There are only 19 days until the Bulls play their first preseason game of the 2013-2014 NBA season. That means that there are only 19 days left of waiting for the return of #1, Bulls fans! October 5th, a day that has been marked on my calender since the Bulls got knocked out of the playoffs in April.
No longer will we have to see the pride and joy of Chicago shoot around in warmups but never put on his uniform. No longer will we have to listen to critics rant about how Derrick Rose should be on the court helping his teammates. We will finally get to see our superstar return to action, and hopefully to form also.
There are questions in the air surrounding D-Rose and his ability to perform at the level that he once was at in what feels like decades ago. He hasn’t seen live NBA action in over a year and rightfully so there are going to be questions about what he will be able to do. Lets be honest, Derrick’s best traits as a ballplayer are that he is faster, more athletic, and more crafty in the air than any other player in the league. He made a living off of jumping in the air, twisting and turning, and somehow finding a way for the ball to consistently go in. With a surgically repaired left ACL, there is some doubt about whether or not he will be able to be the best at those things once again.
Will he be as fast, as crafty, as athletic as he once was? What changes does he have to make to become a dominant player once again? These are all things that are going through every Derrick Rose fan’s head.
I’m here to tell you that the Windy City Assassin is a scarier player today than he was before the injury, and here’s why.
Dude Hit The Weight Room
Just by looking at Derrick, it is easy to tell that he has put on a tremendous amount of muscle since getting injured. Rumor has it that he has put on around 20-25 lbs of pure muscle in both his upper body and lower body. He came into the league as a scrawny 19-year-old kid and is now a force to be reckoned with. Possibly aside from Russell Westbrook, there is not a bigger point guard around the league physically. That will only make him more dominant.
Adding muscle gives him the ability to put more distance on his jump shots, allowing him to stretch the floor more. It will give him more confidence going up in traffic and create an even better ability to finish around the rim. Lastly, it should make him a better defender, which gives Thibs more opportunity to put him on some of the best one and two guards in the league (I.e. Dwayne Wade).
When All You Do is Work On Your Jump Shot for a Year, It Improves
D-Rose’s numbers speak for themself. He came into the league shooting a poor 22% from 3 and 78% from the free throw line. Every year, his numbers have increased up until his last full season in 2011 when he shot nearly 34% from 3 and 82% from the free throw line. That gave us fans hope to see his percentages increase, just to see him go down two seasons ago.
Now, having sat out for a year and a half, there is no reason to believe that those numbers will go back down. When you can’t run around and work on finishing at the rim, you end up spending endless amounts of time shooting J’s. I think that Derrick will end up being a completely different player in this sense. I think he will result to shooting more mid range and deep shots and not attack as much as he needed to previously. I’m looking forward to seeing this change.
Lastly, He Has Sat out for Long Enough to Be Healthy
The other day, Derrick said that he is definitely ‘100%’ and ready to go. In the last year, we’ve seen Adrian Peterson come back after 6 months and have an MVP season. Now, we’ve seen RGIII come back after the same amount of time and be very rusty to start the season. It is hard to tell whether or not it is right to come back after a short offseason, and now we don’t have to with Rose. There is no question that he has taken enough time to both physically and mentally prepare himself to return. There is no doubt in his mind that he will re-injure that knee and he has been playing basketball for long enough that all of the rust should be out.
As a fan, I am counting down the days, hours, seconds and minutes until the Bulls tip-off in Indianapolis on October 5th and #1 brings the ball up the court for the first time in 2013. Although it is just the start of the football season, I cannot wait until basketball returns so that I can watch that man ball.