By Paul M. Banks
The Chicago Bulls announced Monday that the team picked up the 2010-11 season options for both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. By exercising the respective player options, both will be under contract for 2010-11. This transaction occurred on the same day Rose practiced for the first time in….a long while. Aside from the opener, Rose missed every game this preseason, and concerns in Chicago arose. There were concerns about Rose being ready for the opener vs San Antonio Thursday night. Perhaps those fears have subsided a bit now that he’s working out again, but there are some new questions lingering as the season commences.
How effective will Rose be in the early weeks and how much of his development was stunted by the time he missed? This is a franchise that hasn’t had an All-Star since what seems like forever, and they’ve also gone without a true star/franchise player since Michael Jordan. In the words of Bulls team Captain Kirk Hinrich, “We don’t have an All-Star or anything like that, we have to do it as a group and it takes a specific type of effort to do that.” However, Rose is the only player on the roster with the potential to be that missing All-Star/franchise player- and possibly soon.
Rose, appeared in 81 games (80 starts) last year en route to being selected last year’s NBA Rookie of the Year. On the season, he averaged 16.8 ppg, a team-high 6.3 apg and 3.9 rpg in 37.0 mpg. The Chicago native shot .475 from the field and .788 from the free throw line.
I spoke with Rose at the Berto Center about what he’s working on to bring his game, and his team, to the next level. “My mental part of the game, my approach to it, my offensive game, and approach to it. Defensively- watching players more, their strengths and weaknesses,” he responded. Rose finished the 2008-09 campaign in the top three in several categories all-time among Bulls rookies, including total points (third with 1,361), scoring average (third) and assists (third with 512). Rose was the first overall selection in the 08 NBA Draft.
This being the golden age of NBA point guards, Rose doesn’t have to look very far to find inspirational role models for achieving that eliteness. I asked him who he looks at specifically.
“Deron Williams a lot, he’s a bigger guard, so I watch him, and watched him all through Illinois, so we have that kind of a connection,” the Chicago native said about one of the biggest stars in University of Illinois history. D. Will has become a huge star for the Utah Jazz, and (due to his Fighting Illini heroics in 2004-05) is extremely popular in Chicago. D. Rose has rightfully set his sites high. And realistically high.