What if Derrick Rose plays this season like 2010-11, when he won MVP?
Russell Westbrook indicates it’s possible.
Could the Bulls star – despite skipping this week’s minicamp, which USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo deemed mandatory for Olympic inclusion – make the 2016 Olympic team?
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo confirmed Derrick Rose, who opted out of this week’s minicamp, won’t be on the 2016 Olympic team.
“I made it mandatory for anyone to be involved going forward they had to be here,” Colangelo said. “I have to stand by what I said.”
“I’ve been a big Derrick fan. I was really happy for him when he joined us originally,” Colangelo said. “I’ve been disappointed in his injuries that have prevented him from staying at a level that everyone had anticipated and he certainly wanted to be at. But I respect his decision.”
Rose started for Team USA’s gold-medal squad in the 2010 World Championships. He also struggled through the 2014 World Cup as he recovered from injury, again winning gold. That apparently hasn’t gotten Rose the same leeway Kobe Bryant – with two Olympic gold medals – is receiving from Colangelo.
To be fair, Rose has already gotten plenty from USA Basketball. He didn’t earn a roster spot for last year’s World Cup by outperforming the competition. He used the tournament to prepare for the NBA season, and many think then-Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau being a Team USA assistant helped secure Rose’s inclusion. Chicago firing Thibodeau might have pushed Rose away from Team USA for a number of reasons, including the belief it would be more difficult to make the Olympic cut without a close backer on the American coaching staff. Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving and John Wall are a strong group of point guards.
On a simpler level, Rose surely considered the need for more rest after his multiple serious injuries. He might have decided, no matter how he plays next season, he doesn’t want to push it with the Olympics.
But let’s say everything breaks toward Rose deserving an Olympic roster spot. He’s healthy, productive and wants to play. Other elite point guards, for whatever reason, don’t want to go to Rio. Would Colangelo really choose Mike Conley or Michael Cater-Williams over a fully healthy Rose just because they spent a few days in Las Vegas this summer?
I would have guessed no – and still believe it’s possible Colangelo reverses course. This minicamp is as mandatory as he wants it to be.
But Colangelo might be too prideful to contradict these public statements. If he thought there was a realistic possibility Rose could make the Olympic team, Colangelo wouldn’t have set such a clear and firm line.
In the end, it probably won’t matter. It’s unlikely Rose regains enough athleticism to play like an MVP. It’s unlikely enough of the several top point guards ahead of him bow out.
But it’s also not impossible for those things to happen, and if they do, what will Colangelo do?