Friday, Jan. 14, 2011
By Aggrey Sam
INDIANAPOLIS, IND.Putting the Bulls current road woes on hold for a moment, the continued ascension of Derrick Rose into one of the faces of the league has been most recently manifested by him vaulting past rival point guard Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics to second place among Eastern Conference guards in All-Star balloting. But as anybody whos ever spent time around the third-year point guard could predict, he downplayed the news.
Some people hit me up, talking about it. Other than that, I dont know numbers or anything, Rose said before Fridays shootaround at Conseco Fieldhouse, where the Bulls will take on the Indiana Pacers a few hours later. Its great, knowing that you have an organization thats behind you, pushing for me to start. I wasnt going to do anything. I think its really up to the fans and Im thankful I have that many votes.
Just put me on the team. Ill be happy like that, he continued, repeating his frequently-uttered position on his All-Star status. Last year, I didnt start, but I had a great time.
Rose was an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve a year agobecoming the first Bulls player to make the team since Michael Jordan in 1998but doesnt see a major difference in potentially starting.
It probably wouldnt change his experience. Probably more media stuff laughs, but other than that, I think just being on the team is a blessing, said Rose, who had 1,225,575 votes to Rondos 1,171,311 when the most recent returns were announced Thursday. I wouldnt want to be near him Jordan right now because he did so much for the Bulls.
I dont look at stuff like that, like the first Bulls All-Star since Jordan, the first starter, he added. Im just happy that they nominated for me to be on that team.
While Rose, reflective of his humble nature, didnt get overly excited about the chance to possibly start in the game, his teammates expressed pride in the recognition shown to the close-knits squads star.
Im happy for him. He deserves it. He deserves to start in that game, a beaming Carlos Boozer told CSNChicago.com. I think hes been the best guard or one of the top guards in the leaguenot just the Eastern Conferenceall season, so its much deserved. He should start in that game.
Chimed in Luol Deng, whos witnessed Roses progress as a professional firsthand: I think he deserves it. Hes been unbelievable so far this year and just seeing him since his rookie year until now, the way hes been able to improve his game every year shows a lot about him as a worker and his work ethic.
Even Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, a man who isnt focused on much that doesnt have to do with the day-to-day dealings of his team, acknowledged Roses worthiness.
So far, hes having that type of season and again, theres not much control he has on that, other than to continue to play the way hes playing, said Thibodeau. The fans make that decision, but hes playing at a very high level and I think hes earned it.
Despite his emerging national profile, Rose, remains grounded and selfless, deflecting attention to his teammates.
You have a couple guys on this team thats been playing well, like Lu, Booz, Joakim, he observed. At least they should be recognized for it, but well see.
To further support Rose, the organization will distribute placards to fans attending Saturdays highly anticipated home game against the Miami Heat at the United Center, as well as placing a red rose on the seat of courtside spectators. Paper balloting at NBA arenas ends Monday, but online and text-message voting for the All-Star Gameheld Feb. 20 at the Staples Center in Los Angelescontinues until Jan. 23, with the games starters announced Jan. 27.
Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.