When Derrick Rose went down on Saturday, hearts of basketball fans fell as well. Watching Rose lay motionless for what seemed like an eternity was agonizing and heartbreaking for the casual observer or hardcore hoops fanatic, the Bulls fans and foes. Given the unpredictable nature of how injuries affect athletes long term, the widespread aftershocks can’t always be determined but many will feel its reverberations. Surveying the damage, here are 10 parties we think will share in his lost presence on the court.
1. The Chicago Bulls
In case you don’t know, TSS loves Derrick Rose. He’s a great player and, by all accounts, and even better person. With that, we wish nothing but the best and the speediest of recoveries (for Shumpert and Ricky Rubio, too). But, let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment. During one of our recent staff meetings, A.J. made a great point in regards to Rose’s recovery and style of play. Derrick’s strong suits are predicated on his ability to slash, attack the rim and run the floor faster than damn near anyone in basketball.
These sort of injuries frequently take upwards of a year to truly recover from, and in some cases, force players to miss an entire season. Pending this injury is as serious as it seems on the surface, how does this alter the franchise’s future? A situation like this one only highlights a player, say, Carlos Boozer who has yet to live to the numbers of his 2010 contract. Or maybe even Rip Hamilton who isn’t getting any younger. Jerry Reinsdorf and everyone related to Bulls management know this is still a good team without Derrick. Yet, the difference between being a playoff team and one with the ability to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June is that superstar. Good players are easy to find in a league boasting the best on Earth. Franchise players are once in a generation. Derrick Rose is just that. – J. Tinsley
Dwight Howard didn’t make to the second season, which didn’t help adidas’ cause but his absence isn’t damaging since big men historically haven’t been the best shoe salesmen. But his absence coupled with the brand’s mega-million dollar man going down hurts because it leaves the Stripes without their two marquee players on the court for marketing purposes. Adding insult to injury (no pun), Knicks rookie Shumpert sprawled on the floor wearing Top Ten 2000s wasn’t a good look. No, the shoes did not cause any of the injuries (more on that later) but perception often outweighs reality. – Gotty™
Guilt by association here. Jason Petrie, Nike senior footwear designer and the man behind LeBron signature line of sneakers, caught a severe case of foot in mouth on Saturday, letting loose a few ill-thought out words via Twitter regarding Rose’s injury. Included in his now deleted messages (which still can be seen here) were assertions that “Pooh,” Rose’s childhood nickname, “chose poorly,” which we can assume is in reference to his sneaker brand of choice. Petrie didn’t stop there, attempting to defend his remarks but as anyone whose had a Twitter meltdown can attest (we see you, Brian McKnight), what’s done and said in 140 characters is tough to erase in that same limited space. Petrie has since apologized but the damage to Nike’s well protected image takes a blow for his initial remarks. – Gotty™
4. The NBA
Remember when Magic was injured in the ’89 Finals? The Bulls obviously aren’t as loaded as the Lakers so Rose’s absence has even greater significance. Minus the Bulls, a heavy favorite, the eventual champ will have an asterisk whose footnote reads “But that was the year the league’s reigning MVP was injured and did not participate in the Playoffs.” Without Rose, the league misses a golden opportunity to showcase a hard-nosed player with an old school work ethic, very much the opposite of most of the marquee players. – Gotty™
5. LeBron James & The Miami Heat
The aforementioned asterisk definitely will be applied here if the Heat should manage to win the chip. Rose’s absence won’t loom as heavily over any other prospect champs but fans and critics won’t hesitate to disparage any title the Big Three acquire during while the leader of their nemesis isn’t around. Also, as tough an out as the Bulls would be with Rose, the Celtics have given the Heat the most trouble this season. We wouldn’t be surprised if Bron & co. would have preferred a Bulls team instead of the more likely Celtics squad in the Easter Conference Finals. – Gotty™
6. Tom Thibodeau
Bless his heart. From now until the end of eternity, Thibs’ decision to have his star player in the fourth quarter of a 20 point game with less than two minutes to play will serve as one of the greater “what if” scenarios in NBA history. And while Chicago isn’t exactly left for dead in the playoffs – they are still a very good team – it’s almost upsetting that for every great decision Thibs has made for the Bulls over the past two seasons, this could very well go down as a black eye he may never truly recover from depending on the long-lasting effects of the injury. – J. Tinsley