Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose

Paxson happy with Rose's 'explosiveness'

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
1:50
PM CT
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls are keeping tabs on Derrick Rose's play in the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain, but they're not admitting to counting his missed shots.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
AP Images/Manu FernandezThe shots haven't been falling for Derrick Rose, but John Paxson likes the way he is moving on the floor with Team USA.
That's tough to do when you're lighting candles and saying multidenominational prayers for his good health.

Coming off the bench for the first time ever, Rose is averaging 5.4 points in 17.3 minutes a game, shooting 27.3 percent (15-for-55) and has made just 1-of-17 3-point tries through eight games. Most important is that after almost two years away from the game with knee injuries, Rose has adapted to the condensed schedule of the tournament with no setbacks. Rose looks good, even if his shot is off.

"I know that everyone is paying attention to his numbers," Bulls vice president for basketball operations John Paxson said Friday at the opening of the team's new practice facility. "I'm certainly not. I've liked the way he's moved on the floor, his explosiveness. You see at times where he just turns on the jets and explodes. Those are the things I focus on.

"If you remember last year when he played those 10 games, he struggled, there was rust on him. There's going to be. He hasn't played much in two years. But he looks good; his movement is good and his athleticism's good."

Bulls general manager Gar Forman said the team is "very encouraged" by what they've seen from Rose.

"The biggest thing for us is to see him make Derrick Rose-type plays again, and he's showed us that," Forman said.

The United States team takes on the France-Serbia winner Sunday in the final. So there won't be a showdown between Rose and his new teammate, Pau Gasol.

Gasol's highly regarded Spain team lost to France in an upset, but he finished the tournament as the fourth-leading scorer, averaging 20 points per game. Gasol shot 63.5 percent from the field and 27.3 percent on 3-pointers.

Paxson and Forman described Gasol's World Cup performance as "great."

"He looks healthy, and he's moving well," Forman said.

The Bulls will start practicing at the end of September. Their first preseason game is Oct. 6.

Rose and Davis? Imagine the possibilities

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
11:24
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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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.

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."

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."

Bigger Team USA role should benefit Rose

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
10:57
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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Derrick RoseGarrett W. Ellwood/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose will have to take on a bigger role with Team USA after the loss of Kevin Durant and Paul George.
Tom Thibodeau spoke with a sense of relief during Team USA's training camp in Las Vegas two weeks ago. The Chicago Bulls head coach and Team USA assistant was ecstatic that Derrick Rose was back on the floor and performing at a high level, playing with the same speed and explosiveness that he had shown before his first knee injury in April 2012.

But most importantly, Thibodeau was relieved because he knew Rose wasn't going to have to be "the man" on a talented USA team as he takes the next step in his comeback from a torn meniscus suffered in November 2013. He wasn't going to have to be relied upon to carry the scoring load each game like he usually does with the Bulls.

"I think this is why [this camp] is so good for him," Thibodeau said on July 29, the second day of Team USA's camp. "Because of the talent level that's here. It's a chance for him to measure himself to see where he is. He doesn't have the burden to carry the load for a team."

Things have changed since then for Team USA -- and for Rose, who came to Chicago for practices Thursday and Friday before playing in an exhibition game against Brazil on Saturday at the United Center.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose likely won't just be primarily a facilitator on offense for Team USA anymore.
Paul George suffered a gruesome broken leg in Team USA's scrimmage a few days later. Then Kevin Durant left the team Thursday because of "physical and mental fatigue." In the span of just a few days, the dynamic of the next month changed for Rose. He has gone from a dynamic facilitator to a player whom Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski probably is going to have to lean on more offensively when the World Cup of Basketball starts Aug. 30 in Spain.

It's a challenge that Rose will assuredly embrace, but it's fair to say he wasn't expecting it just a couple weeks ago.

While there are plenty of scorers left on Team USA, including James Harden and Stephen Curry, both of whom have international experience, Rose will now be counted on more offensively. Although Thibodeau remains eternally confident in his star, it's a role that has to leave him a little uneasy given the circumstances.

