"Because I feel my game maturing," he responded. "I feel way more
comfortable each year I play in the NBA. As a person, I'm just growing
up. I do everything by myself now. I've learned to get rest. I'm
responsible for my household. I live with my friend, and me having my
own house at 22 is kind of crazy.
"I have a lot more confidence this year than any other year I played in
the league. I put in so much work this summer. I shoot better. I have
confidence now to take the shot, no matter when or where it is or how
many times I miss. If I'm open, I'm going to shoot.
"I'm ready to be one of the elite players in the NBA."
"Right after they lost to Cleveland, he called me and said, 'Let's get
after it,' " McClanaghan said. "He wasn't kidding. This wasn't just
'Let's get shots up.' This was hard-core stuff. There was a point I was
like, 'Let's take a day off.'
"He has worked hard every year I've been with him, but I've never seen
him work harder and be more focused than this summer. He knows how much
time and effort he put in on the court, how much he gave up.
"That's why he has a little swag to him now. He knows he belongs."
In terms of how seriously to take such quotes, not too much. Most great players are really confident and talk about how they're ready to step up their games and do all this stuff. Some are able to do so, some aren't. However, with Derrick, it's a little different.
You look at all of Rose's quotes this summer, and he's showing an infinite amount of confidence, and while I'm not sure if he ever lacked confidence in terms of basketball, he's certainly gained it in terms of expressing it to reporters. You throw this one out there with the "why can't I be MVP?" quote and Rose, at the very least, visualizes his dominance.
His attitude this summer in regards to free agents seemed similar. He seemed to carry himself with a "We're going to be awesome, so yeah, you should want to come here, but if not, it won't stop us from being awesome" type of approach. He certainly didn't kneel down to kiss the ring of LeBron James and given that LeBron had his mind made up long before free agency started, I'm glad for that.
One of the questions surrounding Rose early in his career was whether or not he could have an alpha dog mentality. While he's never lacked confidence, in his rookie season especially, he was hesitant to take over, playing quietly for long stretches. With Ben Gordon booted in his second year, his quiet stretches shrunk considerably, and he certainly appears to have developed an alpha dog mentality this off-season.
He put in the work, had a great preseason, sounds ready to dominate, and all that's left is to put it all into action.