By Cody Westerlund-
CHICAGO (CBS) – A day before USA Basketball’s exhibition game against Brazil at the United Center, American coach Mike Krzyzewski hadn’t yet revealed his starting lineup, saying it doesn’t much matter because he’ll rotate so many in and out.
Yet all indications – both words and circumstance – are that Bulls guard Derrick Rose will take the floor at opening tip-off in his hometown.
“He’s been great,” Krzyzewski said. “He’s been outstanding, consistently outstanding. I’m very pleased with Derrick.”
While Krzyzewski didn’t tip his hand on his starting five, it’s a good bet Anthony Davis, James Harden and Steph Curry will be a part of it with Rose. Those are four of the most talented on the roster and played on the same team at the start of Thursday’s scrimmage, joined by Rudy Gay.
The fifth spot seems up for grabs, with big man and potential starter DeMarcus Cousins ruled out with a minor knee injury. Davis will play despite having a sore neck, Krzyzewski said.
Of course, Rose has no qualms coming off the bench if needed.
“Not at all,” he said. “As long as I step on the floor and get some minutes, keep knocking this rust off, I’m fine.”
Rose added he’s unsure of the reception he’ll get at the United Center, but he’s excited to see because he’s received “love everywhere” he went in Las Vegas during a recent mini-camp. He’s also thrilled to play in front of his hometown fans, saying, “They’re way more excited than the players are … The Bulls fans just want to see some basketball.”
And he just wants to play some basketball.
“This is my chance to actually become a better leader, being more vocal in the locker room,” Rose said of how Team USA has helped him. “I’ve been more vocal on the floor. Tomorrow starts a huge journey for me, and I’m not trying to shy away from it. I think it’s going to help me become a leader with the Bulls next season.”
Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for CBSChicago.com and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.