Tuesday, October 20th
by Mark Schanowski
When Derrick Rose twisted his ankle in the preseason opener at Indiana back October 2nd, no one thought it was a big deal. After all, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year was able to finish the game, scoring 17 points in a Bulls victory. But a couple of days on the sidelines turned into a week, then two weeks, and now Vinny Del Negro admits there's a possibility Rose won't be ready to play in the regular season opener against San Antonio October 29th. Derrick admitted today his ankle was sore after 20 minutes of drill work and sprints on Monday.
So, where would the Bulls be without Derrick Rose in the lineup at the start of the season? We'd love to hear your comments in the section below.
Rose insists there's no way he'll sit out the game against the Spurs, but if his ankle isn't 100 percent, does he really have a choice? The Bulls aren't going to take any chances with their franchise player, who just turned 21 earlier this month. We know he'll be back in the short term, but the question is, how much will his absence from training camp hurt the Bulls' offense? Vinny Del Negro and his staff have put in a whole new offense, emphasizing ball movement and weak-side cuts to the basket. Last season, their bread-and-butter play was the high screen and roll with Rose and one of the Bulls big men, either Joakim Noah, Brad Miller or Tyrus Thomas. Now Derrick will be asked to initiate the offense and keep the ball moving, rather than relying on his superior athletic ability to allow him to beat his man and get to the basket. Getting repetitions in practice is the best way to make sure everything is running smoothly when the regular season begins. Rose also needs to improve his on the ball defense and missing training camp won't help him in that area either.
Bottom line, the Bulls are asking Rose to take a big step forward in his second NBA season and they need him at his best for the team to return to the playoffs. We've seen during the preseason the Bulls should have better depth with the addition of Jannero Pargo and the two first round draft picks. Also, having John Salmons and Miller for a full season will be a big plus. But it all starts with the guy wearing the 1 jersey, and given the difficult schedule the Bulls are facing in the month of November, he better get back as soon as possible.
For more on Derrick and the Bulls outlook for the season, make sure to check out the interview I did with Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro earlier this week. It's posted in our multimedia section.
Where do you think the Bulls will finish in the Eastern Conference this season? Sounds like a good jumping off point for some lively debate.
Mark Schanowski hosts our Bulls pre and post game studio coverage with 15-year NBA veteran Kendall Gill. You can also watch Mark on SportsNite Sunday through Thursday at 6:30 and 10.