Chicago Bulls: Why Derrick Rose Will Return as the Best Point Guard in the NBA
However, I believe Rose will return stronger, better than he ever was and become the best point guard in the league in the near future.
An ACL tear is a devastating injury, but sometimes it could be a blessing in disguise. As high as Rose's work ethic is, we could assume that he obviously hasn't been slouching during his recovery time and rehabilitation.
His return is just around the corner, and he will definitely have something to prove when he comes back and will staple his name as the best point guard in the NBA very soon.
According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo!, Rose is expected to return with an improved three-point shot and more versatile scoring options than ever before.
Rose has not shot over 35 percent from 3-point range in his NBA career, but during his layoff he has spent time working on his 3-pointer and says he's more confident in it now. The right-handed shooter also has been working on his left-handed runner shot. If Rose's athleticism is close to what it was with his improved shooting, he can be even more dangerous offensively than he was before.
It seems like it's common now for post-ACL injury basketball players to return to the court with a better jump shot than before. Amar'e Stoudemire is a great example, as he returned during the 2006-07 season with a consistent mid-range jumper that he never even possessed prior to his ACL tear the year before.
The same is expected for Rose.
We already saw him improve his three-point shot from the 2009-10 season to the 2010-11 season, where he shot a career-high 33 percent, which is still average in today's standards.
With a more consistent jump shot in his arsenal, he could possibly challenge the Chris Pauls and Kyrie Irvings of this league in terms of shooting ability, and it will make him much harder to defend because he has many more options to score now.
There are very few players in the league who could dominate a game through athleticism alone, and Rose is one of them.
Nobody at the point guard position, other than maybe Russell Westbrook, could match Rose's exceptional athletic ability.
Rose's presence on the floor gives him the advantage over his matchup primarily because of his intimidation factor. He's bigger, stronger and faster than almost everyone at his position. He could blow pass defenders with an explosive first step or hit a jumper in their face with just as much ease.
Players like Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo are elite point guards as well, but their style of play and physique don't give them the same physically intimidating presence as Rose's does.
Ability to Get to the Rim
One of Rose's most noticeable characteristics is his ability to easily maneuver his way to the basket and finish.
According to Hoop Data, Rose has averaged over six shot attempts at the rim for the past two seasons, while connecting on nearly 60 percent of those attempts. The only other point guard who takes that many shots at the rim and hit them at a high percentage is Westbrook.
However, Rose got assisted on less than 20 percent of those attempts last season, while Westbrook got assisted on nearly 25 percent, which illustrates how Rose can get to the rim and finish by himself more often.
Chris Paul may be the best point guard in the NBA right now, but he has never been great at driving to the basket and creating his own shot. He has a nice pull-up jumper, but he has averaged less than three attempts at the rim over the past four seasons.
Rose's ability to get to the rim is connected with his uncanny athleticism, so it's no surprise that the most athletic point guard in the league gets to the rim as often as he does.
One of the more underrated aspects of Rose's game is his great individual defense. Although the Bulls' team defense covers up for a lot of individual lapses, Rose's defense has been solid for the past few seasons.
In his 2010-11 MVP campaign, Rose registered the second-highest total defensive win-shares on the team, trailing only Luol Deng (per Basketball Reference).
Furthermore, he held opposing point guards to a measly PER of 12.1 for the past two seasons (per 82games.com), which is certainly an accomplishment, considering that the point guard position possesses the strongest and most talented pool of players out of every other position in the current NBA.
When Rose returns, he should only get better on this end of the court through experience and wisdom. He could possibly become one of the best perimeter defenders in the league but still only get praised for his explosive offensive ability.
Rose is unlike any point guard we've seen in recent history because he blends together the combination of athletic youth and unconventional veteran wisdom.
In a basketball perspective, there's no difference in style between Rose and fellow 2008 draft-mate Westbrook. However, Rose's knack for making the right plays and right decisions at the right times is what separates him from any other young point guard in the NBA.
His composed, yet inspiring demeanor on the court is the reason why he has never experienced any personal meltdowns in his career so far.
I'm not going as far to say that Rose's basketball IQ is up there with the likes of Jason Kidd, Steve Nash or Chris Paul, but he will quickly make his way into that category when he returns.