Derrick Rose is officially a 21-year-old world champion after the Bulls guard served as floor general for a USA Basketball squad that went 9-0 this month and steamrolled the FIBA World Championships. But what about in the NBA? Will he continue to develop his game this season back home in the United States? Will Rose reach superstar status?
If you've watched Rose's first two seasons in the NBA since he dove headfirst into the league out of Memphis, you know that he's been building toward something big. He was a rare sensation in his rookie season — the 19-year-old point guard who thrived right away as the leader of an NBA offense. He averaged 16.8 points, 6.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game in his 2008-09 campaign and won Rookie of the Year without a second thought.
He achieved a more prominent role in the Bulls' offense in his second season, inching up to 20.8 points per game. And more important, he became a more comfortable ringleader for a Bulls team that was more exciting this season than its been at any point since Michael Jordan walked away.
Two seasons ago, the Bulls were bottom-feeders. They won only 33 games in 2007-08, snuck into the draft lottery and nabbed the No. 1 overall pick they needed to turn their franchise around.
That pick was Rose. To their explosive young point guard they added Joakim Noah for some energy in the middle, and they kept Luol Deng for some scoring firepower. They've since added Carlos Boozer and a host of other free agents this summer.
Rose has enough talent around him that a breakout season in 2010-11 seems within his reach. And if there's one thing he proved this summer, it's that if you put the pieces around him, he'll get the job done.
The scrappy youngster started all nine games at point guard this month for Team USA at Worlds, averaging 7.2 points and 3.2 assists per game for an American squad that bowled over the competition. But Rose did plenty more this offseason than just put up numbers.
Now it's back to the States, and it's back to a new coach, Tom Thibodeau, and a Bulls team that's hoping Rose can be the next big thing in the NBA.
NESN.com will analyze 25 key NBA questions this September.
Sept. 12: Will Tyreke Evans survive the sophomore slump?
Sept. 14: Will Kevin Durant win another scoring title?
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