"Wait, you mean he hasn't yet?" 29 other NBA teams will shriek in unison. "Crap."
Rose played in seven of the Chicago Bulls' eight preseason games, averaging 20.7 points and five assists while shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc. So he looked good. And as the season goes on, Rose believes he'll look even better, according to the Chicago Sun-Times' Joe Cowley.
I bet I surprised a lot of people, but at the same time, I know how hard I worked in the offseason just to get back on the court. My hard work is paying off. I’m not in my groove yet, but I’m still able to go out there and control the game a little bit. I guess when I get back into my groove, it’s really going to be scary.
I'll say. Preseason performances aren't glorified crystal balls, but Rose's efforts through his first seven games back from an ACL injury were incredible.
For his career, Rose is averaging 21 points and 6.8 assists per game. He essentially came back and matched that output right out of the gate. Not only that, but he's also sporting a more efficient touch from deep. He shot 31 percent from beyond the arc through his first "four" seasons, so a 40 percent clip, even during the preseason, is astounding.
This isn't the first time that Rose has indicated the best is yet to come, either. Upon his initial return, the point guard said he had increased his vertical leap by five inches. Before that, he told SLAM's Adam Figman that he was more explosive overall.
"I think I’m a lot quicker, a lot more explosive, and I think I’m gonna go this year without that many nagging injuries, just trying to prevent it by stretching and doing all the things I have to do to take care of my body," he said, per Figman.
And yet apparently, we haven't seen anything yet.
Could what we've seen thus far be Rose's version of rust? Though he's looked great, he himself is saying he's not where he wants to be yet. After sitting out for more than a year, realistically, he shouldn't be.
A certain level of struggle is to be expected when players return from a long stay on the bench. Confidence needs to be regained and skills honed. Rose should be no different...right?
“I think, physically, he’s great, and I think that’s important,’’ Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said of his point man, per Cowley.
If "physically great," can describe Rose's supposed transition period, there's no telling what he has in store for us during the regular season.