Rose and Davis? Imagine the possibilities

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
11:24
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Anthony Davis Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty ImagesChicago native Anthony Davis is quickly becoming one of the best players in the NBA.
Anthony Davis' play for Team USA has made the collective mind of Chicago basketball dance.

Would Davis, a Chicago native, come back home to team with Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls? That scenario is still several years off, but that doesn't mean that fans can't enjoy the pair together in the moment as they did over the weekend when the Perspectives Charter product teamed up with Rose, the pride of Simeon High School, for the first time Saturday night at the United Center.

"It was a lot of fun," Davis said of playing with Rose. "The things that he do can't be taught. For us to go out there and be with each other for a couple weeks total, and then go out there and play with that much chemistry, that much effort, says a lot."

It also has to make Bulls fans salivate at the possibilities.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose leads an impressive collection of Chicago talent in the NBA and on its way.
Chicago basketball is gaining national acclaim again thanks to Rose, Davis, Simeon product Jabari Parker, Marshall product Patrick Beverley, and upcoming Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor from Whitney Young and Kansas freshman Cliff Alexander from Curie.

All are talented. Rose became the youngest NBA MVP in league history during the 2010-11 season. Beverley was selected to the All-NBA defense second team. Many believe Parker will be the NBA Rookie of the Year this season with the Milwaukee Bucks. Okafor and Alexander are expected to follow Parker's lead into the league in the near future.

But it's Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans' All-Star center, who in just two short years has become one of the best players in the NBA. Davis is still in his rookie deal. The Pelicans have a team option in that deal for the 2015-16 season and then they can offer a qualifying deal a year later. Using history as a guide, most young stars such as Davis have signed another extension with the team that drafted them. Rose did it, as well as Kevin Durant, LeBron James and, most recently, Kyrie Irving with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even Kevin Love, who is expected to officially become a Cavalier in the coming days, signed an extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves before forcing his way out.

So Chicago must wait a few years to see if Davis would ever seriously consider coming home. But at 21, it's not as if Davis is hitting the peak of his career. He's just getting started -- and only getting better. While it's still several years too early to consider him as a possibility for the Bulls, or any other team, the reality of the collective bargaining agreement means front offices must consider all potential scenarios years into the future.

This Bulls team, with Rose at the forefront, could look totally different in three years. Joakim Noah will be 30 this season and has just two years left on a team-friendly contract. Taj Gibson, Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic and Rose all have contracts that expire after the 2016-17 season. While that doesn't make the Bulls that much different than many other teams in the league, it is a reminder that the window for this current Bulls core isn't as wide as it used to be.

It's also a reinforcement that when the window for this group comes to a close, a 24-year-old Davis in Chicago would open a brand new one. Coach Tom Thibodeau and his team aren't focused on that right now, but it's a sure bet it has crossed the minds of Gar Forman and John Paxson -- especially as they watch Davis and Rose on Team USA.

As Team USA continues to come together over the next few weeks, it will be interesting to see how Davis and Rose play together, assuming the general soreness that has kept Rose out the past three days subsides. Both players enjoy playing for their country, but representing their city seems to mean a lot to them, as well.

"Here in Chicago, it's kind of like basketball is everything," Rose said. "You go down south, football is everything. But here you go to a high school game, and you won't be able to get in because it's so packed."

The United Center is almost always packed no matter what. But if Rose and Davis ever end up playing together on the Bulls, the electricity everyone felt in the building Saturday would be there on a nightly basis thanks to two homegrown stars.

Chants can't rush D-Rose's progress

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
2:00
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NEW YORK -- The body is undeniably achy, maybe more sore than he ever expected after just one game back. But the ears?

No worries there for Derrick Rose.

It didn't take him any time at all Wednesday night, from the far end of the Team USA bench, to make out that somewhat Jeter-ish chant ringing around Madison Square Garden halfway through the second quarter.

And then halfway through the third quarter.

And again on multiple occasions in the fourth.

