It’s the end of the NBA regular season. Which means that it’s time for fans to start analyzing their teams more closely to figure out what exactly went wrong. The Chicago Bulls, a team I’ve consciously watched for more than a decade, are no different.
The Bulls are officially out of NBA playoff contention for the first time since 2008. Well,anyone who’s watched a game over the past few weeks could tell you they wouldn’t make the cut. But now they’re mathematically out of the picture. The blame for this season’s outcome falls on multiple people. Our new rookie head coach, Fred Hoiberg, basically walked into a burning building with no idea of where the fire extinguisher was. The executive force commonly known as “GarPax” is finally running out of scapegoats and excuses (Sorry, Thibs). And many of the players are coming under fire for a list of reasons.
While the 2015-16 season surely included some positive steps forward for Derrick Rose – he played more games this season than the previous three combined – it was another disappointing effort for the former MVP and hometown product. Like all aspects of the team, his performance is being analyzed for any glaring weak points.
For example, Dan Bernstein of CBS Chicago recently wrote a piece bringing up an interesting point that many of us were probably aware of somewhere in the back of our minds, but needed help connecting the dots for. Derrick Rose may be the only NBA player to win the highly-esteemed MVP award and not make it into the Naismith Hall of Fame when it’s all said and done.
Being named MVP is practically a declaration of one’s status as the best player in the entire league, arguably the entire world, for that season. With a ceiling that high, it’s usually a safe bet to say that same player will have an overall prosperous career that gets them voted into the Hall of Fame. At least after a few years is not on an automatic first ballot.
Take a look at the list. Everyone that’s won NBA MVP before and after Derrick Rose following his memorable 2010-11 season is either already in the Hall of Fame or surely on their way. As Bernstein mentioned, Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson’s recent induction takes care of them and some of the big names that are left are sure to get in, including LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant.
Ever since that day in 2012 that all Bulls fans remember far too clearly when Rose went down with an ACL tear in the first game of the playoffs, he’s seemingly managed to take two steps backwards for every step forward. As of now, him being the same MVP he once was isn’t a concern. The best, most realistic case scenario would be for him to evolve into a different kind of player and prosper, despite his years of searching for a three-point jump shot that doesn’t want to be found (or doesn’t even exist). But that likely won’t get him into the Hall of Fame unless there’s a complete reawakening.
Some players have the benefit of legacy to carry them into the hall despite weaker backends to their careers. But Rose was only three years into a seemingly promising career before what appears to be an injury bug that got a hold of him and just won’t let go. Although he played 66 games this season – he’s sitting out the last two of the season now that the team’s playoff hopes have been crushed – he had near career low numbers in both points and assists per game.
I surely hope for the best for the former Rookie of the Year and what his career will become, but my gauge on what “the best” is may have to be tampered with.