Talking the talk

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

Jalen Rose may not be a starter for the Raptors, but he certainly is a go-to guy for reporters.

The high-profile reserve, who is thriving in his new role despite not enjoying it, isn't afraid to speak his mind and yesterday was no exception.

Without prompting from the media horde, Rose went on an interesting rant about him and Grant Hill.

"To be honest with you, I've always indirectly compared my career to Grant Hill since I've been playing against him when I was 13," said Rose, who at 31 is one year younger than the Orlando Magic forward. "It seems like he always represented what was right about the game and I always represented what was wrong about the game. We both had famous athletes that were fathers and he knew his and I didn't know mine (Hill's is one-time Dallas Cowboys running back Calvin Hill and Rose's is ex-NBA all-star Jimmy Walker).

"It's like the movie Face/Off with Nicolas Cage (when FBI agent John Travolta assumes the identity of terrorist Cage through a bizarre surgical procedure). You wouldn't think that he's a five-time all-star, but I've got more career points than he does."

What Rose appears to be trying to say is that he's not a bad player.

And it's hard to argue with him these days.

NUMBERS

In his six games off the bench, Rose is averaging 16.2 points. As a starter this season, he averaged 14.8 points.

So how does Rose interpret those numbers?

"If you go by a numbers perspective, you've got to understand if I'm getting those numbers in limited minutes, imagine what I could probably be doing on nights when my minutes are extended?" said Rose, who is dominating in one-on-one battles recently.

"On a night like (Wednesday when the Raptors beat the Sacramento Kings 96-93 for their second win in a row) for example, when I get off to a good first half and don't play in the third quarter, what kind of message does that send?"

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, meanwhile, refuses to engage in a war of words with Rose or the media.

"I made that decision (to have Rose come off the bench) a week and a half ago," he said.

"I am not going to go back and rehash why I made it. It has worked to our advantage. I know Jalen wants to start but I have to do what's best for the team."

In this case, what's best for the team is not what's best in Rose's mind. Some suggest Rose has extra motivation because of the benching, but the veteran disagrees.

"They don't know what the hell they're talking about," Rose said.

"I'm self-motivated. The cream always rises to the top."

The Raptors play host to the Milwaukee Bucks tonight.


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