Thursday, July 31, 2014
Rose Reax: Guard continues to impress
By Nick Friedell
LAS VEGAS -- Kevin Durant is getting a little frustrated about having to answer the same question every day. He respects Derrick Rose a lot -- the two have trained together in years past -- but he isn't sure how to keep describing just how solid his friend has looked during the first four days of Team USA's camp.
"He looked the same as I said [Wednesday]," Durant said. "Great."
After another successful day at Team USA camp, Derrick Rose was feeling sure of himself: "I think that I'm back, man."
Durant's feelings summed up how many people around the Mendenhall Center felt about Rose -- he really has been that good as he continues to make his way back from a torn meniscus in his right knee.
"I don't know how much more I can answer that one," Durant said. "How different I can answer, he looks great. I'm excited I get a chance to play with him on his first time back after last year."
As he has said repeatedly over the past few days, Rose is just happy to be back on the court. He said his wind is getting better each time he has been out there.
"I think that I'm back, man," Rose said. "I'm not worried about my knee anymore. I got three days under my belt and I'm just trying to keep playing, playing hard and just trying to improve every day."
A light day: Team USA had a shortened practice Thursday and just did some light work. Rose took some jumpers during the portion of practice that was open to the media. Like most of the players in Friday night's scrimmage, Rose is expected to play somewhere around 20 minutes. The international games are only 40 minutes long compared to 48 in the NBA.
"He looks great," Wizards guard John Wall said. "He looks like his old self. He'll probably be more aggressive and all that when he gets into the competition rounds but right now I think he's proven he's going to be his [old] self again. And I think that's really what everybody's worried about, would he still have his explosion and all that. I know the city of Chicago is excited and I know how hard he worked and how hard he's going to keep working to keep himself going."
Thibs impressed: The list of people Rose has impressed this week is long, but Bulls coach and USA assistant coach Tom Thibodeau doesn't seem all that surprised by what he has seen. That's because Thibodeau saw Rose work in the gym the past few months and knew his star point guard could come back at a high level.
"I would say he prepared himself," Thibodeau said. "I think the summer league practices were good for him. I think that allowed him to measure himself to see where he was in terms of playing in a controlled setting and I think this was the next step and I think it's been very positive for him."
The big thing that Thibodeau is focusing on is that Rose looks more comfortable on the court. Rose admitted Wednesday that he put too much pressure on himself during his first comeback last season.
"You can see that he's got his confidence back and that's a big thing," Thibodeau said. "But I think more importantly his approach to it is far better. So I think he's gone in with the idea that, 'I'm not going to force things. I'm just going to concentrate on daily improvement, find the rhythm of the game, and play the game' the way he knows he's capable of playing it. Derrick has gotten better every year and he's had a couple tough years to deal with a lot of adversity. He's done that and I think that's made him a lot stronger."
The last word: Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski on Rose's performance the past few days: