String together the words "Derrick Rose" and "return" and you get endless anticipation every time.
The Chicago Bulls, their fans and those who appreciate backcourt greatness had been longing for the day when Rose would suit up. They were teased by medical clearances and pregame dunks last year, but still he sat.
The days of anatomizing the likelihood of his return are gone, though. On opening night of the 2013-14 regular season, he's going to play. It's going to happen. Per the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson, Rose is on track to attend training camp, and he's bringing increased range on his jumper and a left-handed floater with him.
We haven't had that kind of certainty in nearly 18 months. And when word seeps out that he's not only coming back but has gotten better, there's nothing left for us to do other than immerse ourselves in everything we've ever missed about him.
Defenses learned early (and often) not to let Rose get out into the open floor. Bad things happen to them and the rims when he's left free to fly.
The Atlanta Hawks have known what I'm talking about since 2010:
Not sure what's more incredible: the control and explosion Rose has in his right hand or the fact that John Salmons decided to pass.
The Detroit Pistons found some closure of their own in 2011:
Are point guards even allowed to jump that high? Watched on that loop, I'm not entirely convinced he wasn't wearing moon boots. At the very least, someone should check his socks for some combination of springs and Flubber before next season begins.
Some might also be hesitant to throw down an in-game reverse—Rose isn't one of those people either:
Hops don't lie: Poor Rasheed Wallace didn't stand a chance.
Your lower limbs simply aren't safe when Rose has the ball in his hands.
And Andre Miller still hasn't recovered from his brush with Rose's crossover back in 2008:
Rose came, Miller's ankles crumbled and Samuel Dalembert got called for goaltending. What more could you ask for in a highlight?
Help defense tends to be futile when going up against Rose's crossovers. Especially when that help defense is supposed to come from Ryan Hollins:
It's times like these that should make NBA players grateful for ankle braces. Also, the manufacturing of t-shirts that read "Derrick Rose Broke My Ankles and Destroyed My Ego, But I Survived and Am Better Off for It, Though Not Really" seems appropriate too.
What, that's too long for a shirt? I'll settle for some custom-made, Shaquille O'Neal-sized coffee mugs then.
Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness
Point guards pass. It's what they do. Even Brandon Jennings. Unless, of course, he's on a heat check. Different rules apply at those times.
When the clock's winding down, you want Rose to have the ball in his hands.
Other (Amazing) Things
Were you to compile a list of Rose's greatest dunks, you would need a sixer of Red Bull, an aversion to sleep and about two-to-three weeks of time to kill.
Rose dunks. More than Nick Young shoots or Andrew Bynum changes his hairstyle, he dunks. Point men who stand at 6'3" aren't necessarily supposed to rock the rim as often as he does, but he doesn't care:
And watch Rose himself incur the wrath of his vicious slam:
Any dunk that smacks you in the face like a poorly timed Landry Fields swipe deserves some kind of reward.
Just like we deserve compensation for patience. It's been far too long since we saw Rose play a second of meaningful action. Though I for one am glad he's happy, healthy and refining his teardrops, I have to admit he owes us.
Luckily for him we accept (re)payment in the forms of fast-break dunks, crossovers, clutch heroics and other various humiliating slams.