Blogtable: Superstar Comebacks

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


Comeback Star of the Year | Doubts About the Heat | Best, Worst Cases for Lakers


Russell Westbrook at kids camp

Russell Westbrook was on the court with campers in OKC in July .(Layne Murdoch/NBAE)

Which of these rehabbing players do you expect will have the best season in 2013-14: Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook or Derrick Rose?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comWestbrook. First, his injury (meniscus tear) was the least serious of the three. And I think his motivation will be the simplest and most focused, because his absence scuttled the Thunder’s goal of reaching their second straight Finals. The seasons and ambitions in L.A. and Chicago were fuzzier in terms of goals and possibilities, and frankly they remain so. Bryant physically won’t be as advanced as the other two and Rose, if he flakes off the rust swiftly, will feel the full burden of the Bulls’ expectations (and shortcomings). Westbrook can just play.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.comSince Derrick Rose has declared himself the best player in the NBA, how can he not have the best season, right? I’m throwing Kobe out of the mix because I think  he’ll be the only one of three not in uniform for Game 1 of 82. Plus his supporting cast is the weakest, in my opinion. I expect Westbrook won’t miss a beat. He’s so young and strong, and remember, this wasn’t an ACL tear like Rose sustained. I expect Rose to have a whale of a season so let the debate rage all season.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Russell Westbrook. I think Kobe will have a Kobe-like response for the doubters, but the age factor cannot be ignored — he was thinking of making this his last season anyway. I think Derrick Rose will find a welcome relief in getting back on the court and away from the questions of when he will return, but he has been out a very long time and  needs that adjustment beyond the injury adjustment. Westbrook is the only one who has star talent but does not need to be the best player on the team. That eases the work load, the pressure to be as good as before the injury, and the  need to do it right away.

Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose (Issac Baldizon/NBAE)

John Schuhmann, NBA.comDerrick Rose, because he’s the best player of the group — Westbrook has higher highs, but also lower lows — and had the most time to recover from his injury. Westbrook does have another star to lean on and Rose will be asked to carry a big offensive load, but the Bulls win games with defense and rebounding more than anything else. If he has confidence in his knee and brings an improved jumper to the table, Rose could have a big year.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: I’m on record as never picking against Kobe, but in this case I’m going to go with Derrick Rose. I know it’s been over a year since we’ve seen him in action on the court, but he’s recently declared himself 100 percent, and as we’ve already seen, a 100 percent Derrick Rose is an awesome thing. To be fair, I don’t expect much less from Westbrook or Kobe. But we already know when Rose is in form, everything in Chicago goes through Rose’s hands, so he’ll have every opportunity to be successful from the jump.

Hanson Guan, NBA ChinaMy answer is Bryant. Because he’s Kobe Bryant. Even if he suffered the most serious injury of his career and has passed his 35th birthday, Bryant doesn’t permit others to question his ability. He’s currently only 676 points shy of surpassing Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list, he’s got a 16th All-Star game to make and you can bet ESPN’s prediction about the Lakers has lit another fire.

Jacopo Gerna, NBA ItaliaDerrick Rose. I trust Tom Thibodeau, who said D-Rose’s speed and explosiveness are back to a place where the former MVP feels like himself again. Bulls’ coach, when Rose felt so uncertain about being back over the playoff, admitted he had doubts as he was watching Rose practicing. We talked to Rose in July here in Milano, and he looked so confident. Russell Westbrook had a less severe injury and I’m sure he’ll play the same way he did before it happened. Anyway, I still have few doubts on him being consistent as a PG. He’s got a huge talent, but he’s not the kind of PG I would pick up for my own team. He has to get better in involving the teammates and make the correct decisions when the going gets though. And that’s the bottom line if you are a PG. I know for sure Kobe will get through his Achilles injury. Bryant lives his life yearning for new challenges, and I feel confident he’s gonna win this one too. Unfortunately for him I don’t see the Lakers being a contender. So getting better over the next season to be the old Kobe at the start of 2014/15 could be a realistic goal.

