In most ways, Derrick Rose's job with the USA basketball team hasn't changed since Kevin Durant opted out of participating in the World Cup last week.
"Derrick's role is easy to play," USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Just get the ball and be Derrick. Be Derrick for as long as you can."
Yet without Durant, the NBA's reigning MVP, Rose, a former MVP, naturally takes on a greater responsibility.
It just so happens that Rose wants to take Durant's place as the team leader.
"This is my chance to become a better leader," Rose said ahead of Saturday's exhibition with Brazil at the United Center. "I've become more vocal in the locker room, I've been more vocal on the floor. It's going to help me become a leader with the Bulls next season."
That leadership will have to come through in a variety of ways. While Durant was the only player on this year's roster who averaged more than 20 minutes per game with Team USA at the 2012 Olympics, Krzyzewski won't be to transferring the playing time over to Rose.
The coaching staff isn't looking for Rose to play superstar for Team USA so much as they are looking for him to make sure it's running as smoothly as possible.
"The makeup of this team is a lot different than that of the Bulls," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, an assistant for Team USA. "So (Rose's) role is a lot different. No one really has the burden of carrying the load because of the quality of the depth."
Instead, Thibodeau and Krzyzewski said they are looking for Rose to pace the team on both ends of the floor -- with Rose expected to pressure the ball more. And as someone who played with Team USA in the 2010 FIBA tournament, Thibodeau believes Rose understands what types of sacrifices he will have to make in his own game to ensure overall success.
"He has a great understanding of what his strengths with the club are," Thibodeau said. "If you ask him to be a playmaker and run the defense, that's what he'll do. On this team we want him to run the team."
None of which is to say Rose is the answer to all the problems Durant's decision created. Other than adding Kings' small forward Rudy Gay into the mix, Rose and the coaches repeatedly have said they won't try to replace Durant.
"It hurts when you lose a player like Kevin Durant because of how gifted he is offensively," Rose said. "(But) you have guys who work their butts off the entire offseason to show people they deserve to get looked at, too."
The same also could be said for Rose, who won't be getting too many pep talks from Krzyzewski as the team gets closer to tipoff in Spain with its first game against Finland on Aug. 30.
That would get in the way of Rose just "being Derrick."
"When you have a great player, you don't try to over-coach them, you try to give them space and let them react to their instincts," Krzyzewski said. "I just want Derrick to react instinctively to what he sees."
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