all concerned about Rose’s well-being at that time. At game-time, the Knicks released a statement that D-Rose was not with the team. However, they provided no reason for his absence. After days of speculation, it later came out that Rose had a family matter to tend to back in Chicago.

He was okay, but communication with the team always seemed to be a problem.

A Match Made in Heaven

The former No. 1 pick has played for three different teams, put up one spectacular 50-point game, and been to one playoff series since his last stint in New York. After lots of soul-searching while trying to find his place in the most competitive basketball league in the world, Rose became a match made in heaven for a Knicks team which needed a player with authentic selflessness. While he’s gone through struggles, Rose has finally discovered his role– he’s a veteran presence who young players can count on for mentorship and guidance.

Death, Taxes, and…

Three things are always certain: death, taxes and Tom Thibodeau finding a way to get D-Rose on his roster. In February, the Knicks pulled off one of the best trades of the season, acquiring Rose from the Pistons in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr. and a protected second-round pick. Rose has been playing phenomenally for a team that has needed another ‘go-get-a-bucket’ guy and veteran to help mentor the young players.

When the Knicks needed him most, Rose prevailed. He averaged 19.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game on 57.9/56.0/100 shooting splits this month– amazing production to say the least. As the Knicks’ sixth man, Rose has been coming off the bench in each of these games, averaging 29.1 minutes per contest.

When Rose is on the floor, good things happen. New York holds a record of 24-11 when D-Rose laces up. By leading the Knicks’ second unit, he’s helped players like Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Taj Gibson and Alec Burks flourish into better players just by being on the floor. Rose constantly tries to get others involved in the offense while also managing to get his own buckets.

Giving Derrick his Roses

In possibly their best win of the season, the Knicks went head-to-head on the road with the Los Angeles Clippers and emerged victorious.

Who had the ball in his hands during crunch time? No one other than Chicago’s very own.

With the season winding down and the playoff picture starting to develop, Rose stepped up in the biggest way possible by helping the Knicks take sole possession of the 4th seed — and home-court advantage in the first round- with only four games left.

It’s extremely important to give Rose his flowers while he’s still playing the game. Yes, it’s fun to watch Rose because he averaged nearly 20 points/game to end the regular season, but fans also embrace him because his whole NBA story is about prevailing. People loved D-Rose back in the day because he was high-flying kid putting on for his hometown, and an electric basketball player with a killer quick-first step. He’s overcome serious injury and battled his way back into the league– an impressive feat no matter the player.

A Bucket Now, Then and Forever

What made Rose so good in his MVP season was his explosiveness, athleticism and driven mentality. 10 years later, D-Rose is still putting up similar production at a more efficient rate, but in fewer minutes per game. Why? It’s because Rose is a better basketball player now than he’s ever been. As father time and injuries plagued him, he found a way to slow the game down and force everyone to play at his own pace.

He’s a bucket now, then and forever.

Helping the Knicks punch their ticket to the ’20-’21 playoffs is just another achievement Rose gets to put on his list of accolades. Fans and media become so caught up in ‘ring culture’ that we forget to give flowers to the players who make themselves legendary without a championship. Stars like Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook sadly play a part of a toxic idea that players need championships to solidify themselves as all-time greats. When it comes to D-Rose, the obstacles he’s overcome throughout his career make him as legendary as it gets– with or without a ring.

He’s Seen the Lowest Lows, and Still He Rose.

As the injuries racked up and fans and media alike labelled him ‘washed’, there was a time Derrick Rose couldn’t get a job in the NBA. Now in hindsight, I’m sure contending teams would’ve given up a lot more than Dennis Smith Jr. and a protected second-round pick for him. To be able to silence the doubters and lead one of the worst franchises in the past decade to the playoffs is a remarkable story.

His talent was always there, and New York didn’t forget. Sometimes you just need the right Garden to revive an old Rose.

Follow us on Twitter @KnicksLead for the latest Knicks news and insight. 

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About Matt DeCeglie

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