Something's left unsaid in the praise about Derrick Rose

Something's left unsaid in the praise about Derrick Rose

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."

From Thibodeau:

"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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  • Is anybody really listening to the buzz out of Team USA though? I mean if we were taking Coach K & Thibs at their words then why would we all be spend so much time hunting for every little 12 second video clip we can find of Rose in action?

    I feel like there's a noticeable difference in how Derrick looks now over how he looked preseason last year. He's finishing at the rim. That was the thing he could not seem to accomplish last year in exhibitions and 10 regular season games.

    Think of it this way. If Thibs and K were couching their words. If it was a litany of, "we'll see" and "we just want him to be comfortable". If Gar and Pax were non-committal about if he'd come back as a starter. If every single word about Derrick was doubt and hesitation yet you saw the footage you've seen would you feel better or worse about Rose than you did last year?


  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    I agree with both you and Doug. He does look better than he did during last years comeback. Last year he definitely lacked elevation to his game, most noticeable at the rim. This year he looks 100% physically. But the praise coming from camp seems to be all about the physical part of his game, which is great, but as Doug noted nothing about his offensive game in particular.

    In the grand scheme of things that is probably the best case anyway. All we really want to know is that he is 100% physically again. If that is the case then his game will come back over the course of this season, and he should be back to MVP form by the playoffs.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You nailed it BigWay. The fact that he seems to have the athleticism and explosiveness back is a key difference from last year . But I'm thinking it's true the full offensive game isn't all the way back and won't be right away. Kevin Pelton had a good article at where he looked back at a number of guys coming back from ACL tears and concluded shooting effectiveness takes around 40 games to get back to a player's norms. But he also concluded that playing with and against Team USA should help accelerate that for DRose.

    I'm loving all the feel good hype from Coaches K., Boeheim and Thibbs, and the spectacular highlight plays we've all seen over and over since Friday. But I missed the scrimmage itself, and my reaction when I saw DRose final stat line was "what the heck was he doin' the other 20 minutes when you take out the 5 or so highlight plays"? Only 4 shots in 24 minutes (seemingly all driving lay-ups) ? Just one (albeit pretty cool) assist? So I think while the athleticism is back, his basketball sharpness isn't there yet. But that's that is to be expected. We don't need him to be player of the month in November/December. Its a process leading to the playoffs and all we can say now is its off to a promising first step.

  • In reply to Huskerpowerforward:

    From what I remember, I kept telling the "television" to give the ball back to Rose- Curry would bring it up/kept jacking poor shots (and George seemed to be forcing stuff as well). Rose did not bring the ball up the floor as the point the entire time, so he did not get the touches we would probably expect as a Bull. That may have something to do with his pedestrian stat line.

  • I believe he is back to the same level he was a couple years ago and it is not a hype as we can evidence from his flashes thus far. However, it all boils down to whether Rose can stay healthy for an entire season. Also, giving the much improved shooting team he will have, he should have more value finishing at the rim and finding an open shooter. If you dare to double team him, he will have a shooter to pass and score. Teams will think twice before double team him, which is the same principle Spurs have, where you pay for double team anybody on that team.

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    Doug...I enjoy reading your Bulls blog, but Derrick's right about his new goals. He wants to play defense? I want to see him as a lock down defender while playing with the Bulls. He wants to run the point? I want to see his assist to turnover numbers rise too. He's not looking to be a dominant scorer? I don't want him to be a dominate scorer on the Bulls. I don't want to for two reasons. 1) When has Kevin Durant, or Carmelo Anthony won any championships? They didn't and the won't as long as they remain the primary targets in the playoffs. LeBron is a great scorer, but he's a threat to pass the ball too. The Bulls will not go far if their top scorer is a point guard. 2) The Bulls have added scorers to take the scoring pressure off of Derrick Rose. In order for Derrick to become an effective team leader he has to encourage his teammates that they will receive the ball and it is up to them to make sure the shot goes in. Last season the Bulls were @ or near the bottom in offensive production scoring 92, or 93 ppg. If Rose becomes an effective ball dominating scoring PG the team will probably raise their scoring avg slightly above last yrs mark, however, if Rose allows his teammates to do the bulk of the scoring load, the team can raise their avg to over 100 ppg. Gasol, McDermott, Snell, Mirotic, & Dunleavy was all signed by the Bulls to score points. Rose hasn't had the chance to play with many scorers during his time with the Bulls, now he does.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    Correct. Just Rose and Gasol should make them a lot better. If M and M shoot like they can, the Bulls will be impossible to stop. IMO they could have a top 3 offense.

