October 30, 2020

Is Athleticism A Detriment in the NBA

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Happy New Year! Its 2014, and I'm not saying that I'm excited for a brand new year, but each new year brings new experiences and fresh stories revolving around the sports universe. Sports focuses on the present, the now, the before, after and the future. For this particular subject I would like to dwell between the past and the future.

The future being Seventh Woods, a 6'1" explosive guard out of Columbia, South Carolina, currently a member of the Hammond High School Basketball team. The past being what has stalled the untold futures and careers of two established professional guards, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, employed by the Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder respectively, of the NBA.

Woods is only a sophomore in High School at the tender age of 15 years-old and has an ample amount of time to enhance his game before he can consider the professional ranks, but I'm targeting this infant of a basketball prospect due to the players who have arrived before him with a game similar to his own.

Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook: A Case Study

The last decade featured a new class of point guards. Meet the athletic and ultra-aggressive point guard, capable of playing above the rim opposed to the general and expected characteristics of a point guard whose game is most notable for being a floor general. Now point guards can do both, run the offense as well as dunk on a team's enforcer, if the team has the luxury of employing one on its roster. I target Woods now because, since his game is similar to the two point guards I have listed above who now are experiencing injuries as a result to their style of play, who's to say Woods isn't next?

If you are not familiar with Rose and Westbrook, I will inform you. Rose, at the age of 25 is the starting point guard for the Chicago Bulls. The Chicago native maintains a career scoring average of 20.8 points per game dishing 6.8 dimes per game over the course of five NBA seasons all while missing significant chunks of the last two seasons due to recently reoccurring injuries. He's an MVP as well as a three time All-Star, becoming their first perennial All-Star since one, Michael Jordan laced up his own signature shoes for the Bulls during the 1984 NBA Season. Rose also struck gold as a competitor for the U.S. team at the 2010 FIBA World Championships. All of these accomplishments have been achieved before the age of 25. Making history and creating your own brand only leaves the public craving for more, and Rose's style of play prompts you to fall in love with basketball and what he brings to the hardwood all together.

Rose is an athletic 6'3" point guard who excels in the open court, with an elite ball handling ability capable of penetrating any defense to create for himself and others. Rose relies on his quickness, ball-handling ability with an array of hop-steps and sharp cuts to force his way to the paint along with his toughness, strength and body control to convert layups against suffocating defenses. His talent has aided him in becoming one of the faces of the NBA and now one whose career could be in jeopardy courtesy of that same talent.

Here's where it begins: In game 1 of the 2012 NBA postseason against the Philadelphia 76ers, Rose as he has done constantly throughout his basketball career took a routine cut to the right side of the basket utilizing his hop-step maneuver resulting in his initial knee injury, tearing the ACL, which came with 1:20 to go in the 4th quarter with the game already decided due to the Bulls enjoying a comfortable 87-99 lead. That injury kept Rose from seeing any playoff action for the rest of the year.

Now Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau is known for riding his players to compete at their maximum potential allowing them to play extensive and strenuous minutes. Rose should have been resting on the bench at that point of the game but did he have to make that move with that velocity? Dogs bark they don't meow, and Rose attacks the basket with a fury comparable to almost none. In his MVP speech he explained his style of play dedicating it to his mother which is definitely understood and should be commended and celebrated but is that style of play worth endangering what could be a Hall-Of-Fame career.

Since that injury, Drake's third album title Nothing Was The Same serves as a symbol as to where Rose's career stands. Since that injury, Rose missed the rest of the 2012-13 NBA season removing himself from professional play for precautionary reasons in order to come back at 100%, which he did. Struggling to return to a groove, finding his rhythm all while scoring 15.9 points per game this season, Rose tore his right knee meniscus against the Portland Trailblazers on November 22, 2013. You can draw parallels from Rose's career to Westbrook's.

Westbrook, like Rose is also 25, is the starting point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The California native maintains a career scoring average of 19.9 points while consistently finding teammates, making him good for 6.9 assists per game. Westbrook is a 3-time All-Star, 3-time All-NBA Second team and has struck gold twice for the USA Men's basketball team contributing his services during the Olympic Games of 2012 in London and with Rose in Turkey, for the 2010 FIBA World Championships. In Game 2 of the 2013 playoffs against the Houston Rockets, guard Patrick Beverley of the Rockets collided with Westbrook's right knee on a steal attempt which eventually resulted in a slight tear in his right meniscus, eliminating him from the rest of the playoff festivities. Before the start of the 2013-14 NBA campaign, Westbrook elected to have a second surgery on the same knee, lulling his debut to the delight of the Oklahoman's. On December 27th, Westbrook decided to receive another procedure on his knee, arthroscopic surgery on the same knee, which will further discontinue his play until after the All-Star game.

Although Westbrook did not injure his knee by way of his own doing, who's to say that, that particular injury isn't the result of his style of play similar to Rose, using his athleticism to perform sharp cuts to penetrate the lane and finish with contact. Who's to say that his style of play hadn't damaged his knee during his early basketball years and Beverley's attempted steal only sped up the process of Westbrook's eventual injury.

Could Seventh Woods Be The Next Superstar Injury?

This is targeted to the youngsters who orchestrate their team's offense along with an aggressive and reckless abandon with disregard to any human life while attacking the basket since I am young and indestructible. This is for the new breed of point guards who would rather fulfill the challenge of dunking on the new Mount Mutumbo's rather than penetrate and dish to their own mountains for an easy finish. This is for those who do not pace themselves like guards Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, Andre Miller and Syracuse prospect Tyler Ennis but play with an "All For Nothing" attitude, respectable but to their own detriment like Rose, Westbrook, and John Wall.

Rose and Westbrook can still be who they want to be on the court, but what's wrong with a little patience and pace. Jason Kidd extended his career with that formula and so did guards Gary Payton, John Stockton and Mark Jackson. I'm not jinxing Seventh Woods but he rivals the athleticism of Rose and Westbrook, even at his age, just take a look. Sometimes your environment dictates your style of play, but it shouldn't dictate your playing span. Injuries to Westbrook and Rose don't just harm them, their families, their employers and their fans, it hurts basketball. We don't want Woods to be the next Rose or Westbrook, the injured versions because I can't change his game, only he can.

Gregory Alcala

Gregory Alcala is a reporter for What's The 411Sports, a weekly sports news and commentary television show. He is What's The 411Sports' primary reporter covering the Brooklyn Nets. Greg is very passionate about sports and welcomes the challenge of speaking about a variety of sports including his main interest in professional basketball and baseball. 

Greg gained his initial career experience at St. Francis College, as one of the founding members of the Terriers Sports Network (TSN). He is responsible for shooting live sporting events, reporting news for packages and broadcast production duties. Additionally, Greg maintains his own sports blog entitled, "Sports N' Thoughts," where he develops sports related articles and posts video content for public consumption.

Login to post comments
© 1993 - 2018 What's The 411 Networks, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.