Derrick Rose's decision to sit out the entirety of the 2012-13 season was met with plenty of criticism, but the Chicago Bulls star has long maintained he chose that path in order to ensure that his body was in tip-top shape when he did return to the court.
Rose continued to diligently rehab this offseason and, in an interview with Adam Figman of SLAM Magazine, the former MVP talked about the benefits of all the extra rehab time. Namely, how his added strength will affect him on the court:
"Right now I'm in training, and I'm getting a lot stronger. I gained 10 pounds of muscle. I don't know how that's going to carry over to how I play on the court, but I know it's going to be very weird. I'm shooting a lot of shots right now, working with Rob, just putting memory back in my leg."
Rose is hoping that extra muscle will help him better absorb hits in the lane and allow him to convert on more and-ones. In addition to the increase in strength, Rose believes he's even quicker and more explosive than he was pre-injury ... which is a pretty scary thought considering how quick and explosive he already was.
Perhaps the most important improvement may be a more consistent jump shot. Rose's jumper has always been rather erratic, but with all of the time off, he has put a lot of focus on improving that and has gained a lot of confidence in it. Not only would an improved jumper make him a more dangerous offensive threat, it would help preserve his body more for the long term.
Finally, Rose revealed his goals for the year. There was only one, and it wasn't a surprising one:
"It's only one goal that I have, really my whole team has, and that's to win a Championship. All the individual goals, of course we appreciate ‘em and we love to get ‘em, but our No. 1 goal is to go out there and play as hard as we can so that we can be raising that trophy at the end."
Johnson signs with Hawks
Former first-round pick James Johnson has signed a deal with the Atlanta Hawks, according to the sports management firm Priority Sports.
No details of the contract have been reported, but Kris Willis at Peachtree Hoops presumes it's a training camp deal. The Hawks have just one roster spot left, but that is likely being left open for Lou Williams as he recovers from a torn ACL.
Johnson, the No. 16 pick in the 2009 draft, has bounced around between the Bulls, Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings over the course of his young career. The 26-year-old has career averages of 6.3 points and 3.2 rebounds.
Blue inks partially guaranteed deal with 76ers
Blue averaged 14.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists in his junior season at Marquette before declaring for the draft. The guard played for the Houston Rockets at Orlando Summer League and the Memphis Grizzlies at the Las Vegas Summer League.
Blue is very athletic, and while his jumper and ballhandling are works in progress, Derek Bodner at Liberty Ballers feels that he has a good chance to make the Sixers:
Despite his deficiencies, Blue should have a very good chance to make the roster, or at the very least be one of the two players the Sixers end up placing down on the 87ers. His fit with Michael Carter-Williams, Evan Turner, and Tony Wroten is questionable, obviously, at best.
Williams downplays ankle injury, but will undergo MRI
Brooklyn Nets star Deron Williams doesn't think his sprained right ankle will force him to miss the start of training camp, but he'll undergo another MRI for precautionary measures, according to Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York:
"(My ankle's) good. It's good. As long as I'm ready for the start of the regular season (Oct. 30 in Cleveland), that's all that matters, but I'll be ready for the start of camp," Williams said Thursday at his Dodgeball charity event in Manhattan.
Williams suffered the injury while working out in Utah nearly three weeks ago. An initial MRI revealed some inflammation, and the point guard was fitted with a walking boot to prevent the injury from getting worse.
Greene joins Chinese team
The Grizzlies traded Greene to the Boston Celtics earlier in the offseason, but the Celtics turned around and waived him in order to get under the luxury tax.
Greene will join the Leopards in time for their three-game tour in New Zealand.