By Christopher Cason
The maturation of Derrick Rose has been on full display during these first few games of the season.
Winning last seasons MVP, Rose knew that coming into this season, opposing defenses were going to key in on him even more so and while he talked openly about improving his conditioning, adding a post game and fine-tuning his shooting; the one thing thats been evident in the Bulls 8-2 start is a more balanced floor game and his trust in his teammates.
Hes turning into one hell of a point guard, said a delighted Carlos Boozer when asked about his Roses patience on offense this season. Last year, he would take on the double and triple team and he would score most of the time. This year, hes doing a great job of trusting us. Hell see a double team and hell pass the ball to the right person and let them make the play and I like it when hes aggressive but hes playing incredibly smart. His assists are going up every game, hes doing a great job of getting everyone involved and hes kind of maturing right in front of our eyes.
Rose is averaging 20 points and 8 assists. His field goal attempts are their lowest since his rookie season (14.9) and while hes seemed more passive offensively to most, for opposing teams that has only made him even more of a threat.
Hes just picking his spots and that can be even more dangerous because hes less predictable, Detroit Pistons guard and former teammate Ben Gordon told CSNChicago. The thing Ive definitely seen from him is the maturation of his game from the standpoint, where hes picking his spots and trying to be more efficient. He doesnt have to shoot the ball 30 times to get his numbers and when he doesnt do that, hes even more of a handful because you dont really know when hes about to pick his spots.
The Bulls are second in assists per game at 22 per contest.
The ball movement has not only created easier shots for Roses teammates but has also kept them more engaged offensively which has caught opposing defenses, whos game plan is to stop him at all cost, off guard.
As spectacular as his exploits were last season, Rose appeared to tire in the postseason as the burden of carrying the offense fell on him even more so with Boozer playing through a turf toe injury.
He came back this year a better point guard, said Boozer. And I think his scoring ability isnt going anywhere and we know in the fourth quarter, were going to go to him until defenses stop him which I havent seen in my two years here. It is pretty amazing to be so young and learning how we can win games easier. I think its also less wear and tear on his body.
In just his fourth year, the thought of competing for a title is a very real one for Rose and the Bulls and to reach those heights, hes going to have to conserve his best for when its needed most.
Something it seems, he realized after his struggles in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat, a series in which he has taken all the blame for.
President Barack Obama, a well-known Bulls fan, welcomed the Dallas Mavericks to the White House on Monday and while he congratulated the team for their accomplishment, he let them know who he expected to be welcoming next year.
This was a remarkable run, a great victory," by Dallas, Obama said. "It's too bad that next year, it'll be the Chicago Bulls here.
When told of the Presidents comments, Rose grinned and replied;
Thats my guy, said Rose of President Obama. If we make it to the Finals, he promised me that hell be there so Im going to hold him to that promise.
As if he needed anymore motivation.