Skip to main content

Derrick Rose Didn’t Make NBA 75 Team, But His Peak Was Like No Other

Derrick Rose's peak was something truly special. Being a snub from the NBA 75 team can't take away from that.
Derrick Rose Chicago Bulls Jersey Number 1

Photo: Bill Smith/Chicago Bulls

Let’s be honest.

It would’ve been far more surprising had Derrick Rose actually been named one of the 75 greatest players in NBA history. His rotten luck took him out of the running for that honor years ago. That much can’t be argued.

Not a single one of Ernie Johnson, Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, or Kenny Smith even tried when the list was released a week ago.

But it can also be true that, as the youngest player to ever win MVP, Rose’s peak eclipsed that of every player the NBA On TNT crew deemed a snub.

Actually, the question of whether or not Rose ever even made it to his peak is argument enough.

He was just 268 games, 37 minutes, and 13 seconds into his career when disaster struck.

That’s 92 fewer games than Anfernee Hardaway played before being sidelined with his own knee injury, 182 fewer games than Grant Hill played before his uphill battle with his left ankle, and 292 fewer games than Bernard King played before tearing up his right knee.

The 25 points, 4.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and one steal per game Rose averaged in his MVP season weren’t statistical anomalies. Yet his impact stood out like a sore thumb.

You truly had to be there.

With the former No. 1 overall pick on the floor, the Bulls were in command of the eighth-best offense. When he wasn’t, their offensive rating took a dive to the bottom of the ranks.

Scroll to continue

Recommended Articles

Rose was especially electric in the clutch, where his whopping 43.5% usage rate was second only to Kobe Bryant.

He scored the third-most points in those situations at a clip that was second-best among players to take at least 127 shots. He finished with the same amount of free-throw makes (61) and free-throw (68) attempts as Dirk Nowitzki.

Rose also had the highest offensive box plus/minus (a box score estimate of the offensive points per 100 possessions a player contributed above a league-average player) that year and led the Bulls to a league-best 62-20 record.

That’s a better mark than Walt Bellamy, Vince Carter, Artis Gilmore, Adrian Dantley, Dwight Howard, Tracy McGrady, Dikembe Mutombo, Hardaway, Hill, and King ever helped their teams reach.

And while King, Carter, Dantley, Bellamy, McGrady, and Hill scored the ball better, only Dantley helped his team past the conference finals because of it.

Rose’s omission from the 75th Anniversary Team wasn’t a brush-off. It was more a reminder of how his misfortune torpedoed his trajectory. Similar to Hardaway and Hill.

Unlike those two though, Rose lost much more in the fire.

A career destined for enshrinement was cut down just as it had taken off. And his once open-and-shut case for the Hall of Fame looks as clear as mud nowadays.

That said, Rose has become effective even without access to the explosion that used to be a trademark of his game.

He led New York in scoring in the playoffs and finished third in Sixth Man of the Year voting last season. He’ll also take the court at the United Center tonight shooting a career- and Knickerbocker-best 57.9% from three this season.

It’s that kind of evolution that makes you wonder just how high his peak could’ve been.

Isn’t it?