Bulls

Rose's situation a blessing in disguise?

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Rose's situation a blessing in disguise?

As worrisome as the state of Derrick Rose's back is to both the Bulls organization and fans alike, keep in mind that it could be worse.

The fact that a specialist confirmed, via general manager Gar Forman, that the Eastern Conference All-Star starter doesn't have any structural damage should be viewed as a huge positive.

While the injury has been lingering since early in the team's just-passed nine-game road trip and Rose's day-to-day status (as well as his admission about how much pain he was in) are concerning, but not as dire as a diagnosis that the reigning league MVP, at only 23 years old, is afflicted with an ailment could impede the progress of his already-stellar career.

That it's occurring now, as the Bulls are entering a home stand prior to the upcoming All-Star break, is also good fortune, as the arduous travel -- complete with late-night flights and sleeping in different hotel beds every other night -- in this condensed schedule can't be good for his present condition.

With the Bulls having a lofty 23-7 record at this point -- a win Tuesday night against Sacramento or a Miami loss will send head coach Tom Thibodeau and his staff to Orlando, joining Rose and teammate Luol Deng -- as well as a day between each home game and not exactly a gauntlet of elite teams on the slate, it's a perfect time for the point guard to rest.

Critics will say he could have sat out road contests at New Jersey and New Orleans, in which he played limited minutes, but let's not pretend Thibodeau or the front office held a gun to the head of Rose, a fierce competitor, and forced him to participate.

Along with starting backcourt partner Rip Hamilton, also ailing with a right-thigh injury -- not to mention the death of his grandmother, his family's matriarch -- Rose should take the time to properly heal and if he chooses to play in the All-Star Game, it should be a token appearance, which is almost guaranteed if Thibodeau is coaching him.

Either way, the combination of how the schedule breaks for the Bulls (though Thibodeau would argue that no games are easy in the NBA) and the long-term damage to his back is potentially minimal, Rose's current situation should be viewed as a blessing in disguise.

What's your opinion of the ongoing saga?

Three Things to Watch: Bulls take on Suns

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls take on Suns

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Bulls take on the Phoenix Suns Sunday on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.

1. Something's got to give

What's the opposite of an unstoppable force vs. an immovable object? That's what we'll be looking at when the Bulls have the ball in their hands. Chicago ranks dead last in offensive efficiency, while the Suns have the 2nd worst defensive efficiency in the NBA. That means the Bulls, after scoring a season-high 123 points against the Hornets, can build on that momentum against a Suns defense that allowed 90 points in the FIRST HALF to the Rockets on Thursday.

2. Kris Dunn for real?

Fresh off the best game of his young career - he scored 22 points in a win over the Hornets on Friday - Kris Dunn continues to look like the best point guard on the Bulls roster. He's going through a really solid stretch right now, averaging 13.2 points on 47 percent shooting, 4.2 assists and 2.6 steals over his last four games. With Eric Bledsoe out of Phoenix, Dunn could be in line for another big game going up against Mike James and Tyler Ulis, regardless of whether or not he starts over Jerian Grant.

3. Watch out for Devin Booker

We'll try to get an opponent in here once for every tune-in, and Devin Booker certainly fits the bill. Much like Dunn is doing, Booker is on quite a roll these days. Over his last four games Booker is averaging 30.5 points on 51 percent shooting, 4.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists. The Bulls will need to keep their eyes on Booker at all times, especially after allowing Kemba Walker to go off for 47 points on Friday.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Kevin Anderson react to a breakout game from Kris Dunn against the Hornets Friday night. They’ll discuss his development and how it impacts rookie Lauri Markkanen. Plus just how long will both the Wolves and Bulls be judged on the Jimmy Butler trade? Is Dwight Howard a hall of famer? And a new era in Philly with Simmons and Embiid. That and more on this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast.