Chicago Bulls: Damian Lillard

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."

Opening Tip: Rose excited to face Lillard

November, 22, 2013
11/22/13
9:00
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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DENVER -- Derrick Rose is only 25, but he's starting to feel older than some of his counterparts in the league. When the topic of facing Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard for the first time came up late Thursday night, Rose couldn't help but smile at the fact he has been in the NBA long enough that players like Lillard watched him on their way up.

"I'm old," Rose joked. "I'm 25 now. Damn, man. I'm old. I'm stretching, man. I have to stretch before games now."

Despite his words, Rose does take pride in the fact that Lillard, and many others, watched Rose in school to help their own games.

"That's big," he said. "For me, that's what I try to do as a player. I just try to play hard and go out there and try to win games and I'm happy that people pick up on it [and] even see it. With a player like him, what he's done in the league and what he's doing now, it's an honor that he even looked at my game so that's huge."

Friday's game will be a special one for Lillard as well. The reigning Rookie of the Year has been looking forward to playing Rose since he came into the league.

"I watched [Rose] a lot," he said last season. "The thing that stuck out to me is how well he uses his speed and athleticism and changes pace. He gets from zero to 70 like this (snaps fingers). I've been watching that for a while so certain things that I've seen him do let me know that it can be done with my ability to jump and run fast. I think watching after him allowed me to see certain things that would be available with some of the ability I have."

Rose, who is actually only two years older than Lillard, is looking forward to facing the Trail Blazers star as well.

"He's a great young player," Rose said. "Really coming into his own. [He's] playing with a lot of confidence right now and it should be a fun matchup with both teams. They're rolling right now. We had a streak going, we lost tonight, but we can redeem ourselves with [Friday's] game."

Gibson miffed at ejection: Taj Gibson was ejected late in Thursday's loss to the Denver Nuggets by referee Sean Corbin. It was a decision with which he did not agree.

"I was not talking to the ref," Gibson said. "I was just talking to Nate [Robinson]. But the ref, he just bugged out. Me and Nate was talking the whole game back and forth, but it was fun. It was good to see him. We were just joking around."

Gibson, who had already picked up an earlier technical, decided not to argue with Corbin in the end.

"He thought I was talking to him," Gibson said. "I wasn't even talking to him. I was just mumbling talking about Nate, but it is what it is. I didn't argue, I just went out, but he got the whole thing misconstrued."

What's next: The Bulls play the Trail Blazers on Friday night in Portland.

The last word: Coach Tom Thibodeau, on improvements his team needs to make: "I thought the effort was good, rebounding-wise, but offensively we got to make quick decisions, keep the ball moving, and we got to have a balance to our game. It's got to be inside-out, we got to get postups, we got to get dribble penetration. So those are things we can do better."

Bulls miffed at Lillard's last shot

November, 19, 2012
11/19/12
12:42
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland Trail Blazers rookie Damian Lillard scored 16 points Sunday night, but it was his final two that had the Chicago Bulls talking.

That's because with 1.9 seconds left and the game already in hand, the 22 year-old point guard decided to stuff one more basket down instead of dribbling out the clock. The move caught the attention of more than one person in the Bulls' locker room.

(Read full post)

Lillard appreciates comparisons to Rose

November, 18, 2012
11/18/12
9:32
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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PORTLAND, Ore. -- Damian Lillard can understand the comparisons.

The Portland Trail Blazers rookie plays the game with a potent combo of speed and poise, the same way Derrick Rose moves up and down for the Chicago Bulls. That's why it should come as no surprise that the 22-year-old from Weber State has spent a lot of time reviewing tape of Rose as he prepared for his entry into the NBA.

"I watched a lot," Lillard said before Sunday night's game. "The thing that stuck out to me is how well he uses his speed and athleticism and changes pace. He gets from zero to 70 like this (snaps fingers). I've been watching that for a while so certain things that I've seen him do let me know that it can be done with my ability to jump and run fast. I think watching after him allowed me to see certain things that would be available with some of the ability I have."

(Read full post)

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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