Bulls

Bulls don't believe Deng will require surgery

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Bulls don't believe Deng will require surgery

Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and John Lucas III are all available the former pair were in the starting lineup for the Bulls as they host the Nets. Taj Gibson is inactive Monday night and Luol Deng wont play either, though his situation is more complex.

Hes still consulting some doctors. Basically, an injured wrist and hes mapping out the course he wants to take, Thibodeau said of his starting small forward, who injured his left wrist in the fourth quarter of the Bulls home win Saturday over the Bobcats. Theres people that he wants to talk to. Hes gone down this road with an injured wrist before, so my guess would be it would be day-to-day.

Hes still gathering the information, Thibodeau continued about Deng, who had an MRI exam Sunday, though the results were apparently unavailable Monday. Lus an old-school guy. He came in, he goes, My wrist is injured. He said, I think Ill be fine. He said, Ive got a couple more doctors I want to talk to, and were going to go from there, so Im going to honor his request. He said hes able to move it and hes feeling better today, and he feels like itll be day-to-day. Im good with that.

Deng exited the game Saturday after suffering the injury, but re-entered the contest and was able to finish, though he had an ice pack on his wrist afterwards. Deng previously injured his right wrist earlier in his career and although the initial diagnosis for the injury Saturday was a sprain, the cautious approach raises the possibility that it could be more serious and require surgery, which would sideline him for more than the day-to-day timeline Thibodeau referenced.

I dont want to speak prematurely. I dont think hell need surgery, but again, theres more doctors that he has to talk to, so Im going to honor his request and well leave it at that, said Thibodeau, who started Ronnie Brewer in place of Deng. The team is very much involved. Its our doctors, in conjunction with some experts that he wants to talk to.

Well know more as he gets more information and again, he said it was a lot better today than it was yesterday, so thats what were going to go with, he added. You cant say enough about what he brings to our team, in all areas. You start with his leadership and toughness and the fact that hes our best defender, guards multiple positions, he plays to win, he does whatever you ask him to do, sets a great example in practice every day. So, you cant really say enough about him and hes having an All-Star type year.

That being said, were fortunate in the sense that we have great depth, so guys behind him Ronnie will start tonight with Lu out. We have Kyle Korver, we have Jimmy Butler, weve got Scal Brian Scalabrine. Weve got more than enough to win with, so we feel good about that.

Thibodeau was more definitive about Roses status.

Said Thibodeau: He says hes fine. The thing is, all the swelling is out of his toe, so hes moving fine. The thing is, in this league, youre going to get bumped and bruised. If you can play, you play and if you cant, you sit out. So, hes shown he has the ability to play through things. Were certainly not going to risk further injury with him. Were confident that hes ready to go.

Meanwhile, however, the coach will rely on his squads depth to see it through Dengs absence, whether prolonged or brief.

Well see how it unfolds. I think Jimmys done a good job. The one thing that we do have is, again, we have Kyle, we have Rip Rips getting into better shape now, so we can extend his minutes Scalabrine can also play three and four, Jimmy can also three and four, and he can also play the two, so we feel good about that, he said. Rip has shown, throughout his career, hes guarded one through three.

NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Workout season could be more important than ever

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USA TODAY

NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Workout season could be more important than ever

With Zion Williamson making his NBA regular season debut Wednesday night, we finally got a chance to see what a No. 1 overall draft pick is supposed to look like: an athletic and versatile skill set, with the chance to impact a franchise for years to come. 

2019 No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant also looks like a franchise-changing talent with his speed and playmaking ability, lifting Memphis into playoff contention.

So, which players will have that kind of impact in the 2020 draft?

Well, for now it’s almost impossible to say. James Wiseman, the 7-foot-1 Memphis center, dropped out of school after playing just three games because of an eligibility battle with the NCAA. His size and raw tools are intriguing, but at this point his offensive game is extremely limited.

Meanwhile, Lonzo Ball’s younger brother, LaMelo is sitting out the rest of the Australian professional league season while he rehabs from a foot injury, another Australian professional, R.J. Hampton, just returned from a hip injury and North Carolina’s combo guard Cole Anthony is getting ready to return from a knee injury to finish his one and done season. 

That’s left NBA talent evaluators scrambling in trying to figure out the top of the draft, with only Georgia’s Anthony Edwards healthy and available among the players projected as the possible No. 1 overall pick. 

So, as we get closer to the end of January, here’s a look at how teams could view the available talent, with the understanding that the draft order will change dramatically as NBA scouts and GMs get a look at how players perform in the most important games of the season still to come.

2020 NBA mock draft 3.0

Kemba Walker and Trae Young being named All-Star starters could help Zach LaVine

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USA Today

Kemba Walker and Trae Young being named All-Star starters could help Zach LaVine

On Thursday, the NBA revealed the East and West starters for the 2020 All-Star Game in Chicago. Take a look:


Bulls fans will be honed in on the East selections given Zach LaVine's absence, though his realistic chances of starting the game have been slim-to-none since the first month of the season. In the last round of fan voting returns, LaVine was sixth among Eastern Conference backcourt players. He finished there, as well:


LaVine will get a chance to slide into a reserve slot, but the East’s starting backcourt of Kemba Walker and Trae Young leaves a crowded field to contend with. Guards competing for the seven reserve spots include Ben Simmons, Khris Middleton, Kyle Lowry, Bradley Beal, Malcolm Brogdon and Jaylen Brown. And that's without mentioning frontcourt favorites in Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum and Domantas Sabonis.

But a modicum of good news did come from this announcement for those stumping for LaVine: Kyrie Irving's omission from the starting lineup. Irving, who has only played 15 games this season, had been second in fan voting at the time of last returns. Had he snuck in with the starters, LaVine would have also had Walker or Young to compete with for a reserve spot, both of whom he matches up with unfavorably. One has to figure Irving's odds of being selected by coaches as a reserve aren't high.

LaVine's chances still aren't necessarily great, but the coaches' picks for reserves will be announced on Jan. 30. If LaVine is shorted there, as well, there remains the possibility of an injury replacement down the road, which commissioner Adam Silver would select (this is probably his best shot).

Once the final pool of players is decided, they'll be drafted by team captains Giannis Antetokoumpo and LeBron James on Feb. 6.

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