Der-rick Rose ... Der-rick Rose ... Der-rick Rose ...

"The crowd, them chanting your name four or five times, I'm like, 'Come on,'" Rose said after Team USA's 105-62 demolition of the Dominican Republic.

"I want to be out there, but at the same time, my health is the No. 1 issue right now."

It was an issue once more, on this occasion, because Rose was unexpectedly held out of a game he was supposed to play. He went through the morning shootaround, returned in his red, white and blue sweats for pregame warmups and appeared poised to come off the bench behind Kyrie Irving after sitting out two practices, only for Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski to decide that the Chicago Bulls' star guard would get one more night off in this cautious comeback from two major knee injuries.

Yet neither Rose nor Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who happens to be as close to this comeback as he could conceivably be as one of Krzyzewski's Team USA assistants, is prepared to hit the pause button.


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Derrick Rose out of U.S. exhibition

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
6:20
PM CT
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NEW YORK -- Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose was a last-minute scratch Wednesday night from Team USA's exhibition game against the Dominican Republic at Madison Square Garden.

Rose was scheduled to play Wednesday despite sitting out practices Monday and Tuesday to rest his sore knees after making his return to a game for the first time in eight months Saturday night in an exhibition victory over Brazil in Chicago.

One source familiar with Team USA's plans told ESPN.com that coach Mike Krzyzewski decided to hold Rose out of the Dominican Republic game to make more minutes available for players vying for one of the squad's last few roster spots as final cuts approach.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who is serving this summer as one of Krzyzewski's Team USA assistants, confirmed that after Wednesday's game, saying of Rose: "He's fine. He's just getting another day of rest. We gave him a couple days after the game Saturday in Chicago, and he didn't practice yesterday, so we thought the best thing to do would be to give him another day because we wanted to look at some other players today anyway."

Rose participated in shootaround Wednesday morning and, according to one source present, moved "well" throughout the session after sitting out the last two practices.

He was also in uniform for Wednesday night's game, watching from the Team USA bench after going through pregame layup lines. Fans at MSG began chanting for Rose midway through the second quarter, presumably unaware that he would not be playing.

Team USA officials have insisted all week that they are merely treating Rose with the utmost caution after surgeries on both knees limited him to just 10 games over the past two seasons.

But a source familiar with Rose's condition told ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell on Tuesday that the 25-year-old has been bothered by knee soreness since his return to the floor against Brazil and requested extra time to recover.

Rose denied after the game that his knees, specifically, were sore, instead characterizing it as "body fatigue."

"Not the knees. No, no, no, no. You ain't got to worry about that," he said. 

Both Rose and DeMarcus Cousins


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Anxiety all part of game in Rose watch

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
12:55
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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That feeling isn't going away: that feeling fans have every time Derrick Rose jumps, every time he makes a cut. And that "every time" -- like Tuesday, when he has some soreness in his knee and he can't practice -- isn't going to go away for a long time.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose faces what figures to be a season-long test to prove he can regain his form and stay healthy.
It's in the pit of most fans' stomachs because of recent history. That's because Rose has barely been on the floor the past few years. Forty-nine games in the last three seasons, to be precise, and just 10 in the last two because of two serious knee injuries. After all the rave reviews in regards to Rose's performance the past few weeks, Tuesday was a sobering reminder about the uncertainty of Rose's future.

While medical experts -- and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau -- have all said that soreness is a normal reaction as Rose returns from the torn medial meniscus in his right knee from last November and the torn ACL in his left knee from over two years ago, it's still a sobering thought for fans to think that Rose's status will perpetually be day-to-day for the foreseeable future.

But that's the reality of the situation. Rose, and the Bulls' training staff, have put an inordinate amount of time into keeping his body in the best shape possible as he attempts this latest comeback. Bulls director of sports performance Jen Swanson has been at Rose's side during trips to Las Vegas and Chicago with Team USA. Rose has talked openly about how much better he is at taking care of his body at this point in his career.

