Derrick Rose out of U.S. exhibition

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20

NEW YORK -- Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose was a last-minute scratch Wednesday night from Team USA's exhibition game against the Dominican Republic at Madison Square Garden.

Rose was scheduled to play Wednesday despite sitting out practices Monday and Tuesday to rest his sore knees after making his return to a game for the first time in eight months Saturday night in an exhibition victory over Brazil in Chicago.

One source familiar with Team USA's plans told that coach Mike Krzyzewski decided to hold Rose out of the Dominican Republic game to make more minutes available for players vying for one of the squad's last few roster spots as final cuts approach.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who is serving this summer as one of Krzyzewski's Team USA assistants, confirmed that after Wednesday's game, saying of Rose: "He's fine. He's just getting another day of rest. We gave him a couple days after the game Saturday in Chicago, and he didn't practice yesterday, so we thought the best thing to do would be to give him another day because we wanted to look at some other players today anyway."

Rose participated in shootaround Wednesday morning and, according to one source present, moved "well" throughout the session after sitting out the last two practices.

He was also in uniform for Wednesday night's game, watching from the Team USA bench after going through pregame layup lines. Fans at MSG began chanting for Rose midway through the second quarter, presumably unaware that he would not be playing.

Team USA officials have insisted all week that they are merely treating Rose with the utmost caution after surgeries on both knees limited him to just 10 games over the past two seasons.

But a source familiar with Rose's condition told's Nick Friedell on Tuesday that the 25-year-old has been bothered by knee soreness since his return to the floor against Brazil and requested extra time to recover.

Rose denied after the game that his knees, specifically, were sore, instead characterizing it as "body fatigue."

"Not the knees. No, no, no, no. You ain't got to worry about that," he said. 

Both Rose and DeMarcus Cousins

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Anxiety all part of game in Rose watch

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
Friedell By Nick Friedell
That feeling isn't going away: that feeling fans have every time Derrick Rose jumps, every time he makes a cut. And that "every time" -- like Tuesday, when he has some soreness in his knee and he can't practice -- isn't going to go away for a long time.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose faces what figures to be a season-long test to prove he can regain his form and stay healthy.
It's in the pit of most fans' stomachs because of recent history. That's because Rose has barely been on the floor the past few years. Forty-nine games in the last three seasons, to be precise, and just 10 in the last two because of two serious knee injuries. After all the rave reviews in regards to Rose's performance the past few weeks, Tuesday was a sobering reminder about the uncertainty of Rose's future.

While medical experts -- and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau -- have all said that soreness is a normal reaction as Rose returns from the torn medial meniscus in his right knee from last November and the torn ACL in his left knee from over two years ago, it's still a sobering thought for fans to think that Rose's status will perpetually be day-to-day for the foreseeable future.

But that's the reality of the situation. Rose, and the Bulls' training staff, have put an inordinate amount of time into keeping his body in the best shape possible as he attempts this latest comeback. Bulls director of sports performance Jen Swanson has been at Rose's side during trips to Las Vegas and Chicago with Team USA. Rose has talked openly about how much better he is at taking care of his body at this point in his career.

"It's totally different," Rose said on July 30 in Las Vegas of his new routine. "Waking up making sure that I'm hydrated, drinking six to eight bottles of water every day. Things that I thought I would never do: eating, taking supplements, just for my blood flow, just everything. Stretching at night, using a band, using a roller, just becoming a professional.

"When I remember being in my rookie year and I used to see all the older players stretching and using trainers to stretch them I didn't think nothing about it. But now I'm kind of mad because I didn't take advantage of it when I was younger. Whenever I talk to these younger players, I try to tell them, get the maintenance on your body. Get massages. Make sure you're always getting treatment, because you're going to need it for this long career."

Rose still expects to have a long career and has prepared his body for the grind of many NBA seasons, but nobody knows whether his body will be able to hold up this season and beyond. That uncertainty hovers over Team USA, the Bulls and the city of Chicago, and it's part of what makes this Rose comeback so compelling. Every day is a new story, a new chance for Rose to take another step forward and prove again he is one of the best basketball players in the world.

Nervousness will be the prevailing emotion until Rose can prove he can stay healthy for an entire season. Until then, every move he makes will be watched with more trepidation than excitement, a sad twist given how much joy Rose's game has the ability to provide if his body will allow him to stay on the floor this season.

Kaplan on Rose: Knee soreness normal

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
By Staff
Derrick RoseNathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose has sat out the past two Team USA practices to rest his surgically repaired knees.
If Derrick Rose is experiencing soreness in his surgically-repaired knees, it likely can be viewed as a normal part of the rehab process, according to ESPN medical analyst Dr. Michael Kaplan.

"I think it's not something that you need to necessarily get nervous about," Kaplan said Wednesday on the "Carmen & Jurko Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "Obviously, when it's Derrick Rose, everybody does, and I think that's normal from a fan ... and particularly for a guy who has had both knees go sour. I understand it, but when you have two major operations like he's had and when you come back and compete at the level in which he's competing, you can get some synovitis, a little inflammation in the joint and it starts to get a little sore when you're pushing it to the degree he's pushing it. Then you rest it a bit. You let it quiet and that's what they are doing.

"I don't think they are seeing or finding anything clinically that's making them worry to the extent that they are working it up and saying 'OK, this is something that we are going to take him out.' They are talking about playing him tonight. I don't think this is something that everybody needs to have alarm about."

Rose tore the ACL in his left knee in April 2012 and the medial meniscus in his right knee in November 2013. After scoring seven points in 24 minutes in Team USA's 95-78 victory over Brazil on Saturday -- his first competition since Nov. 22, 2013 -- Rose has sat out of full practices the past two days.

A source familiar with Rose's condition told's Nick Friedell that Rose has been bothered by knee soreness, but he still is expected to play against the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.

"I think he's probably having a little soreness in both his knees to the extent that he is putting the kinds of stress on his knees now that he has not had for some time: the torsional stresses from changes of direction, the moves that we're accustomed to with Derrick and the beautiful kind of poetry on the court," Kaplan said. "These are the things we had to wait for. He waited longer than most and that's appropriate that he did.

"[Vikings running back] Adrian Peterson went back quicker because he doesn't do the same kind of things that Derrick does and he was smart to wait a little bit longer after his ACL. [Rose is] being appropriately cautious. At 25, he wants to play a long time. You have to be careful with these knees. You don't get second chances necessarily. If you tear your ACL a second time, it's pretty much game over."

Asked about playing Wednesday night, Rose said Tuesday, "Hopefully I am. I didn't do anything [Tuesday]. I just got treatment and [Tuesday] is just really another rest day. I'm really, really happy with where I am right now as far as health-wise. I'm just trying to take my time and get rest. We have a long schedule ahead of us, and I'm just trying to get as much rest as possible."

Ranking NBA's top backcourts

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20

It's the dog days of summer, a time for reflection on what transpired and conjecture of what will occur in the NBA. It's also a time for proclamations both wild and inane, whether that's James Harden declaring he's the best player in the NBA or Stephen Curry opining that he and Klay Thompson would make the best duo in the '90s arcade game NBA Jam.

Sore Derrick Rose sits out practice

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose sat out of practice Tuesday to rest his knees but is expected to play in Team USA's exhibition Wednesday night.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Derrick Rose sat out his second consecutive day of practice Tuesday to rest his surgically repaired knees but is still scheduled to play for Team USA in its exhibition game Wednesday night against the Dominican Republic at Madison Square Garden.

Rose participated in shootaround Wednesday morning and, according to one source present, moved "well" throughout after sitting out the last two practices.

A source familiar with Rose's condition told's Nick Friedell that Rose has been bothered by knee soreness since his return to the floor Saturday night in an exhibition victory over Brazil in Chicago and requested the extra time to recover. But Team USA officials, to this point, have downplayed concerns about Rose's status.

The fact that Rose missed a second consecutive workout is bound to worry some Bulls fans back in Chicago, given the star guard's knee problems over the past two seasons, but Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski actually revealed in a radio interview Monday with ESPN's "Mike and Mike" that he was planning to hold Rose out of practice for the first two days of the week.

"We're gonna give him a couple days off because he's been going so hard," Krzyzewski said during the interview, which he gave en route to Team USA's all-day trip Monday to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Krzyzewski said after Tuesday's session at the Brooklyn Nets

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Rose sits for 'recovery day' with Team USA

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18
Mazzeo By Mike Mazzeo
Special to
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who played his first game Saturday since tearing the medial meniscus in his right knee back in November 2013, was given a rest day Monday as Team USA practiced at West Point.

"I feel great actually. My body is good. I'm not aching, so that's a good sign, and I'm just trying to take it day by day," Rose said during an interview on ESPN's "Hoops for Troops" special.

