It was only approximately four minutes of a scrimmage, but just the fact that Derrick Rose was on the court, healthy and looked as if his athletic gifts hadn’t abandoned him was a sight for sore eyes.
That's about all we can ask for with Derrick Rose's time with Team USA this summer. Just play basketball again, look like you belong.
There is some 'footage', here, and the lack of access we've had to Rose in the past year makes it noteworthy.
- practicing 3s! With KD!
- Attacking! (ok this one was pretty cool, and scary...but in a good way?)
- I was teased into thinking this was a more full video of Rose but it's just the same clip over and over.
So not much, but again: I feel appreciative to see anything resembling him playing basketball again, so I'll take it. There's also the fine words being said about him, which doesn't hurt either:
We saw the quickness and the explosion in the summer-league practices, and today I think he was very patient. He found the rhythm of the game and I thought he played well on both sides of the ball. He pushed himself. He picked up full-court. I thought great technique, great effort and he ran the team well, so it’s a good first step
I was ecstatic about watching him today. He's better than four years ago. Four years ago, he was 21, and he was just on the verge of becoming who he was going to be. But he had a great practice today. You don't practice like this [every day]. He hasn't been in practices like this. Now [we'll] watch what he does for the next few days.
Coach K would also include Rose on his short list of team leaders, indicating he has a pretty good chance of making the team this summer.
Even if he doesn't, that'd be OK. He's barely played in 2 years, and even in the year prior was in and out of the lineup with minor injuries. Getting through some high-level competition unscathed and achieving some re-acclamation of his rhythm is good enough.
Rose himself, of course, is 'crazy' with confidence. But he also seemed aware of the road ahead, and not too concerned about getting back to 110%, right away:
I'm totally different. When I came back the last time [in 2013], I wanted to prove everybody wrong. I just wanted it too, too bad. I was forcing the game. This time around, I'm just trying to let the game come to me. Of course, be aggressive, but at the same time, have control of the game, be smarter, and be able to run a team.
What's perhaps most interesting coming from Rose (which, as always, we have to be wary of interpreting incorrectly given the messenger) was his prospective changes on the court.
Rose acknowledged that his injuries and rehabilitations have caused him to rethink his approach to the game. He laid out plans to pull up from the mid-range more often to avoid contact in the basket area, and to work off the ball so that he could enjoy better scoring opportunities without being forced to create everything off of the dribble.
"I think you'll see that next year," Rose explained. "I'm just trying to keep people off my body. Using a lot of floaters, using a lot of pull-ups, so I won't get touched as much. [Also], catch-and-shoot. I've been doing a lot of catch-and-shoot, running off floppy. ... I think this year will be the most in my career where I'll play catching the ball with a live dribble."
The strategic wheels are already in motion for Thibodeau, who singled out Chicago's decision to re-sign Kirk Hinrich as key in allowing Rose to spend some extra time off of the ball.
OK, so maybe it wasn't all good news. Though the Bulls made improvements this offseason, they didn't do much in the area of taking some of the workload off of Derrick. But for now, even imagining a future of Hinrich passing the ball to Derrick Rose still implies Derrick Rose will be on the court again...so I'll take it.