Returned Derrick Rose Is Both at Peace and More Driven Than Ever

CHICAGO — Meet the new Derrick Rose. He’s the same as the old Rose, but he’s different in a few telling ways.

The Chicago Bulls point guard projected a calm excitement at a charity event days before the NBA season’s start, speaking as confidently as he did when he became the youngest MVP in league history back in 2011. But he also sported some new, key features to his outlook. Through two seasons of injuries, Rose has spent more time off the court than on it, and he has adopted a more complex and peaceful worldview as a result.

And although our sample size is small—Rose returned to action with Team USA just three months ago—his new attitude has shown on the court, too. Known previously as a ceaseless speed demon, embracing contact as he plunged into the lane like his team’s only jackknife, Rose is now a shrewder player.

“My IQ of the game has changed,” he told me after taking questions from students who were the beneficiaries of his recent $1 million donation to a Chicago after-school program. “I’m switching gears, playing with more paces instead of just one. I can make the game easy. I’m being patient.”

This was in line with what he preached to the students in the Adidas store of the Water Tower Place shopping mall on Michigan Avenue. Rose urged them to always follow through with their inclinations and seek new knowledge. He even cited a recent reading of Malcolm Gladwell as a hint of the rewards of a tireless, exploratory work ethic.

“I did some research and saw that it takes 10,000 hours to master any craft,” he said. “That’s 10 years. You have to dedicate your whole life to something if you love it.”

We don’t have the math on Rose’s time in the gym at our disposal, but he seems to have surpassed that decade of concentrated time as a player.

In his regular-season debut against the New York Knicks, Rose rarely pressed the action, instead utilizing his quickness in brief bursts that found him alone for easy, mid-range bunny shots. Rose has always worked harder than the opposition, but in 2014, he’s also working smarter, seeing the game more like an easy chess match than a test of how far he can push his body.

A certain cocoon-like quality to Rose’s lifestyle has always enabled this sort of improvement. Growing up in Englewood—one of the deadliest of Chicago’s South Side neighborhoods—Rose says he survived by insulating himself with close, trustworthy friends, many of whom now work with him.

He developed a tunnel vision for his familial circle and basketball love early on. Rose became so focused on his game as a teenager that he didn’t even watch his hometown team.

“I never went to a Bulls game. I didn’t watch the Bulls in high school, I just worked out with that guy right behind you all day,” Rose said, referring to Andre Hamlin, a former coach of his at Simeon Career Academy who now works as his security chief.

Hamlin was one of many on hand trying to wrangle the younger, ebullient Rose, Derrick’s son P.J.—whose name is short for Pooh Jr., a reference to the star’s nickname growing up. The two-year-old made the most of the store’s large, open space, giggling as he feverishly threw a basketball around to everyone in attendance.

The impact of fatherhood is another key tenet of the reimagined Rose. He said being a dad motivates his performance further. “Having my son, just knowing how he’s going to grow up, it’s different. He needs something that’s going to push him. It’s all going to make him want to push himself to the next level.”

It’s also not hard to see how the toddler’s happiness changes Rose. At one point of the event, the child’s laughter and movement in the store reached such heights that Rose stopped mid-monologue just to marvel at it. “P.J.,” he said with a bemused chuckle.

Things look fun again for Rose, who has admitted to feeling little else but stress and expectations when he tried to return from injury a year ago, only to go down again during the season’s 10th game.

“I think that was just a dark side for me, a dark period of time,” Rose told The Washington Post’s Michael Lee at Team USA camp in Las Vegas this summer. “I felt like it was damn near like a job instead of just going out there and having fun. I wasn’t smiling, I wasn’t enjoying the game. I was trying not to mess up.”

Today, the point guard can’t wait to get on the floor. He loves what “feels like a new team” and thinks they can win it all.

“This is the most professional team I’ve played on. It’s no disrespect to older teammates. I’ve been on professional teams before. But on this team, from rookie all the way to veteran, everybody’s focused. You can’t do anything but respect it. We have a really good, deep team. If I was the owner of the team, I’d be very happy. We’re a contender,” he said with a proud lilt.

The Eastern Conference won’t be the one-team party it’s been in recent years—a glut of mediocrity with LeBron James standing tall above the pack. Behind a rejuvenated Rose, the Bulls are a real equal to James’ Cleveland Cavaliers and easily the biggest threat to ending LeBron’s four consecutive NBA Finals appearances.

With the teeth of coach Tom Thibodeau’s renowned defense and new scoring weapons like Pau Gasol, Aaron Brooks, Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott, this looks to be the best professional team Rose has played on.

And as much as he tries to undersell his eagerness to thwart the King, it shows. When asked about whether there’s extra emphasis on his team’s Halloween showdown with Cleveland, Rose laughed again. “C’mon man,” he said.