Rose has only played in 49 games in the past three years because of all the injuries and just 10 in the past two because of two serious knee injuries. Thibodeau wanted to ease him back, but that doesn't appear to be as likely now -- and that's probably a good thing for the Bulls.

In the immediate aftermath of George's injury, some fans and undoubtedly some in the Bulls' organization had to wonder whether Rose should continue to play for Team USA this summer. What if he suffered another injury? George's misfortune was another reminder that injuries can occur anywhere.

Rose hasn't played much in three years, and Team USA has given him a platform to show what he can do on the world stage. It will be a great litmus test for him to see where he is mentally and physically heading into the Bulls' season with high expectations.

It will also give Rose a chance to prove to himself and to the rest of basketball that he can still be the go-to guy on a team when needed. Thibodeau and the rest of the coaching staff will continue to watch Rose closely, and they know that there will still be rust for the former MVP to shake off, but now he will have to shed it even quicker than expected.

If Rose's week in Vegas was any indication, that shouldn't be much of a problem. Players and coaches raved about how well he was playing, and Rose even acknowledged how much more fun he was having on the floor.

"I usually say whatever the game needs, that's what I'm going to put into the game," Rose said. "And I learned that by actually playing through my mistakes with the first injury. Just seeing that I was forcing everything, it wasn't the way that I was playing. I wasn't enjoying the game like I was before the injury. Now it feels like I appreciate it a little bit more and just enjoy being on the court and playing the game that I love playing."

He'll have even more chances to showcase his skills now that George and Durant are no longer on the roster. In the short term, that fact might make the Bulls and Thibodeau a little nervous, but it should pay off in a major way for the Bulls in the long term if Rose can stay healthy throughout the tournament.

Lillard continues to learn from Rose

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
1:37
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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As far as the calendar is concerned, Derrick Rose, 25, is only a year and almost three months older than Damian Lillard, but the Chicago Bulls superstar is much older in professional basketball years.

Rose is entering his seventh season in the league while Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers star point guard, is coming into just his third year. The pair will reunite beginning Thursday in Chicago as part of the continuation of Team USA's training camp as it prepares for the World Cup of Basketball in Spain later this month.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose and Damian Lillard
AP Photo/Don RyanDamian Lillard has looked to Derrick Rose's game for pointers to improve his own.
For Lillard, the opportunity to play with Rose, who Lillard has patterned parts of his own game after, is something special.

"It was a lot of fun," Lillard said of his Vegas training camp experience with Rose last month. "Not only to play against him but to play with him, to watch his habits. I think it's a great thing for a guy coming up in this league to be able to play with and against a guy who's been an MVP, been to the conference finals. Who's been as successful as he's been. You want that same thing for yourself. I think that's great."

Lillard, who was drafted sixth overall in 2012 out of Weber State, acknowledged during his rookie year that he watched a lot of tape of Rose's game before coming into the NBA. Lillard appreciated how quick and explosive the Bulls' point guard was to the rim. Given Rose's struggles to stay on the court the past few seasons, limiting him to just 49 games in the last three seasons, Lillard was waiting to see how Rose looked.

The early returns have been great.

"He looks healthy," Lillard said. "He looks just as explosive as he was. He doesn't look like he's lost any of that explosiveness. Obviously, the rhythm and just everything hasn't come back [yet]. I think you got to play more and at this level [of] competition get completely back as far as game-wise. But he looked good. He looked like he was right on track to still be Derrick Rose."

Rose finds it a bit strange to have been in the NBA long enough now to have players such as Lillard following in his footsteps.

"It's weird playing against younger players," Rose said. "This is going on my seventh year so it's kind of weird. I'm not old, but at the same time I'm older than a lot of players that's here. I've been doing the Select Team and USA Basketball ever since I got in the league so I've been around for a long time. I'm happy I didn't lose sight of all my goals."

