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Derrick Rose

The Return of the Chicago Bulls or the Return of Derrick Rose? Chicago Bulls Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Derrick Rose, SG Jimmy Butler, SF Luol Deng, PF Carlos Boozer, C Joakim Noah
Bench Players: PG Kirk Hinrich, SG Mike Dunleavy, SM Tony Snell, PF Taj Gibson, C Nazr Mohammed, PG Marquis Teague, PF Erik Murphy
Offseason additions: Mike Dunleavy, Tony Snell, Erik Murphy
Offseason subtractions: Marco Belinelli, Nate Robinson, Rip Hamilton
FACT OR FICTION: The return of Derrick Rose will change the face of the Eastern Conference.
FICTION: The Chicago Bulls 2012-2013 season was nothing short of magical. With their superstar point guard Derrick Rose out the entire season with a torn ACL, no one thought they would have accomplished what they did. Not only were they the 5th seed in the playoffs but they ousted the new and improved Brooklyn Nets and gave the Miami Heat a run for their money while battling literally every injury known to man. Sure they weren’t the prettiest team in the league when it came to offense but if you were to take away a superstar from any other team in the league, I doubt that any of them could have been as good as the Bulls.
With a record of 45-37, Thibodeau’s defensive brilliance took center stage last year. With three players worthy of Defensive Player of the Year, Chicago’s grind out, physical D even stopped Miami’s infamous 27 game win streak. But with Luol Deng leading the team in scoring with 16.5 ppg, the Bulls could never take that next step. Sure the emergence of Jimmy Butler was a welcome addition and Joakim Noah’s ever improving game helped but the Bulls still finished 29th in the league in scoring.… Read more...

To play Game 7 or not? Defending Derrick Rose…sort of

(The news for weeks is that Derrick Rose, All-Star and 2011 NBA MVP of the Chicago Bulls, has been playing full throttle after a year-long recovery from a torn ACL. However, his return for the 2012-2013 season has all been squashed; he told Turner Sports this week that his “muscle memory” isn’t getting his body to respond correctly. This all might be a moot point–the Bulls might be competing in their last game of the year tonight, a Game 7 against the Nets in Brooklyn.
To say that Chicago is banged up is an understatement. In addition to Rose, the team won’t have Luol Deng tonight, whose flu infection got him hospitalized not just once, but twice this past week. Rose fill-in PG Kirk Hinrich is questionable with a badly bruised calf, while his fill-in Nate Robinson was reportedly throwing up on the sidelines from illness during Game 6. Center Joakim Noah is suffering from a case of plantar fascitiis that has him playing at around 60-70%. His bench counterpart Taj Gibson is the third Bull to fall to the flu, and barely made the call for Game 6.
With his team almost paralyzed with injury, many have asked that if Derrick Rose is going all-out in practice, shouldn’t he be playing in his team’s most crucial game of the year?
Not having any practical experience in competitive basketball, we went straight to our man El Mariachi, whose teenage years were wrought with knee injuries of every kind. Take it away, bru–should Derrick Rose be playing tonight?)
Every injury a basketball player sustains throughout their career forever affects and changes the way they play the game. Basketball, like most other sports, is about millions of different micro-calculations made by your body every nanosecond. Hand eye coordination, vision, strength, balance, and awareness all while under physical and sometimes psychological distress, take their toll on a player’s body and mind from the jump ball to the final buzzer. Add on top of that an aching heel, weak knee, sore shoulder, or even illness, the body will adapt like the amazing creation it is. And whether it’s subconsciously or deliberate, the body of a player will always over compensate even in the smallest sense of the word.
In my young basketball career I was diagnosed with osteochondritis dissecans, a degenerative bone condition that took me out of the game for two years. Four surgeries, 10 months on crutches and countless hours of physical therapy later, I was back on the court. But it never was the same.… Read more...

