With the 2012/13 season around the corner, SportsKeeda presents the NBA Top 20 – a countdown of who we predict will be the NBA‘s 20 best players in the upcoming season. Six of the finest basketball writers on this website – Karan Madhok (hoopistani), Sabarinath Sankaranarayanan (sabarinath.sankara), Siddarth Sharma (sidbreakball), Siddharth Srikanth (darthsid), Sidhartha Patra (sidhartha), and Souvik Roy Chowdhury (souvik) – put their minds together to vote for the NBA’s best, the players who will be most “valuable”, not just to their team but in determining the course of how the upcoming season unravels. Enjoy!
No. 9: Derrick Rose
In Year One, as we watched his young career unfold right before our eyes, we threw around clichés like they are worth nothing more than chillar money. We used words like ‘unstoppable’ or ‘lightning quick’ when we saw him beat everyone else down the floor. We kept on using the word ‘potential’.
And then he showed us that there was much more to him than his speed, so we brought out the more philosophical definitions of what he was. We called him ‘clutch’ and said that he had ‘heart’. And yes, the ‘potential’ still hovered over him.
In Year Two, He moved from being a rookie of the year to an All Star starter, and he wasn’t a badly-kept secret anymore. He was now the ‘people’s champion’, the ‘crowd favourite’. He was ‘explosive’. He was still ‘unstoppable’, and this being just his second year in the professional league, he still had a lot of ‘potential’.
Year Three blew our minds. This explosive, lightning quick freight train went from being a star to a superstar. An All Star to an MVP. He was now the clichéd ‘closer’, the ‘toughest guy in the game’, the ‘spirited leader’. We said that he had the mysterious ‘will to win’. Still clutch, still with a lot of heart, still unstoppable, and still dripping in potential.
Number One pick to Rookie of the Year to All Star Starter to one of the best in the game to MVP in three short years… the only thing faster than Derrick Rose was the speed with which his career rose. With the excellent coach Thibodeau in charge and an underrated squad of contributors built around him, Rose led the Bulls to top place in the league before the Championship dream fizzled out to the Heat in the Conference Finals. But we were convinced that there was nowhere to go but up. We were convinced that soon we would run out of clichés or have to invent new ones.
A cocktail of various injuries shortened the shortened regular season for the reigning MVP, as Rose missed 27 of the 66 games. Thibodeau’s Bulls performed well with and without him, and still managed to finish with the best record in the league. Rose was healthy right in time until Game 1 of the playoffs happened. A nasty fall, a torn ACL in his left knee, and boom! ended the season for both him and the Bulls. Rose was out of the playoffs that night. About a week later, the Bulls were out, too.
The clichés changed. An ACL injury is no joke, and after the surgery, it was declared that he could miss 8-12 months of action.
We now used words like ‘tragic’, ‘unfortunate’, ‘unlucky’, and even ‘injury prone’. We said that there was ‘no coming back’; we imagined that he would never be the star that he was once on course to becoming.
His ‘potential’ was to be dead and buried. A player who should’ve been a lock in the NBA’s top five for the next decade was instead going to spend more time on injury lists than All NBA Teams.
And yet, with just about 20 days to go before the 2012/13 season tips off, Derrick Rose finds himself at number nine on our list. How does a player who is expected to miss approximately half of the regular season expected to be better and more valuable than so many of his talented, healthier competitors? Yes, few players – if any – get back to full strength after a long injury layoff and surgery, and yes, few expect Rose to get back to his MVP level again. And as he misses so many games this season, it will be even tougher for him to be judged fairly amongst his peers.
But this is where we turn our attention back to those clichés once more. This is where we take a slight leap of faith and try to predict the future with some intelligent and philosophical analysis of the past.
This is where we use words like ‘heart’ and ‘competitive spirit’ again. This is where we remember the young player who rose tremendously up the ranks of NBA greatness. This is where we realise that although recovering from an injury will take away some of that ‘lightning quickness’, there is no amount of physical strain that can take away the ‘will to win’. This is where we realise that Rose will continue to put the ball in the basket and continue to be the leader of his efficiently-coached squad.
It’s Year Five. Rose won’t start this season as a top 10 player in the NBA because Rose won’t play in the start of this season. But by the time we call curtains to the NBA year, by the time the regular season turns into the playoffs and the men begin to separate themselves from the boys, Rose will be back, and he will have the ‘potential’ to be ‘unstoppable’ again.
Just don’t call it a cliché.
SportsKeeda NBA Top 20
20. James Harden
19. Chris Bosh
18. LaMarcus Aldridge
17. Pau Gasol
16. Dirk Nowitzki
15. Blake Griffin
14. Tony Parker
13. Andrew Bynum
12. Russell Westbrook
11. Carmelo Anthony
10. Kevin Love
9. Derrick Rose
Catch up with all our features on the SportsKeeda NBA Top 20 here.