Nine years on from Derrick Rose's MVP season - five NBA careers ruined by injury

By Sports Desk May 03, 2020

Things were looking up for the Chicago Bulls when Derrick Rose was named NBA MVP on May 3, 2011.

At 22 years old, Rose became the youngest player – and only the second for the Bulls after Michael Jordan – to win the award.

However, that proved to be the pinnacle of his fledgling career, as a serious knee injury denied him the chance to maximise his incredible potential.

Using data from Stats Perform, we look at five NBA careers that were ruined by injuries.

 

Derrick Rose

After being drafted first overall by the Bulls in 2008, Rose was tipped as a talent capable of leading them to their first NBA championship since the Jordan era.

He was named Rookie of the Year and earned MVP honours in the 2010-11 season after averaging 25 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game.

Rose led the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat that year, but they were unable to deny LeBron James a first appearance in the NBA Finals and lost in five games.

However, an ACL tear in the first round of the playoffs the following season proved to be the first in a string of knee injuries that derailed what looked set to be a Hall of Fame career.

Rose's production has dropped across the board since that blow against the Philadelphia 76ers, the most notable of which is his points per game dipping from 21 beforehand to 16.8.

He managed 46 double-doubles and 41 30-point games prior to the start of the 2012-13 season, but since then he has managed just 12 and 15 respectively.

 

Penny Hardaway

Shaquille O'Neal encouraged the Orlando Magic to trade 1993 first overall draft pick Chris Webber to the Golden State Warriors for Hardaway and the pair quickly developed a formidable partnership that made the team championship contenders.

The Magic went all the way to the NBA Finals in 1995 but the youthful team were swept by the more experienced Houston Rockets and, after they lost to Jordan's Bulls in the 1996 Eastern Conference Finals, O'Neal left for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Hardaway appeared ready to become the leading man in Orlando but a knee injury sustained in December 1997 forced him to miss much of the remainder of the campaign.

He went from averaging 19.7 points and 6.3 assists per game to just 11.5 and 3.8 respectively.

Over half of the four-time All-Star's 313 games played prior to his injury saw him score 20 points or more. In his 391 appearances afterwards that ratio slipped to just 14.8 per cent.

 

Grant Hill

Two-time NCAA champion Hill entered the NBA surrounded by plenty of hype and he quickly established himself as a force in the league after being taken third overall by the Detroit Pistons in 1994.

He joined a select group of players to make the All-Star Game in their debut season and no one else in the league had as many votes as him – he ended up sharing Rookie of the Year honours with Jason Kidd.

Hill was a five-time All-Star and was the headline name heading into free agency in 2000, but he sustained a broken ankle – which he claims was mismanaged by the Pistons – during a first-round playoff game against the Heat and it altered the trajectory of his career.

The small forward landed with the Magic but was unable to continue delivering at his previous rates – his averages for points per game and assists per game fell from 21.6 and 6.3 to 13.1 and 2.6.

Hill managed just 31 double-doubles in the remaining 591 games of his career – just under a fifth of the amount he had accumulated in his first 435 appearances in the league.

His field-goal percentage may have increased from 47.6 per cent to 49.2 per cent, but just five of the 71 30-point games in his career came after his ankle injury.

 

Brandon Roy

Just one vote stopped Roy being a unanimous decision as Rookie of the Year in 2007, having averaged 16.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game during his first regular season with the Portland Trail Blazers.

He earned a four-year, maximum-salary contract in August 2009 and made his third All-Star appearance that season, but following surgery on a meniscus tear in his right knee – he had also previously had a procedure for a cartilage issue in his left knee – in April 2010 his career went south.

Roy, who had an operation on both knees in January 2011, would only play 52 more games in the NBA, five of which came in a bid to return from retirement with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2012-13 season.

In that period his points, assists and rebounds per game almost halved (points: 20.2 to 11.6, assists: 5.0 to 2.9, rebounds: 4.6 to 2.6).

