Can Derrick Rose return to MVP form?
The sky was seemingly the limit for Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose after the 2011 season. The dynamic point guard had led the Bulls to 62 regular season victories, an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals and took home the league’s Most Valuable Player award. An epic campaign.
However, since that groundbreaking season, Rose has played in a mere 39 regular season contests over the past three years combined due to a plethora of injuries. The Bulls, who were thought to be contenders with a healthy Rose entering these seasons, have played hard but without their franchise player haven’t seriously contended for supremacy.
This summer, Rose is training with the U.S. Men’s National Team for the upcoming FIBA World Cup later this month. From all accounts close to the situation, Rose has seemingly regained the form that once made him one of the league’s brightest stars.
But with recurring knee problems there is a lingering doubt in some circles, questioning if his body can hold up for a full season, let alone a deep playoff run.
Rose says he has no fear in his ability and believes his injury woes are in firmly in the past.
“No, I have no fears. I have faith,’’ Rose said, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I know that I’m going to be fine. I know that I busted my ass the entire two summers. You can say two seasons to get back to where I am right now. And just try and keep it moving, stay positive every day, do everything consistent like I’ve been doing.
“Every time I step on the floor it’s something to prove. I have my own little goals in my head, I have my own little things that motivate me in my head that I keep to myself. But every time I step on the floor I try to produce.’’
Team USA is scheduled to play Brazil in an exhibition game in Chicago this Saturday. It will be the first live look Bulls fans have had at Rose in nine months.
“I appreciate even more, even just being in the city,’’ Rose said. “Being here the entire summer, not going home, just seeing how crazy the city is right now with all the deaths and everything. Just makes me appreciate life a little bit better, a little bit more, knowing that there are kids out there that don’t give a hell about their life, acting like it’s a video game. It made my appreciation for the game even higher. When I step on the floor, it’s going to feel like a performance every time.’’
Last season Rose averaged 15.9 points, 4.3 assists and 3.2 rebounds on 35 percent shooting in 10 contests before suffering a season ending knee injury. All of those numbers represented the lowest production of his career.
Sacramento can breathe a sigh of relief, DeMarcus Cousins is fine
As the U.S. Men’s National Team continues to prepare for the upcoming FIBA World Cup, the debate on whether upper tier professional athletes should participate in these summer events rages on. The primary driver in the recent debate largely stem from the gruesome leg injury suffered by All-Star forward Paul George, which will cause him to miss the entire 2014-15 season.
The argument against using elite level players almost received an additional shot in the arm when Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins injured his knee in the first team practice since George’s injury.
Cousins became entangled with New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis when both players fell to the floor during a scrimmage. Cousins was immediately removed from practice where he watched with an ice pack on the injured knee.
Davis was shaken to see his teammate writhing around in pain, especially since he was involved in the play that caused the injury.
”Definitely scary, not just the fact that he went down, but the fact that I actually was the one who dove on him,” Davis told the Associated Press. ”I kind of feel bad and I hope he’s fine because he really wants to be here. He really wants to play.”
The good news for Cousins, Team USA and ultimately the Kings organization is that an MRI on the center’s knee showed no signs of structural damage. Cousins is officially listed as day-to-day.
This hasn’t been a stellar summer for Team USA leading up to the FIBA World Cup. Reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant pulled out of his commitment last week citing exhaustion and fatigue. Prior to that, talented forward Kevin Love withdrew because of the uncertainty of his situation with the Minnesota Timberwolves. All-Star forwards Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge also pulled out of the games earlier this summer.
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