Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Five

Derrick Rose says he added 10 pounds, is stronger going to rim


When Derrick Rose first entered the league he had the quickness to drive the lane and when he got there he used his impressive body control to avoid contact and hit some ridiculous layups. Except that was not what coaches want — draw the contact, get to the line and get the sure points, plus throw in a few and-1s.

In an interesting Q&A with SLAM Magazine, Rose said the reason he developed that contortionist style is where he learned to play in Chicago because on the blacktop they didn’t call fouls.

They do in the NBA, and in his time off Rose added 10 pounds of muscle to help him deal with that contact as he attacks, he told SLAM.

“Now this year, I got a little more strength behind me, so I think going to the hole, taking those shots, I’ll be able to finish a lot stronger this year. There should be a lot more and-ones, hopefully….

“I think I’m a lot quicker, a lot more explosive, and I think I’m gonna go this year without that many nagging injuries, just trying to prevent it by stretching and doing all the things I have to do to take care of my body. When you first come in the League and you’re talented and you’re athletic, you don’t care about stretching or anything. You just kind of go out there and overlook that stuff. But now it’s my sixth year, so you really have to look at that and take that more seriously so I can prevent all of the little injuries.”

Yes, he’s also been working on his jump shot, particularly from three.

We’ll see how Derrick Rose looks back on the court (I suspect pretty much like the MVP guy we remember), but I’m just happy to have him back on the court. He is one of the most dynamic and exciting players the league has and it is more fun with him in it.

As for those Bulls fans who still have their panties in a wad over last season, they’ll be over it by Game 3 of the season. Just watch.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.