Derrick Rose says with load management he'd still be a Bull, offers Zion Williamson advice

What if the Chicago Bulls had been more cautious with Derrick Rose in the early 2010s? What if load management were as big then as it is now?

Rose pondered those “what ifs?” with NBC Sports Chicago’s Will Perdue ahead his latest return to town with the Detroit Pistons and gave New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson some advice.

Rose on using load management with Bulls

Rose was a No. 1 overall pick, rookie of the year winner and then 2011 MVP, an NBA darling who was the youngest to earn the title. He was a hometown hero with the team’s first all-star nod since Michael Jordan.

In 2012, he tore his left ACL in the first round of the playoffs and sat out the entire following season to heal from surgery. He was second-guessed then, but it’s become standard now to fully heal. It’s also becoming the norm to use “load management,” as the Toronto Raptors did en route to a championship with Kawhi Leonard. Looking back, Rose wonders “what if” the same had been done for him.

“I don’t think I would have taken it as far as Kawhi, as far as really being cautious about his injury or whatever he has, but if load management would have been around, who knows? I probably would have still been a Chicago Bull by now.”

Rose played 10 games in 2013-14, 51 the following year and 66 after that as he dealt with more knee issues and the mental aspect that goes along with all of it.

He was traded to the New York Knicks in 2016 and has played in a more limited role for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves and now Pistons.

Rose offers advice to Williamson

Like Rose, Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson is a No. 1 draft pick with high expectations. He has yet to start his first regular season NBA game, though, as he recovers from preseason surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

Rose told NBC Sports Chicago the first thing he would tell him is to watch his weight. He said when he was around 212 pounds it negatively impacted his knee issues. Watching his diet helped remedy that. From NBC Sports Chicago:

“But Zion is in his own lane. Just being that heavy, playing the way that he plays, he’s explosive. He’s an athlete I think nobody never saw before. His path is going to be totally different than mine, you know what I mean? He has to, for one, learn the league. I had a chance to learn the league, play through my mistakes and I got injured Year 3 or 4. He got injured right away. So he has to learn his body right away, learn the league, learn what his skills are, work on his skills.”

The 6-6, 285 pound former Duke star is sidelined for the first 6-8 weeks of the season and will miss up to a third of the schedule with a return around Christmas.

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