"It's totally different," Rose said on July 30 in Las Vegas of his new routine. "Waking up making sure that I'm hydrated, drinking six to eight bottles of water every day. Things that I thought I would never do: eating, taking supplements, just for my blood flow, just everything. Stretching at night, using a band, using a roller, just becoming a professional.

"When I remember being in my rookie year and I used to see all the older players stretching and using trainers to stretch them I didn't think nothing about it. But now I'm kind of mad because I didn't take advantage of it when I was younger. Whenever I talk to these younger players, I try to tell them, get the maintenance on your body. Get massages. Make sure you're always getting treatment, because you're going to need it for this long career."

Rose still expects to have a long career and has prepared his body for the grind of many NBA seasons, but nobody knows whether his body will be able to hold up this season and beyond. That uncertainty hovers over Team USA, the Bulls and the city of Chicago, and it's part of what makes this Rose comeback so compelling. Every day is a new story, a new chance for Rose to take another step forward and prove again he is one of the best basketball players in the world.

Nervousness will be the prevailing emotion until Rose can prove he can stay healthy for an entire season. Until then, every move he makes will be watched with more trepidation than excitement, a sad twist given how much joy Rose's game has the ability to provide if his body will allow him to stay on the floor this season.

Kaplan on Rose: Knee soreness normal

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
11:34
AM CT
By Staff
ESPNChicago.com
Derrick RoseNathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose has sat out the past two Team USA practices to rest his surgically repaired knees.
If Derrick Rose is experiencing soreness in his surgically-repaired knees, it likely can be viewed as a normal part of the rehab process, according to ESPN medical analyst Dr. Michael Kaplan.

"I think it's not something that you need to necessarily get nervous about," Kaplan said Wednesday on the "Carmen & Jurko Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "Obviously, when it's Derrick Rose, everybody does, and I think that's normal from a fan ... and particularly for a guy who has had both knees go sour. I understand it, but when you have two major operations like he's had and when you come back and compete at the level in which he's competing, you can get some synovitis, a little inflammation in the joint and it starts to get a little sore when you're pushing it to the degree he's pushing it. Then you rest it a bit. You let it quiet and that's what they are doing.

"I don't think they are seeing or finding anything clinically that's making them worry to the extent that they are working it up and saying 'OK, this is something that we are going to take him out.' They are talking about playing him tonight. I don't think this is something that everybody needs to have alarm about."

Rose tore the ACL in his left knee in April 2012 and the medial meniscus in his right knee in November 2013. After scoring seven points in 24 minutes in Team USA's 95-78 victory over Brazil on Saturday -- his first competition since Nov. 22, 2013 -- Rose has sat out of full practices the past two days.

A source familiar with Rose's condition told ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell that Rose has been bothered by knee soreness, but he still is expected to play against the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.

"I think he's probably having a little soreness in both his knees to the extent that he is putting the kinds of stress on his knees now that he has not had for some time: the torsional stresses from changes of direction, the moves that we're accustomed to with Derrick and the beautiful kind of poetry on the court," Kaplan said. "These are the things we had to wait for. He waited longer than most and that's appropriate that he did.

"[Vikings running back] Adrian Peterson went back quicker because he doesn't do the same kind of things that Derrick does and he was smart to wait a little bit longer after his ACL. [Rose is] being appropriately cautious. At 25, he wants to play a long time. You have to be careful with these knees. You don't get second chances necessarily. If you tear your ACL a second time, it's pretty much game over."

Asked about playing Wednesday night, Rose said Tuesday, "Hopefully I am. I didn't do anything [Tuesday]. I just got treatment and [Tuesday] is just really another rest day. I'm really, really happy with where I am right now as far as health-wise. I'm just trying to take my time and get rest. We have a long schedule ahead of us, and I'm just trying to get as much rest as possible."

Ranking NBA's top backcourts

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
11:21
AM CT

It's the dog days of summer, a time for reflection on what transpired and conjecture of what will occur in the NBA. It's also a time for proclamations both wild and inane, whether that's James Harden declaring he's the best player in the NBA or Stephen Curry opining that he and Klay Thompson would make the best duo in the '90s arcade game NBA Jam.

