An improved Derrick Rose?
LAS VEGAS -- Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau expects Derrick Rose to play the usual eight-minute shifts with the rest of the starters once the preseason begins, and see how his superstar feels from there.
Rose missed all of last season after undergoing ACL surgery on May 12, 2012, but he recently said he feels 100 percent and is ready to play.
"We'll see once we get to training camp, and we're going to have an opportunity to get some work done in the fall, but we have to keep in mind he's been out an extended amount of time," Thibodeau told ESPNChicago.com Thursday night during Las Vegas Summer League action. "So the preseason -- and we look at training camp as the entire month, not just a week -- we'll move him along accordingly.
"We'll see what he can handle. I think there's going to be some rust initially, but I fully expect him to get back to [being] the player we all know that he is."
Thibodeau is also convinced that after spending more than a year away from the game, Rose will be an even better shooter than he was before he tore the ACL on April 28, 2012, in a playoff game.
"He's put a ton of time into his shooting because basically that's all he could do along with his rehab stuff," Thibodeau said. "Each year that Derrick's been in the league he's added to his game. So this is a continuation of all the things he's done in the past. Every summer he's concentrated on something and we may see more post-ups and things of that nature, more catch-and-shoot for him also.
"Obviously having Kirk [Hinrich] back, Kirk and Derrick have played very well in the past together. So we're looking forward to getting a look at that as well."
Rose said during his European promotional trip with adidas last week that he was 100 percent. That message is consistent with what Bulls personnel have been seeing and hearing from the 24-year-old.
"The encouraging thing is he's continued to make progress," general manager Gar Forman told ESPNChicago.com. "There haven't been any setbacks. He's continuing to train at a high, high level and he's continuing work on his shooting and his basketball skills also. Everything's been real positive and he's having a great summer, as are a lot of our guys.
"And we've talked about health is a real key for this team. We got to get everybody healthy and back on the floor and ready to go by October ... For now we just want him to continue to train and work on his game and he continues to do that and give it everything he's got. He's religious, as far as being in the weight room, being on the court and in the gym."
The Bulls are confident that it won't take long for Rose to shake off the rust. As far as a specific plan goes, Thibodeau wants to watch how the former MVP looks during the preseason.
"There will be an adjustment period, but I'm not anticipating there being any problems," he said. "His overall strength is terrific. He's put a lot of work into his body. I know he's anxious to get out there and play. He's played some pickup but not a lot, but he feels great and that's the most important thing."
The Bulls also are convinced Rose will feed off the criticism he endured for not playing toward the end of the season and in the playoffs.
"I think some of the hits he took were definitely unfair," Forman said. "He said and we said consistently from the beginning that he wasn't going to be on the floor until he was 100 percent. That we weren't going to take a short-term view of this.
"Derrick's going to be obviously a key, key guy for this team and our organization for the next 10, 12, 14 years, so from [owner] Jerry Reinsdorf on down there was never going to be a rush. If we felt, and he felt, he was 100 percent ready to play, he was going to play, and if not we were fine that he wouldn't play and we'll look towards the next 10 or 12 years."
The reality is the Bulls need Rose back if they want a legitimate chance to win a championship next season.
"The thing about him is Derrick plays to win," Thibodeau said. "The development of Jimmy Butler last season was a byproduct of a lot of guys being out. He really came on strong and we feel like we've added some good pieces. Mike Dunleavy is a good addition. Kirk being there last year and then again this season. Our bench is going to be fortified, we're going to be deeper, we have great versatility. We're looking forward to it."