DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau knows that star point guard Derrick Rose is going to have to shake off some rust as he makes his return to the floor after sitting out the last year and a half while rehabbing from knee surgery -- but the veteran coach is pleased by what he has seen up to this point from the former MVP.
"There's some ups, some downs," Thibodeau said after Sunday's first practice. "It's not just him; that whole unit has to get used to playing together. Playing to their strengths, covering up their weaknesses. Right now the big thing is it's not only his timing, but it's everybody's timing and spacing and execution and that's on both ends."
Thibodeau acknowledges that Rose's teammates will have to get used to playing with him again but he doesn't expect that to take very long. Thibodeau is happy to see all the open looks that Rose is creating from the outside for the rest of the group.
"Any time a player commands two (defenders) being put on him, what it does is now you're four on three away from them," Thibodeau said. "There are long closeouts, you're forcing the defense to collapse, you get rhythm 3s and it's a lot different. Like I think in transition any time you force the defense to collapse, you hit the paint and now you're kicking out and you're walking into those 3s, a much higher percentage."
Rose admitted after Saturday's first practice that it was the first time since the end of last season that he had done five on five work -- but his coaches understand that it's just all part of the process for the 24 year old. They don't want to rush him along after taking so much time to make sure he was mentally and physically ready to play again.
"The thing for us going in (was) we knew he put a lot of work in over last season and then of course the offseason there's additional time," Thibodeau said. "We just want to evaluate (the situation) based on day to day. In practice, he's not having any problems, he's moving well, but we don't want to get ahead of ourselves, just see how it unfolds.
"That's normally what you would do with your starters anyway. And then once the games come, we'll see how he handles those minutes. But the big thing is he's just practiced two days and he's fine. Then he'll play and we'll see where he is after he plays. I don't foresee any problems."