Sore Derrick Rose sits out practice

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
3:15
PM CT
[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose sat out of practice Tuesday to rest his knees but is expected to play in Team USA's exhibition Wednesday night.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Derrick Rose sat out his second consecutive day of practice Tuesday to rest his surgically repaired knees but is still scheduled to play for Team USA in its exhibition game Wednesday night against the Dominican Republic at Madison Square Garden.

Rose participated in shootaround Wednesday morning and, according to one source present, moved "well" throughout after sitting out the last two practices.

A source familiar with Rose's condition told ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell that Rose has been bothered by knee soreness since his return to the floor Saturday night in an exhibition victory over Brazil in Chicago and requested the extra time to recover. But Team USA officials, to this point, have downplayed concerns about Rose's status.

The fact that Rose missed a second consecutive workout is bound to worry some Bulls fans back in Chicago, given the star guard's knee problems over the past two seasons, but Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski actually revealed in a radio interview Monday with ESPN's "Mike and Mike" that he was planning to hold Rose out of practice for the first two days of the week.

"We're gonna give him a couple days off because he's been going so hard," Krzyzewski said during the interview, which he gave en route to Team USA's all-day trip Monday to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Krzyzewski said after Tuesday's session at the Brooklyn Nets


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Rose sits for 'recovery day' with Team USA

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18
3:00
PM CT
Mazzeo By Mike Mazzeo
Special to ESPNChicago.com
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WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who played his first game Saturday since tearing the medial meniscus in his right knee back in November 2013, was given a rest day Monday as Team USA practiced at West Point.

Rose
"I feel great actually. My body is good. I'm not aching, so that's a good sign, and I'm just trying to take it day by day," Rose said during an interview on ESPN's "Hoops for Troops" special.

"Today I'm not practicing because I'm just getting a little bit of rest, just getting my legs under me a little bit more. Today is more like a recovery day for me."

Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said the time off was just a precaution.

"Derrick, we have to watch him as he is coming back," Krzyzewski said. "We played really hard and a lot of minutes on Saturday. He’s played well and you don’t want to overdo it."

Rose, who scored seven points in 24 minutes in Team USA's 95-78 exhibition victory over Brazil on Saturday night at the United Center in Chicago, reflected on playing his first game back in his home arena.

"When it was going on I was too caught up in the moment. I had to go out there, perform and do my job," he said. "Just looking back at it, it was kinda amazing having everyone come out and really show love. The whole city really had a buzz going on, and I just feel blessed that so many people came out and showed so much love and so many fans came out to show support to the Team USA."

While he was recovering from his injury, Rose worked on the mental aspects of the game, such as understanding tendencies of players and coaches. He says his basketball acumen is way better than it used to be.

"This is the most I've ever watched basketball in my entire life," Rose said.

Rose says he enjoys playing for Team USA because he doesn't have to take that many shots and be a scorer. Instead, he can focus on facilitating for his teammates and playing tough defense, which helps him "gain that groove as a point guard."

Rose believes he is free of any restrictions such as playing in back-to-backs when the season starts but said he hasn't spoken to Thibodeau or the Bulls yet about it.

Asked whether he will be ready to go full throttle at the start of the season, Rose said: "It depends on how I am feeling. I think having these two years off really made me really learn about my body and I know how much work I need to put in the offseason, and need to put in every day into preparing myself for a game. So I wouldn’t say that right now that I would do the same thing like I did today (resting). If I am feeling good, I am going to practice. Today I felt like I needed to rest a little bit."

Projecting top 10 PGs for 2014-15

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18
8:16
AM CT

Do you know the last NBA champion that had its point guard lead the team in wins above replacement player (WARP)? It was the 1990 Detroit Pistons, led by Isiah Thomas. Perhaps it's no coincidence that teams like Phil Jackson's Bulls and Lakers, which decentralize the playmaking role, have dominated the annual title chase. Nevertheless, 20 of next season's top 50 players by projected WARP are point guards. Championship trends aside, it's a point guard's league.

