As a result of monster 2012-13 campaigns from Chris Paul and Tony Parker, one rarely hears Derrick Rose’s name mentioned in the conversation of who is the best point guard in the NBA.
Some might have forgotten how prolific Rose was for the Chicago Bulls prior to tearing his ACL.
He led the Bulls to four straight postseason appearances in his first four seasons in the league. He was named the 2010-11 NBA MVP over LeBron James. And, of more importance, he turned the Chicago Bulls into a contender, something that they had not been since the days of Michael Jordan.
While he has certainly achieved a great deal throughout his time in the league, will Rose be able to prove that he is the best point guard in the game?
Well, the answer is a simple yes.
Having been out for an entire year, Rose has had time to work on his game.
Now, it is true that we do not know if Rose will still have the same level of explosiveness that we grew accustomed to seeing. And after suffering an injury of the nature that he did, he probably will tone down his aggressive pace to some degree.
However, we should expect to see a more evolved player, so to speak. According to Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, via Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com, Rose has taken his game to a new level offensively:
He's put a ton of time into his shooting because basically that's all he could do along with his rehab stuff.
Each year that Derrick's been in the league he's added to his game. So this is a continuation of all the things he's done in the past. Every summer he's concentrated on something and we may see more post-ups and things of that nature, more catch-and-shoot for him also.
From year to year, Rose has improved his shooting, especially from three-point territory.
In his first two seasons in the NBA, Rose attempted less than one three-pointer a game. However, in his third season, Rose attempted 4.6 three-pointers a game.
Although Rose only knocked down 33.2 percent of his three-point attempts during his third season, it was evident that he had put the time in to improve his shooting mechanics.
Hence, if he has indeed gone to great lengths to turn his weaknesses into strengths, it is highly likely that Rose will come out better than ever.
After all, history shows that some players have returned after long hiatuses and performed at a high level.
Remember when Dwyane Wade went down due to injury during the latter part of the 2007-08 regular season, only to come back the following season and average 30.2 points, 7.5 assists and 2.2 steals a game?
Think back to when Michael Jordan broke his left foot during his second year in the NBA. Many doubted that he would be able to come back and perform at an elite level. As we all know, he came back built to destroy the competition and carved out one of the greatest careers in the history of sports.
The point is that Rose will return with a more immense skill set and polished game overall. Although he was already a different type of beast compared to the rest of the NBA, get ready to see a D-Rose that none of us have seen before.
Now, although some have questioned Rose's confidence after his decision to sit out the entire regular season and the Bulls' postseason run, Rose is still mentally tough.
In the video below, CNN’s Pedro Pinto asked Rose who he believes the best player in the NBA is, only to receive an answer far from what he and anyone else would expect:
Could you sense the seriousness of Rose’s response? He really believes that he is not only the best point guard in the game, but also the best player, period. Yes, even better than four-time MVP LeBron James.
While his answer is certainly a laughable one, it does signify that he is still confident.
After a steal, Rose flew down the court with LeBron and Wade with him step-by-step, only to finish with a beautiful left-hand reverse with the defense draped all over him.
Although he had two of the greatest transition defenders in the history of the NBA stuck to him like glue, Rose did not back down.
How many players can you think of who would go one-on-two in the open court against LeBron and Wade? Honestly, it is hard to think of anybody who would.
Rose will prove to everyone that he has the game needed to be considered the best point guard in the NBA. Although some may have already written him off, the doubt and pessimism from skeptics will only fuel his desire to come back better than ever.
Yes, the NBA better get ready, for “The Return” of Rose will be one unlike any other.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, all stats are by way of Basketball-reference.com and 82games.com.