"Today I'm not practicing because I'm just getting a little bit of rest, just getting my legs under me a little bit more. Today is more like a recovery day for me."

Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said the time off was just a precaution.

"Derrick, we have to watch him as he is coming back," Krzyzewski said. "We played really hard and a lot of minutes on Saturday. He’s played well and you don’t want to overdo it."

Rose, who scored seven points in 24 minutes in Team USA's 95-78 exhibition victory over Brazil on Saturday night at the United Center in Chicago, reflected on playing his first game back in his home arena.

"When it was going on I was too caught up in the moment. I had to go out there, perform and do my job," he said. "Just looking back at it, it was kinda amazing having everyone come out and really show love. The whole city really had a buzz going on, and I just feel blessed that so many people came out and showed so much love and so many fans came out to show support to the Team USA."

While he was recovering from his injury, Rose worked on the mental aspects of the game, such as understanding tendencies of players and coaches. He says his basketball acumen is way better than it used to be.

"This is the most I've ever watched basketball in my entire life," Rose said.

Rose says he enjoys playing for Team USA because he doesn't have to take that many shots and be a scorer. Instead, he can focus on facilitating for his teammates and playing tough defense, which helps him "gain that groove as a point guard."

Rose believes he is free of any restrictions such as playing in back-to-backs when the season starts but said he hasn't spoken to Thibodeau or the Bulls yet about it.

Asked whether he will be ready to go full throttle at the start of the season, Rose said: "It depends on how I am feeling. I think having these two years off really made me really learn about my body and I know how much work I need to put in the offseason, and need to put in every day into preparing myself for a game. So I wouldn’t say that right now that I would do the same thing like I did today (resting). If I am feeling good, I am going to practice. Today I felt like I needed to rest a little bit."

Projecting top 10 PGs for 2014-15

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18

Do you know the last NBA champion that had its point guard lead the team in wins above replacement player (WARP)? It was the 1990 Detroit Pistons, led by Isiah Thomas. Perhaps it's no coincidence that teams like Phil Jackson's Bulls and Lakers, which decentralize the playmaking role, have dominated the annual title chase. Nevertheless, 20 of next season's top 50 players by projected WARP are point guards. Championship trends aside, it's a point guard's league.

Starting Monday with point guards, over the next week we'll rank players by position according to forecast WARP, which is perfect for this kind of exercise because it accounts for a player's efficiency, volume of production and team context. This also means that injury and age played a part in the rankings, so notable veteran point guards who suffered injuries last season, like Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Tony Parker, are absent from the top 10. (A complete explanation can be found at the bottom of this page; last year's point guard rankings can be found here.)

Here are the projected top 10 point guards for the 2014-15 NBA season, followed by the next five and an overview of why some notable PGs fell outside the top 10.

PG | SG | SF | PF | C


1. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

Projected 2014-15 WARP: 17.8 | Win%: 73 percent

Paul topped these rankings last season and, really, why would things have changed? His 14.2 WARP was held down by the 20 games he missed, but still ranked eighth in the league. Over the last three years, his 48.2 WARP ranks in the 99th percentile. Paul still hasn't enjoyed the magical kind of playoff run that would be the icing on the cake of a historically great career. He'll be 30 by the end of the coming season, but given Paul's floor-based skill set, there is no real need to start talking shrinking windows of opportunity. Paul does it all, he does it consistently and he does it on both ends of the floor.

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Two-Team Race In NBA East

August, 17, 2014
Aug 17


Stephen A. Smith explains why the NBA's Eastern Conference will likely be a two-team race and why the Cavaliers have the edge on Derrick Rose and the Bulls.

Seven points? Rose's return all that matters

August, 17, 2014
Aug 17
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg

CHICAGO -- The fans got what they came for Saturday night: Chicago native Anthony Davis tearing the roof off the joint.

OK, I'm told most paid for vintage Derrick Rose in The Return, Part Whatever. They got a taste of that too.

It wasn’t quite the D-Rose Tent Revival at the United Center during Team USA’s 95-78 exhibition win over Brazil, but the man the fans came to see put on a few classic moves to let the hometown crowd know he’s baaaaaaack.

That’s seven a’s, one for each point he scored. It was the best damn seven-point performance Chicago has seen in some time -- because Rose was actually back in live game action.

Rose, who got a small cut above his eye in the first half, was pleased with his night and explained that his mission was “playing hard on defense, taking shots when I have the shots and letting the game come to me.”