Starting Monday with point guards, over the next week we'll rank players by position according to forecast WARP, which is perfect for this kind of exercise because it accounts for a player's efficiency, volume of production and team context. This also means that injury and age played a part in the rankings, so notable veteran point guards who suffered injuries last season, like Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Tony Parker, are absent from the top 10. (A complete explanation can be found at the bottom of this page; last year's point guard rankings can be found here.)

Here are the projected top 10 point guards for the 2014-15 NBA season, followed by the next five and an overview of why some notable PGs fell outside the top 10.

PG | SG | SF | PF | C


Paul

1. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

Projected 2014-15 WARP: 17.8 | Win%: 73 percent

Paul topped these rankings last season and, really, why would things have changed? His 14.2 WARP was held down by the 20 games he missed, but still ranked eighth in the league. Over the last three years, his 48.2 WARP ranks in the 99th percentile. Paul still hasn't enjoyed the magical kind of playoff run that would be the icing on the cake of a historically great career. He'll be 30 by the end of the coming season, but given Paul's floor-based skill set, there is no real need to start talking shrinking windows of opportunity. Paul does it all, he does it consistently and he does it on both ends of the floor.


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Two-Team Race In NBA East

August, 17, 2014
Aug 17
9:47
AM CT


video

Stephen A. Smith explains why the NBA's Eastern Conference will likely be a two-team race and why the Cavaliers have the edge on Derrick Rose and the Bulls.

Seven points? Rose's return all that matters

August, 17, 2014
Aug 17
12:13
AM CT
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The fans got what they came for Saturday night: Chicago native Anthony Davis tearing the roof off the joint.

OK, I'm told most paid for vintage Derrick Rose in The Return, Part Whatever. They got a taste of that too.

It wasn’t quite the D-Rose Tent Revival at the United Center during Team USA’s 95-78 exhibition win over Brazil, but the man the fans came to see put on a few classic moves to let the hometown crowd know he’s baaaaaaack.

That’s seven a’s, one for each point he scored. It was the best damn seven-point performance Chicago has seen in some time -- because Rose was actually back in live game action.

Rose, who got a small cut above his eye in the first half, was pleased with his night and explained that his mission was “playing hard on defense, taking shots when I have the shots and letting the game come to me.”

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose didn't score up a storm Saturday during Team USA's exhibition victory against Brazil, but that he was healthy and playing again at the United Center was what every Bulls fan wanted to see.
It was all part of “a process,” Rose said, as he primes for the FIBA World Cup next month and (knock on wood) another return season for the Chicago Bulls.

He did all those things: play defense, push the ball, shoot when he had a good look. But I can speak for everyone in attendance when I write it was just good to see Rose play basketball in person again. He can have rust, lint, asbestos, whatever. But he played basketball in Chicago, and the normalcy of it -- Rose fitting in -- was welcomed.

“I think everybody’s excited,” Rose said. “It was cool, but I can’t get big-headed about it. Just gotta keep poised.”

Big head or not, Rose said he is used to the applause. But he also said he would have trouble sleeping Saturday night. All part of a process, I guess.

As for highlights, there was a burst and a floater to end the first half, a blocked shot, a nasty drive to the basket that ended with him splitting free throws, a killer crossover and a switching-hands, MJ-homage basket in the third quarter.

And, um, well, I saw him yell at Stephen Curry on defense once. There’s that veteran leadership. This city eats that stuff up.

Rose played under control throughout his 24 minutes, 11 seconds, and maybe those surgically repaired knees are too strong now because on a breakaway in the first quarter he soared quite high and missed a dunk.

“That’s my second missed dunk,” Rose said with a chuckle. “I missed one in practice too. I just got to get used to holding the ball a different way when I dunk.”