Roy managed just one more double-double and 10 20-point games, having had 18 and 153 prior to the start of the 2010-11 season.

 

Tracy McGrady

The Rockets could have been championship contenders had McGrady and Yao Ming not both proved so injury-prone during their six years together on the team.

Despite an impressive start to life with the Rockets in 2004-05, back spasms sidelined McGrady for extended spells in the following two seasons.

The seven-time All-Star had painkilling injections to help ease knee and shoulder ailments ahead of the 2007-08 playoffs, but for the second straight season he was unable to guide Houston past the Utah Jazz in the first round.

McGrady's production fell off a cliff from the start of the following campaign. From scoring an impressive 22.4 points per game he slipped to just 8.7 – he only had one more 30-point game in the rest of his career, having had 205 beforehand.

As his career petered out at the New York Knicks, Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs – a short stint with the latter coming after a spell in China – McGrady went from a ratio of scoring 20 points every other game to doing so once in every 10 appearances.

However, he still earned a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Related items

  • NFL Talking Point: What's wrong with Kyler Murray? NFL Talking Point: What's wrong with Kyler Murray?

    Having been viewed as an MVP contender for much of the season, Kyler Murray was held in check by the New England Patriots in Week 12 as the Arizona Cardinals slumped to a damaging defeat.

    Murray threw for 170 yards and an interception in Arizona's 20-17 loss in New England, while he ran the ball five times for 31 yards.

    It was the second consecutive underwhelming display from last year's first overall pick, following an uninspiring, if more statistically impressive showing, against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 11.

    With the Cardinals suffering back-to-back losses and their franchise quarterback suddenly falling below his high standards, it is fair to ask the question: what is wrong with Kyler Murray?

    Here we look at some of the numbers to attempt to provide an answer.

     

    Off-target and lacking aggression

    Murray has typically done an excellent job of delivering his throws accurately. Ball placement has long since been a strength of the former Oklahoma star and, for the season, he has a completion percentage above expectation of 3.2, according to the NFL's NextGen Stats, completing 68.2 per cent of his throws when he has been anticipated to connect on 65 per cent.

    He is seventh in the NFL in that metric, but endured a significant drop-off in Week 12, when his completion percentage above expectation was minus 1.3, performing worse than Taysom Hill, Sam Darnold and San Francisco 49ers backup Nick Mullens to name a few.

    Additionally, he did not complete a single pass that travelled over 20 yards in the air, per NextGen Stats, having hit on just one such pass against Seattle.

    A significant dip in Murray's accuracy and no downfield element to their passing game are worrying signs for the Cardinals, and there are a couple of potential underlying reasons for both.

     

    Hopkins handcuffed without Larry

    When the Cardinals have won in 2020, All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins has typically played a significant role.

    In Arizona victories, Hopkins has 47 receptions for 653 yards and four touchdowns. In defeats, he has 30 catches for 314 yards and zero scores.

    The Patriots' willingness to take him away and force Murray to try to beat them using his other receivers played a substantial role in his struggles.

    While the Patriots have failed to replicate their defensive dominance of 2019, they remain one of the league's best exponents of man coverage and used it to stifle Murray by shutting down Hopkins, who was limited to five catches for 55 yards thanks in part to an excellent performance from cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

    With veteran Larry Fitzgerald missing a game for the first time since 2014 after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Murray was unable to get anything going with the remainder of his supporting cast.

    More difficult to explain is Hopkins' five-catch, 51-yard performance in the loss to Seattle, who have the worst pass defense in the NFL, a game in which Murray had 269 yards and two touchdowns but suffered an injury that could account for his downturn.

     

    Shoulder injury lingering?

    Murray sustained a shoulder injury against the Seahawks but has played through it, indicating it is a minor issue.

    It is unclear whether it has had much of an impact on Murray's ability throwing the ball. However, his lack of production as a runner suggests it may be more of a problem than Murray has let on.

