It’s been a long, arduous road for Derrick Rose ever since he suffered his first serious knee injury in 2012. It’s seemed like Rose has had two modes over the last three years and change: injured, or playing basketball like a guy with nagging injuries.
But lately, Rose has started to look more and more like the dude who won the league’s MVP award during the 2010-11 season. His scoring output has gotten better over each of the last four months, from 13.3 points per game in November to 21.9 points per game in February. Rose is also averaging more minutes (33.1), rebounds (5.6), and steals (0.9) per game than he has in any other month this year, while his 6.0 assists per game are second only to the 6.3 a night that he averaged in November.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but Rose told ESPN’s Nick Friedell that he feels like he’s “back.” Part of the reason why? Rose said it’s because he’s simply hitting shots now.
“The shots are just going down,” Rose said. “My 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, midrange that I shot earlier in the year, even my 3-point shot . . . My legs are getting under me a little bit.”
The numbers add up for Rose, who shot about 38 percent from the field over the season’s first two months but is shooting around 45 percent from the field ever since the new year began. He’s been especially great in Chicago’s three games since the All-Star break ended, dropping 26 points per game on 57.4 percent shooting over that stretch.
And sure, saying that Rose is completely “back” is pretty tough. He’s still suffering from pain every now and then – he chose to sit out of Chicago’s game on Wednesday night due to hamstring tendinitis – and every time he lands even a little awkwardly, everyone is terrified.
But between how well he’s playing, the fact that he feels good, and the fact that he understands that he probably should sit games out when he’s feeling nicked up, it’s not crazy to think that brighter days are ahead for Rose.