The struggle has been real for Derrick Rose to find his top form from his MVP season.

At just 22-years old, Rose took the NBA by storm. In 2010-11, he led his hometown Chicago Bulls to a 62-win season and to the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. He had spectacular averages of 25.0 points per game (PPG) on 44.5% shooting from the field, 7.7 assists per game (APG), and 4.1 rebounds per game (RPG). He was beloved by the Chicago faithful because of his style of play.

On every possession, Rose didn’t know the meaning of chill.

He consistently played at 100 miles per hour (mph) and left opposing players in his wake. Also, due to his athleticism, if you weren’t careful as a defender, Rose would rise up and bang it on anyone who dared challenge him at the rim. He played like the energizer bunny; he kept going, and going, and going.

In 2011, he became the youngest MVP in NBA history, and the expectations were high for the Bulls. Many expected the Bulls to represent the East in the NBA Finals, but Lebron, and the Miami Heat, made sure to derail the Bulls ride to the NBA title. Going into the following season, the expectations were high for the Bulls once again, and more was expected of Rose. Unfortunately, his 2011-12 season was cut short due to a devastating knee injury.

For the following two seasons, Rose only played in 61 of the Bulls’ 164 regular season games.

In 2015-16, Rose made a slight comeback. He played in 66 games, more games than the previous two seasons combined, and the Bulls narrowly missed the playoffs with a 42-40 record. Rose was playing in a new offense under new head coach Fred Hoiberg, and as the season went on, it seemed like Rose’s days in a Chicago Bulls uniform may be numbered.

Then, in the summer of 2016, the trade happened.

Rose, along with Justin Holiday and a 2017 2nd-round pick, was traded to the Knicks for Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant, and Jose Calderon. Many saw this trade as an opportunity for Rose to show potential suitors that he’s worth a max-deal, once his contract expires, at the end of the season.

So far, Rose has risen to the challenge.

In 28 games, Rose is averaging 17.5 PPG on 45% shooting from the field, 4.3 APG, and 4.1 RPG. Unlike his younger days, Rose has finally learned the meaning of chill. He doesn’t go 100 mph on every play; instead, he dictates play more efficiently through his change of pace. He doesn’t finish as strong as he used to, but he’s still near impossible to stop when driving to the rim, and now, he has incorporated more floaters into his game.

Rose has been playing like your typical experienced scoring point guard, but recently, there have been glimpses of MVP Rose. Since returning from injury against the Indiana Pacers, Rose has put his Superman cape on, and his overall play has soared. In his last five games, Rose is averaging 22.8 PPG on 43% shooting from the field, 3.8 APG, and 4.6 RPG. His assist totals are still low compared to his MVP season, but you expect his APG average to grow as the season goes on.

It’s clear that Rose’s confidence has grown, and this growth in confidence was on full display against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. The Knicks may have lost that game, but on one play, Rose stepped into a time machine, flew, and banged it on Anthony Davis, even though the play was ruled dead because of a foolish offensive foul call on Joakim Noah, and Rose also banged it on E’Twaun Moore on another play.

Rose didn’t catch any legit bodies that night, but Davis and Moore could have been potential victims if they decided to challenge Rose at the rim. Also, these dunks were exciting because Rose hasn’t dunked a basketball since Moses parted the Red Sea — which explains my over-exaggeration of his dunks in the game against the Pelicans.

Slowly, but surely, Rose has been showing glimpses of his MVP form during his rise back to prominence.

Check out Ryan’s other work at http://mrgsportsblogs.sportsblog.com

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