Rose's biggest one this year is proving he can stay on the floor. Thanks to two knee surgeries, he played in just 10 games over the past two seasons. As the years have gone by Rose has matured in different areas, including taking much better care of his body, a pearl of wisdom he wants to give to younger players.

"It's totally different," Rose said of his physical preparation. "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."

Lillard says the pair have had some casual conversations over the past couple years but nothing too in depth up to this point. Still, the 24-year-old Lillard, a former Rookie of the Year himself, appreciates the position he's been put in alongside one of the players he watched before coming to the league. That point is underscored by the fact that Lillard, like Rose, has become one of the global faces for Adidas basketball over the past year.

"It's special," Lillard said. "That I could be one of the faces of a brand alongside him and help push that brand and kind of try to make it bigger. And have people gravitate towards his story, my story and that whole Adidas brand. I think that's great for myself."

Bulls, Rose to open preseason vs. Wizards

August, 11, 2014
Aug 11
11:00
AM CT
By Staff
ESPNChicago.com
Derrick Rose is expected to make his return to the United Center in a Chicago Bulls uniform on Oct. 6 against the Washington Wizards, part of an eight-game preseason schedule the team announced on Monday.

Rose is scheduled to make his first appearance at the United Center as an active player since Nov. 18, 2013 when his Team USA plays Brazil Saturday in an exhibition tuneup for the FIBA World Cup, which begins Aug. 30 in Spain.

Rose missed all of the 2012-13 season with a torn ACL and all but 10 games of last season after suffering a with a torn meniscus in his right knee.

The Bulls will get their first look at the new Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 20 on the campus of Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.

With LeBron James returning to Cleveland and a trade for Kevin Love reportedly in place, the Cavaliers are ESPN.com's pick to win the Eastern Conference this season with the Bulls coming in second.

The Bulls' opener against the Wizards is one of four games at the United Center. The Bulls will also play host to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Oct. 24 in St. Louis.

The NBA has yet to release its full regular season schedule.

New Cavs don't change Bulls' expectations

August, 7, 2014
Aug 7
1:29
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose respects LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, but he isn't scared of them. He made that clear when the possibility of Love landing in Cleveland came up during Team USA camp last week.

"For us, I think it wouldn't change anything," Rose said. "We know that no matter who we play that we have a legit change to beat anyone in the league. But at the same time, we know it's not going to be easy at all because guys are getting better. You have guys going to different teams and it's going to be tough. But at the same time, that's why we're in the NBA and that's why we love this game, for the challenge."

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Sam Forencich/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose is looking forward to playing on the "most talented" Bulls team he has been on.
Rose and the Bulls are up for the challenge of knocking off the Cavaliers, who reportedly have agreed to a trade with the Timberwolves that includes sending Love to Cleveland and top overall pick Andrew Wiggins going to Minnesota.

Rose said recently that these Bulls are the "most talented" team he's ever been on. Assuming that Rose is healthy -- and that's a huge assumption, given that he's played in just 49 games over the past three seasons, including just 10 in the past two because of two serious knee injuries -- the Bulls believe they have enough to win a championship this season.

Let's take a look at a few of the reasons why:

Rose is back: It was just one week at Team USA's camp, but Rose offered a reminder that he can still be a special player. Players and coaches raved about the way he performed as he showed the speed and explosion that set him apart from the start of his career. Rose has the superstar ability to carry the Bulls at times, and everybody will feed off his presence on the floor. He must prove his body can withstand the grind of a long NBA season.

Thibs' defense: Tom Thibodeau has implemented his hard-nosed defensive schemes over the past four years in Chicago. When teams play the Bulls they know they're in for a tough and physical game. Led by Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler, the Bulls have the type of defensive prowess that is crucial to postseason success. The Cavs don't have that type of luxury. James is one of the best defenders in the game -- and has shown it in years past locking up Rose -- but Irving and Love have never been known as solid defenders. Thibodeau will make sure to have his players in the right place on defense and find a way to take advantage of the weaknesses of Irving and Love on the other end of the floor.