All quotes acquired firsthand unless noted otherwise.

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Bulls to reduce Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah’s minutes

The Chicago Bulls firmly believe that they will compete for an NBA championship this season now that they have a healthy Derrick Rose back, and they also added Pau Gasol to the mix this past offseason. While Rose looks healthy, he is expected to be on a bit of a minute count alongside of Joakim Noah who has had a bothersome knee so far this year.
Thibodeau indicated Rose and Noah will play similar minutes to end of preseason (both approx. 32 minutes vs. Timberwolves). — Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) October 28, 2014
Obviously 32 minutes per game isn’t that much of a minute count, but it could come into effect in longer games and back-to-back situations. Rose has looked very healthy in preseason action, but it has been very obvious that Noah has been dealing with nagging knee issues. It’s a good idea to keep both players on minute counts to keep their risk of injuries down as much as possible. Rose was only able to play in 10 regular season games last season before another knee injury put him out for t

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Kyrie Irving & Derrick Rose go head to head in exciting Cleveland Cavaliers Win

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls faced off Monday night at Ohio State University.
A sellout crowd of 19,049 gave Lebron James a standing ovation during the pregame introduction before the Cavaliers went on to defeat the Bulls 107-98. While many were in attendance to witness their hometown hero perform, the real spotlight was on Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose.
Kyrie Irving
The two All-Star point guards went back and forth scoring, showing off skills, and going head to head with one another.
Irving led the Cavaliers in scoring with 28 points, with 20 of those points coming in the second half. This was Irving’s third night leading the Cavaliers in scoring so far during preseason. He put on a show shooting 10 of 19 from the field in the second half and had a game high of seven assists.  One thing he struggled to do was defend Rose, but then again, who on the Cavaliers team didn’t?
Rose scored 30 points in just 24 minutes which is quite remarkable. He showed everyone a taste of what the season wil

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Skolnick: ‘Absolutely Electric’ Derrick Rose Makes Statement Against Cavaliers

Derrick Rose lit up the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night, scoring 30 points on an efficient 12-of-18 shooting for the Chicago Bulls. Is Rose finally all the way back? 

Ethan Skolnick speaks with Stephen Nelson to give his takeaways from Rose’s big night in the video above.

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Derrick Rose Crosses Kyrie Irving All The Way To The Basket (Video)

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose has returned in tip top form. Watch Rose lay a spectacular crossover maneuver on Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, spinning him like a bottle cap. The reverse finish with three Cleveland defenders surrounding the basket was poetry in motion. Somewhere, Pablo Prigioni is rewinding this clip for his amusement, while texting Rose a lengthy thank you message. Welcome back D.Rose, Welcome back!

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Derrick Rose Showing He Can Speed Chicago Bulls Back into Contention

COLUMBUS — It was but a blur, what happened back on May 26, 2011, a 12-point lead erased by the Miami Heat‘s 18-3 sprint to the buzzer, LeBron James celebrating an Eastern Conference championship on the recently crowned MVP’s home floor.

“At the end, it’s all me,” Derrick Rose lamented late that night. “Turnovers, missed shots, fouls.”

But, hey, at least he had his health. 

One knee shredded. Then, after a heralded returnand 10 games of 35.4 percent shootingthe other. 

Life has come at Derrick Rose fast.

Monday night, he came back at James’ new team even faster. 

“The fastest guy on the court by far,” Bulls center Joakim Noah said, smiling. 

That was the most meaningful takeaway from the preseason clash of expected Eastern Conference titans, an encounter that felt a bit like an extended trailer, a week prior to the premiere of the major motion picture.

Maybe the only meaningful takeaway: Rose is winning his matchup.

Not the one with Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, though he did outscore his USA teammate, 30-28, in 14 fewer minutes of the Cavs’ 107-98 win, and did turn him into a turnstile on assorted occasions. 

Rose is winning the matchup…against himself.

Against his body, his luck, his doubts, or anything else that may hold him back from becoming something close to what he was. 

And if he wins that matchup, then this rivalry can be something close to what many NBA fans hope it will be, one in which each side will have considerable reason to respect and fear and loathe the other.

If Rose is absent or even ordinary, then a slew of squadsWashington Wizards, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, maybe even the Charlotte Hornets or Atlanta Hawkshave reasonable shots to claim a top-two spot in the East, even with Chicago bolstering the rest of the supporting cast around a team Noah led to a third seed in 2013-14. 

As James said during his postgame interview after the exhibition on the Ohio State University campus, “There’s too many teams in the Eastern Conference to just talk about the two of us.” 

But if Rose plays like he did Monday, all conference conversations, at least for this season, will stop and start here, with these two squads. Then all the other matchups will matter. Pau Gasol working against Anderson Varejao on one end. Kevin Love working against Joakim Noah on the other. James working against Jimmy Butler when Butler returns from a wrist injury, and against Thibodeau’s scheme, which has been one of the more compelling coach-player intellectual exercises in recent years, dating back to Thibodeau’s days as the Celtics‘ de facto defensive coordinator.  

