Even though the league is looking to do a lot of restructuring as the 2011 season vastly approaches, there are two positions in the league that will not change. No matter how much you may despise LeBron James and feel as if Derrick Rose is overrated, these two young athletes will not cease to amaze.
Their reasons for greatness are more alike than fans may realize, and both have a lot to prove while entering this stage of their careers.
The Chicago Bulls are reeling from a disappointing series against Miami, and LeBron is trying to offset the laughingstock his fourth-quarter performances have become.
Sure, James did some great things prior to the finals, but leave it to diehard, bandwagon fans to question his potential as an All-Time great.
There are a lot of men in this league that slip up in those moments. Rose came up short more than one time in this year’s playoffs, yet he still has the admiration of the entire league and those who watch from their couches at home.
No matter how different these two may seem, they are entering the 2011 season with a chip on their shoulder. Rose and James’ experience levels may vary greatly, however, they find themselves fighting for the same amount of respect.
One’s journey will be a lot rockier than the other’s.
Derrick Rose’s flight may not be as easy as spectators assume. Look at how he struggled against a stronger, more talented defender in James. It was only appropriate that LeBron be able to stop him, but who knew that it would come so easily?
James thrives off the ability to defend any and everyone, but Rose is extraterrestrial. His athletic capabilities are not of this world, therefore when he was stopped dead in his tracks on the way to a victory, James gained a little more respect from those unable to admit his skill.
Rose may be an on court dynamo, but the Bulls’ performance in the postseason shows how much more help he needs within the franchise to ultimately get the job done.
As the MVP of the regular season, I expected nothing less than greatness from the young point guard/appointed leader of the Bulls. He shook up the court with some impressive acrobatics under the rim and his speed in transition was amazing.
How frustrated was he that Chicago had more than a chance to win the series and every time let the moment get the best of them? Only time will tell how he feels about the men placed beside him because unless Rose is celebrating, his emotions are not written all over his face.
You can almost sense the disappointment, but he does not make it known that there should be anyone held accountable other than himself.
Rose is deemed a savior because of his likeability, his humility, his talent and his demeanor. People give him the benefit of the doubt not only because of his explosive play-making ability, but because of his personality.
People are quick to use the excuse that he does not have the right pieces around him, which causes his inability to win at the higher levels of professional basketball.
Yet, when LeBron James uses the argument, it is egregious, narcissistic and plain old toddler-like. Granted Rose is only in his third year in the league, and James has about five years of experience on him. It still is something to be said about the difference of perception leading to the difference of reaction.
Derrick Rose is being placed on a similar pedestal that LeBron was in the earlier stages of his professional career. No one can find it in their hearts to call it like they see it.
He just is not ready.
LeBron James, on the other hand, knows all about failure at the height of success. Even after joining forces with his best friend, Dwyane Wade and third wheel Chris Bosh, James experienced his share of the dumps during both pieces of a shaky season.
Miami went through their growing pains but managed to end on a higher note than 28 other teams in the NBA. People have gone from praising the almighty to making fun of his hairline, the signs he makes during the national anthem and any other non-basketball tidbit they can get their hands on.
LeBron has become a shell of his former self in the eyes of those who once supported him and will need more than a good regular season to come back swinging.
To say I was disappointed at how Miami’s season ended is not enough. It was somewhat embarrassing to see how strong the Heat had battled through everyone they faced and then tripped up continuously against a team that was not even predicted to get past Portland in the first round.
They were the favorites. The combination of their separate talents made them that way, but make no mistake, LeBron James was heading the assembly line. He had picked up Dwyane’s slack so many times in the previous rounds, long-time LeBron haters were beginning to realize the error of their ways.
Putting him ahead of even Kobe in today’s rankings, fans were starting to believe that James was actually going to do something with all that size, speed, accuracy and on-court charisma. Then we hit another brick wall named Shawn Marion.
I am not sure if James just did not respect Marion’s game or if he was distracted by personal drama. In either case, his mid-range game was mutilated almost solely by Marion aka "The Matrix."
In the 2011 season, if a new CBA allows one, James will set out to prove himself once again. Just like Rose, he is not a proven champion. Everyone knows the potential is there. Everyone knows he is capable of doing so. We all know and understand how crazy his game is.
Until each of these players’ max out, we will be left wondering "what if" and never utter the words "remember when."