Bad NBA Contract of the Week: Michael Beasley

(In the vein of the highly esteemed David Shoemaker, AKA The Masked Man’s Deadspin column entitled “Dead Wrestler of the Week”, we here at MAMBINO are going to parse our way through the worst contracts the NBA has to offer. Part dedication to the great men who have swindled their way to big checks, part commemoration to GMs that should have been fired and part commentary on the ills of a capitalist society gone wrong, we’ll be here every week with a look at the L’s worst deals)
Contract: 3 years, $18 million
Signed by:
Phoenix Suns
Salary this season: $5.7 million
2013 Slash Line: 10.1/3.8/1.5 in 75 games
Expires: 2015
If not for a torn ACL, there’d be even money this year on Derrick Rose finishing as a top-5 MVP candidate. The point guard already has the cache of being the 1st overall pick in 2008, that year’s Rookie of the Year and the 2011 MVP award to go along with three All-Star berths and one All-NBA First Team nod. He’s been the best player on two number 1 seeds in the Eastern Conference and—for a short time–arguably the best player at his position. When healthy and at the peak of his powers, Derrick Rose is one of the best six players in the NBA. There’s few who would question that.
But it wasn’t always a forgone conclusion. There was once a time where Derrick Rose wasn’t unquestionably the best. Where he would have been the second pick. And that was the debate leading up to the 2008 NBA Draft. Derrick Rose…or Michael Beasley?
The buzz that spring had been whether or not the former Memphis Tiger would be selected first over the former Kansas State Wildcat. Both finished as finalists for the John Wooden Players of the Year award, an honor that eventually went to Tyler Hansbrough of UNC. While Beasley finished as a first-team All-American, Rose had the most NCAA postseason success, taking his Tigers to the championship game only to lose to Mario Chalmers and the Kansas Jayhawks. It was obvious that Rose played a more important position in today’s NBA at point guard, but Beasley’s enticing combination of shooting and physicality drew several comparisons to Carmelo Anthony. Believe it or not, this all made for a hotly contested debate.Read more...

Derrick Rose Is Not Walking Through That Door – Chicago Bulls Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Kirk Hinrich, SG Richard Hamilton, SF Luol Deng, PF Carlos Boozer, C Joakim Noah
Key Bench Players: G Marco Belinelli, G Marquis Teague, F Taj Gibson, F Jimmy Butler
Key Additions: G Marco Belinelli, G Kirk Hinrich, C Nazr Mohammed, F Vladimir Radmanovic, G Nate Robinson, G Marquis Teague, F Jimmy Butler
Key Departures: F Ronnie Brewer, G C.J. Watson, G John Lucas, G/F Kyle Korver, and C Omer Asik
To borrow a phrase from Rick Pitino, “Michael Jordan is not walking through that door. Scottie Pippen is not walking through that door. Phil Jackson is not walking through that door.” True, but as much as the names in the starting five and bench are relatively uninspiring, the two most important names in the franchise today were left off. And as long as Derrick Rose and Tom Thibodeau are in the picture, so are the Bulls.

Of course there is no team that has their season dangling on the word “if” more than the Bulls. When it was announced that Rose was the youngest MVP in the game under seventeen months ago, it was assumed that America would have to count on Rose and the Bulls to be the greatest obstacle for LeBron’s first title. Perhaps the argument that Rose is the greatest obstacle to LeBron still holds water as LeBron handled every competitor he faced last year, but perhaps Rose will never be the same again. As he said earlier this month in regards to coming back, he has literally had to learn to walk again. Estimates have Rose coming back sometime before March, but obviously that is speculative. Regardless of when he comes back, Chicago’s point guard probably won’t be the same player – at least not right away. People might believe that the Bulls will be “trading for an MVP” in adding Rose, but he won’t have the benefits of training camp or in-game competition to build himself up before competing. There are those that believe he may never be the same player again, so don’t expect an MVP caliber player until at least a full calendar year from now.
That being said, the rest of the Bulls are not too shabby. Keep in mind this is a team that went 18-9 in the regular season without Rose last year. Although all of his numbers were down last year, Kirk Hinrich is a capable fill-in for Rose and will be a nice player to eventually come off the

Generationally Defective: Why We Hate LeBron and Melo, but Admire Rose and Durant

