MIAMI (AP) — The collective reaction from the NBA to Derrick Rose’s latest injury news was simple: “Not again.”
And not just for the Chicago Bulls, but also for Rose’s 2008 NBA draft class.
Forget the obvious disappointment that the Bulls have by their best player and former MVP being sidelined yet again by a knee injury. Players and coaches around the league weren’t shy about sharing in Chicago’s pain, especially with the Bulls looking like a team that could contend for an NBA title.
It all raises a question: What happened to the class of 2008, which came in with such fanfare after three college freshmen were the first picks for the first time in league history?
Rose was the No. 1 pick that year and has perhaps been the most snake-bitten player in the league over the past four years. Michael Beasley, the No. 2 pick, was an All-Star this season — in China. Joe Alexander was picked No. 8 and his last NBA minutes were nearly five years ago.
Only time will tell, but this much is certain — the class has more than paid its dues on the bad-luck front.
Here’s some things about the 2008 class … the good, the bad, and the ugly:
SUPER MARIO: Mario Chalmers stands alone among the Class of 2008. He’s the only one of the 60 players selected that night to have helped a team win an NBA title. The Heat guard has a pair championship rings, from Miami’s triumphs in 2012 and 2013. Chalmers has played in 29 games in June; everyone else in that 2008 class, combined, has 28 June appearances.
FINALS FLOPS: Only four first-rounders from that class have even played in the NBA Finals — and combined, their records in those games are 3-13. Courtney Lee was with Orlando when the Magic lost in five games to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009. Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka were part of Oklahoma City’s five-game loss to Miami in 2012. Michael Beasley played in the finale of Miami’s five-game loss to San Antonio last year.
THE INJURIES: It’s not just Rose who has dealt with more than his share of injuries. Brook Lopez has missed the better part of two full years with foot issues. Eric Gordon missed more than 100 games in a two-season span because of knee problems. Kevin Love’s 2012-13 season was basically nonexistent because of hand injuries. With Rose, that’s four top-10 picks that year who have dealt with some fairly serious matters.
BENCHED (OR WORSE): Of the 30 first-round picks that season, only 10 have logged at least 30 starts in the 2014-15 campaign. There’s 15 who are averaging 10 points or more per game, and six of them haven’t appeared anywhere in the NBA this season. In fairness, having 24 first-rounders still in the league is a far better rate of attrition for the 2008’ers than some other relatively recent classes. There’s been 13 first-rounders from 2006 in games this season, 18 from 2007 and 22 from 2009.
BETTER DAYS? It’s easy to think the best days are yet to come for the 2008’ers. Westbrook might end up as an MVP candidate, one year after his Oklahoma City teammate Kevin Durant took home that award. Love is now with the Cavaliers, and will be heading to the playoffs for the first time and it’s still a pretty good bet that Cleveland will be in the mix for the Eastern Conference title — or more.
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