Brian Scalabrine says he would take Derrick Rose in the last four minutes of a game over any other player in the NBA with one caveat that sums up what he believes is the challenge for the Chicago Bulls.
A fresh Rose, not a ragged version who has spent 44 minutes carrying his team every step of the way, is the best closer in the world, according to Scalabrine, who played with the Bulls star for two seasons in Chicago.
"I believe Derrick Rose, fresh, at the end of the game ... LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, I would take at the end of the game Derrick Rose over those guys," Scalabrine said Tuesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "Last four minutes of a game, I would. Last four minutes of a game, I would take Derrick Rose, fresh, healthy, over any other player in the NBA."
Scalabrine, now an analyst with Comcast Sports in New England, said Rose has to deal with challenges James does not.
"Have you ever seen things like getting double-teamed at half court to get the ball out of his hands? Not even LeBron had seen that before," Scalabrine said. "Derrick is so explosive. ... LeBron guards typically the worst offensive player, which is understandable because he carries the load. Derrick Rose, defensively, he's guarding the point guard. Most teams are aggressively running pick-and-roll. He's fighting through picks. At the end of the game, he's carrying the team offensively, he's running 60 pick-and-rolls.
"My whole point is can Derrick Rose have enough in the tank at the end to sustain where I believe he is the best player in the world when healthy."
But as much as Scalabrine likes Rose, he would still pick James if he were starting a team.
"LeBron is 6-foot-9, 260 pounds," Scalabrine said. "The cumulative effect of that size over the course of a whole season ... how much effort does Derrick have to give to play at the level of LeBron 82 games and then deep into the playoffs?"