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Derrick Rose’s shot might be much improved when he returns

Derrick Rose Bulls dribbles ball first quarter Game 1 Eastern Conference first round playoffs United Center Saturday April 28 2012

Derrick Rose of the Bulls dribbles the ball in the first quarter of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first round playoffs at the United Center Saturday, April 28, 2012, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: September 13, 2012 6:14AM



Derrick Rose won’t be the same player when he returns to the Bulls at some point next
season — not right away, at least.

Everyone agrees it will take time for Rose to trust his surgically repaired left knee and
regain the speed and explosiveness that separates him from
virtually every other player in
the NBA.

In at least one way, though, he might be better than ever.

The Bulls are keeping such a tight lid on Rose’s recovery that they won’t even address whether his knee has recovered enough to allow him to begin shooting.
Because trainer Fred Tedeschi said Rose would begin spot-shooting 12 weeks after the surgery he had May 12, though, it’s fair to assume he has been shooting while working out in Southern California. That begs this question:

Given how hard Rose works and how much time he spends in the gym, how much better a shooter can he become if that’s all he is allowed to do for the majority of the offseason?

‘‘He can only do three things,’’ said former NBA point guard Tim Hardaway, who missed the 1993-94 season after suffering a similar injury. ‘‘He can dribble — not run and dribble, just dribble walking up and down the court; he can shoot a bunch of free throws; and he can shoot a bunch of set shots like he’s playing
H-O-R-S-E every day, all day.

‘‘But that’s going to make him better. If you shoot 1,000 jump shots a day, 1,000 free throws a day, you’re going to get better. That made my shot better. It
really made my jump shot and free-throw percentage better.’’

Hardaway’s shooting percentage decreased after his missed season, which might be because
he penetrated less while shooting more jumpers. But his three-point shooting percentage
improved from .330 to .378 and didn’t dip below .347 for the next decade.

Rose’s three-point shooting percentage increased from .222 to .267 to .332 in his first three seasons before dropping to .312 last season. Teammate Rip
Hamilton said he expects Rose to post a career high in the near future after spending so much time this offseason working on his shot.

‘‘He’s definitely become a
better shooter since he came into the league,’’ Hamilton said this offseason. ‘‘When he came into the league, guys would back off him because of his quickness. At Detroit, that’s what we did when we played against him. But this year and last year, when he added his jump shot to his game, it’s
impossible to stop him and contain him.

‘‘He’s going to get better, man. He’s going to come back better and faster.’’

Rose was an unreliable shooter during his rookie season, but he has developed into one of the best mid-range scorers in the game. He extended his range
beyond the three-point arc during
his MVP season. Lost amid his injury-riddled 2011-12 season was the fact he had extended that range even more last offseason.

‘‘He’s got a work ethic,’’ said Hardaway, who played at Carver and whose niece Mieka Reese is Rose’s longtime girlfriend. ‘‘He loves the game of basketball. He’s a gym rat.

‘‘The reason why his jump shot got better, if you saw him [play for Team USA at the 2010 world championships], in the game before the gold-medal game, he couldn’t make a jump shot, and they put somebody else in the game. When he came back home, he was on a mission to show people he could make a jump shot. That’s when he started making jump shots. He’s got a great work ethic. I love his spirit.’’

After spot-shooting, Tedeschi said Rose eventually will move to cutting activities before graduating to light contact, but that’s a ways off. Right now, about all he can do is shoot, which is reason enough to believe that part of his game will be much improved when he’s healthy enough to
return.

‘‘He’s young, man,’’ Hamilton said. ‘‘He has that drive at a young age. He’s not a kid that’s coming into the NBA and is happy to be here and is going to relax for a couple of years before they decide they want to make an All-Star team.

‘‘He came in with everything. He wants to be better. He wants to be the best point guard in the league. He wants to win a world championship. When you’ve got somebody doing all that at that age, it can be amazing.’’



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