Derrick Rose: Bulls not thinking titles
DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose has dealt with all the expectations that have come his way this season, but even he had to chuckle after hearing Michael Jordan's comments on Saturday night, in which he proclaimed that with the way Rose and the new-look Bulls are playing they can win "six more" titles in the future.
"That's a lot of pressure," Rose said with a smile after the Bulls wrapped up practice Monday afternoon. "A lot of pressure, I don't know why he did it. We're still trying to become a 48-minute team and that's the only thing we're worried about right now. That, and Washington [on Tuesday], and that's the only thing that we can do [and] worry about. And that's the only thing we're looking forward to right now."
Rose said he didn't get a chance to speak with Jordan on Saturday night before the Hall of Famer left a private reception for current and former players. Jordan was in town as part of the 20th anniversary celebration of the Bulls' first championship team.
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"It was great, man," Rose said of being with some of the other players from that team. "It makes you want to be in their shoes. They've been in this league for a very long time. They accomplished a lot of things in this league, and for those guys to still come around, be with the organization, talk -- they're just a phone call away if we want to talk to them. It's definitely great for them to come back."
Bulls forward Carlos Boozer felt the same way.
"Amazing," Boozer said. "I got a chance to meet a couple of the guys before the game and saw a couple of guys after the game. It was amazing to see them. What they accomplished is something we're trying to accomplish as well, so I did get a chance to talk to some of those guys and what they went through, through that season. Good stories ... very honored to be able to meet guys that were champions and to do it for the first time, so it was an honor for us to be a part of it."
Unlike Rose, Boozer didn't feel that Jordan's comments put any kind of added pressure on the Bulls.
"I don't have pressure with that," Boozer said. "That's a great [compliment] coming out of his mouth. And hopefully, we can. But we don't look at it as pressure. I think for us, we're doing every step to get the first one. You can't skip steps, or [say] 'Oh, we'll be good 10 years from now.' Or, 'Oh, we'll be good ... we want to be good now.' We've got to take each step. That's like learning from each game, prior mistakes that we've made, get better along the way. Obviously, be healthy is a big thing going into the playoffs and then we learn from what we do wrong and we learn from what we do right to keep doing the right thing as well. Huge compliment, but we still have to get the first one."
That was Tom Thibodeau's reaction as well. The Bulls head coach just wants to keep his team focused on the goal at hand.
"For us, the important thing is what we think," Thibodeau said. "What this team thinks, what the coaches think. That's what we focus in on, and we know our approach doesn't change game to game, day to day. If we do that, we'll be fine. But we start looking at other things and listening to other people, that's when we get in trouble. We've just got to take care of our own business."
Unlike some of his players, Thibodeau said he didn't hear Jordan's initial comments when he made them on the floor during halftime of the Bulls-Jazz game.
"I didn't actually hear it," he said with a laugh. "But, hey look, Michael's meant so much to this organization. I think it's good. But again, the things that's important for us is really what we think and we know if we're doing the things necessary to improve each and every day ... the important thing is at the end of the season to be playing your best basketball. And to try to be as healthy as possible. And we're striving to become a championship caliber team and we think we can do it."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.