Derrick Rose is slowly getting into tip-top shape for the NBA season and he has the luxury of doing it against some of the premier basketball talent from across the globe. At times the kid from Englewood has looked like the D-Rose of old, the D-Rose that portrayed himself as an actual bull, the D-Rose who shared the screen with Ken Jeong and his freaky lady pyramid, and the D-Rose who was the MVP.
But, D-Rose has also looked rusty at times and hasn’t exactly had the numbers to back up that stellar play that coaches and writers raved about in USA training camp. Team USA has had three games in the World Cup thus far, in one game, Rose looked good, the other two games, not so much.
Against Finland, Rose looked great dropping 12 points in a team high 23 minutes and going 5-5 from the charity stripe. The next two games were nothing to brag about as Rose had 2 points in 17 minutes against Turkey with a hideous +/- of -2, and 3 points on 1-6 shooting against New Zealand.
Now, one can argue that these World Cup games are just to get Rose’s feet wet, and there shouldn’t be any worrying about numbers as long as Rose doesn’t get injured. The World Cup’s sole purpose in Rose’s eyes is to get the stamina back and work his way up to NBA level competition.
The above statements are true, let Rose play his way back into fighting shape, but would’t it be great to see the numbers go along with it?
The Ugly Truth
The question has been raised if Rose should of even made Team USA knowing that he might not be at 100%. If Rose is just working his way back into playing shape, doesn’t it seem a bit unfair to the other players on Team USA? Is it fair to someone who is completely healthy like Damian Lillard?
Chris Bernucca, who is the Editor-In-Chief of Sheridan Hoops, touched on this topic. In the article, Three Man Weave: Burning Questions for Team USA, the question was asked if Rose should of made the team when Lillard is reportedly on call, and Bernucca had this to say.
“No. It has been obvious throughout training camp and exhibitions that Rose either is (a) not fully recovered from his ACL and MCL tears over the last two years or (b) fully recovered and now a shell of his former self. His breakneck speed and impossible body control now appear in short bursts and are not sustained. The truth is that right now, Lillard is the better player, with a Rookie of the Year, an All-Star berth and a cold-blooded nature.”
Bernucca’s statement is kind of harsh, but it’s the truth. There is a possibility that Rose is not 100% healthy yet. It is also possible that Rose is healthy and is a shell of his former self.
There is a silver lining in all this talk, by the end of the week, Rose will have played three games in three nights, which should help with shedding some of that rust after basically two years with no basketball. Team USA assistant coach and Chicago Bulls head coach, Tom Thibodeau, touched on Rose playing three games in three nights.
Per ESPN’s Marc Stein,
“I think he’ll be fine, ” Thibodeau said of the prospect of Rose playing in all three games of a back-to-back-to-back set. “He’s working every day. The only way you’re going to shake the rust off is by playing.
“Physically he feels good. Mentally he’s good. But he’s got to work on his timing. He hasn’t played in two years basically. So it doesn’t happen overnight, and I think he understands that. He’s showing great patience. It’ll come. It’ll come.”
Chicago Bulls fans might see this from Rose for the entire NBA season. There will be games where he’s like Jimmy Johns and is freaky fast and you will say to yourself, “he’s back.”
There will also be games like the games against Turkey and New Zealand this past week, where you say to yourself, “what the hell.”
Of course what Chris Bernucca has said is a possibility, Rose could become a shell of his former self. This wouldn’t be the first time a great player has come back from injury and not been the same. Prime examples of this would be Grant Hill and Anfernee Hardaway, who for a short while burst on to the scene, only to have their careers detour after injury.
Thibodeau said Rose is “showing great patience” with his return. Maybe it’s time we all do the same.