For the sake of the health of a Bulls’ roster decimated by illness and injuries, Chicago’s season mercifully came to an end in a Game 5 loss to the Miami Heat in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
However, the debate as to whether or not superstar point guard Derrick Rose should have suited up for his squad will continue to rage into the offseason.
For the most part, the verbal and written barbs have been tossed at Rose by those within the sports media industry. For the first time, an NBA player has called out Derrick Rose publicly for riding the pine all year despite being medically cleared to play for months.
Former Florida Gators star and top-five Washington Wizards draft pick Bradley Beal went on record saying that he would “lose respect” for Rose if he were the embattled Bulls’ star’s teammate.
“A little bit. Yeah, I would,” he told the Washington Post. “The type of player he is, and the mentality and competitiveness that he has, I think he would have gave it a go. I don’t know what was holding him back. I think he’s scared it’s probably going to happen again and he won’t be the same. But you’re never the same after an injury. But you just have to fight through it and do something else to be able to impact the game. I’m not sure what it is he has to do. I really can’t speak for him. …”
“That’s hard, because I’ve never experienced that injury,” Beal said. “And I know what type of injury that is, it’s possible it’s gonna happen again. Knock on wood. But at the same time, you might have to give it a go. If you’re practicing for two months and everybody in practice is saying you’re practicing well, I figure you gotta give it a shot in a game.
“But it’s his decision. I can’t really have a say so in it. If he doesn’t feel he’s mentally confident to be able to go out there and help the team, I guess I can’t really blame him for it.”
Beal just finished up his rookie season, so calling out a player of Rose’s stature probably is not in his best interest. All year, everyone in the Bulls organization continually supported their crown jewel and continually told the media that he could take all the time in the world to get himself back into the game.
That being said, it will be interesting to see if other athletes asked about Rose’s decision to sit out will react like Beal or continue to say that Rose should take all the time he needs to come back.