Depth: The Bulls didn't land Carmelo Anthony this summer, but they did add several players who can make a difference in the regular season and in the playoffs. Pau Gasol has won championships and should provide an upgrade over Carlos Boozer. Doug McDermott lit up the Vegas Summer League and has proved throughout his college career that he can knock down shots. Aaron Brooks gives the Bulls insurance as a combo guard who can play alongside Rose and Kirk Hinrich. Nikola Mirotic is a great unknown on the NBA level, but he has played in many big games in Europe and can score. Tony Snell had a good run at Summer League and appears to be taking the next step in his progression. The Cavs have a solid team with a lot of talent, but the Bulls, along with the reigning NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, have arguably the deepest team in the league. That depth should help them in every area throughout the season.

Continuity: This is the year for the Bulls to win a title. They are talented and deep and have proved they can win under Thibodeau. The Cavs have a lot of talented players (including the best player in the world in James), but like all teams, it's going to take them a little time to come together and learn new coach David Blatt's system. The Bulls run like a well-oiled machine under Thibodeau and trust each other on the floor. The core has been together now for five years, and they aren't getting any younger. It's up to Rose to stay healthy and lead them to where they want to go.

Rose has to push past physical doubts

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
1:58
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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LAS VEGAS -- After dealing with a litany of injuries that have limited him to playing in just 49 games over the past three seasons, Derrick Rose finds himself at a crossroads in his career as he continues training with Team USA this week.

The Chicago Bulls star must prove to himself -- and the rest of the basketball world -- that his body can withstand the grind of a long NBA season. He knows that plenty of people are doubting whether this can happen, but he is ready to embark on the long journey because he is confident he can't do any more to prepare his body for what is to come.

[+] EnlargeTom Thibodeau, Derrick Rose
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesTom Thibodeau hopes Derrick Rose's experience with Team USA can have the same impact as his time with the 2010 team.
"I joke around with my trainer all the time," Rose said. "I think I could train someone to tell you the truth."

Rose understands that after missing most of the past three seasons, and playing in just 10 games in the past two seasons, he is going to have some tough days. His teammates and coaches have raved about his performance during the first two days of Team USA camp, but the 25-year-old Rose knows that every day will be different. That's the reason why he's trying to stay even-keeled about the expectations surrounding him.

"But getting through them down days, that's what going to make me a stronger player I think," he said. "I can't be down on it, just like (Monday). Yesterday is yesterday and today is in the past now, too. I got to look forward to what we got going on tonight, I got to get acupuncture, I got to get a massage. (Wednesday) I've got a practice and it starts all over again."

Every step Rose takes on the floor this week in Las Vegas is being watched carefully by Bulls personnel. Bulls' Director of Sports Performance Jen Swanson is in town to work with Rose. Bulls executive VP John Paxson was on hand Monday to check on Rose during Team USA's first practice. Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, who also serves as an assistant coach for Team USA, is constantly checking on his star player during practices to make sure he's feeling OK.

The Bulls are doing everything they can to protect Rose from another injury which makes the physical and mental preparation beforehand even more important. But even Rose acknowledged that when those rough days eventually come, it likely will be because of something that he's dealing with physically instead of what he accomplishes on the floor.

(Read full post)

Leadership role suits Rose with Team USA

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
10:18
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Derrick RoseAndrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose "leads by example by how hard he plays, how much he cares," Kevin Durant says.
LAS VEGAS -- On Monday, Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said he hoped Derrick Rose, along with Kevin Durant, would take on a leadership role on his star-laden team, but he cautioned that the Chicago Bulls star had to "find himself first" as he works his way back from a second knee surgery.

Less than 24 hours later, Krzyzewski had seen enough of Rose to know he can count on the former MVP, who, along with Durant, James Harden and Anthony Davis, is one of the few players on the roster with significant, competitive Team USA experience now that Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook have withdrawn.

"He's found himself," Krzyzewski said Tuesday. "I think the main thing for Derrick leadership-wise is to be Derrick. And then he'll flow into what he's doing. Guys look up to Derrick because they know the last couple years what he's been through. And then when they see him playing like he is right now, you get the respect of everybody but also a lot of confidence in playing with him."

