Kidd provides positive outlook on Rose


Kidd provides positive outlook on Rose

Being that it's Christmas Eve, most people are in a festive mood these days. Even Bulls fans, who started this season in gloom-and-doom mode, due to the absence of Derrick Rose and the team's shaky start, are now more optimistic with the new-look roster finding its stride and notching some impressive wins as of late.
When it comes to Rose's recovery, it seems like there's a new story about his progress every other day. But as secretive as the organization can be, the truth is that nobody but Rose and the medical staff truly can make any ballpark guess as to when he could return.
While it's encouraging that he's doing increasingly more drill work and starting to participate in walk-through sessions, in the grand scheme of things that doesn't mean much. Only he knows how his body feels and only trained medical professionals can accurately gauge his readiness to play again, no matter what Adrian Peterson's potential record-breaking NFL season or anything Ricky Rubio does makes us believe.
But if there's anything to be gleaned from the experiences of other, perhaps a better person than most to ask is future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd. Now playing off the ball for the Knicks, Kidd is one of the greatest playmakers in NBA history and, for those who didn't see him when he was young -- I'm talking about when he was a high school All-American, in college at Cal or during his early days as a pro in Dallas, even before making back-to-back Finals appearances with the Nets, let alone winning the 2011 title in his second stint with the Mavericks -- aside from being a great passer, Kidd was an explosive player with the ability to finish above the rim.
Maybe he wasn't an elite athlete like Rose, but his size and speed, coupled with his legendary court vision, gave him a dimension that opponents found extremely difficult to deal with. Like Rose, Kidd was destined for greatness very early in his career -- and reached his potential as one of the game's greatest point guards -- but they also share similarities in that neither was a great shooter early on (Kidd, now a solid long-distance threat, was often jokingly referred to as "Ason," because he had no "J") and both had serious knee injuries as young players, with Kidd having to have microfracture surgery, then regarded as a potentially career-ending procedure.
Prior to the Bulls' wild win over the Knicks in New York, I briefly caught up with Kidd as he finished his pregame shooting -- he doesn't talk in the locker room before games and given the circumstances of Friday evening, I didn't catch him in time afterwards -- and we discussed Rose's recovery."It's a lot of hard work, especially when you're talking about your knee. You've just got to be patient, but you've got to do all the little things to maintain that strength and I know Derrick is going to do that. From what I'm hearing, he's worked extremely hard. It takes time," Kidd told me. "Sometimes things happen for a reason and maybe now, he'll pay a little more attention to that jump shot. If he gets that, then he's pretty much unguardable because of his athletic ability and his knowledge of the game, so I think it's a good thing."My Christmas gift to you: Kidd's optimism about Derrick.
I hope everybody enjoys the holiday season, hopefully with their loved ones--I have a rare day off tomorrow and won't be at Omer Asik's return to Chicago, though I'll be back in action Wednesday at Indiana.

Morning Update: Bulls win season opener; World Series returns to Wrigley

Morning Update: Bulls win season opener; World Series returns to Wrigley

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Bulls physicality a new wrinkle from last season

Bulls physicality a new wrinkle from last season

College teammates Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder made plans to go to dinner after Thursday’s game in Chicago but for a few short moments they weren’t just competitors but unexpected combatants, getting tangled up in the second quarter.

There looked to be some harsh words exchanged after Butler took a charge on an unsuspecting Crowder near three-quarter court, with Crowder putting the basketball in Butler’s chest while Butler was still on the floor, causing players on both teams to convene for some tense moments.

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas got involved and then before Butler could blink, Bulls guard Rajon Rondo joined the proceedings, as pushing and shoving ensued before technical fouls were assessed to both teams after an officials’ review.

If one wondered whether these Bulls—a team that touts itself as young with so many players having three years or less professional experience—could play with some bark and bite, perhaps the season opener provided a bit of a positive preview for the next 81 games.

Nearby, an unbothered Dwyane Wade took a practice 3-point shot, much to the delight of the United Center crowd, as observers witnessed the first sign of tangible proof the Bulls have intentions on regaining a bit of an edge on the floor.

Wade joked and took it as a sign of respect between the two teams.

“It looked like it, right? Yeah. It was a little something out there,” said Wade when asked if there was some chippy play. “Every time we play them it’s gonna be like that. Two teams finding their way in the Eastern Conference. We know we gotta see each other a lot. They never give up. They can be down 30 with 15 seconds left and they’re still gonna fight.”

The Bulls have externally preached toughness from the start of camp. Although Wade didn’t participate in that meeting of the minds, he isn’t exactly running away from such matters.
And Rajon Rondo is competitively ornery enough to have his voice hard no matter the setting.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

“It’s been a big theme of practice,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We want to play with physicality and toughness. I think it was evident on the glass tonight.”

Yes, the Bulls outrebounded the Celtics by 19, but that could’ve been a by-product of the Bulls’ crashing the offensive glass on a porous shooting night. And yes, the slightly tense moment between Butler and Crowder probably won’t be an expected occurrence.

But when’s the last time one had multiple examples to dissect to discern this team’s level of toughness—or lack thereof.

“That’s something to show that the guys are out there fighting for each other,” Hoiberg said. “That they were playing with an edge. It happens with this game. You have to be competitive.”

Competition boiled over slightly, but considering the NBA isn’t exactly UFC, one doesn’t have to do much to display a little physical resolve.

“The fact that nothing escalated was good,” Hoiberg said. “The fact that those guys are out there and playing for each other and have each other’s back, that’s a huge thing right now.”

Too many times last season, it seemed the Bulls would submit in situations like those. Not that they were particularly soft, but it didn’t appear they had the collective will to fight for one another if an altercation arose.

Half the time, they looked like they could barely stand to be in the room with each other.

“It’s people’s will to win. Not saying a bad thing about anybody from last year,” Butler said. “To tell you the truth, I study the game and put in a lot of work but Rondo studies the game a lot. Every time I’m in the gym, he’s in the gym. That lets me know, these (dudes) are going to war with you. Every day. When I hit that deck, Rondo was right there. I wanna play with guys that’s gonna play hard, that’s gonna fight.”

And it didn’t take long for Butler to realize he has at least a couple teammates willing to jump in the foxhole with him.