2. DERRICK ROSE – turns 25 on October 4, 2013
What more is there to say about the 2011 NBA MVP? Rose burst onto the scene in Memphis where he had his team one Mario Chalmers three away from an NCAA title, then was drafted first overall in the 2008 Draft before winning the 2008-09 NBA’s Rookie of the Year award. He’s averaged over 21 points and seven assists per game the last two seasons, including 25 points per game and 7.7 assists per game in his MVP 2011 campaign. His Chicago Bulls ended the last Rose-led two regular seasons with the league’s best record, even though injuries limited his effectiveness in last season’s lockout-shortened regular season. Then, in the first game of the playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers last spring, tragedy struck in the form of a torn ACL in the waning seconds of Chicago’s victory.
Obviously we’re all eagerly anticipating Rose’s return to action sometime in the new year, but even with the difficult rehab and return from his knee surgery on the horizon, Rose has done enough to warrant inclusion so high on this list. He already has MVP and ROY awards, and he just turned 24 this past October. That’s ridiculous. His game is just as ridiculous, and everything about his performance so far in the NBA makes you want to string complimentary adjectives together.
Opposing point guards are glad for a little rest from his insane crossover; his ability to get up and dunk it – even at just 6-3 – is otherworldly; his game belongs in a video game, and his playoff debut is already the stuff of legends. When healthy, he’s one of the most unstoppable 1-on-1 players in the league, and even injured, he still deserved a Dime cover. In a word, he’s the “realness” and we can’t wait to watch him come all the way back from the knee injury and wow us for the next decade.