Rose displaying unselfish play, trust in teammates


Rose displaying unselfish play, trust in teammates

By Christopher Cason Contributor

The maturation of Derrick Rose has been on full display during these first few games of the season.

Winning last seasons MVP, Rose knew that coming into this season, opposing defenses were going to key in on him even more so and while he talked openly about improving his conditioning, adding a post game and fine-tuning his shooting; the one thing thats been evident in the Bulls 8-2 start is a more balanced floor game and his trust in his teammates.

Hes turning into one hell of a point guard, said a delighted Carlos Boozer when asked about his Roses patience on offense this season. Last year, he would take on the double and triple team and he would score most of the time. This year, hes doing a great job of trusting us. Hell see a double team and hell pass the ball to the right person and let them make the play and I like it when hes aggressive but hes playing incredibly smart. His assists are going up every game, hes doing a great job of getting everyone involved and hes kind of maturing right in front of our eyes.

Rose is averaging 20 points and 8 assists. His field goal attempts are their lowest since his rookie season (14.9) and while hes seemed more passive offensively to most, for opposing teams that has only made him even more of a threat.

Hes just picking his spots and that can be even more dangerous because hes less predictable, Detroit Pistons guard and former teammate Ben Gordon told CSNChicago. The thing Ive definitely seen from him is the maturation of his game from the standpoint, where hes picking his spots and trying to be more efficient. He doesnt have to shoot the ball 30 times to get his numbers and when he doesnt do that, hes even more of a handful because you dont really know when hes about to pick his spots.

The Bulls are second in assists per game at 22 per contest.

The ball movement has not only created easier shots for Roses teammates but has also kept them more engaged offensively which has caught opposing defenses, whos game plan is to stop him at all cost, off guard.

As spectacular as his exploits were last season, Rose appeared to tire in the postseason as the burden of carrying the offense fell on him even more so with Boozer playing through a turf toe injury.

He came back this year a better point guard, said Boozer. And I think his scoring ability isnt going anywhere and we know in the fourth quarter, were going to go to him until defenses stop him which I havent seen in my two years here. It is pretty amazing to be so young and learning how we can win games easier. I think its also less wear and tear on his body.

In just his fourth year, the thought of competing for a title is a very real one for Rose and the Bulls and to reach those heights, hes going to have to conserve his best for when its needed most.

Something it seems, he realized after his struggles in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat, a series in which he has taken all the blame for.

President Barack Obama, a well-known Bulls fan, welcomed the Dallas Mavericks to the White House on Monday and while he congratulated the team for their accomplishment, he let them know who he expected to be welcoming next year.

This was a remarkable run, a great victory," by Dallas, Obama said. "It's too bad that next year, it'll be the Chicago Bulls here.

When told of the Presidents comments, Rose grinned and replied;

Thats my guy, said Rose of President Obama. If we make it to the Finals, he promised me that hell be there so Im going to hold him to that promise.

As if he needed anymore motivation.

Preview: Bulls take on Hawks in preseason tilt on CSN

Preview: Bulls take on Hawks in preseason tilt on CSN

The Bulls battle the Hawks on Thursday night in a preseason game in Omaha, Neb. Catch all the action on CSN, with coverage starting at 7 p.m. Former Creighton Bluejays Doug McDermott (Bulls) and Kyle Korver (Hawks) are expected to play considerable minutes in front of their former fans.

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Tough rotation choices facing Fred Hoiberg as Bulls' opener approaches

Tough rotation choices facing Fred Hoiberg as Bulls' opener approaches

With opening night against the Celtics coming soon, Fred Hoiberg and his staff are dealing with some difficult choices in forming a consistent rotation for the opening weeks of the season.

Injuries are one factor complicating the situation, with top draft pick Denzel Valentine sidelined since the first preseason game because of a sprained ankle and Nikola Mirotic tweaking his back against the Hornets on Monday night.

And then there’s the trade the Bulls completed Monday that brought in former NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams from Milwaukee in exchange for forgotten reserve Tony Snell. There’s no question Carter-Williams brings a much-needed dimension with his ability to provide quality defense at the 1, 2 and 3 positions. The Bulls were hoping Snell could be the guy to provide perimeter defense when Jimmy Butler is on the bench, but Snell wasn’t able to handle the physical nature of the NBA game. It was curious to hear Bucks coach Jason Kidd immediately anoint Snell as the likely starter at shooting guard in Milwaukee, but as Carter-Williams found out, Kidd has been known to sour on players very quickly.

After missing almost all of training camp, it will be interesting to see how quickly Carter-Williams takes on a major role with the Bulls. The minutes MCW plays will likely keep Valentine on the bench, and the Bulls were extremely high on the former Michigan State star, both at the draft and heading into camp. Both players are about the same size with the ability to play multiple positions. Valentine is clearly the better shooter, with Carter-Williams the better defender.

So, how will Hoiberg use the two lanky swingmen, and what will that mean for the playing prospects of backup guards Isaiah Canaan, Jerian Grant and Spencer Dinwiddie?

My prediction early on is Carter-Williams will get the first crack at the backup point guard spot behind Rajon Rondo, using his 6-foot-6 length to direct the offense and get the ball to shooters like Mirotic and Doug McDermott, with either Butler or Dwyane Wade in the lineup as a second facilitator. Valentine will probably get limited minutes early as the backup shooting guard, with Canaan also used in that role if the Bulls are looking to come from behind with his quick-strike 3-point shooting ability.

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The obvious losers in the MCW trade are Grant and Dinwiddie. The Bulls were pretty excited about acquiring Grant in the Derrick Rose trade with the Knicks since they had a lot of interest in the former Notre Dame lead guard going into the 2015 draft. Grant has played well at times during the preseason but doesn’t have the play-making ability or long-range shooting skills of some of the other candidates for backup guard minutes. It’s a similar story for Dinwiddie, who shined in some of the early preseason games with Valentine out but could be in danger of losing his roster spot after the acquisition of Carter-Williams.

The other major rotation issue for Hoiberg and his staff involves how to get playing time for young bigs Bobby Portis and Cristiano Felicio. Portis has the higher pedigree as a 2015 first-round draft pick and former Southeastern Conference Player of the Year at Arkansas. He’s also a solid threat from the 3-point line and is capable of scoring points in bunches.

Felicio is a more explosive athlete than Portis and seems a lot more comfortable playing the backup center position behind Robin Lopez. The native Brazilian is quick off his feet and seems to give the team a lift whenever he takes the court, either with a put-back slam or blocked shot. The question for Hoiberg is: How do you find playing time for Lopez, Taj Gibson, Mirotic, Portis and Felicio at the center and power forward spots? Clearly one of those players will be left out, which means either Portis or Felicio could wind up heading to Hoffman Estates to log some minutes with the D-League Windy City Bulls.

If Hoiberg goes with a full 10-player rotation to start the season, it should look something like this: Butler, Wade, Rondo, Lopez and Gibson start the game, with McDermott and MCW likely the first players off the bench. Mirotic, Felicio and either Valentine or Canaan will round out the second unit.

Quality depth is always a good thing in professional sports, and John Paxson and Gar Forman have done an excellent job of giving the coaching staff a variety of options to attack opposing teams. But developing a consistent rotation, where all the players know their roles can be just as important, and that will be a storyline to watch throughout the season.

For more on Carter-Williams and the Bulls’ rotation issues, check out our latest Bulls Talk Podcast. Kendall Gill and Vincent Goodwill join me for some spirited NBA conversation.