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose didn't score up a storm Saturday during Team USA's exhibition victory against Brazil, but that he was healthy and playing again at the United Center was what every Bulls fan wanted to see.
It was all part of “a process,” Rose said, as he primes for the FIBA World Cup next month and (knock on wood) another return season for the Chicago Bulls.

He did all those things: play defense, push the ball, shoot when he had a good look. But I can speak for everyone in attendance when I write it was just good to see Rose play basketball in person again. He can have rust, lint, asbestos, whatever. But he played basketball in Chicago, and the normalcy of it -- Rose fitting in -- was welcomed.

“I think everybody’s excited,” Rose said. “It was cool, but I can’t get big-headed about it. Just gotta keep poised.”

Big head or not, Rose said he is used to the applause. But he also said he would have trouble sleeping Saturday night. All part of a process, I guess.

As for highlights, there was a burst and a floater to end the first half, a blocked shot, a nasty drive to the basket that ended with him splitting free throws, a killer crossover and a switching-hands, MJ-homage basket in the third quarter.

And, um, well, I saw him yell at Stephen Curry on defense once. There’s that veteran leadership. This city eats that stuff up.

Rose played under control throughout his 24 minutes, 11 seconds, and maybe those surgically repaired knees are too strong now because on a breakaway in the first quarter he soared quite high and missed a dunk.

“That’s my second missed dunk,” Rose said with a chuckle. “I missed one in practice too. I just got to get used to holding the ball a different way when I dunk.”

Rose said the Team USA balls are a little slicker than the NBA ones, though I’m sure Bulls coach and USA assistant Tom Thibodeau would tell him a good craftsman never blames his tools.

Of his crossover move against guard Raul Neto, which ended in a layup over Anderson Varejao, Rose said, “It was just a play. I guess people want me to do it every time. I just saw an opening, and I went for it.”

Well, we -- I mean they -- do want to see that every time Rose touches the ball. But he went on to explain in detail how he knew he had Neto cooked.

“I just read how he was defending me,” Rose said. “When I came off the pick, it looked like he was confused, and I saw he didn’t have control of his feet a little bit. I look at all those things as an offensive player. And the big was on the other side of the lane, so when I came off [the pick] it was like I had the whole lane to myself.”

While Rose’s humble quotes are very popular in these parts, hearing Derrick talk basketball strategy is music to my ears. Because, in case you forgot, Rose is pretty spectacular when he's on the floor.

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Fans hail Derrick Rose, U.S. in win

August, 16, 2014
Aug 16
[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose addressed the crowd at Chicago's United Center before Saturday night's game.

CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose could feel the tension inside the United Center every time he touched the ball during Team USA's 95-78 exhibition win over Brazil on Saturday night.

The former MVP understands why.

Saturday marked Rose's first game appearance in his home arena since tearing the medial meniscus in his right knee on Nov. 22.

"When I was out there they wanted me to shoot every ball," Rose said with a laugh.

Rose scored seven points in 24 minutes in his Chicago return, but the fact that he was out there at all after playing just 10 games in the past two years because of two serious knee injuries is what made fans so happy. Rose was the last player introduced before the game as fans roared and chanted "MVP!"

"I'm playing the way I normally play in the trials," Rose said. "Push the ball, play defense and get guys shots. When the shot is available, take the shot, and I think that's what I did tonight. I had one or two turnovers, but that could easily be changed."

Rose didn't need to lead the offensive barrage for Team USA on this night; fellow Chicago native Anthony Davis took care of that. Davis, who was playing in his hometown for the first time as a professional, led Team USA with 20 points and set the tone on both ends of the floor.

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Chicago native Coach K happy to be back

August, 16, 2014
Aug 16
Friedell By Nick Friedell
CHICAGO -- The happiest man in the United Center on Saturday night probably won't be Derrick Rose.

That's a surprise given how excited the former NBA MVP is to play in front of his home fans again for Team USA after playing in just five home games last season before a torn meniscus in his right knee ended his campaign.

The happiest man will be standing on Team USA's sidelines. That man would be Team USA head coach and Chicago native Mike Krzyzewski.

[+] EnlargeMike Krzyzewski
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

Most eyes will be on Derrick Rose during his return to the United Center. But Team USA coach and Chicago native Mike Krzyzewski is just as excited to be back in his hometown.

The Hall of Fame coach is relishing the chance to bring the national team back to his hometown.

"It makes it a little bit more special," Krzyzewski said. "It's always special coaching the U.S. team. But then when you're doing it about a mile and a half from where you grew up -- I grew up on Damen and Augusta -- that makes it even more important.

