Rose riffs on MVP, Thibs and Noah’s couch


Feb 24

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To Bulls fans, Derrick Rose appears to be a super hero. So what if he were really a super hero? What would be his power?

“I’d want to be invisible,” said Rose.

His sneaker company might not think was too good an idea. But that’s what it was like Friday as the NBA All-Stars, with Bulls representatives Rose, Luol Deng and coach Tom Thibodeau, sitting close to one another, fielded inquiries in anticipation of Sunday’s game.

There wasn’t a tremendous amount of basketball discussed. But this year’s game in Orlando really isn’t a basketball game as much as an NBA trade show and convention with the players putting on a Sunday finale.

The game has grown to a week of near Super Bowl like events with parties, community activities and commercial opportunities. Around that the players show up for sessions with reporters from around the world, and Rose was one of the new stars.

Of course, there was considerable discussion about Knicks’ sensation Jeremy Lin, who had his own press conference Saturday night before the so called Rising Stars game with Bulls assistant Ron Adams coaching Lin’s team.

“I hope we didn’t set a Guinness Book of World Records record for dunks given,” quipped Adams of being on the losing side of the 146-133 game. “I pleaded with them (at halftime) not to give up dunks. It’s not quite (the defense) what I was used to.”

Adams’ wife, Leah, who was a statistician for him when Adams coached in college, saw positives. “He was much calmer than he was in the 80’s,” Leah said.

Adams had the guard oriented team with sensation Jeremy Lin, who Adams concedes “was bushed” as he had two points in nine minutes.

Which may have been the answer when Rose was asked: “Can the Jeremy Lin sensation be stopped?”

He didn’t have much answer.

But Rose did say his pick at this point for MVP is Kevin Durant. His favorite NBA player to watch is Dwyane Wade. His back is pain free and he’s thrilled to be here playing, though he said has considerably fewer activities than in past seasons. He answered several questions about playing with Dwight Howard, basically nothing different than he’d said before about not recruiting players and that anyone would want to play with a talent like Howard. Howard’s trade fate was widely discussed with the All-Stars.

Though asked whom he’d pick between Howard and Joakim Noah, Rose said Noah—what else could he say—but because they have such a close personal relationship and it’s more than basketball reasons.

Rose in somewhat a departure for him with several more questions about asking management to trade for Pau Gasol said, “People make anything up to sell newspapers.” He said he was upset about it being a potential distraction and assured Carlos Boozer he’d never do that.

Rose said he remains confident in the Bulls post season chances and is looking forward to the return of Richard Hamilton after the All-Star break, has cut down on candy but has not been able to eliminate his vice, listed his hobbies as sleeping and playing video games, said he didn’t expect to do much in Sunday’s game but pass the ball and watch the entertainers dunk and said he was so thrilled to have Thibodeau as his coach.

“My relationship with Thibs is definitely strong,” said Rose. “I can talk to him about anything. He can come to me. We talk to each other on the phone a lot. More than any coach I ever had. I communicate with him the most. Even before coming here, he was looking at film at who we play next. This was supposed to be a break. I’ve never met a coach like him. I’m fortunate to have a coach like that.”

Rose said Thibodeau hadn’t mentioned anything to he or Deng about playing time for Sunday’s game, though Rose also said he did wonder how Thibodeau was going to handle it. Stand all game and yell?

“I’ve never seen Thibs in this environment,” said Rose. “So I don’t know how he’ll be acting, if he’ll have his regular nervous problem with shaking his hands a lot. I don’t know.”

Thibodeau, talking to reporters about 60 feet from Rose, was as light and relaxed as anyone has seen him in media sessions. He was laughing and joking pretty much throughout the mandated approximately 30 minutes, and after NBA staffers called “last question” and Rose and Deng got up to leave Thibodeau was lingering and still answering questions.

“It’s going to be great,” Thibodeau said of the Sunday game. “I’m looking forward to it. I had the good fortune to participate in a couple All-Star games as an assistant coach, so I think I have a pretty good understanding of what it’s all about. Basically, dole out some minutes and get out of the way. This is a lot of fun. This is really about the fans. The players put on a great show. And ultimately, it usually starts off as a lot of fun but these guys are ultra competitive. Down the stretch, they’re all be trying to win.”

