CHICAGO -- Without Derrick Rose for much of the last two years, the Chicago Bulls ran a slow, plodding offense. Veteran coach Tom Thibodeau knew he didn't have the type of explosive offensive pieces to move quickly up and down the floor. But this season, with Rose and big men like Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol leading the way, Thibodeau has a few more options in his repertoire.
"We've been playing kind of fast," Rose said. "And Pau and Jo, they don't care if me and Jimmy (Butler) or (Mike Dunleavy) push the ball. They just run after, run behind us, don't complain about touches or anything. Pau, we got to force him to shoot the ball. This is a dangerous team, I think, when you have him and Jo passing the ball the way that they do and you got Jimmy cutting and getting in lanes and me running, pushing the ball. We have a dangerous team I think."
Rose doesn't believe there is much rust in his game right now. Despite his poor shooting performance in the World Cup of Basketball over the summer for Team USA, Rose remains confident that his game will return to form once preseason action begins on Monday against the Washington Wizards.
"I think I've been playing good, man," Rose said after Sunday's practice.
Rose also offered up a glimpse as to how Thibodeau is trying to tweak his offense toward a faster pace this year.
"I think actually the way Thibs has been making us run, just getting that wind under me a little bit more, getting my second wind, it's been different this year," Rose said. "He's been making us run a lot more sets with the time running and we get a lot more plays called. We haven't put in that many plays. It's more like a reaction-type offense. You just read what's going on and you follow what you have to do. So it might be different this year but we're going to look in the post more."
Of course, pushing the ball with Rose at the helm is a familiar refrain over the last few years. The Bulls talk about how they want to run more with Rose back, but then Rose gets injured and all the plans change. With Rose healthy and more comfortable this time around, the Bulls are hoping they can actually hold to the pace plan this time around. Rose believes his team is already playing defense at a high level and they are deeper, on paper, than they've been in years. It's up to Rose to prove he can stay healthy now.
"You can see he's starting to get more comfortable," Thibodeau said. "When you're out there competing against someone it's different than just working out in a gym by yourself. So that's probably been the biggest adjustment. The physicality, also learning his teammates -- the only way you get that is being on the floor working together."
That continuity is what makes many within the Advocate Center so excited about the possibilities this season. Rose does have the ability to push the pace of the game. The Bulls do have the depth to keep that pace going over 48 minutes at times if that's what they desire. The pieces are in place to see a more exciting tempo this year. As he gets set for his first NBA game at the United Center in almost a year, Rose is confident things will work out well for him this time.
"As far as my game, I think I'm fine," Rose said. "My nerves calmed down a little bit more, (it will) just take actually game-time playing."