After sitting out for two seasons with serious injuries to both knees, the question right now is will Derrick Rose come back as the Derrick Rose of old? This question is asked not just by Chicago Bulls or D-Rose fans, but by EVERYONE in the world of sports. The question might have been answered Saturday night during the exhibition game where Team USA routed Brazil 95-78 in Chicago.
Playing his first game in nine months, Rose was a little rusty, but he showed flashes of the player that won the 2011 MVP award with his unbelievable athleticism and break-neck speed.
With 4.6 seconds left in the first half, he took the ball nearly the length of the court and nailed the floater off the glass as time expired.
Rose also showed why he’s a terror to defend at half court. He went away from the screen, hit the defender with a quick crossover, and then danced in the air on his way to the left-handed layup.
“It’s a step-by-step process. He’s steadily getting better,” said Tom Thibodeau, a U.S. assistant and Rose’s coach with the Chicago Bulls. “I love the way he’s playing. He’s showing some rust. But his explosiveness is back and he’s playing well on both sides of the ball.”
This is good news to Bulls fans as well as Team USA, who’s still trying to adapt to Kevin Durant‘s announcement last week that he was withdrawing from the team because he was mentally and physically exhausted.
Other players showed why they were deserving to be on Team USA. Anthony Davis dropped 20 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and had five blocked shots. James Harden added 18 while Klay Thompson contributed 10 points, including a monster three-point shot at the start of the fourth quarter after Brazil cut the U.S. lead to 68-63. Thompson’s three-pointer sparked a 12-2 U.S. run that put the game away.
Overall, Derrick Rose looks like he has no fear on how his knees will hold up in the upcoming NBA season. Critics still want him to slow down and stop playing with reckless abandon, but that might be the only way D-Rose knows how to play and is willing to sacrifice his body to the game that he love and grew up playing. Derrick Rose will answer the question each time he steps onto the basketball court with a resounding “YES!”