LeBron James is a coward. The self-anointed Chosen One has led a NBA career with varying highs and lows, astounding us along the way with a dazzling combination of size, speed, grace and strength. Never before had we ever seen an athlete that drew comparisons to a Transformer; a burning locomotive train that could change into a blackbird jet at any given moment. LeBron’s promise to his consumers has been that indeed, he would be the one to bring basketball to heights never before seen – we are all witnesses, afterall. However, in a folly of hubris fit only for a King, James has yet to deliver on his various pledges; while he has amazed, he has yet to conquer. The progenitor of the South Beach Theory, a situation where in trying to add value to your own personal “brand”, you actually diminish it,  LeBron has somehow become the most despised player in the league. We should be thankful that he spends his time bestowing his gifts and otherworldly play upon us, and yet, we’ve come to resent the cowardice from a man who has shown a reluctance to walk the self-instituted path we’ve lined the streets of, waiting for ascendance. LeBron James was drafted in 2003.
Dwight Howard is a indecisive lout. Thought to be the next in the lineage of the great NBA centers of all-time, Dwight has ostensibly strayed from his labeled ancestry that Kareem, Ewing, Hakeem, the Admiral and Shaquille occupied. Though each of those men were laden with early to mid-career blunders, Howard’s value in his eighth season seems lower than ever. At this point, Howard is best known for three things : 1) his all-world defense, 2) his noteworthy physical features, which range from his goliath-like shoulders to smile nearly broader than his countenance, and 3) an unbelievable hesitancy to be decisive. For nearly a year, the daily rumor mill has been rife with buzz of where Howard will continue his career. In a media storm that would embarrass a drunk Jose Conseco, Dwight managed to throw his coach, general manager, team and unwittingly, himself, under the bus. Though committed to the Orlando Magic for the 2012-2013 season, Howard continues to leave his team in managerial purgatory, not knowing whether he’ll sign an extension to stay or leave for nothing. Oddly enough, Howard’s unwillingness to make a decision regarding his contract future is mirrored by the lack of progress in his basketball repertoire. He is largely the same offensive and defensive player he was 4 years ago. Regardless of how you feel about LeBron as a person or a salesman, you have to admire that at least he’s attempted to improve his game. Orlando’s center has not. Dwight Howard was drafted in 2004.

Carmelo Anthony is a selfish ball-stopper. I suppose there’s a decent reason for that; he is one of the deadliest scorers in the league. Gifted with a powerful 6’8″ frame and a quickness that betrays that build, Anthony can score from any space on the floor. Facing up, in the post, out on the perimeter, back to the basket, on the fast break, cutting to the rack, mid-range, free throw line, multiple-defenders – the situation matters not. Carmelo Anthony can put the ball in the hoop. However, the Knicks All-Star forward has an all-around game that he rarely shows on the court. In flashes, Melo unveils his alter-ego; the black Larry Bird. His ability to rebound, defend and pass are often overlooked – because he infrequently displays them. With his strength, size and speed, there’s not rebound Melo can’t Read more...

BQ #3: How does Derrick Rose follow up his post-MVP season? What will it take to lead Chicago to a title?

After Derrick Rose won his MVP for leading the Bulls to a league leading 62 wins and a number one overall seed in the playoffs, I realized that that award is only recognized for greatness reserved to Hall of Famers (or Hall of Famers in waiting). Any man that won the MVP had a Hall of Fame career in back or in front of him. For the 22 year-old Rose, this is obviously the latter.

His individual play isn’t going to be the story here. Rose will be great, and with youth and a clean medical chart on his side, I will expect the same play from him as last year (and he better – the dude is the CRUX of my fantasy team, LukesRetirementParty). He was undoubtedly the guy who most made THE LEAP last season, and thus, I don’t know how much better he can truly get. The real story is going to be if his supporting cast is good enough to beat the Heat and Celtics to get to the NBA Finals.

How will this play out?

The rest of the Bulls roster is so strong, it’s hard to believe that this team came up short during the free agent bonanza of 2010. Carlos Boozer, who was never the same player after his wrist injury last year, cannot be as bad as he was in the playoffs (Bulls management hopes, anyway). The Bulls biggest and most glaring weakness, was the rotation of Kyle Korver and Keith Bogans at shooting guard. With former All-Star and NBA champion Rip Hamilton now in the fold, it is like the Bulls replaced Mr. Bean with James Bond. Though not the long distance threat they truly needed (Ray Allen), the Bulls now have a guy that can come off screens and hit shots reliably. Unlike human statue Bogans or stand-still shooter Ashton Korver, Hamilton can move very effectively off-ball and is still considered an apt defender.

