Derrick, I mean, Mr. Rose, I must apologize.
Two years ago, the Bulls were presented with a dilemma, take Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley with the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Their good fortune had left them with a good chance at a solid player, but with the number one pick, we all wanted to be sure they got the right guy. Draft mistakes become legendary, keeping teams like the Clippers and the Grizzlies from the playoff hunt for years at a time.
After evaluating both players, I became set on Beasley. His highlight reel videos from one year at Kansas State are memorable and certainly left an impression on me. I felt that the Bulls needed a big man who could create space to distract defenders from the Chicago guards.
I became impatient hearing year after year that the Bulls needed a post-up player if they were going to become successful in the post Jordan era. While Beasley had never been known for his post-up play, I believed that these skills could be learned even while he put up 15-20 a game on offense his rookie year.
I believed that Bulls fans were placing too much emphasis on the fact that Rose was a hometown player. I needed more results to believe that he could be a playmaker in the NBA. Chicago fans should know more than anyone that it can be difficult to identify superstar potential in guards coming out of the draft. One of Rose’s most obvious talents today, his quickness, seemed like it would just be answered by faster defenders in the NBA.
Luckily, Chicago ignored my advice and selected Rose as their pick.
Not only did Derrick win Rookie of the Year, he helped the Bulls come within a game of knocking off the Celtics in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. His Game One performance was one of the greatest rookie playoff showings in history, almost singlehandedly giving the Bulls a 1-0 series lead.
After recovering from an injury early this year, Rose has taken his game to another level during a successful seven-game road trip, leading the Bulls in scoring as well as making some phenomenal end of game plays.
While Beasley has been a very solid contributor, scoring 16.6 points a game and having an efficiency rating of over +15, his value to the team has not reached the level of Rose.
Now, while Beasley may have played even stronger if Dwayne Wade was not the star of the Heat, his off the court issues have certainly hurt his value. Both players had serious offseason problems, but Rose has recovered to avoid a sophomore slump in ’09-’10.
Derrick, you have completely exceeded my expectations. Now I know that I was wrong for groaning when the Bulls announced they would draft you hours before the draft even began. Please continue to impress me while I make incorrect predictions about your team.