Bulls

Derrick Rose discusses All-Star weekend plans, emulating Kobe Bryant and more

Derrick Rose discusses All-Star weekend plans, emulating Kobe Bryant and more

DETROIT — Derrick Rose remains focused on the right things.

His renaissance and return to relevance have connected with enough fans to push him to fourth in voting for Eastern Conference All-Star guards. But with the Pistons mired in a stretch of six losses in eight games, Rose claimed not to know that.

“I just want to win,” Rose said.

Rose wouldn’t confirm that he’ll participate in the Skills Competition at All-Star weekend in Chicago, which multiple outlets, including NBC Sports Chicago, has reported. There’s a month of basketball to play before then.

Rose spoke about his season, where he’s at mentally and physically, and more in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

NBC Sports Chicago: Your minutes have been extended lately. How are you feeling?

Rose: My body is responding well. I feel healthy. And I’m just trying to play with grace out there. Trying to take shots that they’re giving me, be smart with my opportunities. It’s been a year since I’ve been at the point guard spot. I came back in the league at small forward with Thibs [then-Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau]. And then I went to shooting guard with Minnesota after that. This year, it’s the first year I’m back at point guard.

Q: What’s it been like?

Rose: It’s an adjustment having the ball in my hands, trying to create again. I just have to worry about my turnovers.

Q: Do you feel you’re reading screen-and-roll efficiently?

Rose: I’m trying. It’s all reaction. I’m trying to react to how teams play more. Teams have started trying to contain me.

Q: You’re averaging 17.8 points and 5.8 assists in just over 25 minutes per game. Do you feel you’re playing efficiently?

Rose: That’s 12 years [experience]. I played a certain way for the first five, six years. But I was improving every year. The game has changed now. You have to be able to knock down your open shots. The last couple years, I’ve made the adjustment. In New York, I was just being stubborn by not shooting. I’m trying to make all the right reads now.

Q: Do you feel you’re a smarter player now than earlier in your career when so much of your game was raw athleticism?

Rose: I hope so. You have to be. There’s no way I would’ve got to Year 12 if I didn’t improve or my IQ didn’t go up. There’s no way I’d still be playing now or teams would believe in me.

Q: Anyone who has been around you talks about how much it seems you’re in a good place, on and off the court. Are you?

Rose: I’m just comfortable. That’s all it is. When I first came into the league, I wasn’t used to all the media. I thought you just came in and played. Everybody thought I was just this drab type of character. I was like, ‘No, if you were in my shoes, you would be shy to the camera too and you wouldn’t know what to say either.’ My talent trumped everything. I was a boy then. I’ve learned who I am as a man and what I wanted out of my career and this life that I have now. I’m just more balanced. I have a family. And I know what I want out of life.

Q: You talk about comfort level here and you chose to come here in free agency. There may be trade interest in you before the Feb. 6 deadline. What do you want to happen?

Rose: I haven’t really thought about it. Me and [agent] B.J. [Armstrong] haven’t talked about it. When we have talked, it was more about All-Star and what appearances I have for adidas. It wasn’t anything else as far as like what teams are calling, this and that. We were pretty straightforward. We talk about how I play.

Q: Do you feel you’re deserving of 6th Man of the Year award?

Rose: If they give it to me, it’s cool. But my job is to show I can still hoop. I want to win a championship one day. The accolades I get are cool. But individual awards aren’t my goal. Winning is.

Q: But winning 6th Man of the Year after winning most valuable player would say something about your perseverance, your career, wouldn’t it?

Rose: Like I said, it’s about making that adjustment. It would show that I adapted to this style of play and the league now. A person I always looked up to is Kobe [Bryant]. I want to be mentioned with him. I’m trying to play as many years as possible for one. For him to play and adapt to every generation and style of play, it shows his greatness. When people think about me, I want them to think about my career and see that I could play different ways.

Q: All-Star weekend is coming to Chicago. What would mean for you to be in the real game?

Rose: It would be cool. But right now, we’re losing. That’s the only thing that’s been on my mind right now, trying to fix things here with the team. There has been a lot of long nights just trying to think and trying to put together a plan. I can only do so much. Just trying to control what I can control and be a leader for this team. Whatever this team needs, just try to be there. Being back in Chicago, I know people in Chicago are going to love it. It’s something we’ve been missing for a long time. The excitement, the buzz around it has been great. When is the last time they had it, with Mike [Jordan]?

Q: 1988.

Rose: The year I was born. Yeah, the city needs that right now.

Q: Do you remember Jordan winning the dunk contest from the foul line?

Rose: Yeah, I was just born then.

Q: When you see yourself fourth in the voting after all you’ve been through, what does that mean to you?

Rose: I didn’t see it. But I keep hearing about it. Like I said, it’s kind of hard really thinking about it when we’re losing games, bro. But all the people that’s out there voting, I appreciate all the support — not only me but my family. We all appreciate it. It shows how loyal my fans are and people are praising me for my play.

Q: You won the Skills Competition your rookie year in 2009 in Phoenix. Are you up for that competition again?

Rose: I mean, if I’m in it, I’m going to try to win it. That’s all it is. And, for me to be actually participating back in Chicago, it just gives the city something to cheer about. I’m from there. So it’s a lot of love.

Q: Do you remember how you finished the Skills Competition in ’09?

Rose: Oh yeah, yeah, with the dunk. I think it’s different now. I don’t even know the format. I just threw my name in there. I don’t know the format. But who cares? I’ll figure it out.

Q: When you come back to Chicago now, you get 'MVP!' chants. What’s your reaction to that?

Rose: It just shows where the love is at. I get that not only there but a lot of other places too. All my supporters and people who have looked at my career over these last couple years, they see that I’m balling. They still love the way I play somehow, some way.

