John Paxson says Derrick Rose received unfair criticism for not returning to action this season and believes the Chicago Bulls star will benefit from the work he did on his body during his time away.

Paxson, the Bulls' executive vice president of basketball operations, told WSCR-AM 670 on Sunday that Rose "took a lot of unfair shots" from critics who felt he should have returned late in the regular season or during the playoffs.

"It's the way of the world now, the social media, everything that goes on," Paxson said. "Everybody wants to point a finger and blame and accuse and that kind of stuff. And the reality is, Derrick and us, we were all on the same page from the beginning. If he was ready to play mentally and physically, he was going to play. It didn't happen this year."
Paxson said Rose will continue his rehab work during the offseason and will be an even better player when he returns as a result.

"There's no question in my mind that the time he spent on his body this past year was the best thing he's ever done because I think he's learned that, to compete in an NBA season and absorb the physical contact that he does, what he's done during this rehab has benefitted him greatly. I think it's going to make him better and stronger.

"We're fortunate that we've got a kid who is still young and is dedicated to the job and wants to continue being a great player. I think he's going to come back bigger, stronger, better than ever."

Rose is doing the kind of body work that few young players in the NBA feel they need to do, Paxson said.

"So many of these young kids come into our league and they're so gifted athletically, they really don't have to pay attention to their bodies if they choose not to," Paxson said. "They've always gotten by being faster, stronger, quicker, whatever it is.

"Well, this injury for Derrick has made him realize that he's not invincible, first and foremost. He has to take care of his body."