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Derrick Rose Says He Thinks He's 'Way Better as a Player' Entering 2013-14

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 21:  Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls waits to shoot a free-throw against the Milwuakee Bucks during a preseason game at the United Center on October 21, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Bucks 105-84. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2013

Fans of all 29 other NBA teams aren't going to be happy.

Derrick Rose has once again indicated that he thinks he's a "way better" player after sitting out all of 2012-13 to rehab a torn ACL, per ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedell.

Chicago Bulls supporters are naturally thrilled. Advocates of everyone else, who also appreciate star-driven basketball, can engage in a wee bit o' celebration as well.

But while a healthy and improved Rose is good for the NBA, it's not good for your favorite defense.

Before going down, Chicago's point guard was a monster cover. His slashes couldn't be deterred, and he was so explosive, we began to suspect the insoles of his sneakers were laced with dynamite.

Now he's supposedly not only better, he's way better? Is that even possible? Apparently, yes.

"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 told SLAM's Adam Figman in September.

Rose put his stat lines where his words were during the preseason. In seven appearances, he averaged 20.7 points and five assists while shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc.

"He can shoot now, too?" 29 rival defenses are currently screaming. "Crap. And, help."

Doubt seeped through to the masses as Rose continued to remain on the sidelines last season. His character and commitment to the Bulls were questioned, as insults like "coward" and "quitter" were hurled his way. One of my younger cousins even called him a "scaredy cat," the most disparaging taunt of all.

Like he has for his entire career, Rose persevered. Pressure to play didn't get the best of him. He sat out, remained patient, got himself right and is now enjoying life back on the hardwood.

"I've been missing this game for a whole year, so I'm...enjoying myself and playing this game that I love playing," according to USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt.

Widespread skepticism has now become universal confidence, as Rose has made good on his promise to return stronger than ever, reminding us all that he's still a superstar.

Like his detractors, perhaps we all forgot how talented Rose was before now. What he was capable of. How one season-long absence wouldn't be enough to abate his will to win.

"For sure, for sure," he told ESPN's Michael Wilbon of his decision to sit out last season during SportsCenter's Sunday Conversation. "I think that's the smartest decision I ever made."

For damn sure, it was.

 

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