Despite a disappointing playoff exit last spring, Derrick Rose's offseason was a lucrative one.
The Chicago Bulls star's start to the 2011-12 campaign showed exactly why.
The Bulls continue their season-opening road trip with some momentum Monday night when they visit the Golden State Warriors.
While he couldn't get Chicago past Miami in the Eastern Conference finals, Rose capped an otherwise spectacular season by becoming the league's youngest MVP after averaging 25.0 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds.
The Bulls rewarded Rose with a five-year contract extension worth approximately $94 million.
"He embodies all the characteristics that you look for," coach Tom Thibodeau said following Chicago's announcement of the deal. "It's a lot more than the talent. The talent is the obvious part. Then, when you look at his will to win, basketball IQ, unselfishness, his humility - I think those are the things that you can build a championship-caliber team around."
That selflessness was on display after Chicago's stirring 88-87 win over the Los Angeles Lakers to begin the season Sunday. Rose hit the go-ahead shot with 4.8 seconds to play, capping a rally from an 11-point deficit with 3:44 to go.
Even though he hit the eventual game-winner, Rose was quick to credit Luol Deng, who stole Kobe Bryant's pass with 16.9 seconds left to set up Rose's shot. Deng also blocked Bryant's last-ditch attempt right before the buzzer.
"If it weren't for my teammates, making the steal and getting the ball to me at the end, there's no way I could have gotten that shot off to help us win that game," Rose said.
Rose finished with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting and had five assists, although he also committed five turnovers. Meanwhile, Deng had 21 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
Despite the victory, the Bulls have plenty they'll want to improve as they continue their four-game West Coast trip. They shot 25.0 percent in the second half and were held to 12 points in the third quarter. Joakim Noah had just six points on 3-of-12 shooting to go with nine rebounds.
Richard Hamilton also had only six points in an underwhelming Bulls debut.
The Warriors, however, have a lot more room for improvement after a 105-86 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night.
Stephen Curry is hoping to take another step in his development, but after averaging 18.6 points and 5.8 assists in his second NBA season, he got off to a rough start Sunday. Curry, who had offseason surgery on his right ankle, finished with more turnovers (five) than points (four), shooting 2 of 12 from the field.
Backcourt mate Monta Ellis also struggled, with four turnovers to go along with 15 points on 6-of-19 shooting after his grandmother died earlier in the day.
It was also not the start Golden State was looking for defensively under new coach Mark Jackson. The Warriors gave up 105.7 points per game last season - 27th in the NBA - but Jackson was hired in part to improve that number.
After a promising first half in that area, the Clippers shot 59.0 percent and scored 64 points following the break.
"We are a team right now that plays in spurts. The great teams don't do that, it gets you in trouble," Jackson said. "There are times we look like we really understand what we're trying to accomplish and then there are times ... we look like a lost basketball team."
Chicago and Golden State split their two meetings last season, with each winning at home. Rose had 14 points and nine turnovers while Ellis had 33 points in the Warriors' 101-90 win in Oakland on Feb. 5.
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