Rose running with purpose

January, 2, 2012
1/02/12
5:22
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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DEERFIELD, Ill. -- It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that Derrick Rose enjoys playing fast. In fact, there is an entire shoe campaign based on Rose's ability to race up and down the floor. Fast don't lie isn't just a slick adidas slogan, it's a way of life for Rose preferred mode of operation on the court.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose is averaging nine assists a game largely because he's finding his teammates for fast-break baskets.

It's been evident in the way Rose has played over the first week of the season as well. The fourth-year point guard is averaging 20 points and nine assists a game.

"It's super fun," Rose said after Monday's practice. "It makes me feel like [I'm] back in college. Always running a lot. That's my type of game, running. Pick and roll. Getting guys easy baskets. And it makes the game easier because you got a lot of guys that can shoot the ball."

With the addition of Rip Hamilton and the improvements Ronnie Brewer has made on his jump shot, the Bulls now have even more options for Rose to find on the wings. That's been the difference in Rose's game early this year. He can still dominate offensively almost any time he wants, but he has taken on more of a distributor role at times and that has benefited his teammates.

"That's the way that I play," Rose said. "I love playing fast. Especially pushing the ball, I think I'm pretty quick. I think me attacking, it puts a lot of pressure on the defense. And gets me to the free throw line which slows down the game but get us points."

Rose's ability to get to the rim and draw those fouls opens up the floor for the rest of his teammates. It's something that each one of them has talked about over the past week of play and it's clear they appreciate just how good the 23 year old has become.

"He's a blur out there," Bulls backup point guard John Lucas III said. "Sometimes we always sit on the bench and watch him. We'll turn our head and watch him and he's already at the rim. That just shows the athleticism he has and the quickness he has. I think he's the hardest person to stay in front of in the league by far."

There are some critics out there who fear that by playing at such a fast pace so quickly in the season, Rose may wear himself by the time the postseason rolls around. The reigning MVP and his coach aren't buying that theory.

"That's the way he's played his whole life," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "It's not going to wear him out. He's in great shape. He's prepared himself for an NBA season. He's a constant pro so it won't wear him out."

Rose, who is averaging about 35 minutes a game this season, agreed. He was the one who admitted he was exhausted after last season's Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat, so he spent even more time working on getting in better shape with his trainer Rob McClanaghan.

"I'm fine," Rose said. "I'm good. I told you I've been working on my conditioning ever since the offseason. I think it's paying off. I've been lifting a lot so that my body can withhold these games and I feel great."


Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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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