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose has quickly made his mark at Team USA training camp this week in Vegas.
The biggest surprise of the first two days of Team USA's camp is just how good Rose has looked after playing just 49 NBA games over the past three seasons because of two knee surgeries. Team USA assistant coach Jim Boeheim said Rose has been the "most impressive" guy in camp. It's that performance that will make the transformation from player to leader so much easier for the soft-spoken Rose.

Just four short years ago, Rose's name was being mentioned as one of the faces of USA Basketball. After all the ups and downs his career has taken since then, a leadership role on his national team is something he is embracing.

"For sure," Rose said. "I think that's going to help me next year with our team with the Bulls. Being more vocal, talking to the guys, just inspiring guys when I'm on the court. I don't talk as much, but when I talk, guys listen a little bit, so I'm starting to pay attention to that and use that in a way to change the game."

Rose's ability to lead on the floor without having to say as much has impressed Durant for years. The Oklahoma City Thunder star has always respected Rose's approach to the game and believes his teammate is better than he was during the 2010 world championships when Rose started all nine games, averaging a team-high 3.2 assists as Team USA won the gold, its first since 1994.

"Different guys lead different ways," Durant said. "Derrick is not like a 'rah-rah' type of player, screaming in guys' faces [or] yelling. But he leads by example by how hard he plays, how much he cares. He'll be vocal here and there, but you could tell when it's time to go, he's going to be ready. It's great to play alongside him."

Krzyzewski seems to relish the chance to coach Rose. He has beamed with pride while discussing Rose's game over the past couple of days, and he knows he has a role in helping Rose return to form on the floor.

So how does Krzyzewski help Rose find himself?

"You try to help him to not overplay him," Krzyzewski said. "In other words, not minutes, but give him the freedom to follow his instincts. Derrick has great instincts, and you don't want to play defense on him by making him just a half-court player or calling out plays and stuff. You still want to do part of that, but you also want to let him go, and that's what we're trying to do. That's what I told him, don't be perfect. You don't have to perfect. Just play, follow your instincts. He wants to please so badly. I love Derrick. I loved coaching him in [2010], and we have a great relationship. And he's been fabulous in these two days, which is a big pick-me-up for our squad."

Rose has tried to brush off some of the praise coming his way, but it's evident in the glowing reviews he continues to get from his peers that he is at the forefront of Team USA's plans. Those closest to him just want to make sure he isn't putting too much pressure on himself on and off the floor.

"I think that's the biggest challenge for him is just showing more patience and finding the rhythm of the game," Bulls head coach and Team USA assistant Tom Thibodeau said. "When he does that, the game is a lot easier, and that's the way we really want him to play, and I think he has the benefit of having gone through coming back last year. And so I think he learned from that. I think he's better prepared this time around. His body looks great, and he says he feels great. So you just keep going day by day."

That's music to Krzyzewski's ears. He isn't shocked by the fact that Rose has returned to form so quickly. He's just hoping that Rose can take the next step in his leadership development as well.

"I don't know [if I'd say] surprised. Happy," Krzyzewski said of Rose's play. "Very pleased. Nothing that he does will ever surprise me because he's one of the elite players, and he's a fabulous kid. Not a good kid. He's a fabulous young man. ... He's a fabulous guy. A team player."

'Smarter' Rose aims for patience in return

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
10:28
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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LAS VEGAS -- Derrick Rose's game is going to change as he tries to make his way back from yet another knee injury, but it hasn't altered the Chicago Bulls star's mindset on the court.

The former MVP still believes he is the best player on the floor.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
AP Photo/John LocherDerrick Rose expressed confidence in his game Monday after his first practice with Team USA.
"If you're right there [in front of me], then I'm going to try to dunk," Rose said after Team USA's first practice Monday. "I don't care. My legs are healthy, so I'm not worried about injuring myself or anything. I'm just trying to do anything to win that game at that time."

