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Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Derrick Rose sees title potential in Bulls

By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Chicago Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf set the bar high when he told the Chicago Sun-Times that the Bulls are in position to win at least four titles, but those expectations did not bother All-Star point guard Derrick Rose.

"We got to win one first," Rose said with a laugh Wednesday morning. "It's great that he has that confidence in us.

Rose I think the sky's the limit for us right now. I think everybody in this locker room, they want to win a championship. They're winners. Who's to say that we can't win it this year?

-- Derrick Rose

"I think everybody on this team is focused. And we're happy that he's our owner and the Bulls organization has been doing a great job with marketing us and making sure that we've got everything we want. We can't complain about anything right now."

Rose isn't making any predictions, but he believes his team has championship potential.

"Definitely," he said. "I think the sky's the limit for us right now. I think everybody in this locker room, they want to win a championship. They're winners.

"Who's to say that we can't win it this year?"

The Bulls will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their first title Saturday at United Center.

"If you don't see something special in Derrick Rose, then you're blind,'' Reinsdorf told the Chicago Sun-Times. "We have an outstanding coach, an outstanding bunch of players, the team is deep, and if we stay healthy, we have an awfully good chance of winning at least four championships.''

With 20 games left in the regular season, Rose is widely considered the favorite to become the youngest MVP in NBA history. The 22-year-old has been confident in his team all along, even when the Bulls missed out on free-agent superstars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, who went to the Miami Heat.

"I remember at the beginning [of the season], people were like, he was crazy for saying all that stuff," Rose said. "But I knew all the work we put into everything, and the way [Tom Thibodeau] coaches, and our coaching staff, how strong they are as a group. I know that we'll have a decent shot at winning. And it's showing up right now that we're a decent team in this league."

Despite all of his accomplishments -- which include being an All-Star starter and rookie of the year -- Rose admits he still isn't comfortable with all the acclaim.

"I wish I was," he said. "I'm not comfortable with it at all.

"As long as we win, I think that will take care of everything. I'm just blessed to be in this position right now, where we're playing good basketball and my teammates are the reason why I'm in that talk."

Rose is looking forward to Saturday. Michael Jordan and other former Bulls are expected to attend.

"The ceremony, I think this is going to be huge," Rose said. "Just being there, I know the crowd is going to love it and it's going to be a good night."

He was too young to remember watching that team play, but he has seen plenty of highlights and heard the stories.

"All you saw was that they were just winning games," he said. "That was the biggest thing -- winning games.

"And for the players, I know definitely for me, I would love to be in their shoes right now, where they were winning championships. They all liked playing with each other and it was like a show every time you went to go see them play."

Rose knows that the inevitable comparisons to Jordan, and how he led the Bulls to a title, will come his way, but he doesn't think they have nearly the same personalities.

"I really wasn't old enough to really watch what he was doing," Rose said. "[Players] would go back to the huddle and they say that he was hard on people like that.

"I think that we're two different people. Where I think he's more talkative than I am. I'm starting to show, I'm starting to talk a little bit more, but you could just tell being around him he was always vocal to his teammates. And I think that it was two different sides."

Rose knows no matter how vocal he gets, he'll probably never match Jordan's ability to talk trash.

"Never, never, never," he said with a laugh. "Just to hear some of the stuff on NBA TV when they play his stuff, to some of the stuff he was saying, some of the stuff that he did, like shooting free throws with his eyes closed. I would never do that." Rose is excited about the opportunity of playing in front of arguably the best player of all time Wednesday night in Charlotte against Jordan's Bobcats and again Saturday night.

"You always know when he's in the building," Rose said. "He's a person where when he comes in the room, you definitely know that he's in there. His presence is probably the craziest out of all the NBA players that have ever played this game."

Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.