DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Derrick Rose knows his time is coming soon.
He knows how much work he has put into his game, he knows how much his coaches and teammates trust him to make the right choices, and he knows -- most of all -- that he is too talented to continue struggling the way he has from the field.
"It's all coming along good," Rose said after Tuesday's practice. "I'm happy with how I'm performing. I'm OK with it. I know that I'm going to catch my rhythm. As long as I'm playing defense and giving a great effort that's all I can do right now. I can't get frustrated, I'm doing everything in my will to prepare my game and really work on my game, being efficient. It's not clicking the way I want it to yet but it's going to come."
Rose remains confident despite the fact he is shooting 34.8 percent from the field so far this season and has gone to the free throw line only 20 times. A big reason the former MVP maintains such a calm state of mind is because Tom Thibodeau is a staunch defender of him. The veteran coach continues to praise Rose's decision-making and says he believes it's only a matter of time before everything clicks.
"I think he's real close to exploding," Thibodeau said. "The way he stepped up at the end of the game, not only the baskets that he made, but the plays that he made, when they came with the early trap he made the right read, hit Jo [Joakim Noah] in the middle of the floor, Jo made a great play to Carlos [Boozer]. That's the way we have to play. The game's going to tell you what you have to do."
Thibodeau was pleased that Rose drove to the rim late in Monday's win over the Charlotte Bobcats and is also confident his midrange game is coming together.
"He's taking more and he'll be making more," Thibodeau said. "I'm not worried about him. The game is slowing down for him, he's seeing it clearly, it's good. He's a great finisher, you know that's going to come. He's a powerful, quick player. And I think right now it's more of a timing thing and I think the more he goes the better he's going to be at it. He's a great finisher."
To his credit, Rose has handled his early-season struggles head-on. He has never wavered in his belief that good things are just around the corner. He also seems comfortable with taking on a lower-profile role in the offense. He was asked Tuesday if he would be all right with not being the leading scorer for his team.
"I could care less," he said. "Winning takes care of everything. My job is to win games. If I wasn't the leading scorer, who cares? We're winning. If we was to win a championship and I wasn't to get an award or anything, it would still count as a championship. So my goal is to go out there and play as hard as I can and try to will my team and put my guys in the right position and do positive things on the court."
Those are the things Thibodeau is counting on him to do. After Rose missed the past year and a half while recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, Thibodeau is remaining patient as Rose tries to find his groove again.
"He's still figuring out how it's going," Thibodeau said. "How the game is going, and I think each game he's gotten more comfortable. He's got to keep attacking, that's his game. What he's doing a lot of is forcing the defense to collapse and then making the right play, which I think is giving us rhythm 3s. As we continue to shoot better it will open up the floor more for him.
"So it all goes hand in hand, just make the right play, get established inside-out, search Carlos out, search Taj [Gibson] out, get your dribble penetration into the lane, make quick decisions, keep the ball moving, keep bodies moving, when we do that we're very good offensively."
So when will it all click for him again? Even Rose isn't sure -- but he'll know when it happens.
"I really don't know," he said. "That's a great question. I just got to keep working hard. I'll know once I see more shots fall, they're here and there, but I can't stop shooting them shots."