But even Rose, 25, knows things will be different with this comeback. After playing in only 49 games the past three seasons, and only 10 in the past two seasons, things have changed.

So what are some of the biggest differences between today's Rose and the one from a few years ago?

"Body control," he said. "I'm able to control my body a little bit more, using my speed. Being smart with my speed, instead of just running wild out there. Just being smart. I'm a smarter player, but I'm mad it took me seven years to learn that."

Rose's outward confidence hasn't been shaken, but his game has shifted. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Rose won't try to force contact as much as he has in years past, a smart move, given his injury history.

"I think you will see that next year," he said. "Just trying to [keep] people off my body. I'm using a lot of floaters, using a lot of pull-ups, stuff like that so that I won't get touched as much."

The biggest key in the minds of Rose and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is that Rose is playing with more patience.

"I think when I came back last time I wanted it too bad," Rose said. "I was trying to force the game. And this time around I'm just trying to let the game come to me. Of course, be aggressive, but at the same time have control of the game and be smarter. And being able to run the team at the point guard position."

Rose emerged as a superstar in the 2010-11 season when he became the youngest NBA MVP in history after averaging 25 points and 7.7 assists in leading the Bulls to the best record in the NBA. After missing the entire 2012-13 season after ACL surgery, Rose's comeback lasted just 10 games last season. He showed flashes of his old explosive self in averaging 15.9 points on 35 percent shooting but was still trying to get his game back when he suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee in November 2013.

After practicing with the Bulls late last season, he has continued to rehab the knee, with the Team USA training camp his latest step. Rose is not assured a spot on the team, which also has fellow combo guards John Wall, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry.

Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski came away impressed by Rose after the first day of practice.

"I was ecstatic about watching him today," Krzyzewski said. "He's better than four years ago. Four years ago, he was 21, and he was just on the verge of becoming who he was going to be. But he had a great practice today. You don't practice like this [every day]. He hasn't been in practices like this. Now [we'll] watch what he does for the next few days."

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Thibodeau is happy Rose is coming back into this kind of environment with Team USA because he knows his star isn't going to have as much offensive pressure as he normally would with the Bulls. He said Rose has learned from his first comeback attempt.

"Derrick's very bright," Thibodeau said. "I think he's learned from each situation that he's been in. So that was his first comeback really [last year], and I think he had the opportunity to look back and say, 'OK, this is how I want to approach it this time.' So I think he's grown from it. I think the adversity has made him a lot stronger mentally and he's playing patiently. I think he understands exactly where he is."

When he returns to the Bulls in September for training camp, Rose is excited about the prospect of spending even more time playing off the ball with Kirk Hinrich or new acquisition Aaron Brooks running the point. That can only help take some of the pressure off Rose.

"Catch and shoot," Rose said. "Hell yeah. I've been doing a lot of catch and shooting, running off floppy [sets]. Just trying to make the game simple. Find ways to score, or find ways to affect the game by not scoring. And me playing the 2 sometimes, coming off a floppy, catching the ball getting to the hole, throwing [alley-]oops. Get other people open with just a live dribble. I think this year will be the first time I have played the most in my career with catching the ball and having a live dribble."

As Rose enters his seventh NBA season, he certainly has a lot to prove with a Bulls team, bolstered by offseason acquisitions Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic and first-round pick Doug McDermott, that has title aspirations. Rose knows what it has taken to get back on the floor -- again -- and he seems at peace with his evolution as a player.

"I'm a totally different player, but it comes with experience," he said, "Just playing, playing through your mistakes. Just playing in an NBA game, you're going to learn. So I'm happy I have people around me to give me advice, learn from people, and I'm happy I have the IQ to actually learn."

Coach K optimistic about Derrick Rose

July, 14, 2014
Jul 14
11:03
AM CT
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com
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Derrick Rose made the initial 19-player cut for the U.S national team, as it prepares to practice in Las Vegas this month for August's FIBA World Cup championships in Spain.

