Word is all Derrick Rose needs is practice at being Derrick Rose to again be… Derrick Rose.
Indeed, it’s all about DRose as the youngest MVP in league history moves closer to the point of returning to the game he dominated as recently as three seasons ago, though that must seem like a lifetime ago to some. The 25-year-old Chicago Bulls star guard is set to return to the hardwood in earnest a mere 72 hours or so from now, competing for a spot on the USA National Team set to do battle at the 2014 Basketball World Cup later this summer.
And by all indications, Rose should be more than ready for his much anticipated close-up against the star-studded likes of Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving, all of whom will also be in Las Vegas and in camp. After playing in just 49 games and suffering back-to-back season-ending knee injuries since his coming-out season, Rose is rumored to again be in rare form and, as quick and explosive as he ever was, and eagerly “fine-tuning” his hoops instincts.
“Derrick’s been having a great summer,” Bulls teammate Taj Gibson told ESPN this week. “He’s sacrificed, stayed in Chicago all summer to work on his game. He wants to let his game speak for itself. He’s staying away from all the negative stuff, just working on his game. Every day I go in the gym he’s there and moving forward. He’s going to come back dominant.”
And still, no one can deny he will certainly be a different Derrick Rose.
The hard-knocks of last two seasons have matured Rose in ways he couldn’t have foreseen and certainly wouldn’t have wished for himself. But now here he stands, undeniably bloodied but just as clearly unbowed, and the Bulls almost sound as enthused about having him back as they were when they welcomed him into the fold as native son returning to his roots as the top overall pick of the 2008 NBA draft.
For months now, Coach Tom Thibodeau has preached to anyone willing to listen how much he hopes Rose will be a part of the Team USA squad for which he will serve as an assistant for under Mike Krzyzewski. “Team USA will be terrific for him,” Thibodeau told ESPN. “When you go back to his MVP year, he played with Team USA that summer and that prepared him very well for the season. He hasn’t played in a long time, so it’s a good opportunity to get that out of the way.”
But either way, the unflappable Rose figures to be ready to go by the time the Bulls tip off this season, ready to go because, well, Rose probably hasn’t ever been as motivated as all indications are he now appears to be.
Lost time and prolonged idleness can do that to a man.