Rose has played an important role since the Knicks acquired him from the Pistons on Feb. 7. He entered Saturday averaging 11.8 points and 4.1 assists in his first eight games since the trade, including 18 and six in those categories Thursday against Sacramento. “I think his quickness is the same. And obviously I think as players get older, what they do is they get experience and they add things to their games,” Thibodeau said. “So he’s a lot different than he was when he was 22. And obviously that athleticism is different now. But he also has the knowledge of all the experiences he’s been through.
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“Any time you’ve spent the amount of time that we’ve spent together and to have all the experiences that we’ve had — we’ve had some great highs, we’ve had some lows — there’s just an appreciation for him,” Thibodeau said Friday. “I think that’s one of the best parts of coaching, as you get to know people over a long period of time you appreciate all the things that they bring. “We have a great trust in each other. We’ve always been truthful to each other. I think that’s helped us build that trust. But he has a lot of deposits. Obviously all the things that he’s done on all the teams that I’ve been with, I wouldn’t be in this position today without him.”
Christopher Hine: Here’s Rose, on how he goes forward w/out Thibs: “I have a lot of confidence in myself. Thibs was just the coach that believed in me. He jump-started my career again and for that I’ll always be thankful, but for everybody that think that it’s going to stop, kill yourself.”
Now, as Thibodeau’s career has come full circle he hopes to guide Minnesota to back-to-back playoff appearances with the help of his former Bulls core. “I think that they’re in different places now,” Thibodeau said. “Derrick, when I first had him, he was a 22-year-old kid and was the MVP of the league, an All-Star, and all those things, and he’s gone through a lot, and he’s playing great basketball for us again. That’s a good thing. This past summer it was the first summer in five years he was healthy, so I think that helped him to prepare for the season. When you look at Taj, he’s the ultimate pro, always has been. He was the same way in Chicago. Whatever you ask him to do he’s all team and team first. Start, come off the bench, big minutes, short minutes, play great defense, play for the team, play to win. Luol has been a great veteran leader. I think that’s important for our team.”
Are Thibs &/ or The Wolves considering bringing back Derrick Rose and, if they are, what does that mean for Tyus Jones? Jon Krawczynski: No question that they are interested in bringing Rose back. Thibs certainly heard plenty of questions when he first brought Rose in. But in that role as a combo guard off the bench, Rose was good. He played solid defense, scored well and was a great teammate. […] There is also no question Rose is interested in continuing to play for Thibs. These last few years have been chaotic for him and he wants to play for a coach he knows and trusts. What does that mean for Tyus Jones? His playing time dwindled late in the season and in the playoffs as Rose’s increased. He certainly would seem to be a candidate to be traded.
That’s why coming to Minnesota was not just a preference for him, but perhaps a necessity. Familiar faces abound, from coaches Tom Thibodeau, Andy Greer, Ed Pinckney and Rick Brunson to teammates Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. If it doesn’t work here, it will be hard for him to find a more comfortable environment. “I wanted to go somewhere I was familiar with coach,” Rose said last week. “Being here was the perfect position and situation where we have a young team. I believe they don’t know how good they are. I believe the city don’t know how good the team is. We can bring that excitement not only to the team, but to the city. It’s the perfect situation.”
There were even doubts internally, so much so that Rose needed assurances that the organization was on board with the move before he made the final agreement to come to Minnesota, league sources told The Athletic. Through it all, questions about Rose’s character, his health and his state of mind, Thibodeau has never flinched. “He’s got great instincts,” Thibodeau said as the regular season drew to a close. “You’re just seeing the tip of it. This year has been basically a lost year, but he’s super-talented. That’s why we picked him up. He’s played very well for us.”
After years of hearing Thibodeau bark orders up and down the floor, Rose clearly appreciated his coach’s sentiment. “It’s crazy to hear him say that,” Rose said. “That shows that — I believe in myself, I know that because I know how much I put into everything. But to hear him say that — this is the same guy I didn’t get no compliment from til after I won MVP my third year. So to hear him say that means a lot. It’s something that I’m going to cherish, because I know what type of person he is and individual he is. He’s a tough guy and I’m thankful and happy to be here.”
