Dempsey: The Real Derrick Rose may be back


The most difficult part is identifying what a moment really is when you see it, what it truly means in the magnificent system of things.

Derrick Rose’s buzzer-beating 3-point shot in Game 3 of the Chicago Bulls’ playoff series with Cleveland on Friday was indeed, a game-winning shot. But that does not assure nothing beyond what just occurred, which the Bulls was winning a game and taking a 2-1 series head start over the Cavaliers.

Nevertheless, it could have been so much more.

It had that aura.

We haven’t seen Rose- the real Derrick Rose, the MVP-caliber Derrick Rose- ever since he won the MVP. Knee injuries raided season after season. His viewpoint on the importance of basketball in life was changed as well.

Basketball matters, it always should, but to some extent.

“I’m thinking about long term,” Rose said last November. “I’m thinking about after I’m done with basketball having graduations to go to, having meetings to go to. I don’t want to be in my meetings all sore or be at my son’s graduation all sore just because of something I did in the past.”

And you would insist that you saw that quote in his manner of playing. The irresponsible call off was gone. The persistent attacks on the rim were called back-apparently with it; some of that rim was an endless trademark in his game.

What if a great player only desires to be great?

This is the question that is frequently around Rose. We’ve been sitting anxiously every time he hit the floor. We nodded our heads in that “You remember when he was truly great?” action that accompanies the wish that that player would go back to the same old Rose that we used to know.

During the run-up to Game 3, there was more kryptonite being discoursed about the situation of his game. When he had two or more days of rest, Rose’s numbers were better than having one day. Rest days between games did not matter for the Old Rose, but it was a huge deal for the New Rose.

And then … bank, whoosh.

Rose ran down the court and celebrated with Joakim Noah. Rose first found the man publicly supporting him more than anyone during his entire injury-riddled ordeal. Rose weighed down a smile, and then he let one crack.

But, is he really back?

After one day of rest, he scored 30 points. He had just executed what great players do: he defeated Le-Bron James at the buzzer of a playoff game his team had to win. That’s what he did, that’s what he’s done before, and that’s what we always knew that still exists in him.

Rose will forever be a changed player. We can’t deny that fact. His role on the Bulls is even redefined: He’s no longer obliged to be the team’s everything to win on any game.

But he could still be great.

Is that ultimate meaning o that banked-in 3-pointer? Will his level of confidence return to the same level it was on once? Will it lift his killer instinct back to the same level where in he was once the most feared scoring point guard in the NBA? These are the questions that this series will continue to answer starting Sunday.






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