Derrick Rose certainly meant no disrespect to the Indiana Pacers when he said he didn't consider the reigning Central Division champions "rivals" to the Bulls, but that didn't keep fellow point guard George Hill from responding.
Leading up the Bulls' preseason contest against the Pacers last week, Rose was asked about Indiana and how the two defensive-minded, well coached and experienced groups may be turning into a rivalry game for both sides.
"If anything, probably in a year or two, they could become a rival. But right now, people say it’s a rivalry. I just don’t see it right now,” Rose said.
Rose mentioned that most rivalries occur when teams have been together for a long period of time and the players know each other's tendencies, hence him saying that down the line the two teams could form a rivalry.
For Hill, however, success between two division foes breed rivalries. Last season the Pacers took the Central Division from the Rose-less Bulls won three of four head-to-head matchups.
“I don’t know how [Rose] can say we’re not rivals yet because we've been just as successful as they have been,” Hill told HoopsWorld. “But all I know right now is we’re the Central Division champions and for them, they have to come through us to get that. But if that’s what he believes, then that’s what he believes.”
Still, Rose's comments shouldn't be taken at face value, as Bulls Insider Aggrey Sam noted last week. The former MVP missed all of last season and though he watched the Pacers take the Miami Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals, it's hard to consider a team a true rival without playing against that current group. The Bulls and Pacers square off in the regular season on Nov. 6 in Indianapolis. We'll see if Rose feels differently about the matchup following that game.