Bulls

Ailing Rose a game-time decision vs. Cavs

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Ailing Rose a game-time decision vs. Cavs

CLEVELANDGiven his competitive nature, to rule him out right now would be premature. But it seems unlikely that Derrick Rose will return to the Bulls lineup Friday to face the Cavaliers.

The swelling went down. The pain is there a little bit, but its a game-time decision. I definitely want to be out there to play, especially today, Rose said at the teams morning shootaround at Quicken Loans Arena. But Ive got to make the smartest decision, not only for me, but for my teammates.

Knowing that right when it starts feeling good, it could go right back to zero, he continued. Ill go out there, see how it goes and if its not working, Ive got to sit out.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was cautious in his appraisal of his point guards health status.

Well see. He was feeling better yesterday. Hes feeling a little better today. Thatll be a game-time decision. Well see when he warms up tonight how hes feeling, said Thibodeau, who noted that Rose has had five days of rest and treatment. I dont think anyone can say how he feels. He has to say how he feels. So, if hes feeling good, then he plays. If hes not, then he wont.

I dont want him to go through the shootaround, he added. Just to be locked in mentally. Maybe do some stretching, but thatll be about it.

Rose admitted that his turf-toe injury is causing him pain and revealed its similar to the ailment he suffered in his second season.

Its exactly what it is. I wasnt able to be on my toe in three years, so when that happened, it bent it and it aggravated it, and I played on it sooner than when I was supposed to play on it and it was real bad, he said. This is kind of worse than my second season. My second season, I just played through it, but it wasnt that bad and not being able to be on my toe in three years, and someone put all their weight on my toe, it definitely hurt it.

The leagues reigning MVP, who said hell attempt to warm up prior to Friday evenings contest against the Central Division rival Cavaliers, acknowledged that playing after the initial injury may have been a rash decision.

A little regret, but it just comes with basketball, he said. Injuries are going to happen. Thats why I always get treatment and I always see my trainer.

The former No. 1 overall draft pick expressed disappointment that he might not be able to match up with Cavaliers rookie point guard Kyrie Irving, the top selection in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Somebody that Id love to play tonight. Hes a great player, even at a young age. You can tell that he knows a lot about the game. A skilled player. Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott is letting him do a great job of playing through his mistakes and I know he wont do anything but get better, Rose gushed. Hes kind of got like a smooth game. Smooth game, good passer, basketball I.Q. is very high. Im a fan of him, especially when he was at Duke.

Thibodeau shared similar sentiments about Irving, who along with fellow first-round pick Tristan Thompson, an athletic power forward out of Texas, have led Cleveland to a surprisingly competitive early-season start.

The thing thats probably stood out more than anything is the way hes been shooting the ball and the poise in which hes playing. Hes stopping behind the screen, shooting the ball, pulling up for the three. Shooting 38 percent from three is very impressive. He plays very, very hard and hes showing poise for a rookie, said Thibodeau. Well, a player that talented, youre never surprised, but what hes done thus far, hes playing almost like a veteran. You can tell hes fearless and I love his demeanor on the floor. You watch and you just see its a guy that has a lot of confidence. Hes doing a great job with their team.

Thompson has been phenomenal. High energy and you cant make mistakes with him. Body-position mistakes, hell make you pay, so hes been very impressive, as well, as has their team, he went on to say. Theyve had a tough early schedule with a lot of road games. I think theyve played very well in those games, but theyre hard-playing, theyre playing unselfish. I think Byrons done a great job with them.

Regardless of whether Rose plays or not, Thibodeau is more concerned about the challenge the Cavs present in the Bulls 11th road game of the young, condensed NBA campaign. In his typical fashion, the coach flipped the pretense of his squads travel-heavy slate into a positive.

Well, the thing that I did like was to be on the road early like we have been has given us an opportunity to spend some time together, which I think is good and I think it gets you ready because you have to be ready to play, so from that standpoint its been good, he said. I would have liked to have had more practice time, but thats the way it is and even in a normal NBA season, thats the way it is. Theres always a point every season where you may have an extended road trip or a lot of back-to-back games, so your practice time is limited and you have to make the most of your film session, you walkthroughs in the ballroom, things like that.

I like the way our team has responded, but you have to be ready tonight. You cant look behind, you cant look ahead. Just concentrate on whats in front of you.