Asked Thibs yesterday how Derrick Rose’s game has changed most since they were first together in his MVP season in Chicago. “Just health. He’s a different guy, but you can’t forget Derrick has already been through — and obviously when he was at an MVP level that was the peak, but my last year in Chicago he had a great year, that team was really good. If [Pau] Gasol doesn’t get hurt in the conference semifinals [against the Cleveland Cavaliers] who knows what happens? The next year he gets a fractured eye socket [at the start of training camp.] Last year if you go back through his games, he averaged 18 points a game, and if you take it by team and you see what he did, he still has the potential to be very good.”
Jerry Zgoda: Rose after shoot on if Thibs is best coach to get best out of him now: “Who knows? So far he has been the best coach, but I still think I got a lot left. Who knows if he can spark something up…I don’t have to prove anything. I’m going to let my hard work do that.”
Jon Krawczynski: Thibs on Rose’s ups and downs, including the trial: “I know who Derrick is. I know who he is. I spent a lot of time with him.”
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April 19, 2021 | 8:10 am EDT Update
Chema de Lucas: Mike James will play with the Brooklyn Nets until the end of the season. Immediate incorporation. Nets interest in the CSKA Moscow player was first reported by @Eurohoopsnet.
Reigning EuroLeague scoring champion Mike James has emerged as a candidate to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Eurohoops has learned via a source. James was suspended indefinitely by CSKA Moscow in late March following an incident with team head coach Dimitris Itoudis and has headed back to his native United States. UPDATE: He will join the Nets, according to Chema de Lucas.
The Toronto Raptors announced Monday they have signed forward Yuta Watanabe (YOU-tuh wah-tuh-NAH-bay) to a standard NBA contract. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Watanabe, 6-foot-9, 205 pounds, is averaging 4.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 13.4 minutes in 39 games (one start) as a two-way player with the Raptors this season. He is shooting .448 (56-125) from the field, including .400 (24-40) from three-point range, and has scored in double figures six times. Watanabe recorded a career-high 21 points Apr. 16 vs. Orlando.
Hasheem Thabeet is looking to make an NBA comeback, his agent Jerry Dianis told me on Saturday. The 7’3″ big-man just won MVP honors while playing in Taiwan for the Hsinchu JKO Lioneers. “Bottom line Hasheem Thabeet was given a opportunity, and he killed it,” Dianis told me. “MVP performance with career highs in points, rebounds, minutes played, assists and steals. Thabeet averaged 18.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game.
To gauge who are the top international players, HoopsHype polled 15 NBA talent evaluators, including 10executives and five scouts. Each talent evaluator was asked to list his top five international players. The criteria included any player pro player not in the NBA right now. Some of the talent evaluators prioritized former NBA players and older veterans who are having an immediate impact on their team overseas. Others placed a higher value on younger prospects who are likely to come to the NBA in upcoming drafts. 1. Nikola Mirotic (Barcelona): The 30-year-old forward is shooting an astounding 59.7 percent from the field and 47.2 percent from beyond the arc while scoring 15.9 points per game. “He’s the guy that’s been most productive in the NBA, and someone you can put in an NBA game right now if you had to,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype.
2. Josh Giddey (Adelaide 36ers): “He has great size and excellent court vision,” an NBAexecutive told HoopsHype. “He sees the floor so well, and he’s probably too unselfish at times. His shooting will need a lot of work. He needs to become a consistent threat from three and he needs to improve at the line, but he’s playing in a tough league at a young age and he’s having success.”
3. Vasilije Micic (Anadolu Efes): The 6-foot-5 Serbian guard has his draft rights retained currently by the Thunder. While some have speculated he could make the jump to the NBA, his agent, Misko Raznatovic, denied having talks with any clubs for next season at this time. Still, Micic has drawn the attention of NBA teams with his play. “He’s almost an elite passer,” one NBAscout told HoopsHype. “He’s a good shooter, both on and off the dribble. He’s not athletic but has enough strength after his first step to get at the rim once he gets a runway. He’s very smart. His basketball IQ is off the charts.”