Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose has looked lost for most of the last two years, but the 27-year-old is slowly and quietly starting to find his groove.
While not quite at the MVP level he was at six years ago, Rose has shot over 40 percent from the field in each of the last three months, and he is averaging 21.9 points per game in February.
Per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com, Rose didn't have anything elaborate to say Wednesday about his midseason turnaround:
I just feel like I'm back. I'm just out there playing. Whatever I can do to get my team a victory, that's what I'm going to try to do. When I'm out there, they're giving me midrange [shots], they're giving me drives to the lane. Just mixing up my game and trying to play a solid game while I'm out there.
Rose also said his "body's been feeling all right, just the shots are going down now. It's paying off. Floaters that I shot earlier in the year, mid-range that I shot earlier in the year, even my three-point shot. ... My legs are getting under me a little bit."
One key difference for Rose has been his improved ability moving to the left, with Friedell citing The Athletic as pointing out the former All-Star goes to that side 12 percent more often than the right.
Rose told Friedell he began using a bank shot more often after coming back from an orbital fracture suffered in training camp, which he said threw off the rim's depth perception: "I'm kind of a left-hand player, but they force me to the left...and I'm kind of good on the left side of the floor. And I'm just shooting shots that I shoot in practice, that I've been shooting for years, and now they're just going down."
Injuries have been a storyline for Rose since the 2011-12 season, when he missed 27 games in a strike-shortened year. He's been able to change that narrative so far this season, playing in 48 of Chicago's 55 games to this point.
The Bulls as a team have also had to battle injuries the past two seasons, with Joakim Noah playing a total of 96 games since the start of 2014-15. This year has been brutal in Chicago with Noah out since January and Jimmy Butler currently on the shelf with a strained left knee.
Even though the Bulls are just 29-26, eighth in the Eastern Conference, they have the potential to be a scary team in the playoffs. Rose is starting to heat up, and Butler could be back within the next two or three weeks, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
Rose carried the Bulls to 62 wins in 2010-11. If he's finding anything approaching that level, combined with Butler's do-it-all skill set, the Bulls will make a lot of noise down the stretch.
Stats per Basketball-Reference.com.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!