With Injury Conquered, What's the Next Mountain for Derrick Rose to Climb?

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With Injury Conquered, What's the Next Mountain for Derrick Rose to Climb?
Gary Dineen/Getty Images
D-Rose has his speed and quickness back after an 18-month absence.

After months and months of rehab, Derrick Rose is back on the hardwood having overcome a historically career-altering injury.

So, what's next for the former league MVP?

First and foremost: giving the Chicago Bulls a title. This is the ultimate goal, and it's one that he clearly stated coming into this season, according to the Chicago Tribune.

He also has to improve as a player and regain his elite status in the league. Chris Paul has been the NBA's best point guard for a few years now, and Rose should set his sights on taking that title from him.

Rose also has to keep building on his legacy. He's the youngest MVP in history, but he will certainly need a ring or two to cement himself as one of the game's greats.

What will it take for the 25-year-old guard to accomplish these feats?

 

Running an Offense More Efficiently

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Rose's habit of mid-air passing should stop.

Rose has to take his skills as a scoring point guard and combine them with the traits of a traditional point guard.

Take Chris Paul for example: He's one of the best at breaking down a defense, and he executes the pick-and-roll at a level that only elite point guards can match.

So far this season, Paul has more than twice as many pick-and-roll plays, and has scored on almost 50 percent of them, per Synergy. Rose, on the other hand, is converting on one out of every four pick-and-roll sets.

Rose's biggest obstacle, though, might be his decision-making.

He likes to drive to the basket and create from his penetration instead of probing the defense from the perimeter.

However, Rose often meets a wall of defenders near the rim to which he responds by jumping, hanging in mid-air and passing the ball as he’s coming down.

He makes it work regularly, and while his leaping ability allows him to get a better view of the court this way, it still doesn’t make it an effective or a smart move. He’s giving defenders a chance to reset as he’s in the air. If or when they do, chances are he's turning the ball over.

 

Becoming a Well-Rounded Offensive Weapon

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images
Once Rose's jump shot is consistent, he will be a nightmare for opposing defenses.

Rose worked on his jump shot throughout his rehabilitation process and was expected to be a much-improved shooter.

Call it rust or a young season, but Rose has only shown flashes of a better jump shot, something he's done in the past. In order to become an all-around threat, Rose will need a consistent and efficient jump shot.

Over the course of four seasons, Rose has never shot 50 percent from the floor and has actually worsened his percentages every season.

Once Rose gets a full head of steam, there are few—if any—players who can stop him without fouling him.

If he does run into a wall, he should show off the floater that made him so hard to stop a few years ago if he has the space.

The jump shot will come with time, and it might not even be this season. But once he's a threat to shoot from downtown or on a stop-and-pop, Rose could rise as the best scorer in the league.

 

Building on a Legacy

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Rose has 10 years to embed his name within the league.

The one thing Rose doesn't have yet is an NBA championship.

There's still the question of whether or not he can do it with the Bulls' current roster. If he's playing at a level where he's the most dominant player on the court, though, there's no reason he couldn't do it this year—not to say it would be easy.

Chicago has made the playoffs every year since Rose joined the team, making the Eastern Conference Finals once in 2011 before being knocked off in five games by the Miami Heat.

Rose has a Rookie of the Year award, three consecutive All-Star appearances (with more to come, presumably), and he's the youngest player to ever win the MVP. Rose has made a name for himself in a short span of time

Getting a ring would help build Rose's resume as one of the top players in NBA history.

Reaching each benchmark will take time, but Rose is only 25 and has a lot of time to secure his place within the league.

Given his work ethic, his game should continue to improve over the next few seasons, and as the roster around him changes—possibly for the better—so will his chances of winning a championship.

Rose's first four seasons have been pretty successful. There's no reason to believe a couple more MVPs won't go his way along with a title or two as he continues to build his legacy.

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