    The Cardinals have run the ball 52 times over the past two weeks. Murray has made just 10 of those attempts and the Cardinals have averaged a mediocre 3.8 yards per carry.

    By contrast, in their first nine games, Murray had 87 of Arizona's 288 carries and they averaged 5.5 yards per attempt.

    Arizona's passing yardage per attempt has dipped from 7.6 in the first nine games to 5.8 in the last two.

    The numbers are reflective of the notion that the Cardinals' offense is better in every facet when Murray runs the ball.

    For whatever reason, the Cardinals have gotten away from using Murray in that capacity, with their running backs failing to effectively fill the void.

    Arizona occupy the final Wild Card spot at 6-5 but their lead on the chasing pack is just one game.

    The Cardinals' run-in sees them face three of the top-12 run defenses in the NFL by yards allowed per game. They face the Los Angeles Rams twice and also meet the New York Giants and the 49ers.

    Murray possesses one of the most dynamic skill sets in the NFL and can torture defenses with his running ability. Over recent weeks, however, the diminutive dual-threat star has appeared significantly more human.

    For the Cardinals to make sure of a place in the playoffs, they need to get him back running in the open field so he can resume making the otherworldly look routine.

  • Talking Point: Arteta's Arsenal work at odds with Mourinho's thriving Tottenham Talking Point: Arteta's Arsenal work at odds with Mourinho's thriving Tottenham

    One week into the new Premier League season, momentum looked to be on the side of Mikel Arteta and Arsenal in north London. 

    The Gunners had ended the previous campaign by winning the FA Cup, beating Manchester City and Chelsea in the process, and then saw off champions Liverpool in the Community Shield. 

    After swatting aside Fulham 3-0 in their opening league fixture, Arsenal were top of the table and looking ahead to the rest of the 2020-21 season with great optimism. 

    Rivals Tottenham, meanwhile, having scraped into the Europa League under Jose Mourinho, lost at home to Everton, seemingly setting the stage for another difficult year. 

    How quickly things change. Heading into this weekend's derby, it is Spurs riding high as Arsenal languish in the bottom half of the table. 

    Praise for Arteta has been far less pronounced in recent weeks as his side have won just one of their past six Premier League games. 

    By contrast, Mourinho's Tottenham are unbeaten in the league since that Everton game, a run that includes two clean sheets and four points taken from recent fixtures against Manchester City and Chelsea.

    'What can we do? We go match after match; we try to win' 

    It should come as no surprise, given their respective league positions, that Mourinho's Tottenham record outperforms Arteta at Arsenal. 

    Mourinho has overseen 19 wins in 36 Premier League games (52.8 per cent) to lift Spurs from 14th to first. 

    By contrast, Arteta took over with Arsenal 10th and has an underwhelming 13 top-flight victories to his name so far from 30 matches (43.3 per cent), already losing more games (10) than Mourinho (eight) in a shorter period. 

    Tottenham have earned 1.8 points per game under their current coach, while his Arsenal counterpart has collected 1.5 per match. 

    Indeed, Spurs are better across the board, scoring 1.78 goals and conceding 1.08 on average during Mourinho's reign, as Arsenal have netted 1.4 and shipped 1.1 since Arteta took charge. 

    'You have to be realistic and play the game you are able to play'

    What Arteta has managed to do, something that is perhaps not quite so evident at Tottenham, is to bring a defined style of play. 

    However, for a coach who previously worked under Pep Guardiola, the Spaniard's approach is not quite as adventurous as might have been anticipated. 

    Arteta has been both praised and criticised for his pragmatic planning against fellow 'top six' sides, but Arsenal's work without the ball is similarly risk-averse regardless of the opposition. 

    The Gunners still like to keep possession for extended spells as one of only five teams in the Premier League to average at least four passes and 11 seconds per sequence since Arteta's arrival. 

