Coach K and Tom Thibodeau continue to rave about Derrick Rose. He's back at an 'elite' level. He played great all week. Really, things couldn't be better. Unless of course, they could be.
Here's the latest set of quotes from ESPN:
From coach K:
"It takes an exceptional person, which is why we're talking about Derrick," Krzyzewski said, discussing how difficult it is to return to such a high level after missing so much time. "I think he's exceptional in every way. He went right at it. The first defensive exchange in the camp, he was all over the ball handler, moving his feet, attacking him. There was a buzz right away because it was basically his saying, 'Look, I'm not just back. I'm back at a level that's elite.'"
"Derrick was sensational the whole week," Krzyzewski said. "He really did that every day, how fast and strong and decisive he was. He really created an air of excitement for the team because we all were anxious to see who he was right now. And who he is is very, very good. We're ecstatic about it and so happy for him."
"Being with the other elite guards helps you," Krzyzewski said. "And Derrick maintained that the entire week. We could not be happier about that particular situation."
"I think it's ideal for him in this particular case," Thibodeau said of Rose's experience during an appearance on ESPN Radio's "The Herd" on Tuesday morning. "One of the great things they do is the way they pace the team. There's days where there is no contact at all. ... We never went past two hours, and oftentimes it was an hour and a half. There was not a lot of contact. I think it's good for Derrick. It's great for him, actually."
"The big thing for Derrick is he has to take this step by step," Thibodeau said. "The summer league practices were very good for him, but the talent level is not at an NBA level. The way he looks right now, his body is strong, he's feeling great. It's been two years now since he's had the ACL injury, and I think he feels good about where he is physically, and mentally he's doing very well."
Team USA is a great experience for Rose. He gets to attack and defend against the elite players in the NBA. It's a much better venue than summer league practices or personal scrimmages (as Thibodeau notes).
It's also awesome that he looks good amongst this competition, especially given that he's likely got to sharpen up the tool set after not going against elite players for so long now. The fact that he's playing strong defense and overall has had a great week is very positive.
It's worth noting that Team USA is a hype machine, so we're not going to hear anything bad out of the coaches about any players, but they've gone considerably further than 'not saying anything bad' about Derrick Rose.
They could have been positive but couched their words. They really haven't, and so that's great news too.
However, maybe I'm just a paranoid Bulls fan, maybe I'm just scared to fully believe after the last two seasons, or maybe I'm trying to find a dark cloud on a sunny day, but it just feels like something is left unsaid here.
There's three concepts which are generally repeated in some form or another in virtually every answer about Derrick Rose:
1: Derrick Rose is back athletically
2: Derrick Rose plays great defense
3: Derrick Rose plays great overall
There is no mention to how Derrick Rose has done on offense. No mention about how he's carving up the guys guarding him, no mention to how he's shooting lights out, no mention really of this side of the ball at all really except in the most general terms that he looks explosive and has played great.
Now I don't follow coach K a whole heck of a lot. If he's from the Tom Thibodeau school of coaching then that may simply be par for the course. Thibodeau probably only notices the offensive side of the ball enough to know who to yell at for not playing defense.
Likely absolutely nothing to worry about. We saw at team USA scrimmage that his North/South speed and vertical explosiveness looked great. He certainly didn't seem hesitant at all when going up for that huge two handed stuff. He didn't look concerned for how he landed or how his body would hold up. He played like he was confident in his body.
This is also likely enough for Team USA. Derrick's noted himself that he wants to play defense, run the point, not turn the ball over, and move the ball. He noted he's not looking to be a dominant scorer for team USA because they have so many scorers. Fair enough. Makes total sense.
However, we all know that isn't enough for the Bulls, so while everything is great here, there's still another step he'll need to take back in Chicago. We won't see whether he can take it until the regular season starts.
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