Sam Smith: Why Derrick Rose is undoubtedly a Hall of Famer

Sam Smith: Why Derrick Rose is undoubtedly a Hall of Famer

The NBA apparently settled a dispute Tuesday when it named the trophy for the Most Valuable Player trophy, the league’s top individual honor, for Michael Jordan.

I’m settling another with an MVP, former Bulls star Derrick Rose, who will be at the United Center with the New York Knicks Wednesday and Friday.

The only Bulls player in franchise history other than Jordan to win the MVP award is eventually enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Rose would enter the Basketball Hall of Fame from Bulls franchise history among those who played significant portions of their careers with the Bulls, only Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Artis Gilmore, Chet Walker and Toni Kukoč.

The worthiness of Rose’s Basketball Hall of Fame has been debated since every eligible NBA player who has ever won an MVP is in the Hall of Fame. Any player who has won the award since Rose in 2011 is certain to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The hesitation regarding Rose was the compressed streak of Rose’s brilliance with the Bulls, four stellar seasons and three straight All-Star selections before his devastating anterior cruciate ligament injury in the 2012 playoffs.

That Rose is still playing a decade later, even if he’s not currently in the regular rotation of the often-dysfunctional Knicks, is remarkable testament to his skill and dedication to the game. And hardly as a spectator. Rose placed third in the 2021 annual NBA Sixth Man of the Year poll for best reserve player. And in the four seasons prior to that since Rose was effectively fired as an NBA player, he’s averaged more than 16 points per game despite only averaging about 26 minutes per game off the bench.

These are not Hall of Fame numbers.

But with other Hall of Famers whose careers were curtailed and returned in limited roles, like Bill Walton and Grant Hill, Rose’s career work is obviously Hall Fame-worthy.

Of course there is the Most Valuable Player Award.

Derrick Rose holds up the 2010-2011 MVP trophy before game two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks in the 2011 NBA Playoffs

It almost means entry, because for a year, and in Rose’s case, in the midst of LeBron James’ career heyday, when Rose broke a streak of possibly five straight MVP awards, Rose was widely considered the best player in the world.

Only a fraction of the Hall of Famers have ever reached this level.

But what is most often forgotten about the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame – and what is equally important – is that, in the spirit of its namesake, it represents all of basketball around the world and at all levels. It’s not the NBA Hall of Fame. But that’s also why the Naismith Hall of Fame is perhaps more important than any other representative of American team sports. Because it recognizes that, odd as that may seem to some, there is more to the world than the United States.

South Side Englewood native Rose starts out in high school, where it seems every NBA player has won a championship. Rose’s Simeon High School won back-to-back state titles, which is no small feat coming from the competitive Chicago Public League. It was Simeon’s first title in more than 20 years since the late Ben Wilson’s run. As a junior, Rose scored the winning goal in the state championship game with Wilson’s No. 25. And as a senior in what I always considered an even greater championship moment, Rose scored two points in the championship game. He rigged the win as a point guard but kept his goals low so teammates had better chances at scholarships. He has long been considered the nation’s No. 1.

Rose later did the same during his year at the University of Memphis, leading the team back to No. 1 in the country for the first time in 25 years and then within seconds of the national championship when his Memphis team lost in overtime to a perennial Powerhouse Kansas. Again, Rose moderated his scoring to around 15 points per game in the regular season so his teammates could be featured. As a result, Joey Dorsey and Chris Douglas-Roberts were selected from that team in the same year as Rose in the NBA draft. Both had short NBA careers.

Rose also has two gold medals from championships with USA Basketball. He played a significant role in the 2010 and 2014 US teams that won the FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup, the premier basketball world tournament before the Olympics.

And, of course, there’s Rose’s flashing comet of an NBA career.

It was scorching for four seasons that were as good as almost any in that young career, especially from the age of 20.

Rookie Derrick Rose takes on San Antonio defenseman DeJuan Blair in a game in 2009.

Rose was NBA Rookie of the Year and matched Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record for most points in a rookie playoff debut in his first playoff game. The Rose-led Bulls Game 1 win turned the first-round streak on its head and cost the defending champion Boston Celtics seven games to knock out the Bulls.

Strongly built, 6-3 Rose always had the potential to be a great scorer, but in the interests of success and being a great teammate, he usually pushed it back. Almost every player says so, but Rose actually did it. Because when he had to score, he suddenly became one of the best scorers in the NBA.

In 2010–11, his third NBA season at the age of 22, Rose averaged more than 25 points per game when he won the Most Valuable Player award and 21.8 the following season when Rose was the generally starless Bulls without another future Hall of Famer led best record in the NBA for the second straight season. And like the greats do, Rose increased his score in the playoffs even as the scores declined. Rose averaged a 26.8 in the 2010 playoffs against the Cavs and LeBron James and a 27.1 in the 2011 playoffs. And even after multiple knee surgeries, he came back, averaging more than 20 points in a dozen games in the 2015 playoffs.

By this time, Rose had a Hall of Famer-worthy companion in Jimmy Butler, who was previously not a rotary player. When the Bulls led the league in 2011, including beating the James/Dwyane Wade Super Miami team, Rose didn’t have a teammate who was an All-Star. In 2012, Luol Deng became an All-Star, but he is not considered a Hall of Famer like James’ teammates.

Derrick Rose is looking to dunk over Miami Heat defensemen LeBron James and Mike Bibby in Game Four of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals.

As Tom Thibodeau used to say of the 2011 Bulls, “This team won 62 games, with Keith Bogans starting 82 games as a shooting guard.” Well, a backcourt from Rose and Bogans.

Rose’s run of excellence and three straight All-Star Games was cut short by that knee injury in 2012 and several more surgeries to follow.

But as a testament to what all Halls of Famers are about, the journey and desire, Rose rose from the depths of injury and layoff to become a senior contributor to a rare Knicks playoff team to celebrate his commitment to to demonstrate the game. A decade after that knee surgery and five years after he was practically fired from the game, Rose remains capable, a willing contributor and supportive teammate, going from being the best in the game to a reserve role in the team’s best interest.

It’s also often messy to make comparisons. And sometimes it’s seen as condemning others. It should not be.

Because just as players comparable to Rose deserve to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, so does Rose.

Though Rose hasn’t played for an NBA championship team, his 2011 Bulls team reached the conference finals and second round in 2015 when his Game 3 winner nearly propelled the Bulls past LeBron and Cleveland and his latest Big Three.

Tracy McGrady, for example, was a great scorer but never on a winning playoff team. Hall of Famers Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond also had playoff misses, Hardaway finally found some success after a serious injury when he was more of a support player in Miami. Bucks Hall of Famer Sidney Moncrief had a shortened run due to injury. He made it to the All-Star five times during that time, but never came close to matching the individual and international honors that Rose achieved. Bob McAdoo was long the MVP-denying Hall of Famer after a lengthy career that went from a high-points starter on underperforming teams to a 20-minute reserve per game for six years.

You certainly deserve the Hall of Famers.

Because the Hall of Fame is also a compendium of a player’s contributions to the game at the prep, collegiate, professional, and international levels, and an accumulation of his honors, Rose can also score 50 points in an NBA game seven years later—his heavyweight A knee injury and its impact on the sport is significant as Rose remains one of the most popular players in the NBA and worldwide through product sales.

It’s a résumé that the Basketball Hall of Fame is all about. Once again, welcome back to Chicago Derrick Rose.

The content of this page has not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are his own solely and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its employees at Basketball Operations, its parent company, affiliates or sponsors. His sources are unknown to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that come with being an NBA-accredited media member.

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