Everyone knows that ACL rehab is a laborious process. Last season I wrote a story about players coming off ACL injuries and how, if productive, they can turn that time off into a positive experience that will help their game to grow in ways they’d never imagined.
Because in many cases, the long rehab creates an ultra-driven, motivated guy who loves basketball beyond words and will do anything to get better at his craft.
So what is the predicted result?
But when he returns, he should return a better shooter. That’s what happens when hard-working, coachable players have to rehab from leg or knee injuries. All they can do is practice their shot, and the thousands of repetitions – when done the right way – usually pay off with better accuracy numbers.
Will it take time for him to regain his wind, rhythm and mojo? Of course – that’s one of the main reasons he has been out so long – but if there’s one area where we should certainly see an improvement in over time, it’s with regards to Rose’s jimmy.
Let’s not forget, Rose made a quantum leap as a shooter between his second and third seasons in the league, going from making 32 3-pointers in his first two seasons to making 182 3s in Years 3 and 4 combined.
To understand the essence of what Rose is trying to do, sliding back in as the main playmaker and scorer for a title contender, think about Kenny Smith’s analogy from Inside the NBA last night.
“If you’re driving a car, you can drive it at 80 miles per hour [in the preseason],” explained Smith. “The NBA season, you’re up at 130, 140. You just need to get used to seeing things come at you a little faster and make that adjustment.
“The great thing I saw was he’s athletic.”
And he’s trying to adjust to the speed of the game while also being the key to every opposing defense’s game plan, constantly drawing double-teams.
“Every time we play a game, their whole defensive scheme is to try to stop him,” explained Carlos Boozer. “The same thing that goes on with Melo over there (in New York), our whole defensive scheme is to figure out how to stop him. There’s gonna be some days like this, some games that are high, some games that are low. He’ll work through it and we’ll work through it together.”
Dipping through defenders in transition, contorting his body in mid-air to make sensational passes, tip a rebound or disrupt a passing angle were all on prevalent display throughout the game. All are signature Rose plays in their own right. He has moved very well since he’s taken the court in the preseason.
In five to 10 years, though, something tells me we will remember this shot for it’s remarkable nature – “I don’t even know that he saw the basket to be honest with you,” Chandler said – but also for Rose’s special confidence, scorer’s nature and the beginning of a new type of player who can see nothing but nylon for long stretches of games.
It won’t be much different than the two pretty kick-out 3-pointers at the beginning of the third quarter to extend Chicago’s lead to 49-40.
“It’s normally a shot that I’ll take throughout the game,” Rose said of his game-winner. “They gave me enough room and space to get the shot off where I’m used to shooting floaters. Him [Chandler] helping probably helped me hit the shot.”
You read that right. A 7-foot center – a former Defensive Player of the Year – actually helped Rose make the shot.
While he was out for 18 months, Rose has had to work at his imagination for the game of basketball, think about ways – shots – similar to the one he pulled off around Felton and over Chandler.
“The play he made at the end,” said Knicks coach Mike Woodson, “I haven’t seen many guys do. A 15-foot floater over a 7-footer.”
“Were you nervous at all on that last shot?” a reporter asked.
“Not at all” said Rose, chuckling about unveiling his newest trick. “Not at all. I think that was my first floater of the season…”
And there’s no way that it’ll be his last.
Jeremy Bauman is an aspiring front office professional and shooting coach who writes columns SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter. At night time he can be found at STATS LLC / SportVU, the NBA’s new game-tracking software, as an Overnight Data Analyst.