One of the top storylines heading into the 2013-14 NBA season was the return of Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose from a torn ACL that knocked out his entire 2012-13 season. After all, he is one of the biggest stars in the game of basketball, and people around the world wondered for an entire year whether or not he would be the same that explosive player that won the 2011 MVP and went to three straight All-Star games before succumbing to injury.
The effect of this anticipation was that fans were inevitably waiting for the singular epic moment that defines the return of Rose to top form.
Many bystanders surely felt they witnessed this moment on Thursday night as the star point guard scored a game-winning basket with only 5.7 seconds left to cement an 82-81 win over the New York Knicks. The basket brought back a bit of nostalgia to fans, as the baseline floater over multiple defenders used to be an almost routine play for Rose.
But while this one basket looked good, it cannot be taken as an indication that Rose is back to the All-Star form that he once claimed. This was utterly clear as he shot 11-of-38 with nine turnovers and only seven assists during the first two games of the season, a poor compilation at best.
More than just being poor in terms of statistical contribution has, Rose simply does not look as explosive or confident as during his All-Star days. Throughout both games, he simply couldn’t beat his counterparts off the dribble with consistency, and did not even try to on many different occasions. Additionally, he gave up many opportunities to either dunk or attack the rim, in turn showing a lack of confidence in his surgically-repaired knee to perform like it used to.
Many people will applaud this willingness to give up the opportunity to put stress upon his knee, as it shows a player that is mature enough to save his bullets for more important occasions. But when one has taken a year off as doctors cleared him medically to play, one begins to wonder when the team will take the baby gloves off.
For the time being, the answer to this has been left blank by Rose, who is now beginning to look like he may not have enough confidence to return to the All-Star caliber player that fans had come to love.