Derrick Rose had a couple of incredible highlights during USA Basketball’s exhibition victory over Brazil on Saturday, but there were also plenty of plays where fatigue of either the physical or mental variety caused him to make some unforced errors.
Rose displayed his signature speed with a length of the court drive to the basket to beat the halftime buzzer, and then used a vicious crossover to shake his defender in the second half before getting to the basket for an acrobatic finish.
But there was a missed breakaway dunk, too, along with some careless turnovers and passes that one would characterize as less than crisp, at best.
Rose admits he’s still working on his conditioning, but believes it’s the final piece to fall into place in terms of getting back to 100 percent.
“It’s piling up, but I’m used to it by now,” Rose said of Team USA’s schedule. “I think I’m a pro. I’m learning how to take care of my body a little more, preparing myself and trying to really eat right and get rest, get off my feet.
“It’s a process. I’m building it every day. Of course (my wind) is the last thing I’m waiting on. Playing against players like we just played against will help me get my wind back even quicker. Just keep going hard in practice and pushing myself every day so it comes a little bit faster.”
This is part of the reason that playing for Team USA is so important for Rose in advance of the upcoming NBA season.
Rose has missed almost all of the last two campaigns due to injury, and if he can be a key contributor during the World Championships, not only will his conditioning be where it needs to in time for training camp, but his confidence level will be at an all-time high as he prepares — both physically and mentally — for what everyone hopes will be a full season with the Bulls.