Bernstein: Missing Rose This Year Would Really Hurt

By Dan Bernstein- Senior Columnist

(CBS) Dear David Stern, Billy Hunter, various grim-faced lawyers, union representatives, hired-gun economists, and rank-and-file ballers: don’t take this season from Derrick Rose.

Wait…let me rephrase that.

Don’t take this season of Derrick Rose from me.

He just turned 23, is coming off an improbably-early MVP award, was the driving force behind a 62-win Bulls team, and is one of the most dynamic, thrilling basketball players Chicago has ever enjoyed.

Actually, now that I think about it, he is inarguably second on that list.

(Don’t even bother with a Scottie Pippen argument — you’re wrong. As are you, Bob Love-ers, Chet Walker supporters, and the People’s Democratic Republic of Dave Corzine.)

The season is in jeopardy, now, with players and owners still unable to arrive at a mutual point of satisfaction and disappointment regarding the distribution of profits, salary-cap rules and equitable ways to help the handful of moribund franchises.

Figure it all out, soon, so I can get my year of Rose being spectacular. Per your own slogan, make some amazing happen.

Because this isn’t just a year of a guy – it’s this year of this guy.

I know, I worry more than most about injury and physical deterioration, probably more than I should. But even Rose himself had admitted that, already, he doesn’t jump quite as high as he once did. Several times per season he comes cartwheeling to the floor after an aerial foray to the rim is met by a hard bump from a big man, and those add up.

Note the trajectory. Year one, he was Rookie of the Year. Year two, he made the All-Star team. Last year he vaulted past LeBron James and Dirk Nowitski to take the top individual honor. He’s getting better, faster, and is ready for the prime of his prime, which may not last long. To have a seemingly-solvable labor dispute deprive us of a year of it would be criminal.

Rose will become a better player, even as his preternatural athleticism erodes slowly over time. He will be a smarter true point guard, improve his defensive footwork, develop a go-to post move or two and better understand how to budget his energy. I understand that the decline of the wow-factor is counterbalanced by overall improvement.

But c’mon. I can’t deny my desire to see another full year of the best of his best – one-handed alley-oop throwdowns, feathered finishes through a forest of swinging arms, that anticipatory United Center hush when the odd-man break picks up speed, and Stacey King exploding in another verbal Rosegasm, where he screams disconnected trash-talk at nobody in particular.

It’s not often I enjoy a piece of sports-candy as much as I enjoy this one, and I’ll be acutely aware of not having it, since Rose is at the peak of his powers.

Kobe Bryant looks like 85% of himself, if that. Dwyane Wade has some bad-legs nights amid the spectacular ones. Joe Johnson makes way too much money for a guy who can’t move like he used to.

And let’s be real: the Michael Jordan who won titles after a year away was more jump-shooter than basket-attacker, as pull-ups, fadeaways and post-ups replaced the earlier aerobatics. The best of his highlight dunks came from the first half of his career, and the later playoff runs were more rugged, workmanlike efforts, regardless of what tricks memories play.

I appreciate this stuff when it’s happening, because it’s fleeting.
Rose is 6-3. He’s an above-the-rim point guard, a package of physical skills at the position unlike any we have seen.

I’m ready to see it. Please.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: Missing Rose This Year Would Really Hurt

Dan Bernstein

Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s columns here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
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  • Puddin Head

    he isn’t that good yet however he might prove it this year as of now scottie p was better

  • Kennan

    No worries. They’ll reach a deal on Sunday.

  • Satan

    It would truly suck to lose a year of Rose while he’s still in his athletic prime, but I take at least a little solace in the fact that he’s probably the best-suited player in the league to emerge as the “winner” of the lockout. Why? ‘Cause at the end of the day, none of the elite players possess his combination of youth, skill, health and work ethic. The result will widen the gap, no matter how slightly, and that alone might be enough for the Bulls to win a title.

  • Dan Rakow


  • southside nate

    A year off early in his career may slow the deterioration process. Although I too would suffer from drose withdraw and miss so much stacy king roseasms. Look at it this way, beside durant, every other superstar in the league has 6-7+ more years on their legs than drose. The lebrons, kobes, garrnets, and nowitkis will suffer from a year aging more so than chicagos very own.

    But I am watching with optimism that greed can work itself out in time to salvage this season. Great article Dan. Please share it with stern and the rest of the “business men”.

    • Satan

      This is spot on.

      • Southside Nate

        Thank you, Satan

  • Denver Deadite

    Goooooo cancellation of the NBA season!

    12 years from now, a tell-all biography about Steve Jobs will be written. Apple sycophants will be up in arms, and the Bears fans who aren’t will shrug in hypocrisy.

    • Spoon

      2nd part made me laugh hard, so true…

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        Like times ∞, Deadite.

  • Larry

    Let’s look for a silver lining. If the NBA has to cancel the first 20-30 games of the season, Rose will be that much fresher for the post season. Especially if Thib’s continues his maddening habit of leaving his starters in games well after their outcomes have been decided.

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    Most people on here seem to echo my sentiments- that I’m in agreement that I want to see Rose this year, but 50 regular season games as opposed to 80 may do him more good than most players- every game against the Magic missed, for example, is 4 or 5 less times Rose has to peel himself off the paint after attacking Gojira.

    On that note, let players like Deron Williams and Kobe negotiate and play abroad. That should do wonders for them come April when players like Rose, LeBron, and Durant have only 50 games and some casual playground badassery under their belt for the year.

    • Satan

      LeBron is one player who you could argue will be negatively impacted by all this. He’ll be 27 by the time real NBA games begin again, and perhaps 1/2 (2/3? 3/4?) of a season closer to bolting Miami. Plus, we’ve all heard by now that he seems to lack the motivation to truly ATTACK the offseason, dead set on trying to add to his arsenal; hopefully all the time away from real basketball softens his edge. It already certainly seems to be taking away the drama of any potential “LeBron’s Revenge” season that I worried about…

  • I Was in Vaudeville

    After surviving assorted strikes-lockouts-they are SO not eating lunch at our tables in ’72, ’81, ’82, ’87, ’92, ’94, ’98 and ’04, I try to think more selfishly than Bowie Kuhn’s inner Bowie Kuhn. So I regard it as One Less Thing To Worry About. True, less DRose, KDurant and AGray for the memory bank, but I can use the time to tend to my toenails and ear hair…never a bad idea. Plus, they ALWAYS come back.

  • Julio

    No one really cares…the league should contract at least 10 teams for the product to be better. Right now the NFL has all the attention and fans won’t think about the NBA regular season until after the Super Bowl.

  • clark w griswold

    I’m hopeful that NBA players & owners can reach a new collective bargaining agreement and soon. While I won’t necessarily miss the NBA right away, I think if there’s no basketball around Christmastime and after the calendar turns to January 2013, then you start to worry if there will indeed be 1 game played this season.

    I heard Chris Mannix, the Sports Illustrated NBA scribe on “The Dan Patrick Show” yesterday update listeners & viewers about where the lockout stands. Mannix thinks the two sides are close, but he doesn’t understand why they are not exactly meeting in hopes of avoiding the likely cancellation of regular season games as soon as Monday. He thinks that the lockout could get really, really ugly from a P.R. standpoint.

    As for Derrick Rose, I think he and other NBA players are anxious to get out there and play ASAP. I hope he doesn’t end up going to Europe or Asia like other NBA players to get their basketball fix while things remain chaotic to a point where you can’t find any info about any player on or any other team’s Web site for that matter.


    Correction…January 2012. My mistake.

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