While the off-season is full of fluff pieces, every player is in the best shape of their life, has thrown up a million shots this summer, and has his team primed for significant improvement, it feels good to read a few about Derrick Rose.
Derrick, whom hedged his bets towards the end of last season, sounds confident in all his interviews. It's been so long since we've seen him play that it's easy to forget what a bad ass he is when healthy. It can be easy to forget that the Bulls are one of the elite teams in the NBA when this season kicks off.
Asked if he has any doubts he'll regain his MVP form, Rose said, ''No.''
''I put so much into my craft,'' he said. ''I'm working hard. I think I'm one of the hardest workers in the NBA, if not the hardest worker. I think you should see it in my game when I step on the court.''
“Right now I’m in training, and I’m getting a lot stronger. I gained 10 pounds of muscle. I don’t know how that’s going to carry over to how I play on the court, but I know it’s going to be very weird. I’m shooting a lot of shots right now, working with Rob, just putting memory back in my leg.”
“I think I’m a lot quicker, a lot more explosive, and I think I’m gonna go this year without that many nagging injuries, just trying to prevent it by stretching and doing all the things I have to do to take care of my body. When you first come in the League and you’re talented and you’re athletic, you don’t care about stretching or anything. You just kind of go out there and overlook that stuff. But now it’s my sixth year, so you really have to look at that and take that more seriously so I can prevent all of the little injuries.”
“I’ve been shooting a lot. A lot. Especially during the ['12-13] season, I’d go out there before games and shoot up a lot of shots. Now you add lifting weights and you’re shooting almost every day, your shot becomes easier, and your confidence grows, and with shooting, there’s nothing like confidence. So I think I’m gonna be a great shooter next year.”
Derrick needs to deliver on those words. Fluff pieces mean little, it's what happens on the court that means the most, but Rose is more than capable of delivering, as is this Bulls team overall. While last season ended with an exciting first round upset, playing a whole year without Rose left us forgetting what he can do.
While I wasn't a huge fan of the new Derrick Rose ad, I will admit, he looked like he gained 10 lbs of muscle in the ad. Maybe we'll see a Derrick Rose more prepared to drive through people instead of making acrobatic moves to get around people. Maybe that Derrick Rose will average more trips to the free throw line and take less awkward falls by controlling the contact.
The real question will be whether he has his quickness and change of direction, those are the abilities that separated him from the other players in the league, and adding 10lbs to his frame might make that tougher. The good news is Derrick is back, Derrick is confident, and the Bulls fans have a reason to go all in this year.