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Former Bulls Hometown Hero Derrick Rose Finding Health, Success Late in his Career

Derrick Rose is rediscovering success in his early thirties, nearly a decade after his greatest seasons in Chicago.
Photo: Detroit Free Press

Photo: Detroit Free Press

After a role reversal of sorts for the scuffling Chicago Bulls -- who erased an 18-point deficit late in the fourth quarter before topping the Washington Wizards in overtime on Wednesday night -- the team will have two days off before they take on the Detroit Pistons in Detroit on Saturday evening.

While the matchup with the 11-17 Pistons doesn't immediately jump off of the paper at you as a "must-watch" contest, it's an opportunity for us to take an up-close and personal look at a familiar friend, Derrick Rose.

Rose, who's playing for his fourth team since the summer 2016 trade that sent him and Joakim Noah to the New York Knicks in exchange for a bag of balls and a pack of chewing gum, is looking more like Chicago's native hero that won the 2011 NBA MVP at the age of 22 years old.

After tumultuous stops in New York, Cleveland, and a two-day stint in Utah before being waived on February 10, 2018, Rose signed a one-year deal on March 8th to finish the 2017-18 NBA season out with his old head coach, Tom Thibodeau, in Minnesota.

Rose averaged 12.4 minutes per contest in his nine games in Minnesota but decided to return to Minnesota for the 2018-19 season. That decision would result in his best season since his 2011-12 campaign, which ended with his first ACL injury during the playoffs.

Last season, Rose logged 27 minutes per game while scoring 18 points per game to go along with four assists and three rebounds per contest. He was healthy, and looked like the Derrick Rose the Chicago fell in love with during his first four seasons in the NBA.

This summer, the Bulls were looking for a veteran point guard to keep the seat warm for Coby White, but they chose to sign former Wizards guard Tomas Satoransky to a three-year, $30 million deal.

Maybe the relationship between Derrick and the Bulls front office was just to damaged from the very unceremonial exit that the incompetent duo of Gar Forman and John Paxson gave the hometown hero just three summers prior.

Or, maybe the Bulls front office just added another chapter to their long-running novel of talent evaluation snafu's, and dolled out twice what the Pistons are paying Derrick Rose, to the 28-year old Satoransky.

Either way, the hometown reunion that actually felt like a no-brainer this summer, didn't come to fruition.

Satoransky is averaging 9.5 points, 5.3 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game through 30 games. Rose is averaging 16.6 points, 6.0 assists and 2.3 rebounds per contest, assuming the starting point guard role for the injured Reggie Jackson for most of the season thus far. 

Meanwhile over in the Motor City, Rose is doing his best to continue turning back the clock in his career, posting numbers comparable to his career-bests this season.

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Don't believe me?

Check out Rose's per 36 numbers this season compared to his MVP 2010-2011 season.
















Derrick Rose - PER 36, 2010-11/2019-20

Rose's shooting slash line (48.3/31.8/86.4) stacks up better than his career averages (45.4/30.6/82.5), and he's notched eight 20-point games and 12 six-assist games to date.

Rose is in the first year of a two-year deal with the Pistons, one in which he'll be 33-years old when it reaches its conclusion. This scenario makes a homecoming reunion unlikely to ever take place, despite Derrick leaving the door open during an interview with NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson last month.

“I mean, like I always say, you probably have to ask (Chairman) Jerry (Reinsdorf) about that,” Rose said. “I have one more year on this deal. I’m here for two years. After next year, I’ll be a free agent. Who knows? That’s how I’m going to leave that.”

Derrick Rose on a potential return to the Bulls one day.

It's well-documented that Rose and the Bulls front office were never in-step after the first ACL injury, and during his final years in town, Rose became a negative headline machine that just wouldn't stop.

Between the front office's spotty track record with diagnosing and managing injuries, the public battles with the media that Rose engaged in, simply because he wasn't quick-witted and really didn't realize the cringe factor that some of his answers gave the fanbase, his departure became inevitable.

Despite that, I always felt that Derrick's biggest mistake was the people he surrounded himself with and entrusted to guide him through the most difficult time of his young life.

Personally, after seeing his 2018-19 season, I wanted both sides to allow the wounds to heal, and Rose to make his way back home. Judging by the "MVP!" chants that he received on November 1st when he was last at the United Center, I'm not alone in that feeling.

In any case, it's nice to see him rediscovering success in his early thirties, nearly a decade after his greatest seasons in Chicago.

Featured Photo: Detroit Free Press