The Bulls were starting to get on a roll when they barreled into January with high expectations of themselves. They also began to hear something they hadn’t heard in a while: MVP. Derrick Rose was just in his third year out of college and was just 22 and already beginning to leave his mark on Chicago.
The best was yet to come.
On January 17th, a mere game after Rose dropped 34 on the Miami Heat, he went off on the Grizzlies and gave a glimpse of what was yet to come for the 22 year old’s unforgettable 2011 campaign.
Rose finished the Heat game with 34 points and 8 assists, two shy of a double-double. But he bested that in the grandest way against Memphis by posting 22 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists giving the 22 year old his first career triple-double and putting his name on the map for serious MVP contenders.
“It [felt] the same,” Rose said with a laugh. “A win is a win, no matter how my stats are. I’m just happy we got the win, without some of the key players that’s on our team.”
The key players he was pointing to was actually one in particular, Joakim Noah. Noah was in the middle of missing a chunk of games with his hand injury and Rose was there to pick up the slack.
It was also a sort of homecoming for Rose. He played his college ball at Memphis and this was the first time he was returning as a true superstar, only the world didn’t know it yet.
The impressive numbers in Rose’s triple-double were not the points and assists, he does that on a nightly basis. It was rather the rebounds and the fact his body was bouncing in the paint against much bigger ones and coming up with the ball. 10 rebounds is a huge number for a point guard and Rose made it look easy, as he did with most things in 2011.
The triple-double was the peak, at the time, in the minds of some analysts but those with foresight saw that this kid from the south side wasn’t just a fluke, he was not just the real deal but he was seriously MVP type material.
Rose even used his opportunity in the spotlight to not gloat, but cast self criticism, something Chicago fans have come to know and admire from him, about his poor shooting and low total. He explained that he played on the court at least 20 times in college (Rose attended Memphis University) and knew where all the hot shooting spots were, yet failed to prodice numbers he felt he was capable of.
And the world was introduced to who Derrick Rose really was; not a showboat, not a big shot, not a loud mouth. Rather a soft spoken, self critical and ever improving superstar from the South Side of Chicago.
The Second Coming in the Second City.
Derrick Rose had greater moments in 2011 after this, but his triple-double and the birth of something really special is Moment #8 of the Bulls best in 2011.