The Chicago Bulls point guard sat out the entire 2012-13 NBA season nursing a torn ACL. During that time, he withstood a barrage of criticism—including some from yours truly. People thought he should have played once he was medically cleared. End of story.
But Durant has spent time working out with Rose this summer and, looking back, thinks he made the right decision to remain sidelined last year.
“He’s been looking great," Durant told Comcast SportsNet's Sports Talk Live (h/t David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com. "It was really good for him to take the whole year off."
Durant didn't stop there either. He went on to say Rose actually looks better than before.
"A lot of people criticized him for it and were really upset about him not playing, but it was the best thing for him," Durant explained. "I can tell, because he looks better.”
His evaluation of Rose's progress echoes what we've been hearing all summer. From gaining 10 pounds of muscle to boasting an improved jumper, we've been led to believe Rose made the right decision. Even the point guard himself admits the extra time off allowed him to grow as a player.
"The only thing that has changed in my game is the confidence,” Rose told the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson. “My confidence grew as a player. You’ll see that when I play.”
All this talk of Rose's heightened performance only increases the anticipation behind his return. It also places more pressure upon his already burdened shoulders. Rose's grace period is shrinking with each passing compliment.
Will Derrick Rose be a better player upon his return?
Durant succeeded in defending Rose's once-unpopular decision, but he also built up the need for instant gratification. If patience was waning before, it's nonexistent now that we know he's supposed to be better.
Now that we know Durant believes Rose will make the Bulls legitimate contenders.
"He is one of the few players I would go pay to see play," Durant said. "He is going to make them even better this year.”
Hopefully, everything Durant believes proves to be true.