We've been occupied with the high-paced, shortened NBA offseason, but the Bulls are coming off a 62-20 season with every major piece in the rotation and coaching staff returning. Derrick Rose was the league's MVP, but at 23-years-old is self-actualized that he hasn't hit his peak performance level and worked more since the Eastern Conference Finals to get closer to that level.
At Media Day, he discussed:
- what he gained from watching film, stressing that his "basketball I.Q. is higher" -- that watching his decision-making has improved his court vision to better time his passes, increase the efficiency of his shot selection, and be mindful of not "over-helping" on defense;
- what the team seeks to gain from the seemingly inevitable acquisition of Richard Hamilton -- his skill-set, experience, and ability to win at every major level;
- how the Bulls can better utilize Carlos Boozer's skill-set, playing a more efficient game by pushing the ball inside;
- that the focus on other teams -- the Lakers, Heat, etc. -- induces that feeling that "people forgot we had the best record last year" and how that's motivating tool for the team.
[Watch the video after the jump.]
Watching the video with other interviews on Sunday and Monday, it's easy for them all to blend together, but Rose's answers matched the substance of some very good questions -- if they didn't actually exceed them.
Fawning over that substance, along Rose's demeanor, work ethic, and enhancing maturity is deserved, but there's an interesting critique of his game, the team, and presentation of the path moving forward. Usually, this would borderline on lip service, but the success of last season, coupled with the youth and athleticism of the personnel and strategic/tactical skills of the coaching staff produces a lot of genuine reason for optimism going into the 2011-12 season.
Where the Bulls stand along with the rest of the NBA will be tough to gauge as rosters are still being built and we won't have a good view of how the rest of the league looks for a month or two, so it's best to be prudent and analyze as we go along. But for now, Rose's comments should help Bulls fans watch the team in an at least slightly more illuminated way when looking at the schemes and execution on both ends of the floor, how they look to manipulate opponents' ball movement and defensive spacing, and how the strengths of individual players will be utilized to mask the weakness of themselves and others.