Rose ready to make another big jump in year 3

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Rose ready to make another big jump in year 3

Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010
4:42 PM

By Mark Schanowski
CSNChicago.com

Remember when Derrick Rose posed the question Why cant I be the best player in the league? when I asked him about his individual goals for the season at Bulls Media Day? Well, winning MVP honors might not be within the 3rd year guards reach THIS season, but theres no reason why he couldnt make the jump to join the ranks of the top 10-12 players in the NBA.

Where would you rank Rose among the NBAs top players? Please post your comments in the section below.

Certainly hes in the top 25 after making his first All-Star team last season. And, coming off his gold medal winning performance as the starting point guard for Team USA at the World Championship in Turkey, hes getting more national recognition than ever before. Dont be surprised if Rose is voted in as a starting guard for the Eastern Conference at this seasons All-Star game in L.A. Hes becoming more comfortable in front of the television cameras during interviews, and hes added a number of national endorsements to his resume.

But when you get right down to it, what matters most is what Rose and the Bulls can accomplish on the court this season. And, if you watched Rose race through the Toronto defense Tuesday night, you got a small sampling of what he intends to do to opposing teams this season. Rose worked on improving his shooting range all summer, and he says he now has complete confidence in his ability to knock down 3-pointers. His mid-range jumper looks better than ever, and we know there isnt a defender in the league who can stay in front of him when hes got the ball in an open court situation.

You can figure Derrick will get off to a fast start this season while Carlos Boozer continues his rehab from a broken hand. Rose will be counted on to provide 18 to 24 points a night, and take the shots in clutch situations. New coach Tom Thibodeau wants his team to push the ball whenever possible, and theres not a faster guard in the league than Rose when it comes to speed off the dribble. Thibodeau is experimenting with playing 7-footers Joakim Noah and Omer Asik together, and the idea behind that is to dominate the defensive boards and create more blocked shots, sending Rose into the open court to attack outnumbered defenders on the fast break.

Right now, my list of the top 6 players in the league would be LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. After that, theres a larger group of star players that would include Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Pau Gasol, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Steve Nash. In my opinion, Rose is already part of that second group, and going into the 2011-12 season, he just might be ready to crack the top half dozen.

Watching Rose with the ball in the open court is the biggest treat for Bulls fans since the days of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. And, dont forget, Derrick just turned 22, so his best days are still ahead. It will be a lot of fun watching Rose and the Bulls continue to grow in the years ahead.

NOAH SHOWING HIS VERSATILITY

Another player poised to make a jump this season is 4th year center Joakim Noah. He almost put up a triple double in the pre-season win over Toronto, with 16 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists. Noah is more confident and determined than ever after signing that long term contract extension with the Bulls. Forget about losing the desire to play hard once you receive the big money. Joakim is player harder than ever, running down loose balls and battling for every rebound on both ends of the floor.

Noah put in a lot time this summer with Thibodeau working on his offensive skills, and the work has obviously paid off. Noah showed a nice touch last season shooting jump hooks with either hand, and he became a lot more consistent knocking down the open 15 foot jump shot. This season, look for Noah to be used even more as a facilitator in the offense, both on the block and at the high post. He has tremendous passing skills for a big man, as evidenced by his beautiful backdoor feed to a cutting Rose for a twisting reverse lay-up against Toronto.

When Thibodeau goes with his big line-up playing Noah and Asik together, Joakims ability to run the floor and crash the offensive glass will become even more valuable. Noah probably wont boost his scoring average much, especially when Boozer returns to action in late November, but his all-around game should draw attention from Eastern Conference coaches when its time to pick All-Star reserves in February.

So, what do you think? Will the Bulls have two All-Stars this season? Will Rose be voted in by the fans as an All-Star starter? And, where do you think Rose ranks among the NBAs elite players?

Please post your comments in the section below. Only two weeks until opening night in Oklahoma City, so enjoy the rest of the pre-season.

Mark Schanowski hosts our Bulls pre- and postgame studio coverage with 15-year NBA veteran Kendall Gill. You can also watch Mark on SportsNite, Sunday through Thursday at 6:30 and 10.

Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Bucks in final regular season meeting on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Bucks in final regular season meeting on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Toronto Raptors tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Can the Bulls get one on the Bucks? The Bulls are 0-3 against the Bucks so far this season and it hasn't been pretty. The Bucks have won the previous three meetings all by double digits and by an average of 19 points. The youth and athleticism of the Bucks has been a tough matchup for the Bulls so far.

2. Containing Giannis. There may be no stopping Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the Bulls can at least try to contain him. Antetokounmpo is averaging 23 points and nearly nine rebounds per game. In three games against the Bulls this year he has averaged 29 points, 10 rebounds and 7.3 assists per contest. If the Bulls are to stay in the game, they will need to keep him to numbers lower than that.

3. Playoff implications. The Bulls playoff hopes are still alive with nine games remaining, but things are looking a bit bleak. The Bulls are a game and a half out of the eighth playoff spot, but only 3.5 games behind two teams tied for the No. 5 seed, the Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks. The Bucks have won three in a row to improve their position.

4. Mirotic on a roll. Streaky play is nothing new to Nikola Mirotic, but he's on a good run currently. After scoring a season-high 28 points on Wednesday against the Pistons, Mirotic followed that up with 15 points against the 76ers. Since missing three straight games earlier this month, Mirotic has scored in double figures in five of the last seven games and is averaging 15.6 points during that stretch.

5. Beginning of a tough stretch. The Bulls' playoff hopes could be made or broken in the next three games. After taking on the Bucks, which occupy a playoff spot, the Bulls host two more Eastern Conference playoff teams in Cleveland and Atlanta. The Bulls need to string some wins together and this is not an easy stretch to do so against.

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Former Bulls center Joakim Noah suspended 20 games for violating NBA's anti-drug policy

Former Bulls center Joakim Noah suspended 20 games for violating NBA's anti-drug policy

The NBA announced Saturday that it has suspended former Bulls and current Knicks center Joakim Noah for 20 games without pay for violating the league's anti-drug policy.

He tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement called selective androgen receptor modulator LGD-4033, which is prohibited under the current collective bargaining agreement but would not have been under the new CBA starting next year, according to ESPN's Marc Spears.

It was announced in February that Noah would miss the remainder of the season with a left knee injury. His suspension will carry over into the 2017-18 campaign with only 10 games left this year.

Noah averaged 5.0 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game in 46 games in his first of a four-year, $72 million contract with the Knicks.