Now, Rose has to survive the next seven cuts to make the team.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose won a gold medal with Team USA in the 2010 World Championships.
Rose will compete with point guards Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving to make the 12-man roster. Sharpshooting combo-guard Stephen Curry should be a lock.

Rose, who turns 26 in October, was a young, on-the-rise star when he won a gold medal with the U.S. team in the 2010 World Championships. He followed that by becoming the youngest MVP in league history. But after missing most of the last two seasons with knee problems, coach Mike Krzyzewski is hopeful Rose can return to form.

"Well, we'd like to see him play like the Derrick of old, one of the best players in the world, an MVP in the NBA," Krzyzewski said in a conference call Monday. "What we've heard is he's in great shape. We'll see how he'll do in five-on-five, on the fifth day we'll do intrasquad. Hopefully he's going to be in top shape. Derrick's a great player, a great guy. I know representing his country in Istanbul as one of our starting guards was a great experience for him. Hopefully this will be a launching pad for him to have a great NBA season."

USA basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said the team will probably cut down to 15 when they leave Las Vegas after a camp that runs July 28-Aug. 1. The team will play a warm-up game against Brazil on Aug. 16 at the United Center and then will practice and play two exhibition games in New York from Aug. 17-22. Colangelo said they might not cut the roster down to 12 until then.

Krzyzewski said his new assistant, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, hasn't been lobbying him for Rose. The Bulls would like to see Rose start the season in game shape, after playing only 10 games last season before tearing the medial meniscus in his right knee.

"I talked to Thibs a couple times this weekend, but not about that, more to congratulate him on [the Bulls signing Pau] Gasol," Krzyzewski said. "As a staff, we try to stay close together, not on one player, but the whole team. We're lucky to have Tom with us."

Rose missed the entire 2012-13 season rehabbing a torn ACL, and in past years, Rose has shied away from playing five-on-five during the summer. He changed the routine this summer, scrimmaging at the Berto Center, including last week with the summer league team.

While Rose told a Yahoo! sportswriter he wasn't sure if he'd play for the U.S. team, Thibodeau quickly told reporters Rose was going to the Vegas camp.

Up to Derrick Rose to win back his critics

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
11:53
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Perception is reality. It can change in the blink of an eye or change steadily over time.

In the case of Derrick Rose, the change in public perception of the Chicago Bulls star has been drastic.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
AP Photo/M. Spencer GreenDerrick Rose's reluctance to recruit has only added to the negative perception many have of the Bulls star over the past three years.
Almost exactly four years ago, Rose stood inside the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas preparing for the first day of Team USA's training camp as it prepared for the world championships. The 21-year-old was admittedly surprised that LeBron James and Chris Bosh had not signed with the Bulls during that offseason, but he didn't seem to care. He was determined to show the world that he could lead his team to a title.

"I want to be that guy," Rose told ESPNChicago.com at the time. "I want to be the reason why the Bulls are back to what they were 10, 12 years ago or something like that."

Rose took pride in the fact that he was becoming the new face of the organization. He believed in himself and his new teammates. He was confident that the Bulls would come together, and he didn't worry much about whether he should have better recruited James to Chicago. He and James texted a few times, and Rose figured that was enough. He figured his team and his city were enough to sell anyone on joining the Bulls.

"If anyone knows me, especially in my hometown, they know that I don't like being in the public like that or getting all the attention like that," he said. "To me I think it was a no-brainer, [but] he made the decision."

Rose was praised for that us-against-the-world attitude. Four years later, Rose is being crushed by many fans who used to love him. He's being second-guessed in his hometown. Once universally beloved in Chicago, Rose has found himself at the center of much public scorn.

How does the most popular athlete in town lose the benefit of the doubt in his own city? Several factors are in play here, but the biggest is, of course, that he was injured.

A torn ACL in his left knee in the 2012 playoffs went from devastating to frustrating for Bulls fans as Rose elected to sit out the entire 2012-13 season, even though the organization expected to have him back in the second half of the year. Between the ACL injury and a torn meniscus in his right knee that kept him out of all but 10 games last season, Rose, his camp and the Bulls have been plagued by PR missteps. His brother Reggie openly criticized the organization for failing to put better players around Rose.

