DERRICK ROSE — SICK AS IN ILL???

Derrick Rose is one of those hoop prodigies who became the 2011 Most Valuable Player in the NBA at age 22, the youngest player to win the coveted award in league history.

Two years prior, he was named the circuit’s Rookie-of-the-Year, after spending but a single season with John Calipari at the University of Memphis.

He was the first overall draft pick in 2008, selected by his hometown Chicago Bulls.

Obviously hardwood skills for DRose were never in question. Some of his personal choices, particularly within the last calendar year however, tell a different story. Dubious decision-making in Rose’s case may not be solely attributable to immaturity, entitlement or frustration.

There may be something else at work.

Derrick Rose doesn’t look too good.

He looks unwell.

Most of his cohorts are such large humans that not enough meat on the planet exists to put on their bones.

(There are notable exceptions of course).

So most of the fellas appear a touch gaunt if you get close.

Rose is certainly in that brotherhood.

But it’s more than that.

Recurrent injuries and well-publicized rape allegations can do that to you.

Monday night (02/06/2017) Rose scored five points on eight shots over 32 minutes in a 121–107 loss to the Lakers. In fairness he had been on the shelf with an ankle injury missing the previous four contests and it was the first time all season that he failed to score in double digits while playing 30 or more minutes.

Still the February 23rd trading deadline is fast approaching, the Knicks are in need of a housecleaning and the 28-year-old Rose is signed for this season only, a one-year deal.

In spite of his great success on the court and his many attendant accolades, DRose is no stranger to controversy and misfortune.

He was the centerpiece of an NCAA investigation which revealed that his SAT scores were bogus and thereby invalidated, resulting in Memphis’ entire 2007–08 season — a 38–2 record and most wins in NCAA history; UM’s first #1 ranking in 25 years; and an appearance in the NCAA Championship game — being vacated.

His injury travails are well-documented and seemingly never-ending.

In the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs against the 76ers Rose tore the ACL in his left knee which sidelined him for all of the 2012–13 campaign.

On November 22, 2013 against Portland he injured his right meniscus, knocking him out for the remainder of that season.

In 2014–15 he missed 31 games with persistent knee troubles. The 51 games he played were the most for him in a season since 2010–11.

In the 2015–16 preseason Rose suffered a left orbital bone fracture necessitating that he play with a facemask. Appearing in 66 games and averaging 31.8 minutes, he shot a mediocre .427 from the field and only .293 from beyond the arc with a line of 16.4 PPG/4.7 APG/3.4 RPG.

On June 22, 2016 he was traded to the Knicks.

And then there is his poor decision-making.

In 2016 Rose was involved in a federal civil lawsuit to “assess whether he and two friends raped his former girlfriend.” On October 19, 2016 he was cleared by an eight-member jury and absolved of wrongdoing.

In January of 2017 the Knicks fined Rose an undisclosed amount after he reportedly flew to Chicago to be with his mother but neglected to notify team officials in advance, missing a game.

More than a bit peculiar.

Especially for a veteran who has been in the league for eight-plus seasons.

Maybe being with the Knicks this year has poisoned Rose.

Between James Dolan, Phil Jackson, the incessant Melo stock and pillorying, losing games and Wednesday night’s (02/08/2017) cherry-on-the-sundae embarrassing MSG courtside incident involving Charles Oakley, it would be no wonder.

(The Knicks lost to the Clippers 119–115 by the way).

Oakley, a former Knick favorite and a paying customer Wednesday evening, was seated two rows behind Dolan with whom he has had his share of differences.

According to Frank Isola of The New York Daily News, “when several Knicks officials became aware of where Oakley was seated, security guards approached Oakley and asked him why he was here. ‘They were staring at me,’ he told me. ‘They asked me to leave and I said I’m not leaving.’”

Although there are multiple sides to every story, Isola asserted that “Oakley denies taunting or cursing at Dolan, who has been upset with Oakley for making critical comments about him and the team over the years.”

No fewer than six security guards wrestled Oakley to the floor and ultimately escorted him out in bracelets (handcuffs).

He was arrested, charged with 3 counts of assault and released.

Although Oakley was wrong to put his hands on the security personnel as things escalated — what would you have done? — the Knicks in their own inimitable fashion one-upped him by releasing a statement crafted to further humiliate him, imploring Oakley to get the “help he needs soon.”

Derrick Rose was lured to the Knicks with all the glitz, glamour and money that New York offers. That the Knicks are celebrating their 70th anniversary this season may also have acted as some sort of inducement; a sense of history touches us all.

But as Isola notes, the franchise can’t seem to get out of its own way.

“Make no mistake about it, the Knicks are officially back to being the biggest joke in the NBA. The team is [a] mess. Jackson picks fights with Carmelo Anthony on Twitter and Oakley gets dragged out of the arena. This is how the Knicks treat their best players, both past and present. For nearly 20 years there have been plenty of dreadful and embarrassing nights at Madison Square Garden. This one tops them all.”

Could this be why Derrick Rose looks sick, ill?

Or is?

[Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Mr. Kaplan in February 2017.]

ADDENDUM: Since his cup of coffee with the Knicks (2016-’17) Rose joined the Cleveland Cavaliers in July 2017, but was traded and subsequently released by the Utah Jazz the following February. In March 2018 he signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves (2018-’19) and in July 2019 he agreed to a two-year free agent deal with the Detroit Pistons.

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