So much for the concern that Derrick Rose would take a few weeks to work off the rust that comes from not playing five-on-five basketball for 18 months. Over the course of just four preseason games, our suddenly less humble hometown hero has lit the competition on fire. Drawing conclusions from preseason games is generally a contemptible practice, but it matters with Rose. There could have been real concerns over how well he would move, how he'd accept contact, how his first step would hold up. It doesn't feel overeager to say those worries are now essentially squashed.
Rose just looks so fast. We've already seen the full arsenal on display. He's finishing in traffic, he's blowing by people off the dribble in halfcourt sets, he's accelerating in transition like someone who grabbed the golden mushroom in Mario Kart. It's all there. And lest we consider our eyes and heart might be fooling us into believing Rose's effort has been better aesthetically than in actuality, the numbers support visual conclusion that, yes, Derrick Rose is very much back.
Rose has a 39.64 PER in the preseason right now. To put that in perspective, the highest PER in the league last season was LeBron James at 31.6. The highest PER of Michael Jordan's career was 31.7 in 1988. The highest PER of all-time was 31.8 by Wilt Chamberlain in 1963, the year he averaged a comical 44.8 points per game and 24.3 rebounds per game.
D. Rose is blowing that out of the water.
Rose has a 41.37 assist percentage right now. That would have put him fourth in the league last season among qualifying players. The highest assist percentage of Rose's career is 40.3, coming the last season he actually played.
Rose has a 129.6 offensive rating. The highest in the league last season was LeBron at 113.4.
Rose has a 59.1 effective field goal percentage and a 65.9 true shooting percentage. The first number is almost unheard of for a guard (especially one with high usage), the second would have placed third in the league last year behind low-usage big man Chris Wilcox and catch-and-dunk offensive specialist Tyson Chandler.
And lest we thought D. Rose wouldn't be poised to carry as much of the load as he has in the past, the man is sporting a 32.49 usage rate through four preseason games. That's slightly higher than his mark during his MVP season, in which he was second behind Kobe Bryant in the category.
Sometimes, you don't even need the fancy stats. After scoring 22 points in 22 minutes vs. Detroit and 32 points in 31 minutes vs. Indiana, Rose how has 54 points in his last 53 minutes. That's pretty good, I think.
Oh, and he's shooting 60 percent on 2.5 three-pointer attempts per game.
The regular season is coming fast. Derrick looks ready.