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Bulls announce Derrick Rose can resume activities in two weeks, opening night likely

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Bulls announce Derrick Rose can resume activities in two weeks, opening night likely

Derrick Rose will be able to resume basketball activities in two weeks after undergoing a surgical procedure on his face, as a result of the elbow felt all around Chicago.

Which means after all the consternation stemming from it, he’ll presumably be on track for a return on opening night, which falls on Oct. 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“All we know right now is Derrick went into the procedure this morning early, and the surgery went as expected,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s in recovery now, but yeah, the surgery did go as expected.”

It’s likely he’ll be wearing a mask of some sort or even shades when he does return. In Hoiberg’s rookie year in Indiana, Reggie Miller had the exact same injury late in the 1995-96 season, missed the final five games of the regular season and returned, with the red-tinted shades, for the deciding Game 5 of their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks.

[MORE BULLS: Derrick Rose admits to looking ahead to 2017 free agency]

“I don’t know. It reminds me a little of Reggie when he had his little bone fracture, and Reggie opted for the cool Oakley shades is what he did,” Hoiberg said. “But I remember that, at least back in those days. I don’t know if the surgery has improved from back when he had it, but he was very sensitive to light in the beginning of the recovery. I can’t remember to be honest with you how long he had to wear the glasses. But we’ll evaluate that as we continue to get more information."

Hoiberg spoke to Rose and Joakim Noah exchanged texts with him yesterday after news of his procedure became public.

“You know in talking to Derrick last night, he’s still in great spirits,” Hoiberg said. “He had a really good day going until he took a really unfortunate elbow, so he’s still in a good place. The great thing is it’s not structural damage to keep him out. As soon as he’s healed, ready to go, he’ll be able to get back in there 100 percent.”

Noah has been around for all of the Rose injury chronicles, so he feels for him in a way many may not be able to. And considering it’s not a knee or severe leg injury, there’s not the sadness that accompanies the usual Rose situation.

“It’s unfortunate. First play, takes an elbow, goes down,” he said. “But it’s not the end of the world. He’ll be back in no time. I think he’s good. I mean, as good as can be. It always sucks to be injured and not be able to play the game that you love. But he’ll be all right.”

[MORE BULLS: Derrick Rose proclaims his innocence in strongest statements to date]

Life goes on in the meantime, especially considering they don’t feel he’ll miss much activity as far as picking up the offense.

“Well, he’s still going to be here in practice, he’ll still be learning,” Hoiberg said. “Hopefully it’s an injury that won’t keep him out too long. He’s in great shape. We don’t know how much he’ll be able to do even when he’s in his recovery mode, but he’ll still be here learning. So we’ll go as expected, as far as putting our stuff in. We added a few new ones in his absence today, and again, guys seem to be picking up things very well.”

Whether it’s Aaron Brooks, Kirk Hinrich, E’Twaun Moore or even Jimmy Butler, there won’t be any shortage of players willing to step forward as a playmaker in practice or in preseason, which will be used for experimentation anyways.

“We’ll get a lot of guys a lot of reps at that position,” Hoiberg said. “Again, they are guys that have played in this league a long time.”

He wasn’t in a dour mood by any stretch, but Hoiberg sounds fully indoctrinated into dealing with life without Rose—perhaps a bit too early for his liking.

Zach LaVine is “tired of people talking sh*t about my defense” and working towards becoming an NBA All-Star

Zach LaVine is “tired of people talking sh*t about my defense” and working towards becoming an NBA All-Star

Zach LaVine is fed up with being underestimated and he’s going to do something about it. The Bulls guard has been having a strong pre-season so far but is looking to improve his skills as a two-way player.

“I’m just tired of people talking shit about my defense,” LaVine said. “I’ve always been a good on-ball defender. But there’s no reason I can be this good offensively and not be that on the defensive end.”

“I’m taking more pride in it,” he continued. “I’m pretty sure it’ll show. I’ll make sure of that.”

If you think LaVine sounds confident, he has good reason to be. Last season LaVine was one of only ten players to average at least 23 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists, making him stand out as an elite player in the company of MVPs and All-Stars. LaVine’s personal triumphs, however, were overshadowed by the Bulls abysmal 22-60 record last season.

So far, this preseason LaVine has been looking better on defense, averaging 1.3 steals per game through three preseason games. Any improvements on defense will greatly help LaVine’s All-Star case.

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3 takeaways from the Bulls' win over a limited Raptors squad in Toronto

3 takeaways from the Bulls' win over a limited Raptors squad in Toronto

The Bulls recorded their first win of the preseason with Sunday night’s 105-91 win over the Raptors. Here are three takeaways:

We got a peek at Jim Boylen's regular-season rotation

We had a clue that Boylen was going to go with Tomas Satoransky as his starter after he chose to sit him with the starters in the Bulls third preseason game against the Indiana Pacers. Sunday confirmed this idea. Boylen stated before the game that he would be starting to roll out his regular season rotations, and we saw "Sato" start next to the regular Bulls starting group of Zach LaVine, Otto Porter Jr., Lauri Markkanen and the returning Wendell Carter Jr.