Rose said the Team USA balls are a little slicker than the NBA ones, though I’m sure Bulls coach and USA assistant Tom Thibodeau would tell him a good craftsman never blames his tools.

Of his crossover move against guard Raul Neto, which ended in a layup over Anderson Varejao, Rose said, “It was just a play. I guess people want me to do it every time. I just saw an opening, and I went for it.”

Well, we -- I mean they -- do want to see that every time Rose touches the ball. But he went on to explain in detail how he knew he had Neto cooked.

“I just read how he was defending me,” Rose said. “When I came off the pick, it looked like he was confused, and I saw he didn’t have control of his feet a little bit. I look at all those things as an offensive player. And the big was on the other side of the lane, so when I came off [the pick] it was like I had the whole lane to myself.”

While Rose’s humble quotes are very popular in these parts, hearing Derrick talk basketball strategy is music to my ears. Because, in case you forgot, Rose is pretty spectacular when he's on the floor.

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Fans hail Derrick Rose, U.S. in win

August, 16, 2014
Aug 16
10:20
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[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose addressed the crowd at Chicago's United Center before Saturday night's game.

CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose could feel the tension inside the United Center every time he touched the ball during Team USA's 95-78 exhibition win over Brazil on Saturday night.

The former MVP understands why.

Saturday marked Rose's first game appearance in his home arena since tearing the medial meniscus in his right knee on Nov. 22.

"When I was out there they wanted me to shoot every ball," Rose said with a laugh.

Rose scored seven points in 24 minutes in his Chicago return, but the fact that he was out there at all after playing just 10 games in the past two years because of two serious knee injuries is what made fans so happy. Rose was the last player introduced before the game as fans roared and chanted "MVP!"

"I'm playing the way I normally play in the trials," Rose said. "Push the ball, play defense and get guys shots. When the shot is available, take the shot, and I think that's what I did tonight. I had one or two turnovers, but that could easily be changed."

Rose didn't need to lead the offensive barrage for Team USA on this night; fellow Chicago native Anthony Davis took care of that. Davis, who was playing in his hometown for the first time as a professional, led Team USA with 20 points and set the tone on both ends of the floor.


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Chicago native Coach K happy to be back

August, 16, 2014
Aug 16
7:45
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- The happiest man in the United Center on Saturday night probably won't be Derrick Rose.

That's a surprise given how excited the former NBA MVP is to play in front of his home fans again for Team USA after playing in just five home games last season before a torn meniscus in his right knee ended his campaign.

The happiest man will be standing on Team USA's sidelines. That man would be Team USA head coach and Chicago native Mike Krzyzewski.

[+] EnlargeMike Krzyzewski
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

Most eyes will be on Derrick Rose during his return to the United Center. But Team USA coach and Chicago native Mike Krzyzewski is just as excited to be back in his hometown.

The Hall of Fame coach is relishing the chance to bring the national team back to his hometown.

"It makes it a little bit more special," Krzyzewski said. "It's always special coaching the U.S. team. But then when you're doing it about a mile and a half from where you grew up -- I grew up on Damen and Augusta -- that makes it even more important.

"I'm excited for the players, though. For Derrick, he's had a tough two-year period. He's doing great; he's one of the great guys in the world. And for Anthony [Davis], he's another one of the great guys; it's his first time back in Chicago since he left from high school."

Rose is expecting the atmosphere in his home arena to be booming. He said it would be kind of like playing in a pro-am game. He should get the loudest cheers of all. During pregame rehearsals before Saturday's game against Brazil, Rose's name was called last by regular Chicago Bulls public address announcer Tommy Edwards.

"Everybody's been talking about it in the city," Rose said. "It seems like there's a buzz. It's great what USA Basketball and Nike's been doing around the city with so many events. Keeping people occupied, keeping kids occupied and giving them something to do.

"I think it's going to help the city, and it should bring some light to the city."

For Krzyzewski, the growth his hometown has made since he was young is startling.

