Derrick Rose had a very eventful summer in working out around the clock, playing in the basketball world championships, getting to know a new coach, and shooting a few commercials here and there. And this summer, he has become arguably the best point guard in the league, and the sure-fire MVP.
So what changed? Derrick Rose's work ethic is legendary and he has been known for long, grueling workouts every summer. And even though the individual workouts certainly have made him a much better player, nothing he can do in the gym by himself will transform him from a very good player to arguably the best in just one summer.
Right now Derrick Rose, along with Michael Jordan and LeBron James are the only players since the merger to have 2,000 points and 600 assists. He could not have recorded those numbers last year, and has improved so much this year it couldn't just be his personal grueling workouts. Don't get me wrong, those workouts are incredibly important. But can't be the sole reason for his improvements.
The answer for Derrick's improvement: Mike Krzyzewski.
Coach K is a phenomenal basketball coach known for his work at Duke, but he is also the coach for the US Men's National Basketball team that Derrick Rose played for this summer. He started on this team at point guard, ahead of, I might add, the incredibly overrated Rajon Rondo.
Okay, his numbers were not great while he played for Team USA. He averaged 7.2 PPG, 2.1 RPG and 3.2 APG. But that brings leads to reason one of two why Team USA and Coach K helped to make Derrick into the player who dazzles Chicago every night.
What is the biggest reason for Derrick's improvement this season?
The first reason is that this summer might be the first time in Derrick's career that he was not unquestionably the best player on the team. And since he was not the best player, with that honor belonging to Kevin Durant, Rose did not have to carry the scoring load night in and night out. Yet, this was probably the best thing that could have happened for his game.
By not having to score at a high rate, Derrick could sit back and play the point guard game by setting up his teammates for an easy basket. Rose certainly was apt at that the first two years of his career, but it wasn't as good as his scoring. By getting all this experience at just playing the point guard Rose really developed that aspect of his game, as seen by his increase of assist average from six last year to almost eight. That's a difference of at least four points and who knows, it could be the difference in a game.
The second reason is Coach K. He is a phenomenal coach and Derrick certainly benefited from just being with him and his coaching. By spending a summer learning from his and staff Derrick has been able to better his game. And it has to be the time he spend with Coach K as the differentiating factor because that is the biggest difference in his summer from his prior years in his career.
Don't get me wrong, Derrick would not be the player he is without his own grueling workouts. And Tom Thibodeau has done wonders for his game and will continue to do so. But the time spend with Coach K must have been a differentiating factor from his season last year to his performance this year.