No backing off for ‘driver’ Rose in 1st practice
By Joe Cowley email@example.com September 28, 2013 1:47PM
Updated: September 28, 2013 7:26PM
There were glimpses last season.
“A ‘Matrix’ moment,” as Bulls forward Carlos Boozer called it. A certain play or a drive where Derrick Rose would look like the Derrick Rose that would attack the rim with a viciousness not seen by most point guards. The same Rose they remembered pre-torn anterior cruciate ligament.
But those moments were few and far between once Rose did start practicing with his teammates last December.
In Saturday’s first Bulls practice of training camp?
“No, no, he attacked all day, in fact from the start. He made that clear,” coach Tom Thibodeau said of the aggressiveness Rose displayed going to the hoop in the team scrimmages.
So much for easing back into it.
“I came in this league a driver and I’m going to continue to drive,” Rose said of his 2013-14 practice debut. “I can shoot. My shot has gotten better. But I know I’m labeled as a driver.”
And with that comes contact.
Another part of the practice that Rose almost welcomed.
“Yeah, there was some hard fouls,” Rose said. “I just have to get used to it. I didn’t think nothing of it. I just got up and shot the free throws.”
It wasn’t all perfect for the 2010-11 NBA MVP, however. According to Thibodeau, his timing was off a bit. Then there’s getting used to playing with his teammates after missing a year-and-a-half of basketball.
“I think the big thing is he’s got to get used to the contact, the physicality of everything, and then of course we haven’t put in our double-teams yet, but we’re going to add that in so he gets comfortable with that,” Thibodeau said. “I think the more he does see that, the more he does with the scrimmage part, he’ll continually get better and better each day. A big part of that is the timing of the offense, the spacing, and it’s not just him, it’s the entire team.”
The fact that Thibodeau will be using double-teams on Rose soon is crucial because it was that part of the game that kept the guard from returning during the playoffs last season. Rose admitted that he just didn’t feel like the knee would hold up to it.
“I never felt like I could take on a double-team,” Rose said. “I knew that I could get past one person in the playoffs, but in the playoffs you really have to think the game, and people are going to throw different defenses and strategies at you every game. I knew I wasn’t ready to take on a double-team in the playoffs so I had to make the decision not to come back.”
At least on Saturday, a decision that was feeling even more right for Rose.
“I could care less,” Rose said of the critics from last season. “People always going to say something. The way I look at it, they questioned and had their opinions about Jesus and he was perfect. So for me, I’m far from that. I could take it. I made it this far.”