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Patrick Beverley tells Wojnarowski: 'Vinny Del Negro, he told me I didn't play defense'

Patrick Beverley tells Wojnarowski: 'Vinny Del Negro, he told me I didn't play defense'

Patrick Beverley's path to the NBA was an intriguing one, a true story of perseverance featuring many twists and turns. For those who haven't closely followed Beverley's career, the Chicago native and current Los Angeles Clipper had a three-year career overseas before he really caught on in the NBA, landing a multi-year deal with the Houston Rockets in 2013. Before landing with the Rockets, Beverley played for Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine), Olympiacos Piraeus (Greece), Spartak St. Petersburg (Russia) before landing in Houston but a lesser-known fact is that Beverley actually spent time practicing with the Bulls within the first two years of his overseas basketball career. 

On Saturday's episode of "The Woj Pod" hosted by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Beverley discussed the importance of glue guys, Kris Dunn's season and much more. One of the more interesting tidbits was the aforementioned workouts with the Bulls. Beverley responded to a Woj question about if he could've played with the Bulls had things went differently earlier in his career:

I worked in the summertime with the Bulls, I don't know, two-three years in a row, Vinny Del Negro, he told me I didn't play defense...

Beverley elicited laughter from the crowd but he is clearly (and some would say rightfully) still upset by those who didn't give him an opportunity along the way. He went on to say that there is a "dynamic that fans don't know" and "can only assume." In the interview, Beverley didn't give a specific year but he says "two-three years" and clearly states that Vinny Del Negro was the head coach, meaning that he likely scrimmaged with the Bulls at points during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.

When you take a closer look at those rosters, the possible matchups Beverley had become incredibly interesting to think about. The 2009 Bulls had nine players scoring in double figures — and a 10th scoring 9.9 points per game in Kirk Hinrich — and the 2010 Bulls had six players scoring in double figures.

Beverley could've had matchups against Larry Hughes (12,0 PPG in '09), John Salmons (career-high 18.3 PPG in '09), Ben Gordon (20.7 PPG in '09), or even Derrick Rose (18.7 PPG from 2008-10). Out of that group, Gordon and Rose specifically, can make any defender look bad on their best day, so maybe Del Negro's mistake wasn't as egregious as it appears now. Either way, Beverley certainly hasn't forgotten the ordeal. 

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Derrick Jones Jr. takes down Aaron Gordon in an all-time great NBA Dunk Contest

Derrick Jones Jr. takes down Aaron Gordon in an all-time great NBA Dunk Contest

Ask anyone from Chicago around All-Star weekend, and you'll quickly learn the city breeds tough, gritty and relentless basketball.

Apparently, it also breeds controversial dunk contests.

Thirty-two years after Michael Jordan bested Dominique Wilkins in a contest at the Old Chicago Stadium that many agree saw a healthy heaping of home-cooking on the menu, Derrick Jones Jr. topped Aaron Gordon in an affair that sent shockwaves through the NBA universe. Here's the rundown:

Highlights from regulation

There was a special feeling about this one from the very beginning.

Perhaps white men can jump:

 

 

Dwight busted out the cape (again) — and tributed Kobe along the way:

 

Aaron Gordon at one point rattled off five 50s in a row:

 

The finish

In the end, it all came down to Gordon and Jones, who duked out a dunk-off that featured some absolute haymakers:

 

It was raucous fun, truly. But the controversy came at the finish. Jones' final dunk was an attempted reprisal of Julius Erving's famous free-throw line dunk (re-popularized by Jordan, partly in that aforementioned '88 contest), which registered a 48. Gordon then pulled out the 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall for an improvised leapfrog that nearly tore the roof down.

 

"It was a great decision for him to do that. Everybody knows Tacko's a fan favorite," Jones said. "I knew it was going to get the crowd hyped."

"He (Fall) was a little bit nervous. He was like 'I got faith in you.' I was like, 'I appreciate it,'" Gordon said.

That dunk, though, garnered only a 47 from the judges. Game, set, match: Jones. Boos cascaded from the rafters.

The reaction

That sentiment carried over into the postgame presser.

"What are we doing here?" Gordon bemoaned to assorted media before even taking his seat at the podium. "Jumping over somebody 7-foot-5 and dunking is no easy feat. What did I get, like a 47? Come on, man. What are we doing?"

All fair questions. All fair points.

"I don't even know who gave me the 9s. I'm going to find them," he added with a laugh. "Trust me, I'm going to find them tonight.

Dwyane Wade, Scottie Pippen and Chadwick Boseman... Look out.

Gordon did give Jones his due, calling him a "leaper" and "great dunker." Still, this appears to be the final contest of Gordon's career.

"It's a wrap, bro. It's a wrap. I feel like I should have two trophies," Gordon said, alluding to his defeat at the hands of Zach LaVine in 2016. "My next goal is going to be trying to win the 3-point contest."

Jones, meanwhile, contested the premise that Gordon was robbed at all.

"When I got that 48, it was tough because that was a dunk that I was doing since high school and I know that's 50-worthy. There's no way I should have got a 48," Jones said. "He clipped Tacko's head when he did that dunk, so I knew they couldn't have gave him a 50 for that one. I would have respected it if they gave him another 48, so we can go again."

In that event, Jones said he would have been ready.

"I just turned 23, I got legs for days," Jones said. Jones' birthday was the night of the contest, and he said he had dunks planned for as long as the judges allowed them to.

And though Jones hasn't yet thought about where this dunk contest ranks in the history of ones before, he's ready for the next challenge.

"Whoever want to step out there. I don't know. I'm not naming no names. I don't want to call nobody out, but whoever want to step out in front of me, I'm there. I'm not going to shy away from nobody."

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