Is the Derrick Rose of old back? Kobe Bryant seems to think so

Is Derrick Rose back?
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a very good chance Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose peaked five years ago, when he became the youngest player in NBA history win the MVP. Half a decade and several major knee surgeries later, Rose is neither an All-Star nor the best player on his own team.

But after Sunday night’s victory over the Los Angeles Lakers—in which Rose had 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists—Kobe Bryant said he believes the three-time All-Star is back on the right track:

Rose is averaging an inefficient 16.3 points per game this year. He dips in and out of games without the consistent athletic burst that allowed him to mercilessly torment defenders earlier in his career. That’s slowly starting to change, though. 

It’s only a three-game sample size, but Rose has been a force of nature since the All-Star break, averaging 26 points with a 57.4/50.0/92.9 shooting split. That’s really, really impressive, and speaks to the level of talent that’s lurking somewhere inside the 27-year-old’s muscly frame.

The Bulls are a mercurial squad, but if their one-time franchise player can string together a couple more months of play on this level, nobody will want to face them in the postseason.