    But where their rivals are then similarly imposing after losing the ball, Arsenal prefer to drop back into a low block, leaving their own attackers isolated. 

    Of ever-present Premier League sides during Arteta's time, only Newcastle United and Wolves have fewer pressed sequences - where opponents lose the ball within three passes inside 40 metres of their goal - than Arsenal (312). 

    Indeed, Newcastle and Wolves are two of only four ever-present clubs to allow the opposition more time in possession than Arsenal (3.8 passes, 9.9 seconds). 

    Arsenal allow a middle-of-the-road 13.6 opposition passes per defensive action under Arteta – that is one pass higher than Mourinho's Tottenham, who are no standouts in a pressing sense. 

    The reluctance to gamble out of possession is actually at odds with what Arsenal do on the ball, however, as they repeatedly play out from the back. 

    Arsenal have turned the ball over within 40m of their own goal on a league-high 148 occasions over their past 30 games, although Arteta clearly feels it a gamble worth taking as these incidents have led to just 18 shots and two goals. 

    As a result, of the 17 ever-present clubs, again only Newcastle and Wolves see opponents start their attacks further up the pitch than Arsenal (43m), keeping the ball away from their forwards.

    'To put 80 per cent of that responsibility to one man is not fair'

    Given Arsenal have a defined style, it is particularly concerning that their approach has stifled their main man - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. 

    While Arteta complains the Gunners cannot rely on one player alone, one of their key players is no longer scoring. Tottenham's Harry Kane - their own talisman - is still finding the net while turning into one of the league's outstanding creators. 

    In the respective set-ups, Aubameyang and Kane actually take up comparable positions. 

    Although Aubameyang starts from the left while Kane is the central striker, they each spend the greatest portion of their time on that flank, between the halfway line and the edge of the box (35.89 per cent for Aubameyang, 24.52 per cent for Kane). 

    Kane now spends just 6.13 per cent of his time in the centre of the penalty area, less than Aubameyang (6.46), but crucially occupies the central areas between the halfway line and the edge of the box (19.92 per cent) where the Arsenal captain is more scarcely stationed (11.72). 

    From this deeper role, Kane is both a goal threat and can feed passes through to Son Heung-min, who darts inside in the sort of system Aubameyang would surely relish. 

    Meanwhile, as Arsenal choose not to press high and work their own attacks patiently from back to front, Aubameyang averages just 34.9 touches per 90 minutes; Son, in comparison, has 46.4, while Kane is at 44.4. 

    The end result is Aubameyang has provided just two goals and one assist, having two big chances and creating 11 opportunities for others. 

    Tottenham have two far more effective attackers as Son has nine goals and two assists (10 big chances, 18 chances created) and Kane seven goals and nine assists (nine big chances, 21 chances created). 

    Pressure on Arteta to shift Aubameyang inside might be misplaced, but the current system is not working for the skipper.

  • Timberwolves star Towns reveals he has lost seven family members to coronavirus Timberwolves star Towns reveals he has lost seven family members to coronavirus

    Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns revealed he had lost seven family members to coronavirus.

    Towns, 25, lost his mother, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, due to complications from COVID-19 in April.

    The two-time NBA All-Star said his mum was one of seven family members he had seen die from coronavirus.

    "I've been through a lot, obviously starting out with my mum," Towns told reporters on Friday.

    "Last night I got a call that I lost my uncle. I feel like I've been hardened a little bit by life and humbled."

    He added: "I've seen a lot of coffins in the last seven months.

    "I have a lot of people who have – in my family and my mum's family – gotten COVID. I'm the one looking for answers still, trying to find how to keep them healthy.

    "It's just a lot of responsibility on me to keep my family well-informed and to make all the moves necessary to keep them alive."

    Towns averaged a career-high 26.5 points last season, to go with 10.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists, but was limited to just 35 games because of injuries.

    Minnesota, who struggled to a 19-45 record, will open their 2020-21 season against the Detroit Pistons on December 23.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.