He has the speed and he has the athleticism. That's enough to make him a great talent. He also has the humility. That's enough to make him not dance at an all-star game. But most importantly, he also is developing his skill set. All of these things combined is what makes him rapidly ascending as one of the best players in the world.
The latest addition to his repertoire? A step back jump shot as a go to move in the clutch:
I would say Rose isn't necessarily a true point guard, but what does that mean anyway?
Last night he had 30 points and 11 assists. Perhaps most mind boggling about Rose is the fact that he is still learning the game and position. But as evidenced by last night's game winner, it seems at only 23 years of age he already understands when to make his teammates better by facilitating and when it's time for him to take over the game and score. Make no mistake, this distinction is tough for anyone to master - even LeBron has trouble with it.
To me, it is fascinating to hear the thought process behind these types of decisions. Luckily enough, I was actually able to ask Derrick Rose about how he determines when to pass versus when to score (as I promised Steve Nash and Dan Majerle I would). His response, although not as elaborate as Nash's, is still interesting none the less. Take a listen:
I think there are a couple of elements here that are actually consistent with what Steve Nash said. The main thing is to always put pressure on the defense. This keeps you in the flow of the game and opens everything up for your teammates. Also consistent (and scary for opposing teams) is his recognition and willingness to continue to study and learn the game. He essentially shot down my suggestion that deciding when to pass and when to score is instinctual - rather, it's something that you master from experience. Additionally, it's somewhat gratifying to hear that even though Rose is the best player on his team - he "never forces himself on the game." Instead, "the game will let you know" when to pass and when to score.
Apparently, last night's game in Milwaukee let him know the last ten seconds of the game was his time to win it.
You'll notice an asterisk next to the title.
That's because it's actually a reference to a news headline from from a New York news paper circa 1995. The actual title was: "Roseman come up Rosy" and it was in reference to LaGuardia high school's senior Steve Roseman dropping 40 points against Chelsea (20 in the 4th quarter) to lead a comeback victory in the PSAL B division league opener.
Why do I mention this? Well, it just so happens I was a freshman on that team, my first time playing varsity ball, and that was my first league game. Needless to say, that headline and Steve Roseman himself was extremely influential in my basketball career and development. As a senior (and eventual McDonald's all-american honorable mention), he befriended me and set an amazing example through his hard work and commitment to the game. I still remember him running up 10 flights of stairs with a weight vest on. I still remember him coming back from his senior trip earlier to make a basketball game. Those things stick with you.
Every young player needs a positive influence and to be steered in the right direction - both athletically and academically. I was lucky enough to have plenty of positive influences during my high school days - including my older brother and close friends/teammates.
Part of the reason I ask these questions to guys like Nash and Rose is because they are experts at their craft and serve as role models for so many young players. Hopefully their dedication can instigate a commitment to excellence in younger ball players.
But it's also important to point out, inspiration can come from multiple sources.