The last time Derrick Rose played a full season of basketball (2011) he was named MVP of the NBA. Rose is one of only three men under 6’4″ to win the league MVP since 1957. (Steve Nash and Allen Iverson are the others.) He also became the youngest, at 22, to win the award. All NBA players are fast, but being of the under 6’4″ variety means that speed is an even more important aspect of Rose’s success than it is for some of the bigger guys, like Kevin Durant.
And the reliance on speed means that Rose must bring an exceptionally healthy body to the floor. The state of Rose’s health after two knee surgeries has for years been messing with hoops-crazed Chicago like Mrs. O’Leary’s clumsy cow. But now Rose is back. His current play has USA Basketball coach Mike Krzyzweski using words like “exceptional” and “elite.” Those are words Rose is used to hearing–but lately to describe surgeons. One of Krzyzweski’s assistants on the USA team is Tom Thibodeau, Rose’s Chicago Bulls coach. He says joyfully that Rose looks “explosive.” Which is just what Chicago needs. It’ll be a good change from “combustible”–which is what the Rose injury situation has been for many NBA fans.