OK, Chicago Bulls fans. I have a question for you.
Should Derrick Rose continue playing for Team USA or save himself for the NBA season, which is a little over two months away? Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times, is in favor of the latter of the two choices and offered these thoughts on Rose opting to take part in these games:
Rest your right knee. Rest your left knee. Rest everything. Have yourself cryogenically frozen and then thawed in two months, ready to play NBA basketball. That’s when the regular season starts, and that’s all we really care about.
Some of you may agree with this opinion, especially after reports surfaced about Rose experiencing soreness in his knees a few days ago. The truth is the Chicago Bulls point guard needs to continue to play.Does this sound absurd? Maybe. But there are reasons for this sentiment.
First, let’s address the biggest fear—a potential injury setback. Whether you want to hear this or not, an injury can take place at any time—on or off the court.
Remember when Rose suffered his second season-ending injury against the Portland Trail Blazers in late November? He was merely jogging towards the basket when he tore the meniscus in his right knee.
How about that first injury in the opening game of the 2012 playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers? In that sequence, Rose came down awkwardly while attempting to make a pass.
In both cases, there was no contact with any other players, which reinforces my statement about how injuries can occur at any time.
In addition to that, Rose has missed a total of 181 games over the past three seasons and has played in just 49 games during that time. No, this is a not a knock on Mr. Rose, just stating the facts.
The point that I’m trying to make is he has to play at some point, so why not use these next few weeks to get his rhythm back before the season kicks off?
Secondly, the last time Rose participated with Team USA four summers ago, he took his game to new heights during the 2010-11 campaign. Not only did Rose go on to become the youngest MVP in league history, he also increased his scoring production by four points per contest and there was a slight jump in his assists, rebounds and steals per contest as well.
However, Rose will be able to use the next few weeks to get his body back into game shape, which will enable him to shake off some of the rust right now rather than later. Yes, I can hear some of you saying that is what the preseason is for, right?
The counter argument is that Rose needs a head start towards taking steps to improve on the numbers we saw in 10 appearances for the Bulls last season.
While the 16 points per outing was certainly respectable, Rose connected on just 35 percent of his shot attempts and he often tried to do too much on the court. Playing competitive basketball over the next few weeks will not only help him get his wind back, but it will also go a long way towards helping him reclaim his role with the Bulls and playing effectively in that role.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons why Rose should not continue along the path he is taking. For example, Kevin Durant withdrew from the team this week, citing mental exhaustion as the primary reason for his decision.
Durant went on to say that he loves Team USA, but he felt it was important to be well-rested when the 2014-15 season begins.
Then, we have Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, who suffered a season-ending leg injury during a televised scrimmage. And the biggest reasons why some feel that Rose should shut it down is because the Bulls are the team paying Rose to go out and perform at a high level, not Team USA.
To be honest, all of those are good reasons to say the least. But the journey Rose is taking is not about money because he has more wealth than most of us will see in a lifetime.
It isn’t about winning an FIBA medal because he has already performed well on this stage before.
This is about an athlete who is looking for redemption. After suffering multiple injuries to his knees the past few seasons and enduring criticism in the process, Rose knows that he has to do everything possible to become one of the best players in the league again.
While proving the naysayers wrong is a reward in itself, Rose needs to prove to himself that he can consistently play the game he loves at the highest level without any limitations or setbacks and these next few weeks will allow him the opportunity to do exactly that. Furthermore, if Rose and the Bulls brass don’t have any objections to him playing with Team USA, then neither should we.