Man, I hope so. I really do. While this isn't exactly profound analysis off the bat, I do feel the need to state just how deeply I miss the injured, rehabbing Derrick Rose. It's partially because back when he was healthy, I spent far too much time complaining about his MVP campaign.
Now, as Adidas builds entire ad campaigns around the difficulty of his comeback, I wish I'd just indulged in appreciating a once-in-a-generation talent.
The ads are a bit mournful, even if they intend to inspire. They are especially deflating if you recall that Amar'e Stoudemire once had a campaign of a similar theme.
Well, perhaps the connection isn't so depressing. Stoudemire was never really the same after microfracture surgery, but he did evolve. Stoudemire used the time to grow one of the most effective mid-range shots among frontcourt players in the game today. The injury took something from Stoudemire, but Stoudemire took something from the time.
Tim Hardaway went through a similar experience after his own knee injury, and he suggested (via the Chicago Sun-Times) that Rose use this frustrating break from basketball as the launching pad for a new jumper.
While I cannot claim to know what it's like to suffer through such injuries at such a high level, this seems like fine advice. Rose has an oft-errant shot, but it's certainly not hopeless. When he gets some bounce and rhythm behind it, the shot fluidly unfurls from his hand.
Rose has had some mid-range success early in his career, despite inconsistency. He shot 50 percent from 10-15 feet in his second season, and 44 percent from that same range in that same year.
His percentages have decreased as he's started taking fewer assisted shots over the last two years. From deep, the jumper can come out flat, often hitting front rim. Rose has a tendency to lean forward and shot put the ball, especially when slinging off the dribble.
These are observations about his current flaws, and they certainly aren't damning. Rose has shown himself capable of making a shot, most saliently at the free-throw stripe. In his MVP year, Rose hit on 85.8 percent of his charity tries. In last year's abbreviated season, he hit a healthy 81.2 percent.
So, when stationary and focused (at the free-throw stripe), Rose can shoot wonderfully. Expanding that to the rest of his game is probably a matter of practice and time. While it's a shame that D-Rose will have so much time to practice at the beginning of next season, I would bet that he at least makes some headway in fixing that jumper.
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