Bulls Insider

Why Derrick Rose is appreciated by Knicks players, coaches

/ by K.C. Johnson
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Bulls Insider

RJ Barrett was an 11-year-old living in Canada when a 22-year-old Derrick Rose became the youngest most valuable player in NBA history for the 2010-11 Bulls.

Like many in love with the global game, Barrett developed an appreciation for Rose as he used explosive athleticism to knife his way through defenses.

“We all grew up watching D-Rose,” Barrett said Tuesday on a Zoom media session. “We grew up watching his highlights.”

Now Barrett, who turns 21 in June, has a whole new appreciation for Rose. First, they’re teammates. Secondly, Barrett knows that Rose has endured multiple knee surgeries and rehabilitations to be averaging 13.9 points for the Knicks.

In fact, the Knicks are 18-8 when Rose plays. And the former high-flying All-Star has averaged 17.1 points on 53.8 percent shooting during the Knicks’ recent 9-1 stretch, using a variety of floaters, crossover-dribble moves and pick-and-rolls to wreak his havoc.

“To see how he’s playing now, especially the past week or so, it just shows you how great he is. This is like Year 12 for him and he’s still out there getting 20 points, 5 assists, 6 rebounds, still out there doing everything on the court. Hustling, doing everything,” Barrett said. “To see where he started and what he’s had to overcome in his career, it’s amazing.”

It’s not amazing to Tom Thibodeau, who long has been one of Rose’s staunchest supporters and strongest allies. Thibodeau inherited the former No. 1 overall pick when the Bulls hired him in 2010. But as the Timberwolves’ president of basketball operations, Thibodeau signed Rose as a free agent after the Jazz waived him, resuscitating his career.

 

Thibodeau then worked with Knicks president Leon Rose to acquire Rose from the Pistons in a February trade.

“The one thing about Derrick is whenever he has been healthy, he has been an excellent player in this league. And I think that holds true to this day,” Thibodeau said Tuesday. “The only time he hasn’t really performed was when he was injured. Other than that, he’s been a very high-level player for a long time.”

Rose’s pregame maintenance routine is quite involved these days. His teammates see the commitment it takes to get his body right now that he’s 32 and playing a different type game than when he first exploded onto the scene.

But it’s still effective.

“He’s a pro. He loves basketball. He loves to play,” Barrett said. “He’s ready to go every day.”

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