Multiple knee injuries have robbed Derrick Rose of his explosive athleticism and perhaps the best years of his career. Rose no longer attacks the basket with reckless abandon like he did when he won the MVP as a 22 year old in 2011, but every now and then, the Knicks guard shows flashes of his former self.
Like against the Blazers on Tuesday, Rose converted on two impressive up-and-under layups, which brought back memories of his glory days with the Bulls. Whenever Rose scores like this, the internet immediately proclaims that he is back and that it was a "vintage" move. The NBA even does this as they titled Rose's drives against the Blazers on YouTube, "Derrick Rose's Two Vintage Layups In Super Slow Motion."
However Rose, doesn't like it when people call him "vintage."
From Newsday's Al Iannazzone:
"That vintage is gone, man," Rose said. "The question should be: 'Can I hoop?' I can hoop. It shouldn't be like, 'He's playing like his old self. If I can hoop, I can hoop, no matter if I did that when I was younger or now. I can play the game of basketball."
"Your whole life, you're used to a 1-2 rhythm," Rose said. "You have one injury, and that kind of resets everything, let alone you have three. You've got to find your 1-2. How high you want to jump on your shot? How high you want to jump on your threes? I missed preseason. All those little things count. Like, this entire time, these three or four years, I'm playing catch-up.
"I'm still far away, man, off where I want to be, the player I want to become. But in the meantime, I just want to win. I really label myself as a winner."
You can understand why Rose doesn't like being called vintage. It is hard for anyone to live in the past and Rose is simply trying to move on from his myriad injuries. And as he says, he can still hoop.
Of course, Rose isn't playing anything like when he did when he was one of the best guards in the league and a three-time All-Star. But Rose is still putting up decent numbers, averaging 15.8 points and 4.8 assists this year, and has begun to look a bit more comfortable in New York. Not "vintage" numbers but decent enough, which is basically what Rose is these days.