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Derrick Rose understands critics, now it’s time to ‘prove people wrong’

Updated: July 29, 2014 3:39PM

LAS VEGAS — Early on during Derrick Rose’s rehab from the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in 2012, it was easy for him to remain insulated from the critics.

But even that bubble can pop. Criticism from fans and media is hard to ignore when the volume gets high enough.

“Hell, yeah, it’s even more,’’ Rose said Monday when asked if he still thought those who doubt him are fools. “I’m a special player. I still have youth. I’m only 25, man. Just doing everything I’m supposed to do in rehab. Just strengthening everything, taking it one day at a time and getting the most out of every day. I’ve been preparing for this moment.

“I can’t get mad at [the criticism]. People are going to say anything. For me, just try to take it in and use it when I work out, use it as motivation. Go out there and try to prove people wrong. I know how special I am as a player. And I know what I still can do.’’

He’s in a small group because few are so sure of his capabilities.

After all, Rose has played in only 10 regular-season games since April 28, 2012, because of the ACL injury and the torn meniscus in his right knee last season.

He has been back on the court, playing five-on-five since May, but not for anyone to see. His schooling of guys in Summer League practices earlier in the month was only folklore.

On Monday, with Rose trying to make Team USA for the FIBA World Cup of Basketball next month, outsiders finally could lay eyes on him.

In the scrimmage the media were allowed to watch, Rose started, made a quick three-pointer, missed a second three and was out after about four minutes. Not much to tell, but it was better than watching Rose sit on a bench in a suit.

“We saw the quickness and the explosion in the Summer League practices, and he was very patient and found the rhythm of the game Monday,’’ said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, an assistant for Team USA. “He played well on both sides of the ball; he pushed himself; he picked up full-court. I thought he had great effort, great technique, and he ran the team well, so it’s a good first step.’’

One of many steps, however.

Rose has the experience of playing with the 2010 U.S. team on his side, and that alone can give him the benefit of the doubt over Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard and John Wall. Thibodeau, however, pointed out that it’s not a free pass.

“I know USA Basketball is excited to have Derrick back here, and I know they respect what he did in 2010, but Coach [Mike Krzyzew-ski] and Jerry Colangelo will take the best 12 players,’’ Thibodeau said.

As for Rose, he talked at length about being a completely different player, “a smarter player,’’ he said over and over again.

And while he said playing for Team USA is “an honor,’’ he realizes he has to deliver for his hometown team this season.

“I just know we’re going to be somewhere up there,’’ Rose said of the Bulls’ chances. “I don’t know what place or whatever. But I know we’re going to be a contender.’’


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