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Derrick Rose’s improved ‘3’ making him ‘unguardable’

Updated: October 23, 2013 2:56PM



Backup guard Marquis Teague wasn’t issuing a cryptic warning. He simply was stating what he thought was a fact.

‘‘If Derrick [Rose] is hitting his three like that, man, he’s unguardable,’’ Teague said. ‘‘It’s falling? You’ve got to wrap it up; it’s a wrap. He’s going to beat you every time. If he’s knocking that down, everyone is in trouble. That’s all you can say.’’

That’s all that needs to be said.

Teague and his teammates have been seeing it for months. They’ve seen the hours Rose has spent shooting from outside since December. When Rose was rehabbing from surgery on his injured left knee, shooting jumpers is all he was allowed to do early on.

But then it became habit. Now it’s a weapon, and the rest of the league has been introduced to it during the preseason.

Rose has been a 31 percent shooter from three-point range in his career. Through five preseason games, though, he is 8-for-15 and is shooting the three with an ease not seen from him before.

‘‘It’s about to be a lot of tough nights for whoever is guarding him,’’ power forward Taj Gibson said.

Not that there should be much surprise. Midway through last season, the Wall Street Journal looked at 34 NBA players who had torn an anterior cruciate ligament since 2003, then narrowed its study to the 20 players who were 26 and younger at the time of their injury.

Since returning to the court, those players had shot an average of 42 percent from 16 to 23 feet, up from 38 percent before the injury. In Rose’s case, that has translated to the three-point arc during the preseason.

‘‘He stays after for hours; I don’t even know how long,’’ Teague said. ‘‘When we leave the gym, he’s still out there working on his shot, and you can see it in a game. He’s knocking it down easy.’’

Not easily enough, Rose said.

‘‘It’s coming along, but I’m like a perfectionist,’’ Rose said. ‘‘I want to see every one of my jump shots go in. That’s how I work out. It can only get better. For me, I’m hitting jump shots now, but I feel like my timing is still a little off. So for them to still be going in . . . I don’t think I’m there yet, but it’s building my confidence.’’

The rehab process not only added
5 inches to his vertical leap, according to Rose, but all the core work and weighlifting added muscle to his upper body. That’s why Rose feels like the basketball is coming out much easier from long range.

‘‘It’s easier for me to lift the ball up,’’ Rose said. ‘‘For me, it’s really about legs. My upper body is kind of strong, so getting my legs under my shot and really following through [is key].

‘‘It’s probably surprising to a lot of people because they probably heard I’ve been working out but didn’t know. I hope that I’m showing them.’’

He certainly has been showing his teammates.

‘‘There have been scrimmages where there’s nothing the defense can do with him,’’ Gibson said. ‘‘It’s scary.’’

Think about it: Rose with a consistent three-pointer?

Maybe Teague’s right. Everyone is in trouble.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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