Bulls Talk Podcast: How NBA Draft combine impacted mock drafts

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: How NBA Draft combine impacted mock drafts

On this edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Schanowski and Kendall Gill discuss the NBA Draft and what happened at the NBA combine that shifted most experts mock drafts.

Kendall also explains why a "promise" to draft a player isn’t guaranteed. He also shares his experience on getting drafted by the Hornets and why he initially felt they were the wrong team for him.

North Carolina "News and Observer" Duke basketball beat writer Jonathan Alexander gives us his opinion on Wendell Carter and the other Duke draft prospects including why he thinks Carter will be a future all-star. Also includes an interview with Carter from the draft combine.

Listen to the full Bulls Talk Podcast right here:

The next preps-to-pros leaper, Anfernee Simons confident 'I'll be able to make this jump'

The next preps-to-pros leaper, Anfernee Simons confident 'I'll be able to make this jump'

Anfernee Simons looks more like a ball boy than a 2018 NBA Draft prospect right now. He’s not considered small, what with having a 6-foot-3 frame with a massive 6-foot-9 wingspan, and he weighed in at last week’s NBA Draft Combine at 183 pounds, “heavier” than Lottery-bound guards like Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Collin Sexton.

But there’s plenty of potential to unpack from the soon-to-be 19-year-old, baby-faced combo guard. Don’t let the appearance fool you. Simons is one of the most talented players in the class, and a team patient enough to let him develop at his own pace could reap major benefits in due time.

You won’t find much video on Simons, as the IMG Academy star is preparing to be the first prospect to go preps-to-pros without a year in college since Thon Maker did so in 2016.

Simons, a consensus five-star recruit in the 2018 class, originally committed to Louisville in November 2016 and then decommitted the following September shortly after Rick Pitino was fired. Since he had graduated from Edgewater High School in Florida and was playing a post-grad year at IMG Academy, he became eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft because he is a year removed from high school. That’s where he played this past season, declaring for the draft and signing with an agent in late March.

“The opportunity is there. Me and my parents talked about it a lot and I feel like I’m confident in myself that I’ll be able to make this jump,” he said at last week’s Combine. “So I just felt like, do it now and not waste any time.”

Simons has been on the radars of NBA teams, even if he’s not a household name like Ayton, Doncic and Bagley. He’s currently projected outside of the Lottery, in part because teams haven’t seen him compete against collegiate level talent and because his wiry frame almost surely means time in the G-League as a rookie. But again, the skill set is there.

Simons is a point guard with solid range beyond the arc. He may struggle off the ball because of his size, though that long wingspan and a quick release from his chest should allow him to get off shots. He’s a blur in transition and finishes well at the rim – his 41.5-inch vertical was tied for third best at the Combine, and his three-quarters court sprint was eighth fastest.

He’s a mixed bag defensively. Wingspan is the fun buzz word these days, and that will help him at the next level, but his small frame means there’s work to be done. A strength and conditioning coach will salivate at bringing Simons into the weight room and getting his body NBA-ready.

“Just staying durable through 82 games,” Simons answered when asked about his biggest challenge physically at the next level. “Taking care of your body is real pivotal so I feel like learning how to take care of my body now is a good thing.”

Simons maturely answered that the “unknown” of his game will be both a positive and minus during the pre-draft process. While fellow prospects he may face in team workouts don’t know as much about him and, thus, his game, teams also need to find out more about Simons’ game and off-court habits.

“Coming in young, people don’t know who I am and haven’t seen me play much. That’s the good side about coming in early,” he said. “It could be the same thing (negatively). People haven’t seen me like that, so I feel like they don’t know who I am. They probably think I’m too young to play in the league.”

Simons met with the Bulls and has scheduled a pre-draft workout with them. Though the Bulls feel like their rebuild could go quicker than anticipated – especially if they hit on their No. 7 pick – there could be plenty to gain from drafting for upside on a player like Simons.

Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne will both be free agents in 2019, and Denzel Valentine’s long-term future isn’t set in stone in Chicago. That leaves plenty of openings in the backcourt behind Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine. Simons won’t be ready to contribute much in 2018-19, but the Bulls wouldn’t need him to. A handful of outlets projected Simons as a top-5 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Bulls could snag him a year earlier, let him develop in Hoffman Estates and bring him up in a year when they’re a step closer to contending.