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Right to the point: Rose takes big leap
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist

Derrick Rose very likely has become the best point guard in the NBA.


Associated Press

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Published: 9/1/2010 12:00 AM

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Something pretty important happened this summer while Chicago was immersed in Ozzie, Lou, Lovie and the Cup.

But if you've been watching the World Championship from Istanbul, then you probably noticed that Derrick Rose has likely become the best point guard in the NBA.

The first sign of his growth arrived when the rest of the NBA was recruiting LeBron James. Rose chose to sit out the process, believing he was quite an NBA player himself and that he could win with or without James.

His decision not to kiss the king's ring says a lot about Rose's ownership of the Bulls and how he views his place in the NBA.

That's all good, but what's even better is that Rose has gotten bigger, stronger and maybe even more explosive since the end of the NBA season.

He's also shooting better and - sit down for this one - he's playing solid defense off the ball in Turkey and consistently picking off passes and starting the break.

He's got a good chance to lead NBA point guards in scoring next season while being in the top three in assists, which puts him ahead of Rajon Rondo.

Steve Nash, bless him, is 36 years old. Chris Paul is coming off a knee injury and wants out of New Orleans.

And Deron Williams lost Carlos Boozer, who's going to be playing catch not with Williams this year, but - wait for it - Derrick Rose.

Yeah, it only took GM John Paxson seven years to find the Bulls an inside presence, and having finally done that, the Bulls - with Rose more confident and better than ever - look to be a final four team in the East next spring.

As for how far they go from there, well, this usually takes steps, and if Boston's healthy, the Celts are still a huge threat.

There's also that monster in Orlando, Dwight Howard, for whom the Bulls have no answer, and the trio in Miami will have every chance to make it to the NBA Finals.

But with Rose taking a huge step forward, it's no longer impossible to think that in the next few years he could lead them to the big dance.

It's far from traditional these days, as it's been 20 years since an NBA team had a superstar point guard lead his club to a title, but few believed another Chicago-born guard would do it until Isiah Thomas went back-to-back in Detroit.

So an NBA Finals appearance may not happen this season or next, but to watch Rose play this summer is to think it's now possible to dream.

Recall vote

The NFL's decision to move the umpires from behind the defensive line to behind the entire offense - for safety reasons - is killing the hurry-up offense.

Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are screaming about illegal-snap penalties called in preseason games because the offense didn't wait until the umpire ran a marathon back to his position.

For some of these spry gentlemen, 15 yards can take a considerable amount of time.

Not only does it cut down on the number of plays, it also gives the defense time to get set and takes away the advantage of QBs who've made the no-huddle an art form.

The NFL sent a memo to teams Tuesday stating that the league is still tweaking the rule, but regardless of how they try to fix it, if the umpires stay on the offensive side of the ball, this is going to seriously hamper the two-minute offense.

With all due concern for the umpires' safety, this is a terrible rule change.

The opener

Without an offensive line, here's all Jay Cutler needs to know about the Lions, from the first graph of a story out of last weekend's Cleveland-Detroit contest:

"Detroit Lions rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh grabbed Jake Delhomme's face mask, twisted it, wrapped his arms around the Browns quarterback's head and slammed him to the ground. It was hard to watch - in real time or instant replay."

Tidy solution

Alabama loses Heisman winner Mark Ingram with a knee scope until at least Week 2 against Penn State, but they plug in sophomore Trent Richardson, who'd probably be a top-five NCAA running back - and maybe a Heisman candidate himself - if he got the carries.

A bad day for Ingram, of course, but tough to feel sorry for the Tide under the circumstances.

The quote

Yankees bullpen coach Mike Harkey on Joe Girardi: "It's never about Joe. It's about the team and about winning. He's honest about his feelings and he's great at the communication part. He just knows how to roll with it and take it as it comes. He allows the guys to take a deep breath and just play."

Sign from above

E-mailer Randy from Huntley: "Regarding Adam Dunn's professed love for playing at Wrigley Field and his track record of success there, has anyone explained to him that if he signs with the Cubs he won't be allowed to hit against their pitching staff?"

Jordan err

E-mailer Orlando from Woodridge: "The Bulls will place a statue of Scottie Pippen outside the United Center. No word yet on what happens if the unveiling is delayed by 1.8 seconds."

Best headline "Manny Ramirez pretty sure he played for White Sox before."

And finally -

E-mailer The Last Bear Fan: "Saturday night there was a stadium poll asking, 'Who will be the Bears toughest opponent?' Trick question. Bears weren't listed among the answers."

• Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.