60 Comments

  1. David says:

    What about Danny Granger? Sure he’s 30 but also was the lead scorer for the Pacer’s until he was also injured. And with a young star like Paul George and lets not forget the rest of the team and how they exposed the weaknesses of the Heat’s inside game, I got him not only making sure the Pacer’s are in the playoffs but also having a great year and comeback…

  2. Rondo-Rondo-Rondo all day! Period NUFF said!

  3. Dmac says:

    Wheres Rondo in this discussion, give the man the respect he deserves

  4. Geary says:

    D.Rose. Hands Down…Westbrook’s main injury the last few seasons has been to his ego, (playing second fiddle to Durant) not the tiny meniscus tear last year. Kobe will rehab well, but to what? An aging chucker who has little to no team concept. D.Rose will lead the Bulls to the best record in the East this year, and will undoubtedly be comeback player of the year. Westbrook and Durant will exit in the second round of the Playoffs, and the Lakeshow may be a lottery team.Bulls could come out of the east, and if they do, Rose is league MVP. Stoked to see what this season brings.

  5. Suplado Ako says:

    KOBE BRYANT

  6. q says:

    THERE are many reasons why i choose rose but to sum it up for all the haters thata why his picture is on the nba website for this blog.

  7. Orthopedic says:

    Your rose will never return to his old shell again, Why? Because his movements will be restricted because of the artificial parts inserted on his knee so i think westbrook will play nicely

  8. Karlo Garcia says:

    I never will count out Kobe Bryant. He has the heart of a CHAMPION. Even though he’ll likely miss the start of NBA 2013-14 season I expect him to have the best season out of Westbrook or Rose.

  9. Mu says:

    Of course D.Rose

  10. J says:

    Russel Westbrook wont have the best season out of these 3 because he has Kevin Durant on his team
    Kobe will have a terrific season
    but I’m gonna say Derrick Rose. cause he has had the most days since his last game. I expect him to come out swinging

  11. Denzel Druaghn says:

    I just feel disrespect for Rajon Rondo… Smh. Give him his respect. I mean I use to not like the Celtics bcuz what they did to LeBron but Rajon deserves to be in this category…

  12. Sam says:

    D. Rose will be back stronger than EVER!! The Chicago Bulls will finally get another championship ring!!! Derrick rose all day baby!!!

  13. IHateChicagoBulls says:

    Rose is garbage

    FUN FACT

  14. TEG says:

    DRose gets my vote

  15. 2014OKC says:

    RUSSELL WESTBROOK! GO OKC!

  16. 2014OKC says:

    RUSSELL WESBROOK!!!!!!! GO OKC!!!!!!!!

  17. Wesley says:

    All of you are wrong. Rajon Rondo. Remember I said it.

  18. Celtics says:

    RoondOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  19. Adam Morrison says:

    My vote goes to my former Laker teammate Kobe Bryant, he is not your normal human being. Kobe is able to push his body to extremes, and his style of play isn’t like Westbrook or Rose so he’ll adjust faster.

  20. Ed says:

    man i wish lebron or wade or howard were on the list i hate seeing kobe and westbrook on this list…

  21. NYC KNICK-NETS says:

    —->Amare Stoudemire , Rajon Rondo<—–……….Will make alot of noise this season. As for D-Rose I cant call it.. Alot of people got these huge/ high expectations for him. He hasnt been around long enough to know if he will be a factor after taking an entire season off…. Actually I think the bulls was at their best last season since the Jordan era. This will be a rehab year for D-Rose. As for Westbook he has a good team built around him. I think he will do just fine with a supporting cast like that. Amare will have a chimp on his shoulder, after missing the allstar and not having that superstar title attatched to his name. Amare has something to prove and NY/MSG has the platform for a superstar to prove that to himself and his fans… Rajon has the Boston pressure with out a supporting cast like Westbook… Hes a great gaurd and im curious to see what he will do with his new team… They have enough firepower to make it to the playoffs.. thats about it… Kobe hes on his way out of the league to me hes a non factor in this discussion hes won his rings and proved himself already geez he has mabey a good two seasons left until he goes bye bye.. I dont like him but I respect his game…

  22. Shawn Kemp No. 1 says:

    Westbrook

  23. brendan says:

    kobe is going to be whole different person, he will do anything he can to get his team to the playoffs, and will have a insane year. doubt him and he will prove you wrong

  24. Nick says:

    D-Rose will take bulls to the promised land!

  25. Kobe says:

    I am going to come bigger and better this year so don’t count me out

  26. juneauz says:

    What about Rondo?