The organization has kept its most important star mostly cloaked in secrecy throughout the past few years during his rehab phases. What has exacerbated the issues is that Rose has shown the same reluctance and indifference toward recruiting free agents while teammate Joakim Noah has emerged as a salesman, doing his best to persuade Carmelo Anthony to come to Chicago. Instead of receiving a pass from most fans because of the attitude, Rose is being questioned yet again.

Times have changed for Rose and the league. It's one thing to maintain that stance when you're producing at an MVP level, but it's another to keep that feeling when you've played only 49 games in the past three seasons.

To win back the fans' trust, Rose must play and perform at a high level. But it goes deeper than that for Rose and the Bulls.

As it pertains to the recruiting, players want to be wanted. They want to hear what stars in the NBA have to say about their team. Rose hasn't played much in three years, but players still respect his game and what he has already accomplished. He's still a star, and they want to hear from him.

Whether it's a member of his inner-circle or a member of the Bulls organization, somebody has to get through to him that he is best served by playing the PR game, even if it's uncomfortable for him. The more Rose shows publicly that he is willing to be part of these pitches, the more he will start to win back some fans.

Rose can't do anything about the fact that he was injured. It happens to almost all athletes at some point in their career, and Rose has had more bad luck than most. His contract doesn't require him to recruit players, he's just required to perform on the floor. Since he hasn't been able to do that for much of the past three seasons, Rose has to take it upon himself to find other ways to help.

Rose is the same person he was before -- shy, introverted, cautious -- he's just not the same player. Nobody knows if Rose will look like his old self when he hits the floor again this season, and nobody knows if his body will be able to hold him if and when he does. The only way to win back that trust is to play again -- and play at a high level for an extended amount of time. He doesn't want to recruit, but he still badly wants to win. It's up to those closest to Rose to make sure he understands this as he heads into the season.

It's also important to understand that Rose still wants to be the player who delivers a championship to his city.

"It makes me feel a little bit better that they really believe in me and have trust in me about decisions that they make," Rose said on that July day in 2010, in regards to the faith the Bulls organization had placed upon him. "It just means a lot, man. A little guy coming from the South Side of Chicago got his own team. It shows that just hard work and dedication really pays off."

Rose never wanted to leave Chicago. But now a portion of Chicago seems to want to turn its back on him. It's crazy how quickly things can change.

It's up to Rose to make the decisions to turn things in a positive direction once again.

Westbrook confident Rose will bounce back

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18
2:25
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook can relate to Derrick Rose's plight, and he's confident the Chicago Bulls star will return to being a superstar in due time after undergoing a second knee surgery in as many years.

Durant
Westbrook
Westbrook
"Very confident," Westbrook said before Monday's game against the Bulls. "I've talked to him numerous times. He's a tough guy as you guys know. He does a great job of coming out and competing. It's unfortunate he had to be hurt and be out another year, but he's going to come back the same DRose he was before."

Westbrook tore the lateral meniscus in his knee during last year's playoffs and has been dealing with the injury off and on since then. Rose didn't have the exact same injury, tearing the medial meniscus, but Westbrook understands what his counterpart is going through in rehab.

"Just being confident," Westbrook said of the toughest part of the climb back. "You got to be confident in yourself and your health and knowing that the rehab, all the work you put in, it's paid off."

Thunder star Kevin Durant, who worked out with Westbrook and Rose in Santa Monica, Calif., the past few years under the direction of personal trainer Rob McClanaghan, isn't worried about Rose returning to form.

"I'm very confident he's going to come back," Durant said. "He works extremely hard. The medical staffs that we have in this league, around this country, they are so advanced. He's definitely going to get the right treatment and I'm confident he's going to come back and I'm sure the Bulls organization and the Bulls fans are confident as well."

Rose continues to put in more rehab work, but Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has repeatedly said that it is unlikely Rose will come back to play this season.

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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