Team USA training camp began today in preparation for the FIBA Basketball World Cup next month. At practice, Derrick Rose, professional basketball player, dunked a basketball. Why is this a big deal? Because Chicagoans along with NBA fans who have missed Rose’s unique brand of electrifying athleticism want to see him and his knees succeed. Here is said dunk.
It’s all there. The bounce. The effortless flush. The trademark stoicism of Mr. Rose’s expression. This next clip was a little more frightening.
Walk it off buddy! Looks like Derrick Rose is back to being back to being Derrick Rose. That wasn’t a typo. We’ve done this all before. The hope. The hype. The Addidas commercials. The dominant preseason performances. And yet, we had our hearts broken after just 10 games. Will this time be different? Derrick seems to think so.
DRose, on how close he is to being himself: "I’m there, man. I’m not worried about that. My confidence is very high."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 28, 2014
Rose at USA camp: "I know how special I am as a player. I know what I still can do. I’m only 25. I’ve been preparing for this moment."
— Sam Smith (@SamSmithHoops) July 29, 2014
One thing’s for certain: He’ll have a much easier time this year with all that talent around him. Even if he’s risking injury here for Team USA, Rose can shake off all the rust and work a bit on his finesse game — something that could spare his knees once the real season begins. His short stint last year was statistically shaky, as Rose averaged 15.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game on 35 percent from the field — all career-lows. But if he can work out the kinks against some inferior opponents, he’ll be ready to run a much-improved Chicago offense that now features more than one dude who can shoot and pass.
The Bulls identity during Rose’s best years boiled down to annoying the shit out of teams on defense and hoping that Derrick can string enough ridiculous acrobatic maneuvers together to score more than the other guys. His usage rate (basketball nerd speak for an estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player) has been above 30 percent the last three seasons — including his 10-game stint last year. Sure, Tom Thibodeau is known for running his players into the ground with ridiculous minute totals, and the Bulls training staff has a less than stellar reputation. But it’s not about the minutes. It’s about the kind of high-impact plays Rose puts into those minutes. He does things that we’ve never seen another basketball player (except maybe Russell Westbrook) do with his body. Maybe it was just too much to sustain.
Whatever the case, Pau Gasol, the best player in Europe Nikola Mirotic, Douglas McBuckets and an improved Tony Snell should all help Mr. Rose stay healthy this season.
*Gulp* We Hope.
Now let’s stop these injury memes and jokes. They’re just
— The Gawd™ (@Chf_BoyarB) July 28, 2014