/The Rise & Fall of Derrick Rose – The Biggest “What if?” in NBA history?

The Rise & Fall of Derrick Rose – The Biggest “What if?” in NBA history?

Today we’ll touch base on a player who was a one and done and drafted first overall by his hometown team, the Chicago Bulls. He’s a three-time NBA All-Star, Rookie of the Year in 2009, and MVP winner. He led the University of Memphis to the NCAA Tournament championship game and was heavily recruited coming out of high school. Today’s topic is “The Rise and Fall of Derrick Rose.” We will look into his childhood, and his journey in the NBA. He’s probably the biggest “What if?” and in NBA History.

The Beginning:

Derrick Rose was born on October 4th and raised on the southside of Chicago, which was a very dangerous area to live in. He was in the middle of gang violence in his neighborhood, but he kept a leveled head and didn’t let the streets get in the way of his love for basketball. 

He attended Simeon Career Academy and played on the JV basketball team as a freshman. He was good enough to play on Varsity, but his coach had a tradition of not allowing any freshman to play on Varsity. He averaged 18.5 points, 6.6 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals his first season. His sophomore season he averaged 19.8 points on Varsity. His Junior season, Rose hit a buzzer beater in the AA state championship game that gave Simeon their first state title since 1984. Headed in his Senior season he was ranked fifth in the nation by Sports Illustrated. The teams games were televised on ESPN as they went up against other powerhouse schools like Oak Hill Academy. Simeon won their second straight state title and he averaged 25.2 points as a senior. He was named a McDonald’s All-American and was named Illinois Mr. Basketball. 


Rose committed to play basketball at the University of Memphis for John Calipari. The Tigers started out undefeated and ranked third in the nation. Rose averaged 14.9 points and 4.7 assists per game as a freshman. They defeated UCLA in the Final Four of the March Madness Tournament, but took a devastating loss to the Kansas Jayhawks in the championship game. After this D.Rose decided to declare for the 2008 NBA draft.

Some interesting news appeared after Rose’s 2007-2008 season with Memphis. There was an investigation stating that he had someone else take his SAT; therefore, the NCAA vacated their 2007-2008 season because Rose was declared ineligible. Also, it was said that his brother Reggie was allowed to travel for free with the team, which isn’t legal and this made him ineligible as well. 

Rookie Season:

Chicago Bulls (2008-2016)

After the ongoing investigation was settled, Rose was selected first overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 2008 draft. He played on the U.S Select Team that helped prepare the National Team for the Olympics in Beijing. In his rookie season he became the first Bulls draftee to score 10 points or more in his first 10 games since Michael Jordan. D.Rose participated in the Rookie Challenge and won the Skills Challenge becoming the first rookie to ever do so. He joined MJ and Elton Brand to win Rookie of the Year while averaging 16.8 points and 6.3 assists. 


The 2009-2010 season started off shaky for Rose as he dealt with an ankle injury. But, he still played his game and earned his first All-Star selection as a reserve. He was the first Bull, since Jordan again, to be selected. They made the playoffs this season, and in the playoffs he averaged 26.8 points and 7.2 assists. They ended up losing in five games to the Cavs. 

In the 2010-2011 season, D.Rose became the third player to record 2,000 points and 600 assists in a single season, since the 1972-73 season. He had an outstanding season and put up a career high 42 points and also 17 assists on two separate occasions. He voted as the starting point guard in the 2011 All-Star game, and also earned himself the regular season MVP award. MJ was the only other Bull to earn it, and he became the youngest player at 22 years and 6 months to win. This season the Bulls made it to the Eastern Conference Finals against Lebron and the Heat, but ended up losing the series in five short games. He averaged 27.1 points per game in the playoffs. 

After the high Rose had in the previous season, it all came to a halt in the 2011-2012 season. He signed a five-year contract extension. He was voted as an All-Star starter and finished second in voting. Rose was on the rise and everyone was now paying attention to his game. The Bulls made the playoffs, but during Game 1 he left the game with a torn ACL. Before the injury occured he was just short of a triple-double. This injury ended his season and in result he didn’t play in the 2012-2013 season either. Although he was cleared to play in March, he wanted to take his time with his rehab. 

He returned to action in the 2013-2014 season and fans were anxious to see Rose back on the court. He felt like he was back to his old self and even better. He felt more explosive and claimed that his vertical increased by 5 inches as well. In his first game back, he scored 12 points and had 4 assists. He seemed to struggle a bit in his return only shooting a low 28.8% from the field. Shortly into the start of the season, Rose went down again and this time injured his meniscus in his right knee. He had surgery again and was out for the rest of the season. 

So Rose made his second comeback in the 2014-2015 season. He scored a season high 32 points, but shortly after the performance he faced another knee injury. It was announced that he would have another surgery on his right knee due to another meniscus tear. He was ruled out for 4-6 weeks and returned back to the court in April. The Bulls made the playoffs and he played in his first playoff game since Game 1 of the 2012 playoffs, which was when he tore his ACL. Rose had some clutch moments in the playoffs and the Bulls led the Cavs 2 games to 1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. But the Cavs ended up taking the series in six games.

In the 2015-2016 season, Rose had flashbacks of his old self. He even scored a season-high 34 points against the Pistons on December 18th. He was getting back to the old D.Rose even with the winding path he had to take, but the Bulls didn’t make the playoffs this season. This was Derrick’s last season in a bulls jersey. 

New York Knicks (2016-2017)

On June 22nd, 2016, Rose was traded to the New York Knicks. He took on his new role on a new team and performed to his highest ability, but Rose couldn’t catch a break. The Basketball Gods just seemed to not be on his side. He injured his left knee tearing his meniscus. This caused him to miss the remainder of the season and undergo his fourth knee surgery in nine seasons. 

Cleveland Cavaliers (2017-2018)

D.Rose questioned himself going into the 2017-2018 season. He signed with the Cavs but on November 24th, 2017, he hit a stop sign and left the team to re-evaluate his future in the NBA. With all the knee injuries continuously happening he wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue to play, but his passion for the game ruled over his feelings. He returned back to rehab in December and worked on recovering from a sprained left ankle and bone spurs. In February, Rose started to bounce from team to team and now was traded to the Jazz, but they waived him before he could play in a game. 

Minnesota Timberwolves (2018-2019)

On March 8th, 2018 he signed with the Timberwolves for the end of the 2017-2018 season. He was reunited with some old teammates such as Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. He helped the Timberwolves reach the playoffs, but they lost to Houston in the first round. Playing with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove, Rose scored a career-high 50 points in the beginning of the season against the Jazz. On January 15th, he scored his 10,000th point. He missed some games due to his ankle and then in March he was ruled out for the season with a right elbow injury. Will he ever catch a break??

Detroit Pistons (2019-present)

Rose made his move to yet another team and signed with the Detroit Pistons. He’s shown that he has something to prove and he became the first player in franchise history to record seven consecutive 20+ point games coming off the bench. He took a tiny downfall with a groin injury and missed a few games, but upon his return he scored a season high 31 points in a win against the Phoenix Suns. In the current 2020-2021 season being played, Rose has been shooting the ball well shooting 44% from the field, and in the 10 games played he’s averaging 15.5 points and 5.1 assists per game. The Pistons started the season off hot, but how long can they keep this up for?

Being an athlete that has faced many injuries myself, I can sympathize with Derrick Rose and what his journey has been like. I commend him for continuing to work hard, and always make his way back from whatever has set him back. He’s a fighter and some are saying that he may have found his stride again on the Pistons? Do you think D.Rose will ever get back to that MVP season he witnessed? Let us know what you think in the comments below.