Derrick Rose says World Cup action has him in best shape ever

Sept 13, 11:00 AM

Derrick Rose's struggles with Team USA at the FIBA World Cup have dominated headlines, but with only Sunday's championship game remaining for Rose and the Americans, it sounds like the former MVP has gotten what he wanted out of the experience.

Rose looked impressive in pre-tournament action, but his shooting struggles in Spain caused many to question whether John Wall or Damian Lillard would have been better options for the U.S., especially with Rose and Tom Thibodeau making his World Cup stint sound like somewhat of a glorified rehab program.

Nevertheless, if Rose has successfully gotten himself into game shape and has shaken off the rust that saw him shoot just 35 percent from the field in 10 games with the Bulls last season and 27 percent for Team USA this month, Chicago should be thrilled with his tournament.

Feature photo courtesy of USA Today Sports/David Banks

Sept 11, 6:51 PM

Derrick Rose on shooting struggles: 'I'm good, I'm not worried'

Sept 11, 6:51 PM

Derrick Rose continued to struggle with his shot on Thursday as the U.S. beat Lithuania in the FIBA World Cup semifinals, just a game after he appeared to have returned to form.

Rose shot just 1-of-8, dropping his shooting mark for the tournament to an anemic 27.3 percent. He's 1-of-17 from long range,has shot just 36.8 percent inside the arc and has struggled regularly when finishing at the rim.

This comes after he had trouble finishing in his short-lived, 10-game return last season, shooting 35.4 percent overall and just 53.1 percent at the rim. While his speed and handle are unquestionably back, it appears as if his touch is following slowly.

For his part, Rose isn't worried, nor is his Chicago Bulls head coach and team USA assistant Tom Thibodeau:

If you're a Bulls fan, you should be thankful that Rose has been afforded these nine games to shake off the rust and rediscover his touch.

Sept 8, 3:16 PM

Derrick Rose tweaks jump shot in midst of shooting slump

Sept 8, 3:16 PM

Derrick Rose has connected on just eight of his 37 field goal attempts at the FIBA World Cup, but the former MVP was said to be upbeat after Monday's practice, as Team USA prepares for the quarterfinals.

According to ESPN's Marc Stein, it sounds like the change has to do with how much air Rose was getting on his jumper.

Citing a team source, Stein writes that Rose "appeared to modify the amount of lift he had been taking previously on his jump shot in Monday's shooting session to guard against getting too high in the air before his release."

Rose has struggled with his shooting throughout the tournament, as he did in his brief comeback with the Bulls in 2013-14, but he and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau have maintained that the point guard has less of a scoring role for Team USA and is using international play to prepare for his NBA return.

Still, USA coach Mike Krzyzewski admitted on Monday that he'd like to see Rose "go off."

Rose, who has been coming off the bench for the American team, will get to show off his altered shot against Slovenia on Tuesday.

Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Brad Penner

Sept 7, 9:08 AM

Thibodeau on Rose's USA struggles: 'Nothing negative about this; this is all positive'

Sept 7, 9:08 AM

After some encouraging signs during Team USA's pre-tournament action, the results have been pretty underwhelming for Derrick Rose at the FIBA World Cup, with the former NBA MVP shooting 21 per cent from the field through six games, including a scoreless performance in an American rout of Mexico on Saturday.

Couple that ugly shooting with the fact that Rose struggled to the tune of just 35 per cent shooting in 10 games with the Bulls last season before suffering another knee injury, and it's clear to see that rust could be a factor for the Bulls point guard.

Of course, Bulls fans would surely take a rusty, healthy Rose over an injured Rose any day of the week, and as Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau reminds us, there's evidence in the FIBA sample to suggest Rose is healthy.

Via Sam Smith of Bulls.com:

“The big thing with Derrick is each day keep improving,” said Thibodeau. “Physically, I think he’s fine; he’s moving with great speed and explosiveness. His shots aren’t going down right now. Just keep building; we anticipated this. When you’ve been off as long as he has, it’s going to take a little bit [of] time to get into a rhythm again. He just has to continue to be patient, putting the work into each and every day. The more he plays, the better he’ll get."

Thibodeau later added, “To me this is terrific preparation for him. There’s nothing negative about this; this is all positive. The more he practices, the more he plays, the better he’ll get. He’ll be fine. Just take it day by day and get ready for training camp when we get there."

"My thing is conditioning and when we get back to the NBA season, I know that I’m used to that ball," Rose said Saturday, via Sam Smith. "Use this as conditioning and get in a rhythm of pick-and-roll and defensively get into people, playing full court, trying to pick up very hard and give this team a rhythm. It’s kind of like cruise a little bit, but at the same time getting better individually."

It would be great for Rose, Thibodeau (who is on the USA coaching staff) and the Bulls if Rose can use his summer action with the national team to shake the cobwebs off before Chicago's training camp begins in less than a month's time. But it also begs the question of how fair cutting John Wall and Damian Lillard was when Rose's World Cup stint seems to be more of a rehab project than anything else right now.

If the U.S. continue to cruise through the tournament en route to a World Cup title, it won't matter much. 

“Usually when I come in, we have such a big lead, it’s almost like an All-Star Game where I’m coming in and just getting guys into a rhythm," Rose said, with the Americans now outscoring opponents by an average of 31.5 points.

If they should come up short, however, with Rose continuing to struggle, his inclusion on the 12-man team will no doubt be a topic of conversation.

Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/David Banks