Derrick Rose remains optimistic about his future despite his major knee problems over the last two years.  The 25-year-old point guard averages just short of 21 points and seven assists for his career. Apparently it is time we get back to seeing those type of numbers on a game-to-game basis.

“I’m not worried about (what people say),” said Rose.  ”My confidence level is through the roof and that’s the only thing you might see this year.”

The world is well aware of how great Derrick Rose once was. He won the Most Valuable Player award in 2011 for a reason.  The explosive season led Chicago to a league-high 62 wins that year. However, the following year he went down with a crushing knee injury in the 2012 playoffs, which forced him to miss the entire 2012-13 season.

People grew weary as Rose kept quiet and focused on trying to fully recover. The public took the issue so out of hand that the “before D-Rose comes back” joke was widely used by fans across the world. But most basketball fans did not understand the significance of Rose getting back to full health. That being said, Chicago’s doctors and front office have done a tremendous job managing Rose’s situation the last couple years.

Rose played in a handful of games before ultimately suffering another knee injury in the 2013-14 season.  At this point, Chicago fans became understandably frustrated but the majority of them never completely lost hope.  The reason being is because those dedicated fans cherished Rose’s ability to shine brighter than any other star in the sky.  Rose himself was also a big reason these fans kept faith due to his humble yet intensely courageous attitude toward the game of basketball.

There is something about Derrick Rose; fans across the world want to see him shine.  The fact that he plays in Chicago and is the city’s biggest star since Michael Jordan likely plays a part in that.  Bulls fans expect to accomplish more than fans of your average NBA franchise do.  When Jordan won two sets of three-straight titles, it entirely swayed the city’s expectations as well as its reputation.  The Chicago Bulls belong in a category with the very best: the Lakers, Celtics, and Spurs.

Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski were quick to proclaim Rose a leader on Team USA for the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.  According to the two USA basketball associates, Rose looks as explosive and competitive as ever.  Coach K’s uplifting words on Rose’s condition should provide plenty of encouragement to Chicago’s patiently waiting fans.

“I think he’s exceptional in every way,” Coach K said of Rose. “The first defensive exchange in camp, he was all over the ball handler, moving his feet, attacking him.  There was a buzz right away because it was basically him saying, ‘Look, I’m not just back.  I’m back at a level that’s elite.’”

The fact that Rose is participating without hesitation is a promising sign for the Bulls.  But the rest of the NBA franchises felt a chill go through their spines as Paul George went down with a season-ending leg injury in a Team USA scrimmage last week.  This situation has, once again, furthered the case for NBA stars to be held out of intense offseason events.  George’s devastating injury gave Kevin Durant a valid excuse to leave Team USA this summer.

Competing in the FIBA World Championships, however, may be one of the smartest career decisions Rose has made.  At some point, we need assurance that the 2011 MVP has permanently returned to his own form.  There is no better way for him to prove himself than showcasing his talents before the season.  This way, Rose and the Bulls should be ready to go full throttle from day one of the regular season.  D-Rose, 25, is still young enough to continue on as Chicago’s franchise player.

Despite the two knee surgeries and inactivity on the court, there have been no signs of Rose losing his athleticism and explosiveness this summer.  Even through Rose’s constant absences over the last two years, the Bulls have remained a valuable franchise.  That is largely because of Joakim Noah’s tremendous impact as both a defender and player the Bulls had to rebuild their offense around. Rose and Noah have proven chemistry together on the court and Noah should have no problem adjusting his game with Rose hopefully back in the mix.

The Bulls fell to a Washington team in five games that simply overpowered them with speed, athleticism and shooting.  However, the Bulls should not overlook that uncharacteristic playoff loss because they know they were far from fully armed. Chicago’s front office did a phenomenal job rejuvenating the roster this off-season. With crucial additions in Pau Gasol, Doug McDermott, and Nikola Mirotic, Rose’s health will be the deciding factor in whether or not the Bulls are a Top 2 team in the Eastern Conference.

Credit must be given where it is due as Chicago’s organization has done a tremendous job guiding Rose through this difficult rehabilitation process.  After his second injury, the organization’s main focus was getting Rose back at nothing less than 100 percent.  The superstar product from Chi-town has no shortage of faith in what is probably his biggest off-season yet.  Expect the United Center to give Rose a warm welcome in what could be a brand new phase of his career.

Zach

Zach Tennen (@ZTennen11) is a staff writer for The High Screen and a senior at the University of Arizona.