But then Thibodeau began to consider his high powered team with LeBron James at forward and Howard at center and said he could put out a great defensive team.

“I could put out three great point guards, a defensive team, a lot of options,” said Thibodeau. “But we’re going to push it.”

Deng said he thinks Thibodeau has “a lot of guys to play before me and Derrick. Minute wise, whether it’s too much or not enough we won’t worry.”

Deng, who did say his basketball inspiration as a kid was watching Grant Hill tapes, said he’s not concerned about having to show off for an All-Star game. Though he did say he’ll ask veteran All-Star Rose what to expect.

“I’m a basketball player,” said Deng. “I’m not going to get the ball and run and travel (like the Globetrotters). I’ve played a lot of pickup games. Just because of the way I play now (off the ball, cutting and moving) it’s not the only way I can play. If I’m open, I’ll shoot it. You’re not going to see me dribbling around and stuff.”

Deng’s presence drew a large number of reporters from Great Britain as Deng is the star of their 2012 Olympic team, though Deng said if he wins MVP—expected for Howard—he’ll wear an African map on his shirt. He reiterated how much he’s honored and grateful to be an All-Star.

“It shows people respect your game,” Deng said. “I told people before if I wasn’t selected I’d be OK. But I’m honored and excited. I’ll have this one day to look back on and say I was an All-Star. I’ve had seasons I felt I played like an All-Star. But you can’t control those things. There are a lot of guys not here who should be here, but then you look and ask who you take out.”

Said Rose: “I’m super happy for Lu. He deserves it. He’s been playing great for us. He’s consistent every year. I can’t wait to see him out there.

“Playing with the All-Stars makes the game fun for me,” said Rose. “I don’t really have to shoot the ball. Just pass the ball and watch the highlights. I think this year we (the Bulls) are way more comfortable the way Thibs has us playing. We’re so familiar with eachother. We have just two new players, Rip and Jimmy Butler. We’re still not playing that 48 minute game, but we’re trying to get there. The way Rip spreads the court for us. He’s a guy who can put numbers on the board. I can’t wait for him to return.”

Asked about whom he likes to watch, Rose said, “I have to say D. Wade. He’s a guy where he hits all types of crazy shots. You never know what he’s going to do. He’s got crazy skills. That’s one guy I’d pay to watch.

“On MVP? One guy balling right now is Kevin Durant,” said Rose. “Putting up numbers, playing great, shooting a high percentage. He’s balling.”

Rose said he and Howard are “almost like brothers,” though he admits he hasn’t talked to Howard about playing elsewhere. But they see one another often at Adidas functions.

“For me to play with him definitely would be fun,” said Rose. “Throw oops. No matter how high you throw the ball he’ll go up and get it. You don’t really have to play defense because he’s back protecting you. (But) I don’t recruit people. Chicago speaks for itself, a great marketing city, a great city to be in.”

It was 80 degrees in Orlando, by the way.

Rose said he and his teammates are looking forward to the playoffs with confidence because last year “everything was new for us. Getting past the first round, the conference finals. Everyone is more comfortable this year.”

Asked about beating Miami, Rose said it’s “definitely a tough task. You have to play almost a complete game. (The Bulls) have confidence to go out and play those guys.”

Rose said the key to the Bulls is to start quickly in games and that’s it’s on him to come out quickly and play hard. If I want to be a leader I’ve got to make sure I’m doing the right things, showing up early, make sure I’m eating right, staying late, trying to lead by example. We have great guys who want to win.”

Rose said he never once said he wanted Boozer traded for Gasol.

“I talked to Booz,” said Rose. “I could tell the way he played he didn’t believe I made the statement. I’m cool with the teammates I have. I’m picking Joakim. I’m riding with Jo. No hard feelings. Joakim is much more than a teammate to me. He (Howard) is a great player, but I love the teammates I have.”

Rose also dismissed suggestions the schedule caused his back and toe issues. “If I did not trip over someone it wouldn’t have happened,” Rose said of the turf toe. “Then my back wouldn’t have happened (from over compensating). I wouldn’t say it was the schedule.”

There continued to be Jeremy Lin questions, and Rose was asked which teammate’s couch he’d sleep on if he had a choice (as Lin did with Landry Fields).

“Joakim because I love irritating him and he hates I’d be over his house that much,” said Rose. “So I pick him.”

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