    • #BULLS says:

      Its possible he could decide to sit out the rest of the season. Or comeback and play less than half the season

  27. Go Kobe! Do NOT click my name.

  28. abed z says:

    derrick rose baby all day

  29. steagle says:

    Why is Rajon Rondo not in this discussion? One of the best guards in the league, also suffered a torn ACL. There is more pressure on him than any of these guys because he will be playing with basically an all new cast of players, and he’s the only bonafide great player on the roster. Rose has Deng, Noah; Westbrook has Durant, Ibaka; Kobe has Pau, Nash. What does Rondo have? Rookies, garbage from the Boston-Brooklyn trade, and only a couple solid options in Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger. Hardly a Finals-bound team. Rondo will be playing his heart out this season to prove he is one of the league’s elite PG’s, if not THE elite PG. Watch for him to have a monster season.

    • rndo says:

      Finally, somebody noticed that Rondo was missing.
      Its amazing how easily he is left out of most discussions which are relevant to him, discussions where he should be considered as a dominant force.
      I expect amazing performances from rondo this season, not a lights out season long performance though.
      My point is, he deserved to be mentioned here.

    • Steve says:

      The Celtics will be lucky if they make the playoffs

    • Mike says:

      I think there was a reason Rondo was left out. Can’t shoot FT’s, can’t shoot outside of 10 feet (I give him credit though, his jumpshot was improving), and for his career until now, benefitted from playing with Garnet, Pierce, and Allen. I predict he’ll barely average 7apg dishing to the likes of jeff green and sullinger.

      Don’t get me wrong, Rondo is a good pg, but definitely not in the same league as Bryant, Rose, and Westbrook.

  30. Jorge says:

    Westbrook will have the best season. I love that DRose will watch the Heat back to back banner go up in person and then get knocked into the 3rd row, on his first drive to the basket.

  31. Jordan says:

    How about this. They’re all going to have great comeback seasons:)

  32. The Hammer says:

    Kobe has the rings to prove that he has being the best for a long time. Westbrook has no rings and no patience to deal with defeat, and wants to be the star all the time which in the case of OKC the true star is KD. I take Rose because he is a superstar that explodes when The Bulls need him the most and is humble enought to take defeat. Rose not Russ, Kobe is Kobe and he is slowly fading away.

  33. Tcherno says:

    Kobe… cause he’s Kobe… :)

  34. Bil says:

    I respect Westbrook but the question itself is problematic. Bests for Rose / Kobe is to lead their team to get the ring, while that for Westbrook is to help KD to win one. Also Westbrook is not in the same ballpark (league MVP) as Rose and Kobe.

    • Jay says:

      In perspective Westbrook is better than D rose. Kobe is a great no denying. Ur right Westbrook is not on a level with D rose because he is above him. Westbrook just gets snubbed because he plays with a fellow all star, but truth be told for as great as KD is they need Westbrook just as much. D Rose is an MVP who hasnt been to a finals. D rose may win in a popularity contest but he is definitely not the better player. Westbrook has proven that time and time again.

  35. and1probask says:

    really r we going to make this a debate knowing that KOBE is the best player in the NBA D ROSE n WESTBROOK r just little kid trying to be like KOBE n even if you guys don’t want to admit it you all know is true so face it

  36. greg says:

    Rose stopped being a factor of any big race (besides biggest let down) since the Miami-Bulls series when deng was injured and they needed him…Westbrook is a good player with a chance to be a fantastic one, but for this comparison he ranks number two to the (in my opinion) the second greatest player to ever bear a basketball…Kobe Jellybean Bryant will always be the most offensively versatile player of all time…he is a god amongst men and I have him winning scoring title and possibly MVP (Lebron hasnt proven anything to me)

    • Jordan says:

      I think Kevin Durant will end up being the most versatile offensive player in the history of the aba an NBA when his career is all done. 6’9 or 6’10 and in my opinion he’s a lot like a combination of Lebron James and magic Johnson

    • That Dude says:

      Smh, biggest let down? you funny lol. It would have been stupid for Derrick Rose to return during the Miami- Bulls series. He would have gotten re-injured by trying to rush back and carry the team against a healthy Heat team. You don’t know a thing about basketball. You don’t even watch Derrick play lol. Make sure you know what your talking about next time you write a comment you fool.

