Posted October 22, 2013 on
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Welcome back, Derrick Rose. Welcome back to title contention, Chicago Bulls.
With their superstar point guard back after missing a season following knee surgery, the Bulls are once again taking aim at LeBron James and the Miami Heat for supremacy in the Eastern Conference and a shot at the NBA championship.
''That's our No. 1 goal is winning the title,'' Rose said. ''We're not worried about anything else. We're not worried about what people say about us or what's going on on the outside. We're just worried about the Bulls and how good we get every day.''
Of course, there's a good reason why the Bulls believe they can be No. 1. That's because the man who happens to wear that uniform number is back.
Without Rose, the Bulls were good enough to win 45 games and advance a round in the playoffs despite a long list of injuries and illnesses down the stretch.
Now, their superstar is healthy. The question is: Can Rose regain his MVP form? And how soon?
Rose has looked like his old explosive self in the preseason, scoring 22 points against the Detroit Pistons and following that up with 32 against Indiana, but the intensity is about to ratchet up a notch or two.
He hasn't played a meaningful game since he crumbled to the floor with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee late in the playoff-opening win over Philadelphia in 2012, an injury that helped send the top-seeded Bulls to a first-round exit. Rose will be tested right from the start, since the Oct. 29 season opener is in Miami against the two-time defending champions. He won't have to wait to see how he stacks up against the best in the league, and the same goes for the Bulls as a whole.
''The one thing I do like about our team is the versatility with the lineup,'' coach Tom Thibodeau said. ''(Mike) Dunleavy (Jr.) plays three positions. He can start, come off the bench. (Kirk) Hinrich to me is a starter who comes off the bench. Taj (Gibson) is a starter who comes off the bench. That gives you pretty good flexibility.''
Here are five things to look for this season:
BETTER ROSE: Rose insists he's coming back better than ever. If he does, that's a scary proposition for the rest of the league. The former league MVP said he added muscle during his time off, which he thinks will in turn add range to his jumper and help cut back on the wear and tear his body absorbs. If nothing else, Rose's presence takes pressure off the rest of the team.
''He has to do a lot,'' Thibodeau said. ''When you're a player like he is, you want to take advantage of what his strengths are. He has to share the ball, make the right decisions, I think he's done a good job of leading the team and created easy scoring opportunities for other players and made everyone a lot better.''
NOAH HURTING: Getting Rose back obviously is huge for the Bulls. But it would help if Joakim Noah stayed healthy. He was limited by plantar fasciitis in his foot for the second time in three seasons, and he missed time in the preseason because of a lingering groin injury.
WIND-DENG DOWN?: With an expiring contract, Luol Deng's time in Chicago could be coming to an end. He did not get an extension in the offseason, so it looks like he will hit the open market. A two-time All-Star, Deng's been a solid contributor, averaging 16 points and 6.4 rebounds over nine seasons. He's also a favorite of Thibodeau, but with the Bulls possibly looking to make a big splash in free agency, there might not be room for him.
BUTLER'S BIGGER ROLE: After making a jump in his second season, Jimmy Butler could be poised for another big step. He's now the starting shooting guard and Rose is back. That could translate to plenty of opportunities for him. As it is, he played well last season, averaging 8.6 points mostly as a reserve, and really came on strong down the stretch. Butler made 12 starts in the playoffs and averaged 13.3 points.
DIFFERENT PAGES?: The Bulls insist Thibodeau and general manager Gar Forman are on the same page. Still, it's worth keeping an eye on them after Forman let top assistant Ron Adams go in the summer. It was an unusual move because head coaches usually set their staff, yet it was the general manager making the call in this case.
BEST OF MAXIM
Rose didn't play in a single game last season, due to injury, but now he's criticizing a team that reached the conference finals in 2013 instead of his own? That doesn't make a whole bunch of sense to me Derrick Rose, star point guard for the Chicago Bulls, has not played in a NBA regular season in over one calendar year, but is still managing to cause controversy...
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There was a time when the Chicago Bulls were seen as the only legitimate threat to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference.
With a roster loaded with veterans and All-Stars and a tough defensive-minded coach in Tom Thibodeau it appeared a half-decade of Eastern Conference finals between the Bulls and Heat were inevitable.
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Man is it nice to have Derrick Rose and his blinding speed and amazing handles back in the league. In case you forgot how fast he is off the dribble, the former NBA MVP reminded us of how good he is during Wednesday’s preseason game between the Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder. Late in […]
Watch Derrick Rose put OKC’s Reggie Jackson in a blender during Wednesday night’s preseason matchup between the Bulls and Thunder. The poor guy just looks lost after this play.
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Chicago Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose has some advice for Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook as he makes his way back from knee surgery: Take your time.
Rose who is just returning to action after missing close to a year and a half after ACL surgery thinks that Westbrook shouldn't rush back to the floor unless he is completely ready.
"Take his time"...
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On the night...
So I have some theories on how this is all going to go down and will include adequate reasoninng. Let's Start out East where I may as well get all controversial anyways.
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