Apparently he thinks so. If true, it's a scary situation for opposing teams. He was arguably the most explosive player before his injury. As a Bulls fan, I'm dying for the season to start.
CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose issued the kind of warning after Wednesday night's preseason win against the Detroit Pistons that is sure to make players and coaches around the NBA take notice.
Bulls star Derrick Rose went for 22 points in his return to the United Center on Wednesday night.
"I think I'm way more explosive now," Rose said after scoring 22 points in 22 minutes. "Like getting to the rim. I think I can take contact a little bit better. And as far as jumping-wise, I think I can jump even higher. They tested my vertical -- I increased it by 5 inches. I just didn't show it yet because there's no need to."
Rose said after his first preseason game a week and a half ago that his vertical had improved from 37 inches to 42 inches. Now, after playing in just his third game in almost a year and a half, Rose looks and sounds as confident as ever. He says any worrying about his knee is finished.
"The biggest thing is after you have an ACL or any injury, it's the mental part," Rose said. "And for me not to think about anything no more and actually be reacting to the defense and the offense, it feels great knowing that I'm safe. I don't have to worry about anything at all, even if I go to the hole and get contact and fall any type of way, that I could easily get up and bounce right back and play the way that I normally know how to play."
Rose's left knee caused a stir this weekend as he sat out Saturday's game in Rio de Janeiro due to soreness. He gave fans a reason to calm down Wednesday, showing off his trademark speed and explosiveness.
"I feel normal right now," he said. "I'm not worried about anything. I don't have any aches or have any nagging injuries or anything. I'm really taking care of my body and really preparing myself for this long season."
Rose said he understands that he will have a target on his back this season, both from fans who are questioning whether he can perform at a high level and from players who will test his every move. He appears to be ready for the challenge.
"I think every team, every player I play against is coming for me," Rose said. "Who don't want to make a name off me right now? I always think about that and take that into consideration when I'm going out there and playing."
Rose said that line of thinking went into his decision not to play last season, despite being cleared by team doctors.
"Oh yeah, for sure," he said. "I really had to think about it, the double-teams. In this league, you have guys that smell blood, so it makes it easier for them to come at you whenever they want, or at least try you, and make sure you're ready for it. There's a lot of young players in this league doing well now, so I really had to make sure I was all right."
After seeing the way his team has come together over the summer and during the preseason, Rose is convinced the Bulls can win a championship this season if they stay healthy.
"Oh, yeah," he said. "That's the goal. That's our No. 1 goal is winning the title. We're not worried about anything else. We're not worried about what people say about us or what's going on on the outside. We're just about the Bulls and how good we can get every day."
Nick Friedell | email
Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Guys like Derrick Rose and Adrian Peterson are athletic marvels. Everybody knows AP returned from tearing his ACL and came within 5 yards of setting the all-time rushing record in the NFL. He looked faster and more explosive coming back. Advances in medicine, treatments and physical therapy have made it easier for athletes to come back from major injuries faster than ever. Combine that with the unbelievable athleticism of a Derrick Rose and Adrian Peterson and I don't doubt Rose is more explosive this season. It also helps that Rose just turned 25 and is entering his athletic prime. I expect huge things from him this year. He has a chip on his shoulder and will come out with a vengeance once the season starts.
I think the extended rest paired with modern medicine does players a lot of good at times. They avoid the wear and tear of the NBA or NFL schedule for X amount of months and then when they start to train again they do it with specific programs to help them strengthen and maximize their potential. A little rest goes a long way, and that is why I think you see guys bump their vertical up 4 or 5'' because being in shape and not worn down at the same time usually results in peak athletic performance.