Latest posts by Colton Jones (see all)
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Reading the emotional, inspiring words from All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love in recent days in regards to dealing with mental-health issues has spread awareness on a very important subject.
DeRozan speaking to the Toronto Star about battling depression and Love penning an essay for The Players’ Tribune about dealing with panic attacks has spurred a tidal wave of positive support across the world.
After having the same reactions in reading the important words from DeRozan and Love, I found myself asking this question:
What about Derrick Rose, released by the Utah Jazz days after being traded to them by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Feb. 8?
The video that surfaced on Twitter back on Feb. 22 that appeared to show Rose getting up shots in a gym at Cleveland State University was sad to watch.
— Joseph James (@KingJique) February 22, 2018
The 29-year-old Rose, a former NBA Most Valuable Player (2011), at 22 the youngest player in the history of the league to win the award, remains unsigned. In order to be eligible to play in the postseason, Rose would have had to be signed by March 1.
Back to DeRozan and Love. While their stories have (deservedly) received much acclaim and they’ve been embraced across the NBA landscape for their brave disclosures, Rose remains an outsider, a guy looking for a job.
In reading the words of DeRozan and Love, I thought about the reactions across the league to Rose leaving the Cavaliers in November.
He had gotten off to a decent start as the Cavaliers’ starting point guard before being injured on what the NBA deemed a flagrant-1 foul by Greg Monroe, then of the Milwaukee Bucks now with the Boston Celtics.
A sprained left ankle, exacerbated by the discovery of bone spurs in the ankle, put Rose, perhaps the unluckiest guy in the NBA in terms of injuries the past several years — on the shelf… again. Rose has had four knee surgeries, including one to repair a torn ACL that forced him to miss the entire 2012-13 season.
When he took an excused leave of absence from the Cavaliers back in November, reportedly to contemplate his basketball mortality, it was met with reactions ranging from skepticism, sarcasm and even mockery.
When I reread the headline on Love’s terrific essay in The Players’ Tribune, my heart can’t help but go out to Rose.
“Everyone is going through something.”
On the surface, Rose did all he could to make things work with the Cavaliers.
He he signed a one-year, $2.3 million veteran’s-minimum contract with the Cleveland. He expressed hope in October that a chance to win a title would jump-start his injury-plagued career. At the least, Rose was expected to hold down the starting point guard spot until Isaiah Thomas returned from rehabilitating a torn labrum in his right hip.
After being injured while being fouled by Monroe in the second game of the season Oct. 20, Rose then sat out four games. He returned Oct. 29 and played five games before the ankle flared up again, forcing him out of action.
In those seven games, Rose started all seven and averaged 14.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists, while shooting 47.0 percent from the field, 23.1 percent from 3, and 90.5 percent from the free-throw line.
However, the ankle flared up again, and Rose was shut down. He took his leave of absence Nov. 22 and returned after two weeks.
Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman released a statement in support of the veteran point guard:
“This has been a very challenging and difficult time for Derrick,” Altman said. “We will continue to provide him with support and have patience as he rejoins his teammates and works his way back on to the court.”
Eventually, Rose did indeed work his way back to the court, starting with a Jan. 18 game against Orlando. However, Rose was clearly not only not the player who earned league MVP honors, but not even the player who began this season as the Cavs’ starting point guard.
In nine games, all off the bench, Rose averaged 6.3 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 13.3 minutes, shooting 38.8 percent from the field, 27.3 percent from the 3-point arc and 80.0 percent from the charity stripe.
In the 16 games he played in a Cleveland uniform, Rose averaged 9.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 19.3 minutes per game. He shot 43.9 percent from field, 25.0 percent from deep and 85.4 percent from the line.
When he became one of the six guys Altman shipped out to bring in The New 4 of George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. on Feb. 8, it surprised no one.
The fact the three-time All-Star has yet to hook up with another team isn’t that surprising, either, all things considered.
I’m reminded of LeBron James’ statement when it was announced Rose would be returning to the Cavaliers after the two-week absence.
“We haven’t talked to him, but I think our front office has talked to him and we’re excited about his return,” James said. “We don’t know what he’s going through. He doesn’t owe us an explanation. We just hope that we can be his support system. And if he needs something to say or wants to get it out, then we’ll be open and listen and then welcome him back in.
“We’re happy that he’s not giving up on his love at this point in his life and his career and he’s ready to return.”
As we praise DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love — two All-Star players in the primes of their respective careers — for bringing awareness to a subject matter that clearly needs it, perhaps we all need to rethink our perceptions of Derrick Rose — who is well past his prime and no longer close to being an All-Star… and is a man without a team, with no teammates to have his back and to support him.
As Love wrote, “Everyone is going through something.”