Coach Thibodeau believes franchise player is “ready to go”.
Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau believes that point guard Derrick Rose is back at 100% and will be fit and ready for the start of the new season.
The 24-year-old is currently bringing his promotional tour of Europe with adidas to a close, but has spoken himself on how he feels both physically and mentally ready as he looks to come back from missing the entire season last year.
Rose drew criticism from some quarters for not returning during the Bulls’ run to the second-round of the Eastern Conference play-offs, after having been medically cleared to play back in February.
The point guard cited mental reasons for not coming back sooner, but he believes he will benefit from the decision in the long-term, an opinion echoed by coach Thibodeau.
“I should be able to play in the first game of the season,” Rose told reporters at an event in Spain, according to HoopsHype.com.
“I know I’m anxious right now to play. My health is everything right now, it’s 100 percent. But right now, the first game … I will definitely be playing it.”
The Bulls are scheduled to play in Rio on October 12, but whether or not that will be Rose’s first chance of stepping back out on the court remains to be seen as it is expected to be their third pre-season game.
However, he revealed he believes he is mentally stronger than ever and claims he has improved during his time off the court after sitting with Thibodeau regularly to watch films and learn more about the game.
As a result, the objective is clear for next season and Rose has unshakable belief in his team that they can be a contender for the NBA title.
“This next season is huge for us,” Rose said. “We’re definitely a contender for the title this year. I’ve been talking to my guys, trying to be more vocal as a leader, just texting them, calling them, just trying to communicate with them to let them know that I will be there next year,” he concluded.