"It's changed a lot," he said. "It was great then and it's even better now. My dad used to own a tavern on 21st Place and Damen. To travel on Damen from 1000 north to 2100 south, it's a lot different now -- and great. Our team has marveled at the beauty of the city. We went to the Museum of Science and Industry for a team picture and the lakefront. Chicago's one of the great cities in the world."

Derrick Rose: 'My game is totally different'

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
10:22
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Derrick Rose, Tom ThibodeauAP Photo/Andrew A. NellesDerrick Rose has shown Tom Thibodeau great shooting, passing and defense. "But he's not forcing anything, and I think that's important," the coach said. 
CHICAGO -- Mike Krzyzewski chuckled Friday when the topic of Derrick Rose's "role" on Team USA came up.

With Paul George out of commission because of a gruesome leg injury and Kevin Durant leaving the team, Rose is expected to have more offensive responsibilities for Team USA as it gets set to face off against the Brazil on Saturday night at the United Center.

In Krzyzewski's mind, though, not much has changed as far as Rose's game goes.

"Derrick's role is easy to play, easy to work [with]," the Hall of Fame coach said. "Just get the ball and be Derrick. And be Derrick for as long as you can."

As Rose gets set to play in front of his hometown fans for the first time in nine months, the former NBA MVP admits that while his speed and explosion appear to be the same as ever, his game has changed a lot over the past year.

"My game is totally different," Rose said. "When I came back last time, I was just trying to get in a groove. I think I felt a nice little groove. My confidence is high right now, and I think even playing in the game [Saturday] you'll be able to see by the way that I attack the players defensively. And by the way I play offensively, just not rushing anything and just taking my time on pick and rolls and just letting the play develop."

Since Team USA camp opened over two weeks ago in Las Vegas, Rose has been open about the fact he was pressing during his initial comeback last season from a torn ACL in his left knee.

Having missed all of the 2012-13 season because of the injury, Rose knew fans were questioning whether he could play at a high level and tried to change their minds on every drive to the rim. The problem is, he really didn't play well during much of his first 10 games last season.

He looked like a shell of the player he used to be.

When he tore the meniscus in his right knee on Nov. 22 in Portland, it put yet another season in jeopardy and left him open to even more criticism. He hears what people have been saying about him, and he's motivated to change their minds this time around.

The difference in his mind now is that he's not trying to force the game like he did before. Those close to him are banking on it as Team USA gets set to open the World Cup of Basketball later this month in Spain.

"I think he's improving," said Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, an assistant coach with Team USA. "I think his approach is a lot better. I think he was so anxious last year to come back, he was almost forcing things. I think he has a much better understanding now. Show more patience, find the rhythm of the game, go out there run the team.

"What he's done a very good job of is shooting when he should shoot. He's passing when he should pass. He's playing great defense. And he's doing a lot of things well. But he's not forcing anything, and I think that's important."

Rose also is trying to implement a new mental approach to his game.

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Derrick Rose returns to United Center

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
6:06
PM CT
[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose will make his return to the United Center on Saturday with Team USA.

CHICAGO -- The rebirth of Derrick Rose's basketball life in Chicago begins on Saturday night when Team USA takes on Brazil at the United Center. Having played in just 49 games over the past three seasons and 10 in past two because of two serious knee injuries, the Chicago Bulls point guard is looking forward to playing in front of his home fans again.

"It's very exciting," Rose said after Team USA's practice Friday. "[Saturday is] the start of a new journey. It starts pretty quick. We know that it's an exhibition game, but we still got to go out there and just try to take it as serious as possible and go out there and really go over our game plan."

For Rose, the best game plan for him this season is just trying to stay on the floor. He understands that fans have questioned whether he can stay healthy, and he knows how excited many are to see him back in uniform again.

"It's big for me, but if anything, it's big for the city," he said. "Just going to the [USA Basketball] event [Thursday]. Just seeing how many people showed up and really show love to the pro-am game. Chicago needs that right now and it's a big buzz about [Saturday's] game in the city. We need it, man. We need all the positivity we can get right now."


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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5