    However, as BigWay will correctly point out, this needs to happen on the court rather than on a blog! Will it? I think we are going to love this season (even without Love!).

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    The Bulls need Rose to be the guy who can initiate the offense by causing the defense to double team and create openings.

    HE can't be a PG who sits on the perimeter and just passes, you need a guy to create mismatches and opportunities, and while the Bulls have more shooting, they don't have more of that.

    Rose is that guy whether he likes it or not for us.

    I agree on Team USA he doesn't have to be.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I agree, Doug. Not that I think we are, or should be copying the Spurs by any stretch of the imagination, but don't they have players who can penetrate besides Parker? Ginobli gets to his left hand almost any time even though everyone who plays, watches, or even checks in with NBA basketball knows you're supposed to take away his left hand. It seems like they have others, but can't think of them off the top of my head. Could still be tough with only one creator.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    Never see this Bulls averaging 100ppg. Since Thibs came here they have been ranked the 23rd,27,28 and 29th in pace, that's not going to change anytime soon.

    You don't have to worry about offense during the regular season. They were 5th in offRtg the season Rose tore his ACL. Thibs gets underrated for his offense, the only concern you should have is a secondary creator for the playoffs. You can't even jump to that conclusion until we actually see how the offense works next season. In my opinion Thibs will suprise people with the teams offense. He hasn't had this much offensive firepower before.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    The Bulls scoring average will improve considerably this year, not slightly. When you see the Bulls were dead last in offense and parse the numbers beyond that you will find they were also dead last on transition baskets. Fixing that alone with Derrick's return vaults the Bulls out of the NBA scoring feel cellar.

  • Doug, I do think you're just being paranoid in this case. It would be nice to hear about Rose's improved shooting and offensive dominance but Rose has specifically said that he's not trying to be the scorer the Bulls need him to be.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yeah Doug's being a little paranoid. Rose is a willing passer if needed and he's shown this in the past particularly during his first year in the league deferring to Ben Gordon and his last high school game (I think he scored 2 points but had 7 rebounds, 8 assists to secure the championship.)

    On this team he doesn't have to be a dominant scorer as he especially showed during his MVP year. He'll probably be more effective picking his spots during critical parts of games, whether they need a bucket or an assist through his penetration.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    He played the same way last time he was with team USA, he really didn't try to score, and was overshadowed by Westbrook as a result, but Coach K continued to start him. So it appears that Rose is playing the role of point guard that the team wants him to play. All the other point guard candidates are of the scoring type, which is likely why they aren't starting ahead of Rose. I imagine if Chris Paul were with the team, he would be the starter.

  • After doing pretty much nothing other than shooting for the last two years I am curious as to whether that element of his game has improved at all.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Well, from my perspective he's gotten rid of that weird little hitch he used to have on his jumper...especially on his 3-ball. I always thought his jumpers needed a little bit more arc to them.

    Looking at his high school highlights it's pretty clear that he's completely re-constructed his shot.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    His 3-pointer was much improved before he went out last year, especially when he was elevating on his jumper. It wasn't just form, it was approach. If his defender backed off our dropped his hands for even a second behind the arc he made them pay for it. That was very impressive.

  • Doug, I dont think its really a big deal that they haven't raved about his offensive game. Simply put, besides Thibs, nobody has really seen the offensive growth and progression he's taken. But with 2 years off and little notes here and there that he's added a floater and pull up jumper and continued to work on his 3 point shot, its promising and we really wont see the full arseny of his offensive game because on that team, you dont need to do that.

