Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
With Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose making his long-awaited return to the court this preseason after recovering from a left ACL tear for 17 months, fantasy owners haven't hesitated to draft him in the first round.
However, fellow John Calipari product and former No. 1 overall pick John Wall of the Washington Wizards is a better option.
Rose is a giant risk to take in the first round after he missed the entirety of the 2012-13 season.
Wall is not without his own knee issues; he missed the first two months last season with a stress fracture in his right knee. But the Wizards guard was able to return and play an average of 33 minutes over 49 games without a problem.
Rose has looked good this preseason but he also has dealt with soreness in his surgically repaired knee.
The Bulls said it was a precautionary move to hold him out of a preseason game and Rose said he could have played through it, but the soreness is a reminder that Rose has to condition his body to play a full season of basketball again. Soreness is going to be part of that process and could cause the Bulls to keep his minutes closer to 30 per game than 40.
Even before suffering his ligament tear in the 2011-12 postseason, Rose was plagued by injuries the entire season and was limited to 39 games during the lockout-shortened campaign.
He averaged 35.3 minutes, 21.8 points, 7.9 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.4 threes while shooting 43.5 percent from the field and 81.2 percent from the foul line.
In 2012-13, Wall averaged 18.5 points, 7.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 0.2 threes while making 44.1 percent from the field and 80.4 percent from the foul line.
Rose is certainly capable of more -- he averaged 25 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 4.1 rpg, 1.0 spg, 0.6 bpg and 1.6 3pg during his 2010-11 MVP season -- but so is Wall.
After playing 30 minutes per game over his first 28 games following his return to action last season, Washington turned Wall loose and the point guard averaged 36 minutes, 24.3 points, 8.3 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 0.6 blocks and 0.5 threes while shooting 46.6 percent and 79.2 percent.
Given the concerns surrounding Rose's knee, I think Wall has a better chance to perform at that high level than Rose does to return to not only his MVP form, but his 2011-12 production.