October 29 is the start of the 2013-14 NBA season, which automatically makes it a big day for basketball fans. But this year, it's an even bigger deal because that date will also mark the return of Derrick Rose.
Rose's return will be greeted with festivities as soon as he escapes South Beach, but even that game will be quite enjoyable for all NBA fans. They'll get to see one of the league's best point guards back in action for the first time in over a calendar year.
In fact, every fan should be happy about Rose's return. Not just happy, but thrilled even.
There are eight reasons why each and every basketball aficionado can't wait to see Rose taking the court once more, but personal reasons exist as well. Don't hesitate to leave yours in the comment section below.
Let's not overlook the obvious here.
It's been a long time since Derrick Rose last suited up for the Chicago Bulls. Far too long, in fact.
The last time D-Rose took the court in an actual uniform was his first outing in the 2012 NBA playoffs, when he scored 23 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out nine dimes against the Philadelphia 76ers. That was all the way back on April 28, 2012.
Since then, a lot has happened. An entire regular season and two postseasons have been played. The Olympics happened. Multiple new stars emerged. And Rose has played zero games.
It's time for that last part to change.
More competition is a good thing. Unless you're a fan of the Miami Heat, in which case you might be a little more scared that Derrick Rose is making the Chicago Bulls even stronger.
The Heat have won back-to-back titles, but those who have nothing but vitriol coursing through their veins still insist that asterisks have to be attached to the championships. First there was the lockout, then there was the rash of injuries that knocked Rose, Danny Granger and others out of action.
Not this year.
With Rose back, the Bulls are at full strength, making the gauntlet of Eastern Conference teams that much stronger. It's given that the Heat are elite, but so too are the Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls.
Who doesn't love a little more competition?
Derrick Rose does a lot of things well, and dunking is right up there with the best of them.
The nightly explosions to the rim thrill fans, both at the United Center and when they're watching the highlights on SportsCenter later on. And there are a lot of highlights.
There are few players who can match Russell Westbrook's level of explosion at the point guard position. Rose is definitely one of them, and there's been a void while his knee fully recovers to the point that he can challenge the Oklahoma City Thunder floor general for highlight supremacy once more.
Those two-handed cock-back slams are just incredible. When Rose uses the springs he has in his legs, he attacks the rim with nothing if not violence.
The first time the former Memphis standout dunks during a home game, the crowd will explode to the point that the roof might need repairs after the game has finished. There won't be any need to ask the fans to make some noise.
If you don't enjoy watching Rose dunk the ball, you need to re-evaluate your priorities as a basketball fan.
Jimmy Butler used Rose's absence from the lineup to break out in a big way.
The swingman from Marquette got better and better as his sophomore season progressed. While emerging as one of the best defenders in the NBA, Butler threw down monstrous dunks (like this one) and thrived as a perimeter shooter. He shot 47.5 percent from behind the arc after the All-Star break, then followed that up with 40-percent downtown shooting during the playoffs.
Butler wasn't just effective. He was exciting as well.
Between Rose and the 23-year-old who's expected to start at shooting guard, the Chicago Bulls may very well end up boasting the league's most exciting backcourt.
Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters will be strong contenders for that title, as will the Stephen Curry-Klay Thompson combination on the West coast. There are plenty of other duos that could also emerge as the most exciting, but my money is still on the one that calls the Windy City home.
2008-09: LeBron James
2009-10: LeBron James
2010-11: Derrick Rose
2011-12: LeBron James
2012-13: LeBron James
Over the last five seasons, only Derrick Rose has been able to dethrone LeBron as the NBA MVP. He did it rather definitively that year, earning 113 of a possible 121 first-place votes. But he still stands alone as the only MVP winner other than LeBron in the last half-decade.
Well, now he's back. And with his return, the MVP competition gets a lot stiffer.
Although the Miami Heat superstar is still the prohibitive favorite to take home his fifth award—one that would leave him tied with Michael Jordan and Bill Russell for the second-most of all time—he's by no means a lock to hold up the trophy again. Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Rose have something to say about that.
I'd still bet on James earning No. 5. It's just that the race will be much closer, and therefore much more exciting as well.
The crossover is a beautiful thing.
If you don't believe me, just ask Allen Iverson. Or Derrick Rose. Both guards will keep their mouths shut (well, maybe A.I. will keep talking), but they'll put the ball on the floor and change your opinion rather quickly.
Rose's crossover is just incredibly explosive. Even though his jumper hasn't been particularly threatening in the past, his quick first step and great handles are enough to put defenders on skates.
As you can see in the video up above, he's shifty enough to make Rajon Rondo hesitate, and it's not like the Boston Celtics stud is a slouch on defense.
Expect to see a lot more of that throughout the 2013-14 season. And who doesn't love highlights that end with broken ankles?
Derrick Rose with a consistent jumper would be even more terrifying than the version of the point guard we've come to know and love.
During the 2011-12 season—his last healthy year—Rose's numbers weren't that impressive once he strayed away from the paint. According to Basketball-Reference, he shot 32.2 percent from 10 to 16 feet, 36.5 percent from 16 to 23 feet and just 31.8 percent from behind the three-point arc.
Can you imagine how defenses would react if they had to respect his jumper? Rose would drive past the perimeter defenders with even more ease, and his numbers would just go through the roof.
Well, we have no idea how he developed while rehabbing that torn ACL, but CSNChicago.com's Mark Strotman has done some interesting research that will leave Chicago fans with an ear-to-ear grin.
Strotman looked at how the jump shooting of young players returning from an ACL injury changed by analyzing the performances of Jamal Crawford, Al Harrington, Willie Green, Jason Smith, Tony Allen, Corey Brewer, Al Jefferson, Ricky Rubio and Iman Shumpert, the nine players under 25 years old who have torn their ACLs since 2001.
Before their injuries, those players hit 33.7 percent of their jumpers. That number rose to 36.9 percent in the first year back and climbed even higher in the second.
Can Rose make that trend continue?
Quite frankly, the league is just better with Derrick Rose in it.
The more talented players fill our television screens on a nightly basis, the better.
When the NBA is deeper, more quality basketball is the result. And while I don't mind watching Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson doing their thing, I'd much rather watch a premier MVP candidate running the show for one of the most competitive teams in the NBA.
It's weird to think about one player making that much of a difference, but most players aren't as good as Rose.
The NBA, in general, benefits a lot from his return. And as NBA fans, we do as well.