The Tragedy of Derrick Rose

“They live unwoo’d and unrespected fade,
Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so;
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made:
And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
When that shall fade, my verse distills your truth. “
-Shakespeare Sonnet 54
This is a piece I knew I was going to have to write but I really,really hate that I have to write it. Before the season I wrote:

The Brief

Who exactly is Derrick Rose? That has been the central question for the Bulls Franchise for the past six seasons. My new game metric thought he was the 14th most productive player in the NBA for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons and a clear star. The problem is that it’s been three full seasons since he’s been able to stay healthy and on the court (yes, three, he only played 39 of 66 regular season games in 2011-12).

This question is compounded by the fact that the Bulls’ plans A, B and C at guard seems to be Rose. History is not really on their side.

The Story

The Bulls and Rose seem to do this dance every year, don’t they? The Bulls put all their eggs in a the very fragile Rose basket and are stunned when it goes belly-up. Let’s put some data around how it’s a bad plan. Here are some names:

Alvin Robertson (1996), Bernard King (1988), Bill Cartwright (1987), Doug Overton (2004), Frank Johnson (1993), Gilbert Arenas (2010), Kenny Walker (1994), Lester Conner (1989), Michael Jordan (2002), Norm Nixon (1989), and Roy Tarpley (1995).

These are the 11 players I could find that came back to play after basically missing two seasons. Before their absence, they averaged 2180 minutes and .148 Wins Produced per 48 for their career. The season they came back, they averaged 1685 minutes and .085 Wins Produced per 48. That’s a 22% drop in minutes and a 43% drop in production.;

On the news that Rose is about to have a second meniscus surgery on the same right knee meniscus he tore in Portland 15 months ago, we find that even these numbers were lofty, unreachable plateaus.

When he won the MVP in 2011, Rose might have not deserved it but he was a fantastical force of nature that I thought would grow up to earn an MVP.

Oldie but goodie, the 2011 MVP race Dwight’s another one that won’t get another chance

Sadly, like a true Rose, his prime was magnificent and fleeting. In the 4 seasons since his MVP, Derrick Rose will have played a total of 1880 minutes while producing 2.8 wins for a Wins Produced per 48 of .007 in that time (this is terrible and it’s been getting worse).

He’s also collected $57.43 million dollars for those four seasons or $30,548 a minute played and $20.5 Million per win. He’s also owed another $41.41 million dollars thru the 2016/17 season. If we assume at the most he plays 800 more minutes and produces no wins, those numbers go to $36,000 dollars per minute played and $35.3 Million per win produced. This might just be the worst contract ever signed and it was impossible to predict.

This season was just sad. Let’s look at his numbers using our player rating tool:

NBA Player Ratings (19)

Rose was making a game effort but he clearly did not have star in him anymore. He was at best a competent NBA player. The really frightening thing for the Bulls is that this shadow of Derrick Rose was still easily their best option at the point.


PlayerRatingDash (6)

The Bulls, as I’ve been saying the entire freaking season, should have gone out and traded a big (oh say Taj) for insurance at the point (I hear Reggie Jackson, Goran Dragic and a plethora of other point guards were available cheap).

This incarnation of the Bulls apparently will never, ever learn.

Let’s end this on a tribute to one of the most exciting and infuriating young point guards I’ve ever seen. The young and explosive Derrick Rose was a force of nature, a menace to his opponents and a joy to behold.

That dude just doesn’t exist anymore. Let’s remember him fondly.



  1. Andrew Sutton
    February 25

    I said in the offseason that they should have traded him or let him walk. Now nobody wants him.

      February 25

      It’s the definition of the sunk cost fallacy. The Bulls had multiple opportunities to shore up their backcourt but they had too much emotional investment in Rose. They could have kept D.J. Augustin (making $3 million). They could have traded for Reggie Jackson or Goran or IT2 or MCW or Pablo or Brandon Knight.

      I mean Kirk Hinrich is falling apart out there and Taj is redundant. Backcourt depth was a must and was readily available cheap. This situation is the height of lunacy.

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