Rose to be tested by strong competition at USA Basketball

Rose to be tested by strong competition at USA Basketball
July 27, 2014, 2:15 pm
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All of the speculation about Derrick Rose's progress in his second recovery from major knee surgery will begin to come to an end beginning Monday in Las Vegas, where the former league MVP starts his participation in USA Basketball training camp ahead of the inaugural FIBA World Cup in Madrid.

While there have been numerous high-profile defections from the roster, particularly at power forward, one position that hasn't been overly affected is point guard — Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook was the only notable name to decline an invitation — where Rose's competition includes Golden State's Stephen Curry, Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, Portland's Damian Lillard and Washington's John Wall, a late invite, who was added after Blake Griffin pulled out last week.

Curry, who played alongside Rose on Team USA's 2010 FIBA World Championships squad that won a gold medal, is pretty much a lock as one of the NBA's elite shooters, but is also more of a combo guard with the ability to play off the ball. Irving, Lillard and Wall, all of whom developed into All-Stars during the last two seasons, of which Rose has only played 10 games, certainly won't shy away from attacking the Bulls floor general, who at 25, is the next-oldest player at the position after Curry vying for a spot on the team.

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Rose, if he's as explosive as Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, a USA Basketball assistant, and players from the team's summer-league entry in Las Vegas claimed he was at Berto Center practices early this month, along with Wall, is the most athletic point guard of the bunch. Wall, while he might be the best pure playmaker of the group, is also the most suspect outside shooter, which doesn't bode well against international competition. Irving and Lillard, meanwhile, have similar games and it wouldn't be surprising if it becomes an either-or scenario between the pair. In the end, it's likely that three point guards, including Curry, are kept on the roster and Rose, assuming he doesn't appear to be too rusty, would have the leg up due to his experience in 2010, which proceeded his NBA campaign.

In addition to Rose and Thibodeau, the Bulls will also be represented in Las Vegas by swingman Jimmy Butler and rookie Doug McDermott, both of whom will practice with the national-team hopefuls as members of USA Basketball's Select Team.