BY REDCHAIR; Sports Editor
I can’t help it but I see a lot of similarities between Derrick Rose and LeBron James. It is kind of ironic as LeBron has become one of the more hated players and Rose is one of the players that everyone loves. But are they so different? Was it not long ago that LeBron was the highly touted prospect coming out of high school for the draft just like Rose was the top prospect coming out of Memphis in his draft class? They both had a lot of pressure on them to quickly thrive and improve their teams and they did. They both took teams that without them were not playoff contenders and carried them into the playoffs and past the first round. Analyst said that they needed to improve their jumpers, three point shooting, and fine tune their defense instead of always relying on their athleticism and they have. Is it also not ironic that LeBron’s defense slowed down Rose in the playoffs last season and LeBron’s team advanced to the finals?
The avenue where the two are different is mostly obvious. LeBron is a freak of nature as a 6’8” point forward who weighs around 260 pounds. Rose is less than 200 pounds and is a 6’2” point guard. There rookie seasons are years apart. Rose is age 23 and LeBron is age 27. LeBron chose to leave his hometown team in aspirations of a championship with Wade and Bosh in Miami where Rose just signed an extension to stay with his hometown Chicago Bulls. This alone is probably the biggest difference between the two.
Both players have not won a ring but have experience in the playoffs. Both are explosive players that can go off and score 40 points any given night. They are great passers and play-makers. Both have been all-stars and won an MVP award. No one is arguing that they are not great players. However, the amount of criticism and praise is so widely different on the spectrum between the two players. LeBron James is constantly criticized for his struggles in the 4th quarters of games with the Heat. Every missed shot in the 4th quarter he is reminded of this and analyzed. It’s done so much that it annoys me. I don’t know how it wouldn’t be able to affect him. Rose, in the eyes of the media, can do no wrong. If he wins he is praised and if he loses it wasn’t his fault he needs more weapons. Now where have we heard that before? Was it not years ago when LeBron was carrying his Cleveland Cavaliers team whose second best player is now the 6th of 7th man on the Clippers?
I apologize for not posting this sooner, but a week or two ago the Bulls were in a close game where it came down to a last second shot. Derrick Rose drove to the lane and threw out a pass to a wide open Brian Scalabrine for an open three pointer for the win and he missed it. And the next day nothing was said on ESPN for his pass and the Bulls losing. I couldn’t help but remember the same thing happen five or so years earlier when the same scenario happened and LeBron James threw out a pass to an open Donnell Marshall for a three-point shot and he made it for the win. Back then it was lightly discussed how in that scenario you want your best player to take the shot regardless the defense but the Cavs won and it was soon forgotten. It was also easily forgotten all the game winners LeBron hit with the Cavs and all the games he closed out by himself with only a good defensive supporting cast. Any of this sound familiar? Right now Rose is being praised for ever success he is having. He is a young superstar and the NBA gains a good reputation and image for a young successful star. It was the same for LeBron when he was early into his career.
My question is this… What happens if Derrick Rose doesn’t win a ring in the next three years? What happens when after he has had an MVP season or two but he can’t get to the NBA finals? Will he request a trade like other elite talent trying to join forces? Will he be faithful to his team even if they don’t sign him any star talent? Will his game evolve any or will talent catch up to him? Right now Rose is young and fresh and looked at as a superstar talent with only things looking up. I’m curious to see what happens when Rose has to start answering the tough questions and faces a little controversy like LeBron James has. When he scores over thirty points five assists and five rebounds but still gets criticized for not taking enough shots in the fourth quarter or missing shots when his team still wins?
Where the future of the NBA takes us nobody knows. Derrick Rose could have the same path that LeBron takes and it might take a little longer to win a championship if either of them wins one at all. I take criticism and choose to let it motivate me. Just like I assume that a lot of people will not agree with my opinion piece. The facts don’t lie though and the similarities are there. Feel free to leave a comment and tell us how you feel.