While many NBA players have been participating in summer league games across the country and discussing the potential of playing overseas during the league's lockout, Bulls guard Derrick Rose has been working out in his usual offseason home, Los Angeles, California, looking to improve his game for next season -- whether we have one or not.
Although Rose joined several stars in a pair of exhibition games in the Philippines in late July, the 22-year-old told HoopsHype.com's Raul Barrigon that playing basketball on an overseas team isn't an option he's considering. At least not yet.
"I’m staying. I don’t play pickup basketball," Rose said. "I’m working out in Los Angeles right now. I haven’t taken into consideration yet playing overseas. Right now, if I do think about it, the Euroleague is definitely an option I would consider. I would have to talk to my agents and make sure that everything is OK, but I’m hoping right now there’s a season. It’s looking tough, it’s looking pretty bad right now. But the only thing I can do now is work out and just pray that (there's) gonna be a season."
As for his workout regimen, Rose has a tight schedule.
"Well, (last season was the) first time I ever lifted weight besides college. I think that’s gonna help me evolve my game," Rose explained. "I know it’s going to be hard because I really don’t like lifting like that, but I’ll do anything to win, anything to get that advantage. Benching, squats, sit-ups, push-ups ... everything you can think of, I’m doing it right now on one-hour sessions from Monday to Friday. I’m on the court from like 8:30 to 9:30, then go home, sleep till like 1 and then I go to my conditioning."
Virtually no one expects the NBA season to begin on time, though that gives Rose, the reigning league MVP, extended time to work on his conditioning, which he admitted "wasn't up to par at the end of the season." The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Rose took plenty of hard hits last season and didn't totally look himself in the Eastern Conference finals, where the Bulls were eliminated by the Miami Heat.
Still, getting past the first round was uncharted territory, a first, for Rose, who'll be entering his fourth season in the NBA this fall (assuming the lockout is lifted). For the Bulls, it was the first time they had gotten past the second round since the Michael Jordan era.
Said Rose: "It was great but I’m not satisfied. I won’t be satisfied until I win a championship. I’m not satisfied at all."
That's exactly what you would want to hear out of Rose, the franchise player, after such a tough loss in the East finals. In addition, could we see Rose posting up more next season? It's an area Rose tried to integrate in to his offensive repertoire late in the season, but it's still a work in progress.
"(This summer I'm) just trying to be consistent, be sharp and work on my post-up game," Rose said.
Say what you want about his play, but you've got to love Rose's humble, hungry mindset. He's never content and always feels like there's room for improvement. Kind of like head coach Tom Thibodeau, last season's Coach of the Year.
Though Thibodeau worked the Bulls hard last season, players have nothing but praise for the rookie head coach. John Lucas III called Thibodeau a "great coach." Rose followed suit.
"He’s the greatest coach I’ve ever had. Just his professionalism, his work ethic as a coach," Rose said. "He works as hard as any coach I’ve ever been around. Film session, making sure that we work out everyday hard ... the only coach I’ve talked to on a regular basis throughout my whole life. He could be looking at film and call me or I could call him no matter how late it is and we talked about basketball."
When the best player on the team respects the coach, the rest of the team follows. If Derrick Rose can get yelled at by Thibodeau, so can the other guys.
Since the Bulls were eliminated, Lucas and backup point guard C.J. Watson have said they don't believe roster changes are needed. It's no secret that the Bulls could use an additional scoring threat, but Rose agreed with his fellow guards.
Said Rose: "Everybody is working out hard right now. If everyone comes in and work on their game, I think that we have a good shot of winning without getting anybody to come to my team. I think everything was just so new ... last year was my first time getting past the first round of the playoffs. Everything was just new to everybody, and that thing is gonna help us. Last year was the base for our team and the sky’s the limit for us."
"We don’t need (additions) right now. If we sign somebody that can definitely fit ... but to me I think that we are OK."
Notice how he called the Bulls his team? It is, obviously, but rarely have we seen him publicly establish such authority. If Rose truly believes that the team is good to go as is, how can you argue? We're talking about a 22-year-old MVP whose game is only going to improve. A scary thought, indeed.
Rose simply wants to win, so it's hard to imagine him being upset if the Bulls acquire a player that can fit in to the locker room and Thibodeau's schemes. For example, adding a known troublemaker such as J.R. Smith might not be the brightest idea. Even so, there's no question that the Bulls will look to add shooting once the lockout is lifted, as GM Gar Forman told reporters after this year's NBA draft. And though Rose is mild-mannered, he certainly didn't hold back on his expectations: multiple titles.
"There’s not a doubt in my mind that I’m not going to win a championship," Rose said. "I’m going win multiple championships. It’s not a doubt in my mind."
When Rose confidently proclaims the thought of winning multiple championships, it's hard for Bulls fans not to get giddy for the future.
Bulls players in FIBA games on Saturday: A couple of Bulls were in action on Saturday for their respective national teams. In his first appearance this year for the Great Britain national team, Luol Deng scored 15 points as GB topped China 64-56 in a friendly match.
Tuneup game or not, it was a pretty impressive victory for GB, which was without Deng due to insurance arrangements for the first three tuneup games. On the FIBA world rankings, GB is 46 spots below China, the No. 10 ranked team.
"It's going to take a while to get my rhythm going and I was pretty rusty but I will get there soon," Deng said. "It's been a while since I played but I loved being back with the guys. It's been very tough to jump straight into the side. However, we've got a lot of improvements to make and we need to look at a few things, although the main thing was to win the game and we did that well."
Meanwhile, in another tuneup, Joakim Noah -- who missed the early portion of France's training camp in order to rehabilitate his right ankle -- scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds as France (ranked No. 14) defeated Croatia (19) 83-60. Two of his 11 points came on this two-handed dunk:
Keep in mind: EuroBasket 2011, the qualifying tournament for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, begins on August 31.