On top of seeing the starting group, we got to see Thaddeus Young in his probable role as the sixth man, coming in for Carter to provide the Bulls with more of a small look where Markkanen acts as the center.

Markkanen was particularly effective on the glass against the smaller Raptors frontline sans Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam. Lauri collected a double-double, finishing with 15 points and 13 rebounds, including four offensive rebounds. 

Giving an even greater effort on the glass will push Markkanen closer to All-Star status and it is not out of the question as we have seen him raise his rebounding average every season. Games like Sunday night's show that all of the muscle Markkanen added this offseason is going to pay dividends in the 2019-20 NBA regular season and beyond, which will allow the Bulls to play smaller more often to get dynamic scorers like Coby White on the floor.

White came in as a substitute for Porter, giving the Bulls another small-ball lineup in which LaVine acts as the small forward next to him and Satoransky.

Satoransky was great, finishing with 12 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 turnovers in 21 minutes. Sato pushed the pace but also could sense the right time to pull the ball back out and run a play in the halfcourt.

In general, the Bulls trotted out more three-guard lineups in this game, and the size of big guards like Satoransky and Kris Dunn help the Bulls blur the lines between wing and guard, mitigating some of the risks involved with not having a traditional wing on the floor.

On the flip side, the perimeter skills of a big man like Young allow the Bulls to play bigger lineups in which Young plays small forward next to two big men. In Sunday night's win over the Raptors, Young finished the game second on the Bulls in rebounds (7) and assists (3), while being in the right spot more times than not on D. 

With stretch-five Luke Kornet (2-of-7 from 3-point line vs Raptors), the gritty, playmaking Ryan Arcidiacono (3 assists, no turnovers), and rookie Daniel Gafford rounding out the rest of the new Bulls' Bench Mob," Boylen will have the ability to play many different ways, affording us a fair chance to see what he is made of as an NBA head coach. He is already passing his first test of showing that he is open to change, with the Bulls shooting 49 3-pointers on Sunday night, keeping their promise of being more aggressive from deep.

The Zach LaVine All-Star push starts now 

Overall, Zach LaVine has not been shy about already being at an All-Star level of play, you just have to ask him.

LaVine came into Sunday night's game sixth in the league in preseason scoring, averaging 22.0 points per game through two contests, and he kept up that scoring onslaught in a big way. He finished Sunday's win over the Raptors with 26 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in just 24 minutes of action. He finished the night with four turnovers as well, and while you would like to see the assist-to-turnover ratio improve, high turnover totals are just the name of the game for high-usage stars.

Besides, Boylen and Co. likely would rather see LaVine collect some turnovers trying to make the extra pass—something the Bulls have committed to hard this preseason—rather than trying to iso and make a play for himself.

Notably, the LaVine-Markkanen pick-and-roll that figures to be a staple of the Bulls offense for a long time again made an appearance in this game, looking crisp at moments as defenses struggle with scrambling to Markkanen at the 3-point line or worrying more about LaVine's oftentimes dominant drives to the rim.

While it is encouraging to see LaVine score effortlessly, that is not a new development for Bulls fans. The true mark of improvement for LaVine will be his defense and playmaking, both of which looked good on Sunday night.

LaVine racked up two steals and showed an improved awareness and aggressiveness when prowling the passing lanes. What makes defense so huge for LaVine, besides the fact that his effort-level sets the tone for the team, is that he so often turns opponent turnovers into points in transition for Chicago.

The Bulls had 14 fastbreak points and 17 points off of turnovers in their win over the Raptors, with LaVine's efforts playing a large hand in the win. 

Coby White continues to score in bunches 

It has been stated many times how Coby White was more of a shooting guard in high school and only transitioned into being more a lead guard at North Carolina. And those natural scoring instincts have shown up time and time again in the NBA preseason, especially in transition. 

If you get White going towards the rim with a head of steam in transition, he will make it to the basket before the 24-second shot clock hits the 19-second mark, a remarkable display of his blazing speed.

Of course, everything is to be taken with a grain of salt in the NBA preseason, as we are often seeing White (and others) face off against a team's backups or even worse, players that won't even make an NBA roster. But what White has done well should play in the regular season, too. He scored 18 points on 37.5% shooting from the field, including hitting 4 of his 12 attempts from 3-point range. White was 2-2 from the free throw line and finished with one assist and no turnovers. 

It looks like it will be a while before we see Coby White look like an NBA-level floor general but he is already playing like an uber-confident, spark plug shooting guard.

The Bulls can utilize White's scoring in the regular season knowing that even if his court vision isn't where they want it to be, his shoot-first mentality and propensity to keep the ball moving should result in lower turnover totals than your usual score-first point guard.