Quick, alert the press: Someone who hadn't appeared in a regular-season NBA game in 549 days played poorly.
Yes, Tuesday night marked the return of Derrick Rose, which everyone had so impatiently been on the edge of their seats for. And yes, he came through with a bit of a stinker: 4-of-15 shooting for 12 points, one rebound, four assists and five turnovers in a 107-95 loss to the Miami Heat.
But you know what? It doesn't matter. At all.
I understand the need for people to put this game under the microscope. Rose's elongated rehab from knee surgery was one of the most compelling talking points of the NBA last season, and as his time away from the court increased, so did the uncertainty about how effective he would be upon his return.
Moreover, the longer the wait, the more anticipated the first game—and the more stock viewers would put into it. And by anticipated, I mean ANTICIPATED:
Again, I can understand why people want to rush to judgement about someone who was gone for so long. It's completely wrong, and putting any kind of real value into one game is quite ludicrous, but I can understand it.
This isn't a defense of Rose's night. In addition to his porous stats, he was embarrassingly crossed over by Norris Cole and didn't look great on defense.
But in the very first game of the season, the process is more important than the result. And in that aspect, Rose gets a passing grade. He showed off his athletic explosiveness, got to the cup on multiple occasions and gave zero evidence that his knee was holding him back in any way.
Take, for example, his very first bucket of the game, in which he split a double-team, drove to the hoop and finished acrobatically:
I hate to call a 25-year-old vintage, but that was pretty much vintage Rose right there.
As was the vicinity in which he made his baskets, via ESPN Stats & Info:
Derrick Rose scored 12 Pts on 4-15 FG (1-7 3-pt FG) in his return. Check out his shot chart: pic.twitter.com/eg808kXiWu— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 30, 2013
This should be your takeaway from Tuesday night. Rose's ugly line wasn't the result of a knee that was less than 100 percent. It wasn't the result of mental fear. It was the result of rust and a poor shooting night from a player—who is still in the midst of working to improve his jump shot, mind you—going up against a tough defense in his first real game in 18 months.
Derrick Rose is going to be fine. Just give him (some more) time.