  37. Justin says:

    I want to say Derrick Rose, but this perhaps being the last season of Kobe Bryant in the NBA. I can’t help but think that the’s going to play amazing basketball

  38. iceynyc says:

    We all know Kobe BryanT is the BeSt … the DeRRicK RoSe, and ; of course, ShoT GuN WeSTBrooK is #3

  39. THE GREAT says:

    KOBE BEAN BRYANT

  40. Oleg, Canada, Toronto says:

    Kobe is a greate superstar! I had my Acheles torn myself and know how difficault it is to come back. Not because physically but mentally as you try to save yourself unconsiously unload the injured side. If not, the risk of a second tear is extreamly high. I wish Kobe all the best!

  41. Carlo says:

    DRose all the way! He’ll be better than ever!

  42. ac says:

    MY vote is Westbrook. His injury was the most mild. Kobe is too old and Rose is a big baby.

    • Miami Heat says:

      I agree 100% with u, ac. Kobe is too old i mean he still has a little energy left the way he has been playing before he got injured. And Derrick Rose could’ve came back but in the playoffs against my favorite team the Miami Heat the whole squad was sick. U saw Nate Robinson throwing on while he was on the bench and when Nate got on the court he gave it 200%. So i’m glad the rest of the Bulls had balls and played while they were sick except for Rose. So that just leaves Westbrook and i believe Westbrook will be able to reach higher levels in the NBA just as long as he stops living in the shadows of Kevin Durant that is.

  43. Ro says:

    I’m not sure what John Schuhmann meant when he said Westbrook has ‘Higher highs’ than Derrick Rose. I’m a little confused by that. Russ is a mind-boggling talent, but Rose is an MVP, and a much better player. Nothing against Russ, he is also a great player, but higher highs than Rose is a little bit of a stretch!!

    • JD says:

      I think he’s talking about all the missed dunk attempts by Westbrook

    • Nba fanatic says:

      Amare stoudemire

    • Denzel Druaghn says:

      Well I don’t see him as a much better player. They’re numbers u very similar & almost identical… But yes D.Rose is better Bcuz he is a better facilitater. But Westbrook just might be a better scorer. Might.

    • dalauder says:

      The way I see it–Rose is better right now, but I don’t think he’ll be much better in 5 years. Russell Westbrook, and this comes from someone who watched him out of high school at UCLA, has improved dramatically on an annual basis every year. I believe that Westbrook has greater potential, that is “higher highs” than any other young player in the NBA, including Durant.

      Do I think Westbrook will actually ever be MVP? No. But he’s more likely to be the best player in the league for several years in a row, like Kobe, than Rose is. Rose NEVER has been the best player and NEVER will be.

      I’ve been a Rose fan ever since that 7 game series against the Celtics his rookie season. But he’s near his ceiling–just like Durant is if he doesn’t learn defense or learn how to create his own shot (yes, Durant can flat-out score. But NOT against elite on-ball defenders like Artest a couple years ago or Mbah-a-Moute today). Well that’s my two cents.

      • i3lance says:

        No disrespect but your 2 cents isn’t worth 1 cent mate on that reasoning,

        Derrick Rose was an MVP so was WAS at some point the BEST player, voted in and confirmed. So what you just said is laughable really. I’m not a bulls fan, but at least respect his achievement, even if that accolade only lasted 1 season.

        Westbrook has the most potential to have the best comeback, but I believe Rose will “on paper” have the best comeback, simply because the offense will primarily flow through him. Westbrook shares the load with Durant so will have less shots and time on the ball theoretically.

        Kobe may need help – he is defiant to the last and the best players all have that character no doubt – but no one can beat father time. Just ask any retired superstar (MJ, Magic, Bird, Russell, who looked gaunt in the NBA finals trophy presentation).

        The question was who will have the best “comeback”. My answer is Rose.

      • Tommy says:

        I read your comment, disliked it but couldn’t really argue against it because it’s your own opinion and you seem very ignorant to the fact that D Rose is one of the best defenders in this league. He may not get the steals or blocks, but he sure is a great team defender and a one on one defender, perimeter orientated. Why do you think the Bulls have the best defense in the league? Answer: Rose and Thibadeau, of course Noah as well…