“Thibs is going to play you how Thibs is going to play everybody,” said James, who recorded 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists in his final appearance of the preseason. “It doesn’t change. I’ve been against Thibs defenses for a long time. In Boston. And then coming to Chicago. He plays you the same way. Very aggressive. Kind of filters you into the paint. Don’t give you no 3′s. Wants you to take contested 2′s. Always keeps a body on you. We have the personnel for it, but it’s how we place the personnel out on the floor to help us succeed. I’ll be able to give some insight on them. It obviously won’t be (Monday) and it might not even be the second game of the season. But long-term so we can be ready for their defense.”

James will try to get his team to replicate his recent playoff success against the Bulls (8-2 while with Miami) rather than his regular-season struggles (5-8 while with the Heat), even if he actually has shot better against Thibodeau’s Bulls in the regular season (52.1 percent) than in the playoffs (44.2 percent).

The question is: What postseason round will the Cavaliers-Bulls matchup come?

That depends on Rose.

Solely on Rose. 

So there’s no way to overstate what was witnessed Monday, especially in the second and third quarters, when he scored 23 points on 13 shots in just over 11 minutes, routinely accelerating past and then splitting two, three, four or five defendersbefore finishing with a floater or a layup on either side of the rim.

Irving, Dion Waiters, Matthew Dellavadova, didn’t matter. At times, the Cavaliers looked like they were trying to trap a lizard while wearing slippers on a slick floor. At others, Rose’s jabstep had them backpedaling as abruptly and awkwardly as politicians after taking unpopular positions, giving him the space to sink four three-pointers, one-quarter of his total from the truncated 2013-14 season.

“Just playing,” Rose said, without the slightest excitement. “Staying consistent with my workouts, no matter how I’m playing. Still trying to find my rhythm. Let the game come to me, and just play team basketball. Really, they were just giving me shots that I normally would take. The team is feeling more comfortable with me being on the floor, I’m feeling comfortable with just picking my spots.”

And, at the end, James paid him the ultimate compliment, by picking him up on defense, as he’s previously done down the stretch of tight playoff games.

“I’m not surprised at all,” James said of Rose’s performance, noting that he had watched the latter practice for Team USA in Las Vegas, and seen some of his games in the preseason. “As a league, as a fan, it’s great to have him back, and him playing at a high level.” 

As a Bull?

Well, Thibodeau isn’t known for his ebullience: If he won the lottery, he might drone on about the need for an experienced accountant to carefully consider all of the tax implications. So this particular postgame press conference was about as giddy as he gets, with glowing adjectives added for emphasis. 

“I thought he played really well,” Thibodeau said. “He had a lot of explosiveness. Back-to-back, he got into a good rhythm. He was attacking. You know, it was good. Real good.”

Thibodeau acknowledged that Rose has “been up and down,” but he observed that recent practices have been better, and that Rose’s Team USA experiencewith five games in six days in one stretchgave both of them confidence that the guard could handle a greater workload. 

How will Rose’s re-emergence affect others?

“Oh, you’re talking about an MVP caliber player,” Thibodeau said. “So it makes the game easy for everybody. He’s getting easy baskets in transition, he’s attacking on the pick-and-roll, he’s in the paint, making plays. So it’s a positive.” 

Enough that it left Noah positively glowing. 

“I like his mentality,” he said. “He’s aggressive. I think we’re gonna be… I think we’re gonna be really good.” 

Monday night, the blur in red gave no cause to think otherwise. 

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Derrick Rose Beats Cavaliers Defenders Down Court for and-1

It’s been a while since Derrick Rose has felt good enough on his knees to just run through defenders.

During Monday night’s preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rose drove through two opposing players to get an and-1 call.

The Chicago Bulls star probably got away with a travel, but fans will be glad to see him running the fast break with such aggressiveness.

Rose wasn’t done there, however, spinning Kyrie Irving around then finishing at the rim.


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Derrick Rose schools Ty Lawson with killer crossover (Video / GIF)

Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose schooled Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson with a killer crossover while scoring a fast break layup during the first quarter of Monday night’s preseason game at the United Center.Rose used his speed to blow right by Lawson and made it look so easy.  Lawson had no chance to even slow him down.Rose finished with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists as the Bulls beat the Nuggets 110-90.Video via NBA.
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Derrick Rose: Confidence ‘very high’ in return

Derrick Rose has played 10 games the past two seasons but has the Bulls sights on a title.



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Derrick Rose controls the Bulls’ destiny

USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt discusses Rose’s return and how the Chicago Bulls stack up in the East.



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