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Outsiders have short memory when it comes to Derrick Rose

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Updated: November 4, 2013 12:18PM

Derrick Rose has a lot to prove.

To himself, to teammates or to management? No, that has never been the case.

But to those outside that small bubble, it seems the player Rose was before he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee almost 18 months ago has been forgotten.

The average preseason power ranking for the Bulls by major sports websites is seventh. The average ranking for Rose in overall player rankings is 13th. On most fantasy basketball sites, Rose is not even in the top 10 in guards. That’s right, he’s nestled in between the likes of Brandon Jennings and Ricky Rubio. Repeat, Ricky Rubio.

Heck, even the gaming world turned its back on Rose. He once graced the cover of the NBA2K video game. Now? In his place stands LeBron James, looking skyward as if he is thanking a higher power.

Only Las Vegas seems to believe that there is a reckoning on deck with Rose’s return, with every sports book in Sin City slotting the Bulls no lower than fourth in championship odds. Then again, that might have to do with what the undermanned Bulls did last season in the playoffs more than the return of the one-time league MVP.

“The only thing that changed in my game is my confidence level,’’ Rose said when asked about outside expectations on how he will play this season. “I think I’m way more confident in my game and in my craft.

“I’m going out there to show people that I’m the same player, a more efficient player, that’s what I’m trying to prove.’’

Rose’s swagger has obviously been contagious through the first five days of training camp. While there are questions about what Rose’s return will mean for the Bulls in the standings, those questions don’t exist at the Berto Center.

Rose’s teammates will take the floor in Indiana for their first preseason game on Saturday with the mind-set that they are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

“To us, we’ve been a contender every year,’’ forward Carlos Boozer said. “We’ve just had some injuries that halted us when the moment really counted in the playoffs.’’

Boozer isn’t alone in that belief. From Joakim Noah smirking when asked about the team’s chances to make a title run this season to general manager Gar Forman stating that, “In my opinion it’s probably as strong a starting five as we’ve had in recent history,’’ the Bulls seem immune to outside opinion.

“Hopefully we established that long ago,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I’ve said this whether it’s praise or criticism or expectations, none of that matters. The only thing that matters is what we think, not what outside people think.’’

The Bulls think they’re pretty good. Rose thinks he’s going to be better than ever.

Soon it will be time to remind everyone else.


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