Rejoice, basketball fans, for Sad Derrick Rose is finally feeling like Old Derrick Rose just in time for the long summer offseason.
"Watching the way he's moving now, there's a confidence," Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau told ESPN. "[Reporters] may not have been able to see the total work he was putting in. But he was putting in an enormous amount of work each and every day. He just never got to the explosiveness he was comfortable with. I think he's there now."
That's great, of course, though the former league MVP would probably have been of more use in the playoffs, where the laughably undermanned, overmatched Chicago Bulls beat the criminally accommodating Brooklyn Nets in seven games. He would've also helped in the second round, when the Bulls got rolled by the Miami Heat in five. Even though Rose was cleared to play in February, he didn't feel mentally ready to test the knee against live competition until, like, yesterday. This doesn't make him overly soft, or selfish, or yellow, because as many who've ripped their knees apart will tell you, the act of willfully, confidently putting your body back into the same situation that just landed you in a hospital unable to walk a short time ago is a struggle against human instinct itself. It's a struggle that can last months or years and still never be won.
And all things considered, it was for the best that Rose sat the season out. The Bulls weren't good enough to do anything but play him most of the game if they were serious about winning a championship, and even with an Adrian Peterson-esque return, the odds of the Bulls winning a championship with him were much longer than the odds of him finishing the season unscathed.
So it might be good that he's quick and explosive just in time for the final act between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. No one but the saddest, maddest, or dumbest Chicago fans are asking what would've happened if he came back, because everyone knows. And now, Rose will have a whole summer to stew and strengthen and dominate his teammates in scrimmages enough to get his mind right for next season's opening day.
Photo Credit: Getty