If Derrick Rose is healthy enough this summer, Tom Thibodeau says the former MVP has the green light to participate with USA Basketball this summer.
Yesterday Rose was among the 28 players selected to the 2014-2016 Men's National Team pool, of which 12 will be selected to compete in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. Rose, who played for the 2010 National Team that won Gold, has not played since Nov. 22, and has just 10 games under his belt the last two years, is still recovering from season-ending knee surgery. No timetable has been given -- Rose hasn't put a return this season out of the question -- but Thibodeau, an assistant for Team USA, says that if his knee is given the all-clear and Rose feels comfortable, he supports Rose participating in practice and competing for a spot on the team.
"If he’s healthy enough, I think it’d be great for him. And I know he feels the same way. I thought that whole (2010) experience was tremendous for him. I know how strongly USA Basketball feels about him so if his health is there I think it makes a lot of sense," Thibodeau said. "Obviously his health is the priority. If he’s cleared to play and that’s the best thing for him, I think he should do it."
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Rose released a statement yesterday that indicated his intentions and excitement of competing this summer.
“I’m looking forward to getting back on the court this summer and having the chance to represent our country,” Rose said. “It’s an honor to play for Team USA and Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski).”
In 2010 Rose played in all nine games, averaging 7.2 points on 46 percent shooting, 3.2 assists and 2.1 rebounds for Team USA. Rose used that participation and extra repetitions -- he does't play pick-up basketball in the offseason -- and that fall began an NBA campaign that resulted in him winning league MVP before falling to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
This year's group of 28 players include the best of the best in the NBA, including names such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, among others. Even if Rose does not play in this year's regular season or playoffs, if the Bulls advance, he'd certainly face the steepest competition possible in those practices. That's something Thibodeau sees as a positive.
"In 2010, that summer, when he had the opportunity to practice and play, I thought he hit the ground running," Thibodeau said. "I thought that was great for him. And that being said, because you’re going at pros every day and it’s high-level competition, I think you get an edge about you when you do stuff like that. But the priority has to be he’s completely healthy, and that’s what we’ll look at first."