Bulls

Rose: "Mom, we finally made it"

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Rose: "Mom, we finally made it"

The basketball community is familiar with NBA MVP Derrick Rose's overwhelmingly humble nature and he was nothing but grateful when it came to signing a five-year maximum contract with the Chicago Bulls.

"I'm tremendously blessed," Rose said in a press conference Wednesday morning. "I don't take anything for granted and I appreciate everyone and I think I can finally say this now, Mom, we finally made it."

Rose's contract is worth 94 million but the 23-year-old All-Star insists that money won't change him.

"Money I don't think is going to change me, if anything it would have changed me by now I think," he said. "Right now with the salary I'm getting I'm able to get whatever I want, I don't spend that much, I'm humble, I'm going to take care of others and it has a lot to do with my mom."

Rose also added that he's not even sure how much he makes. "I just know I get paid, I watch my accounts, they're growing and I'm happy," he said.

His humble nature hasn't gone unnoticed with coach Tom Thibodeau.

Thibodeau said at the press conference, "He embodies all the characteristics that you look for in a championship player. When you look at his will to win, his basketball IQ, unselfishness, his humility, I think those are the things you can build a championship caliber team around."

Rose is still in shock at his success and the opportunities he's gotten.

"I really can't explain it," he said. "I never thought in a million years that I would sign a contract like this and sometimes it makes me think like 'Why Me?'"

"I think the sky's the limit," Bulls general manager Gar Forman added. "Wherever his ceiling is, Derrick Rose will reach it."

Bring your own stuffing: Jazz swat Bulls on Thanksgiving Eve

Bring your own stuffing: Jazz swat Bulls on Thanksgiving Eve

On the second (turkey) leg of a back-to-back, the Bulls didn't bring much energy in a 110-80 loss to the Utah Jazz. 

Instead of diving into the nitty-gritty of the uninspiring effort, though, we decided to just serve you up a Thanksgiving meal of highlights. Here are the top blocks from Wednesday's game: 

5. Derrick Favors is no Rudy Gobert -- that we know -- but imitation is the highest form of flattery. 

4. Are Bobby Portis chase down blocks the new LeBron James chase down blocks? Let's not get carried away... yet. We'll chalk it up to just a real nice hustle play by Bobby. 

3 and 2. Speaking of hustle plays... Jonas Jerebko isn't exactly known as a dominant defender. He sure made it hard for the Bulls on what should of been an easy fast-break bucket in the third quarter, though. First, he silenced Kris Dunn's reverse. Then, he met Lauri Markkanen at the rim and sent the rookie packing. The Baby Bulls 2.0 can blame it on fatigue, but they just handed Jerebko a highlight tape for years to come.   

1. In fairness, Jerian Grant had to get up a shot as the quarter was coming to a close. It is as vicious as it looks, though.  

Just as we all predicted, two rookies stole the show in L.A.

Just as we all predicted, two rookies stole the show in L.A.

There's not often hype surrounding a game between two of the NBA's worst teams, but Tuesday's Bulls-Lakers matchup was intriguing to many because it offered a chance to see a pair of top rookies compete. 

Oh, but you didn't think we meant Lonzo Ball and Lauri Markkanen, did you?

Nah, it was two different, less-touted first-year players that ended up stealing the spotlight at the Staples Center. 

Kyle Kuzma and Antonio Blakeney may not be household names, but they sure played like they were in the Bulls' 103-94 loss. 

Kuzma, the Lakers rook drafted 27th overall, has been a spark for Luke Walton's squad all season long. Boasting a terrific scoring arsenal, the Utah product carried the load for the Lakers' offense in the first half, dropping 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting. He finished the game as L.A.'s leading scorer with 22 in 40 minutes. But if you still need a more in-depth scouting report on Kuzma, just let Lonzo break it down:  

More importantly for Bulls fans, though, was the play of their undrafted guard who's signed to a two-way deal. 

Blakeney, the unofficial Summer League MVP, came off the bench on Tuesday and immediately left his mark on the game. The 21-year-old out of LSU posted 15 in the first half, finishing through contact as well as connecting on outside jumpers. 

Blakeney's shooting isn't reliable quite yet, but his energy has clearly influenced Hoiberg's rotation. The guard went from playing one NBA minute in the Bulls' first 11 games to playing 75 in the last four. Given that his two-way deal allows him to only spend 45 days with the team, it'll be fascinating to see how creative Gar Forman and John Paxson will get with his contract if this type of production continues. 

In a season that's obviously going to have its share of rough moments, an offseason flyer hitting is a huge plus for the rebuild. 

As for the recognized rookies, Lonzo's shooting woes persisted and Markkanen had maybe his worst offensive performance of his young Bulls career. Combined, they finished 7-for-30 with 21 points. Not ideal.