    All the raves have been about his health and his explosion because those have been the two biggest question marks - is he healthy and has he lost any of that magic that has made him so good.

    I'm actually a bit nauseated by all the DRose raving and ranting. Just treat him like guy on a team full of stars and say he's playing well. All this extended hyperboles being thrown out doesn't do any good. Simply put, he needs to play and continue to work himself back into basketball shape. The answers to these questions are not going to be answered until he actually gets through an entire season and hopefully play off run with no issues regarding his knees.

    I think Derrick's priority to play defense, run point and not turn the ball over are the correct actions that need to be taken to continue his progression if he truly wants to be 2 way player. Also, playing more of a PG role limiting his turnovers while setting up his teammates would be better because he wouldn't have to take on so much of the offensive burden.

  • Yes, the pendulum might need to swing back to cautious optimism.

  • Doug, you had this quote from Rose in another post recently. "Rose said. “I’’ve become a smarter player, but I’m mad it took me seven years to learn it.”

    To me that is both the most promising and most cryptic quote to date. Any idea what Derrick was talking about there?

  • Doug,

    You are being paranoid, but hey it's August and what else are we going to discuss here...

    I am elated about how the coaches and players have raved about Rose. Coach K called him "elite". Boeheim called him the best guy at the USA camp. That says it all for me because Durant is there. Paul and Westbrook aren't there, but there are other talented PGs he's out-playing.

    It's a given that he has improved his shooting. It's improved each year and it's been a weakness and he's had more time to work on it. It would be a real disappointment if he shoots 30% or 32% from 3 this year, IMO.

    So, I'm upbeat about Rose and assuming that he's "on a mission" and it's the MVP Rose until proven otherwise. He's fired up b/c the Bulls team looks the better on paper AND he wants to prove people wrong.

    I think Rose will be MVP, or at least in the top 3. I think his scoring with be down a bit, but a better assist to TO ratio, so maybe he finishes runner up in MVP voting. I told everyone that I work with here in Boston that he would be MVP (or at least top 3) back in 2010-2011 and he did. When he said it in the 2010 preseason, I believed it.

  • Not really news but Yahoo! reports that there's a deal in place to send Love to the Cavs for Wiggins, Bennett and a first-round pick. Yahoo! mentioned that Cleveland is hot to make the deal partly to prevent Love from going to the Bulls. So the Bulls have effectively pressed the Cavs into including Wiggins.

    No mention of Kevin Martin so perhaps there's still a deal the Bulls could make.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I wonder exactly how interested the Bulls were in making the deal for Love... maybe they were just bluffing to get Cleveland to throw in Wiggins and/or an extra pick.

    What does not make sense to me is how Minn would even consider a deal with the Bulls if Wiggins was available from Cle. (Mirotic and McDermott and Taj does not equal Wiggins from a potential standpoint...)

    If Cle could have pulled off this deal while keeping Wiggins, man, that would have been a showstopper!

  • In reply to Granby:

    On this one, Granby, I have to agree with you. You wrote, " (Mirotic and McDermott and Taj does not equal Wiggins from a potential standpoint...)"

    I agree they are not equal. I would take the 3 from the Bulls! Anyday. All three of these can score better than Wiggins right now. Wiggins may turn out to be the best of the four, but he is not worth more than all three of the Bulls players! Watch and see.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Remember, at first Wiggins was not part of the deal so Minny kept talking to other teams. Once Wiggins was included, I agree that Cleveland became the only real suitor.

  • In reply to Granby:

    It's like I mentioned last week. I believe it's likely this deal was (at least mostly) agreed upon before Lebron signed with Cleveland. He had a couple days to formulate/edit the letter, and he omitted Wiggins and Bennett. Dan Gilbert already spoke with the Wolves.

  • With Paul George out and Love not playing on this USA team, Rose may be pressed into more offensive production. Something not considered a couple weeks ago...

  • In reply to Granby:

    And now Durrant out... Rose will be forced into action!

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