"I'm excited for the players, though. For Derrick, he's had a tough two-year period. He's doing great; he's one of the great guys in the world. And for Anthony [Davis], he's another one of the great guys; it's his first time back in Chicago since he left from high school."

Rose is expecting the atmosphere in his home arena to be booming. He said it would be kind of like playing in a pro-am game. He should get the loudest cheers of all. During pregame rehearsals before Saturday's game against Brazil, Rose's name was called last by regular Chicago Bulls public address announcer Tommy Edwards.

"Everybody's been talking about it in the city," Rose said. "It seems like there's a buzz. It's great what USA Basketball and Nike's been doing around the city with so many events. Keeping people occupied, keeping kids occupied and giving them something to do.

"I think it's going to help the city, and it should bring some light to the city."

For Krzyzewski, the growth his hometown has made since he was young is startling.

"It's changed a lot," he said. "It was great then and it's even better now. My dad used to own a tavern on 21st Place and Damen. To travel on Damen from 1000 north to 2100 south, it's a lot different now -- and great. Our team has marveled at the beauty of the city. We went to the Museum of Science and Industry for a team picture and the lakefront. Chicago's one of the great cities in the world."

Derrick Rose: 'My game is totally different'

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
Friedell By Nick Friedell
Derrick Rose, Tom ThibodeauAP Photo/Andrew A. NellesDerrick Rose has shown Tom Thibodeau great shooting, passing and defense. "But he's not forcing anything, and I think that's important," the coach said. 
CHICAGO -- Mike Krzyzewski chuckled Friday when the topic of Derrick Rose's "role" on Team USA came up.

With Paul George out of commission because of a gruesome leg injury and Kevin Durant leaving the team, Rose is expected to have more offensive responsibilities for Team USA as it gets set to face off against the Brazil on Saturday night at the United Center.

In Krzyzewski's mind, though, not much has changed as far as Rose's game goes.

"Derrick's role is easy to play, easy to work [with]," the Hall of Fame coach said. "Just get the ball and be Derrick. And be Derrick for as long as you can."

As Rose gets set to play in front of his hometown fans for the first time in nine months, the former NBA MVP admits that while his speed and explosion appear to be the same as ever, his game has changed a lot over the past year.

"My game is totally different," Rose said. "When I came back last time, I was just trying to get in a groove. I think I felt a nice little groove. My confidence is high right now, and I think even playing in the game [Saturday] you'll be able to see by the way that I attack the players defensively. And by the way I play offensively, just not rushing anything and just taking my time on pick and rolls and just letting the play develop."

Since Team USA camp opened over two weeks ago in Las Vegas, Rose has been open about the fact he was pressing during his initial comeback last season from a torn ACL in his left knee.

Having missed all of the 2012-13 season because of the injury, Rose knew fans were questioning whether he could play at a high level and tried to change their minds on every drive to the rim. The problem is, he really didn't play well during much of his first 10 games last season.

He looked like a shell of the player he used to be.

When he tore the meniscus in his right knee on Nov. 22 in Portland, it put yet another season in jeopardy and left him open to even more criticism. He hears what people have been saying about him, and he's motivated to change their minds this time around.

The difference in his mind now is that he's not trying to force the game like he did before. Those close to him are banking on it as Team USA gets set to open the World Cup of Basketball later this month in Spain.

"I think he's improving," said Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, an assistant coach with Team USA. "I think his approach is a lot better. I think he was so anxious last year to come back, he was almost forcing things. I think he has a much better understanding now. Show more patience, find the rhythm of the game, go out there run the team.

"What he's done a very good job of is shooting when he should shoot. He's passing when he should pass. He's playing great defense. And he's doing a lot of things well. But he's not forcing anything, and I think that's important."

Rose also is trying to implement a new mental approach to his game.

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Derrick Rose returns to United Center

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose will make his return to the United Center on Saturday with Team USA.

CHICAGO -- The rebirth of Derrick Rose's basketball life in Chicago begins on Saturday night when Team USA takes on Brazil at the United Center. Having played in just 49 games over the past three seasons and 10 in past two because of two serious knee injuries, the Chicago Bulls point guard is looking forward to playing in front of his home fans again.

"It's very exciting," Rose said after Team USA's practice Friday. "[Saturday is] the start of a new journey. It starts pretty quick. We know that it's an exhibition game, but we still got to go out there and just try to take it as serious as possible and go out there and really go over our game plan."

