Coach K Says “The Lid Came Off” For Derrick Rose With Slovenia Performance

Derrick Rose promised his subpar FIBA performance would end in the quarterfinals against Slovenia, and his word indeed proved prophetic. Playing with an aggression and confidence theretofore unseen in Spain, the Chicago Bulls superstar notched tournament highs by scoring 12 points and doling out five assists in just 18 electrifying minutes. And according to coach Mike Krzyzewski, Rose’s play versus Goran Dragic and company is just a sign of things to come for Team USA’s remaining World Cup games.

Speaking to reporters after the United States’ practice on Wednesday, Krzyzewski said yesterday represented a turning point in Rose’s re-acclimation to high-level competition.

We believe in Derrick, and I think the lid came off, the jar was opened, or whatever you want to say, yesterday. He had his look. I think he was just trying to be a team guy, or whatever, and he was a team guy yesterday, but before being a team guy, he has to be his guy. And then you saw how excited our whole team was in response to his performance. He was excellent yesterday.

More impressive than Rose’s stellar quarterfinal numbers was simply the way he played in general. These are legitimate flashes of the dominant force that was named the league’s MVP in 2011:

A Rose playing at or near his former exalted level would be a major boon for the Americans against Lithuania tomorrow and (likely opponent) Spain in the World Cup championship game on Sunday. No Team USA guard can match his two-way impact when all are at their best, a fact evidenced by Team USA’s pace and tempo increasing each time Rose has entered the game. That unique influence will be especially important against the Lithuanians and Spanish, two groups that are more comfortable in a half-court game than the United States.

And assuming Team USA advances to the final and meets Spain, Rose is Krzyzewski’s best match-up against Ricky Rubio. “Cutting off the head” is crucial against any opponent, but especially one whose point guard is so comfortable running the show for a team full of talented scorers. Rubio has his warts, of course, but is still a major cog for the Spanish – limiting him will be key for the Americans, and Rose has the best chance among any on the USAB roster to do so.

But Coach K’s forecast for Rose’s continued success begins tomorrow against Lithuania. And if he plays in the semis like he did in the quarters, Rose will have even more confidence going into Team USA’s toughest and most important FIBA test on Sunday.

(Video via NBA Daily)

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