So it appears that Derrick Rose finally has his muscle memory back. At least that's what Tom Thibodeau told ESPN Chicago's Jon Greenberg on Thursday. Thibs said that he worked out Rose last week, and he claims the former MVP is looking like himself again:
"Watching the way he's moving now, there's a confidence," Thibodeau said. "[Reporters] may not have been able to see the total work he was putting in. But he was putting in an enormous amount of work each and every day. He just never got to the explosiveness he was comfortable with. I think he's there now. He feels great, and that's the most important thing."
Thibs once again defended the decision to sit the entire season, and he said Rose was totally honest throughout the entire ordeal. The "he wanted to be out there badly" line was used again, which I still find a bit disingenuous because you can't tell me Rose couldn't have played if he REALLY wanted to. I'm not going to go any more into the possibility that Team Rose made a decision to sit the entire year relatively early in the process, but if the decision was truly up to Derrick and only Derrick, it's pretty obvious that he wasn't going to come back unless he felt that he could everything that he used to do.
That theory is backed up by this quote from Thibs, which disputes the reports that Rose was "dominating" in practice:
"He was practicing and he was good sometimes, but he also wasn't able to make the kinds of plays he likes to make," Thibodeau said. "No one is more explosive and can change direction like him. He had to be capable of doing that.
"That's what makes him so unique, how quick and explosive he is," Thibodeau continued. "He can jump sideways to avoid contact. He's always hopping around. That's a lot on your knee. You have to be comfortable doing that. He takes off and he doesn't take long to go from securing the ball to exploding and blowing by somebody."
I do understand this line of thinking, but it was stated time and time again that part of the rehab process was coming back and struggling a bit before regaining full capability. Rose obviously didn't want to deal with that step, which certainly isn't the worst thing in the world, but it opened him up to all the nasty criticism.
It definitely is nice to hear that Rose is feeling like himself again, even if it's a few months later than we hoped (14 months after the surgery). I've been pretty harsh on Rose throughout much of this, but I also have full confidence that he'll be at or close to his former self at some point next season.
In terms of this summer, Rose won't be participating in the Team USA mini-camp, which really isn't that much of a surprise. I thought it would have been a nice way to get in some action that was relatively close to an NBA game, but I guess that will just have to wait until preseason. Is it October yet?