This Bulls team is built remarkably like the Dallas Mavericks of last June. In Rose, they have a transcendent individual, much like Dirk. But the superstars stop there. The rest of the roster is filled out with specialists and role players, guys like Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Kyle Korver, Taj Gisbon and CJ Watson. The Mavericks made their way to a title with a past his prime Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea and Shawn Marion playing prominent roles, each to perfection.

If the Bulls have any hope of replicating Dallas’ run in June, they must have every single one of their role players at the top of their capabilities. That means Boozer fighting for hard rebounds and making fadeaway jumpers at the elbow; Rip Hamilton coming off of a hard Joakim Noah screen and tearing to the cup; Kyle Korver hitting corner threes with no hesitation; Taj Gibson coming off the bench and providing no indication that Carlos Boozer has left the game; Omer Asik not falling over his own feet; Luol Deng adding to every facet of the game, as Shawn Marion 2.0.

Everything went perfectly for the Mavericks last year, and they were rewarded with a championship. The Bulls, likewise have no margin for error. Ironically, the price that Chicago has to pay for not extending a large contract to Lebron or Wade is demanding complete perfection from 11 guys on the roster. It’s extremely rare that you have a title team led by one star, whose abilities are augmented not by a peer of the same talent, but rather by a cadre of complimentary players. The Bulls have that team. Playing the sheer odds of all those different factors aligning, I’m not sure that Chicago will have enough at the proper time to beat the Heat.

How will this affect the season?

There is one part of basketball (sports, really), that seems to outreach any limitation a team may have in terms of its collecti… Read more...

Burning Question #9: Can John Wall be the next Derrick Rose?

Why is this even a question?

I’m not much of a college hoops guy; not because I don’t enjoy any game of basketball anyway I can get it (well…maybe not every way), but because I just don’t have enough time in my life to fit in another league of athletics. Especially when that league predicates most of it’s drama from the poor play that disguises itself as “passion”. But that’s a post for another day. This is all to set up that I didn’t really know who John Wall was when he came into the NBA. I definitely knew him for this. But otherwise, I caught a few Kentucky games his freshman season, and certainly saw his play in the NCAA Tournament. Mostly, I just knew how good he was supposed to be. I had digested all of the hype and with the rash of young teenage players that had come into the league READY in recent years, I expected a debut to the same effect.

Wall had great numbers his rookie season, throwing up 16 points a game, along with 8 assists and 4 rebounds. Even against the background of nearly 4 turnovers a game, as well as 41% shooting from the field, Wall had a great statistical freshman campaign by all accounts. He made the All-Rookie 1st team and finished 2nd in ROY voting, next to Blake Griffin. However, something wasn’t quite right. For all of the success he had on paper, Wall missed 13 games due to injury and looked as if an even more explosive performance was impatiently waiting behind a veil of injuries. The Pope supposedly struggled all season with foot and knee problems, limiting the explosiveness he had reportedly had in college. Many people, including those here at MAMBINO, expected Wall to come out as a rookie and more than likely, lead his team to low-playoff seed contention just as Derrick Rose had done his rookie year.

Similar to Wall’s situation last year, Rose came to a young, but talented team filled with players like Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Tyrus Thomas and Ben Gordon, along with vets John Salmons and Brad Miller. Little was expected from a Chicago team accustomed to losing, but Rose changed the culture with his dynamic play and fierce competitiveness. Without warning, the Bulls were playing the 2nd seeded Celtics in round one of the Eastern playoffs, legendarily playing 7 overtime periods total in 4 games.

Wall disappointed last year, but only against the loftiest of expectations.

How will this play out?

