Bulls guard Derrick Rose, the 2011 NBA MVP who missed most of the past two seasons, told reporters after his first practice with USA Basketball that his confidence is "through the roof" -- and that's good news for the Chicago Bulls. Rose's play may not live up to his words, but if he makes Team USA's roster for the FIBA World Cup (Aug. 30-Sept. 14), it could still be a big win for the Bulls as they prepare for the 2014-15 season.
Here's a look at how Rose's play with Team USA would likely benefit coach Tom Thibodeau & Co.
Tentative Rose typical of ACL return
Our last memory of Rose on the court is him struggling through the first 10 games of the 2013-14 season before suffering a torn meniscus on Nov. 22 at Portland. Surgery to repair the meniscus ended Rose's campaign, leaving him with negative wins above replacement player (WARP) by my rating system.
However, in the context of his recovery from the torn ACL that kept him off the court for all of 2012-13, Rose's performance looks much more normal. While my research has shown that players perform only slightly worse the season after suffering an ACL injury, looking at the schedule as a whole doesn't tell the entire story.