No holding back and no waiting. Obviously, there are going to be preseason games for Derrick Rose to tune up his game and get back his feeling back, but the great big title hope for the Chicago Bulls isn’t planning on taking it easy once he’s on the floor for his first official NBA game in 18 months.
There’s only one speed and gear for Rose, and that’s full throttle, no looking back. Rose was never the kind of player to shy away from contact on the floor. Aggression, speed, intensity. His game is based on his athleticism and ability to make decisions in high speed situations, while driving to the paint. Having such a long time to recover and bring his body back to the point of which it seems he hasn’t missed so much time on the floor, Rose is planning on playing like he’s always been here.
Tom Thibodeau’s plan for the preseason is to give player six-to-eight minute spurts, which will amount to about 12-24 minutes a night for certain players, including Rose. The time for him to make a slow comeback was last season, when he flirted with the idea of coming back to help the Bulls make a playoff push and maybe threaten the Heat. Eventually, he chose, frustrating many, to remain a spectator and not take any risks.
After so long and another season of the Bulls wasting away their window of winning with Rose still around and the team they built around him still intact, there’s no time for patience. Rose keeps talking about feeling like he is in the best shape he’s ever been in, so there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be playing like he always has in terms of both minutes and style.
Is this making Bulls execs a bit weary and anxious? Probably, but at this point, with almost two lost seasons under their belt after giving Rose that massive extension, there’s no point in holding back and waiting for him to gradually make his way back to the floor. Chicago need to win now. Rose needs to win now, and this means that all caution gets thrown out the window and into the wind.
The question will be how Rose actually reacts when he’s on the floor. Yes, he’s been to contact training and through all the buffers to get him ready. But in an actual NBA game? With the Indiana Pacers waiting as the first opponents? That’s a little bit new to Rose, and we might see some bits of hesitation and possibly even fear during his welcome back party. However, if Rose is as determined, focused and motivated as he seems to be, all those inhibitions will be disappearing before we even reach half time.