The following is a much better informed report from former NYisMecca blogging great, AO. My man is one of the last remaining Wizards fans that was not shot directly in the heart by Gilbert’s very real bullets that nearly shattered the franchise. He proudly carries the flag of the district despite years of disappointment and a rising crime rate that has no connection with basketball, or this post, except for the fact that I’m an asshole for needlessly pointing it out. Here is how he sees the upcoming season playing out:

The tale of the 2012 Washington Wizards will be spun around a narrative of youth, mistakes, and the Rise of the Pope John Wall. Before getting to Wall, there are actually other youngsters on the squad worth getting excited about. In fact, last year’s draft alone produced three (Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack) who should be getting some burn this year. Add those guys to Nick Young, the much maligned (by me) Andray Blatche and Javale McGee and we should see some exciting and head scratching up and down play from Flip Saunder’s squad.

We are currently entering year 2 of owner Ted Leonsis’ three year rebuilding pla… Read more...

Derrick Rose knew it

I came across this article this past weekend, and I thought that it was pretty interesting.

I’ve already covered the historical significance of any man winning the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award several months ago, which makes Rose’s Derrick preseason September 28th swagger all the more impressive. Pretty much no one predicted the Bulls to be in championship contention before the season, let alone Rose winning an award reserved exclusively for current or future Hall of Famers (not one GM picked him to win the award, nor did any of the “experts” at ESPN – but if anyone at ESPN is actually reading this, please ignore the “” marks. Please hire me).

The bottom line is…I miss the NBA so much. No summer league, no trades, no free agency; just rooting for a baseball team that’s 12 games under .500 and in bankruptcy. I’m not a big proponent of this overused abbreviation, but FML.… Read more...

Derrick Rose will be a Hall of Famer

…if you’re a subscriber to historical trends in the National Basketball Association. I never thought I would be a writer that would use that type of hook to get someone to read an article, but at this point, the only people that are reading this are my friends and Aunts, so it doesn’t really matter how hackneyed my intros are, does it?

Everything possibly related to Derrick Rose’s candidacy and seemingly inevitable placement of the 2011 NBA MVP award has been written in the last few weeks. While it seemed incredibly unlikely that the 2010-11 campaign could finish with Rose, who before the season was quoted as saying “…Why couldn’t I be the MVP?” , winning the prestigious award, here we are in the first week of April, with nearly every writer and NBA commentator I’ve heard of saying that the award is now Rose’s to lose.

And why not? I’ve heard the knocks on Rose’s performance – everything from his poor true shooting percentage to how coach Thibedeau’s defense is the real MVP of the Bulls. But every positive of Rose’s season are just as, if not even more compelling – his fantastic stats, his useage rate, his intangibles as a teammate and how he carried a team without Boozer and Noah for so much of the season. He has brought his Bulls from consecutive seasons as a playoff 8-seed in the Eastern conference and a fringe .500 team to a title contender. They have made a 20 game jump in victories this year. Maybe most impressively, he has done so with Keith Bogans and Kyle Korver as his fellow guards, despite the fact that the most remarkable things about them is that Bogans is still in the league and Korver bears a stunning resemblance to the guy who created Punk’d. But the point I am trying to make here is not to argue for or against Rose’s MVP candidacy. That’s been done, and quite frankly, I don’t know how I feel about it yet. Rather, it’s to shed light the historical significance of Derrick’s seemingly inevitable achievement would be.

Looking at the past list of NBA MVPs, every single person on this list prior to Shaquille’s 2000 award has been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player. And looking at every recipient from Shaquille onward is a list of guys that almost assuredly, barring a PED scandal or Chris Benoit-style meltdown, will be in the Hall of Fame at some point in the future (these guys are all not in the Hall of Fame because they are still active in a basketball league – I say “basketball league” instead of the NBA because Iverson is playing for the Istanbul Turkish Delights or something like that). Even more specific to Rose’s case is that according the Marc Stein of ESPN, only 7 men have ever won an MVP in their first three seasons; a list that includes Wilt, Bill Russell, Unseld, Kareem, McAdoo and Dave Cowens. Derrick’s dominance at age 21 (!) is extraordinarily rare.

This is a pretty amazing statistic – neither in baseball, football or hockey has this been the case for the lineage of their MVP trophies (though they do come close in the NHL). While receiving the MVP does not necessarily guarantee you entry into the Hall of Fame, moreso than all of the other sports in North America it says something about your skill set and transcendence within your sport. And I suppose that is what is most unique in basketball over most other sports – there is just not really a way for any one player to be dominant at an MVP level for a limited period of time without injur… Read more...