For Rose, the best game plan for him this season is just trying to stay on the floor. He understands that fans have questioned whether he can stay healthy, and he knows how excited many are to see him back in uniform again.

"It's big for me, but if anything, it's big for the city," he said. "Just going to the [USA Basketball] event [Thursday]. Just seeing how many people showed up and really show love to the pro-am game. Chicago needs that right now and it's a big buzz about [Saturday's] game in the city. We need it, man. We need all the positivity we can get right now."

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Derrick Rose: I'm going to be fine

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14
[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty ImagesDerrick Rose knows he has a lot to prove -- not just to his doubters, but himself. "I have my own little goals in my head," he said. "I got my own little things that motivate me in my head I keep to myself."

CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose isn't worried about what has happened in the past. He's just trying to focus on what will happen in the future. He doesn't want to think about the serious injuries he's sustained over the past two years, and he certainly doesn't want to relive what happened to Team USA teammate Paul George after his gruesome broken leg.

Rose just wants to be the best he can be right now, and he reaffirmed that mantra Thursday.

"I don't have no fear," Rose said. "I have faith. I know that I'm going to be fine. I know that I've busted my ass the entire two summers, two seasons, in getting back to where I am right now. I'm just trying to keep it moving and stay positive every day. Do everything consistent like I've been doing ... just getting my mind clear before I step out here on the floor. And I'm doing everything that Coach K and them want me to do."

After George's injury and Kevin Durant's decision to leave the team, Rose knows his role has changed since Team USA opened camp last month.

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Top stats to know: 2014-15 NBA schedule

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
By Steven Martinez & Deontay Morris, ESPN Stats & Info

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesKobe Bryant needs 593 points to pass Michael Jordan for 3rd on the all-time scoring list.
The 2014-15 NBA schedule has been released and we have the chance to take a quick look at the top stats to know for this upcoming season.

The return of Kobe
After missing all but six games last season, Kobe Bryant will make his debut on Tuesday, October 28 when the Los Angeles Lakers play host to the Houston Rockets.

Bryant has scored 31,700 career points and if he scores at least 593 points, he’ll pass Michael Jordan for third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

If he averages 20 points per game, he could pass Jordan on the scoring list around the 29th or 30th game of the Lakers season.

Those games happen to be at the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day and at the Dallas Mavericks the next day.

Last season, Bryant missed the Lakers season opener for the fifth time in his career. Ironically the Lakers have won all five of those openers.

They would prefer to have him in the lineup though as his 27.2 PPG in season openers is the most among active players and seventh-highest in NBA history (Michael Jordan holds the record, 30.8 PPG).

The King returns
Making a return of a different kind will be LeBron James, who returns to the Cleveland Cavaliers after spending the last four seasons with the Miami Heat.

LeBron will make his season-debut on October 30 when the Cavaliers play host to the New York Knicks.

Another highlight for him will be on Christmas Day when he and his teammates travel to South Beach to take on the Heat (5 ET/ABC).

When LeBron returns, he’ll do so as the second-leading scorer (26.7 PPG) among active players at the American Airlines Arena, trailing only Kevin Durant (27.6).

LeBron's teams have not lost on Christmas day since his rookie season in 2003 (7-1 record). That year, the Cavaliers lost to the Magic.

Champions quest for repeat
The defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs open their season hosting the Dallas Mavericks on October 28. The Spurs are 16-4 in their last 20 home openers.

Since Tim Duncan debuted in 1997, San Antonio is 16-1 in season openers, the best winning percentage (.941) among all teams in season openers over this time (their only loss was to the Suns in 2008).

The Spurs and Heat will face off for the first time since the NBA Finals on February 6 (9:30 ET on ESPN) in San Antonio.

Over the last four seasons (including regular and postseason), the New York Knicks (3-4) and Heat (9-10) are the only teams the Spurs have a losing record against.

Notable rookie debuts
Maybe Andrew Wiggins should get some advice from his father on avoiding first game jitters. Andrew’s dad - Mitchell Wiggins - scored 26 points in his first career game with the Bulls in 1983.

Wiggins, who reportedly will be traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, begins his pro career on October 29 at Memphis.

As for other notable rookies, Jabari Parker and the Milwaukee Bucks open at the Charlotte Hornets on October 29, while Nerlens Noel (who missed all of last season after recovering from a torn ACL) makes his long-awaited debut with the Philadelphia 76ers on October 29 at the Indiana Pacers.



Derrick Rose
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5