Vindicated Derrick Rose silences critics; Bulls go 8-0 in preseason
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter October 25, 2013 11:14PM
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Updated: November 27, 2013 6:16AM
It wasn’t exactly an exclamation point for Derrick Rose, who had 15 points and eight assists in the Bulls’ last preseason game, a 94-89 victory Friday against the Nuggets.
More important than helping his team to an 8-0 record, Rose quieted the critics. And there were many.
It was open season on Rose after he missed all of the 2012-13 season despite getting clearance from team doctors.
“I thought it was unfair,’’ Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said of the criticism Rose received in his hometown.
“Although the doctors cleared him, I’m sure there have been cases where someone has been cleared to do something, and they go out and injure themselves.
“He’s his best gauge. He had to deal with all the criticism and backlash. As long as he can handle that, I think it’s fine. I think it was the right decision. I think he’s back at the level that he was when he was MVP.’’
As an assistant coach with the Pacers last season, Shaw had a talk with Rose that could’ve further persuaded him that he was doing the right thing by sitting.
“I talked to him about Penny Hardaway, who was a teammate of mine in Orlando,’’ Shaw said. “When he blew his knee out, he came back too early. He never regained the form that he had before the injury.’’
In seven preseason games — he missed the game against the Wizards in Brazil — Rose averaged 20.7 points and showed his old explosiveness around the rim, as well as an improved three-point shot.
Opposing coaches who’ve seen him this preseason have raved about his play. Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Rose already was an MVP candidate.
“I think he silenced those critics and then some,’’ Taj Gibson said. “Those people that don’t understand it, he did the right thing.’’
And while Rose could’ve taken the I-told-you-so route, he instead reiterated that he understood the criticism.
“I look at it through their eyes,’’ Rose said. ‘‘If I had a favorite player and I was a fan, I would want him on the court, too. I could see where they were coming from when they were saying the things they were saying. They just wanted me on the court. I can’t feel bad about their opinion or judge them for their opinion.’’