Bulls

Bulls: Rose doubtful Wednesday, but can he return against Warriors?

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Bulls: Rose doubtful Wednesday, but can he return against Warriors?

PHOENIX — Derrick Rose is keeping the door slightly ajar, but it appears the Bulls will begin their three-game western swing without him Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns, as his left ankle injury prevented him from going through the morning shootaround.

“It’s still sore, so get treatment and come back later and see how it feels,” Rose said. “Just move around a little bit. But see how tonight goes and see if I’m ready to play.”

Rose took an awkward step on a drive against Monta Ellis in the fourth quarter of Monday’s 96-95 win over the Indiana Pacers, limping off then going to the locker room.

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Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said it’s “extremely doubtful” Rose plays, and Kirk Hinrich will start in his place. If he can get himself ready to go, he would’ve had four days of rest before Friday’s showdown in Oakland against the champs, the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry, a matchup one would think Rose would relish.

“I don’t think this is going to be something that holds him out a long time,” Hoiberg said. “It seems to be something where he’ll be day-to-day. Hopefully after the game tonight, we’ll re-evaluate it tomorrow and see if he can go at Golden State. If not we’ll have three days to get him some work and get back, but I’ve been really pleased with Derrick.”

The usual swelling didn’t occur and Rose said it wasn’t an ankle sprain that could be graded (mild, severe, etc). He’s been taking ice treatments along with laser, electric stimulation and acupuncture to speed up the process.

“Nah, just a regular ankle sprain,” Rose said. “Haven’t sprained his ankle in a long time. It’s kind of a weird feeling at first getting an injury like this again. There wasn’t no swelling.”

The injury seems to come at the worst and best time, all at the same time, considering the circumstances. The Bulls aren’t going through an arduous road trip, playing three games in seven days as opposed to a seven-game circus road trip they took this time last year, but they play a murderer’s row of guards each night and Rose’s ability to attack and control tempo will be key, should he play.

“I would love to play in all three of them but really got to pay attention to my body, listen to my body. If I can’t go, I’ll be able to tell tonight,” he said.

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And Rose is coming off his most complete performance of the season before getting hurt, a 23-point, six-assist showing that easily could’ve been a double-double with assists.

“He I thought was playing, besides the Oklahoma City game, as well as he’d played all year,” Hoiberg said. “He put a lot of work in going into that game, with coming in late at night, getting in a lot of extra shots. He hit two threes that game, his stroke looked great. He was king of the guy running the show, making plays, making things happen that entire Indiana game.

“When he went out we obviously struggled. So that was too bad to see when he went out. But he’s getting there, he’s getting that rhythm. He’s got 10 games under his belt now, plus a quarter of a preseason game. You can tell he’s getting in really good shape.”

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.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Bulls use Lauri Markkanen as centerpiece of a trade to bring in a superstar?

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Bulls use Lauri Markkanen as centerpiece of a trade to bring in a superstar?

On this episode of SportsTalk Live, Hub Arkush (670 The Score/Pro Football Weekly), Danny Parkins (670 The Score) and Lauren Comitor (The Athletic) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Manny Machado Mania continues in Chicago. Do the Cubs even need to trade for him to win the World Series this year?

Ricky Renteria has to bench another player for not hustling. Is this becoming a problem on the South Side?

Plus, Lauri Markkanen is named to the All-Rookie team. Could he be the centerpiece of a trade if the Bulls want to acquire a superstar or move up in the draft? 

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: