Bulls

'NBC Sports Talk': Rose the league's top point guard

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'NBC Sports Talk': Rose the league's top point guard

Tuesday afternoon's episode of "NBC Sports Talk" featured a discussion of the league's top point guards and as one might expect, Derrick Rose was at the forefront of the conversation.

Hosted by Russ Thaler, who was joined by guests Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated and Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the panel ranked Rose as the NBA's best at his position, followed by Chris Paul of the Clippers, the Thunder's Russell Westbrook, New Jersey's Deron Williams and the lone All-Star snub of the group this season, Boston's Rajon Rondo.

Wojnarowski's opinion slightly differed from Mannix's, as he ranked Williams ahead of Westbrook. As far as ability to run the show, that might be accurate, but Williams' struggles with the woeful Nets -- with a sad-sack roster, though not much of an upgrade from the bunch Paul led to the playoffs in New Orleans, taking the Lakers to the brink of first-round elimination last spring -- indicate he might not be worthy of his lofty status in a bottom-line league.

Of course, no point-guard debate would be complete without the inclusion of Jeremy Lin. While Lin has certainly captured the public's attention, the panel agreed that he hasn't accomplished enough to deserve consideration alongside the aforementioned elite quintet.

Also mentioned was the top pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Washington's John Wall, who some feel has regressed in his second professional season. However, it was rightfully cited that Wall has a lot less to work with on the lowly Wizards than many of his peers and thus, along with Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2011 draft, can't be discounted when talking about up-and-coming point guards just below that top tier, even above the likes of veterans such as former two-time MVP Steve Nash and Spurs All-Star Tony Parker, as well as exciting rookie Ricky Rubio of the Timberwolves.

What's your opinion on the issue? Is Rose indeed the best point guard in the league and where do others rank on your list during this so-called "golden age" of point guards?

We've officially found the biggest Michael Jordan fan ever

We've officially found the biggest Michael Jordan fan ever

There are diehard Michael Jordan fans.

And then there's this guy.

Forget anybody getting a tattoo of their favorite team's championship trophy. Forget the people who wait for hours in terrible weather just to catch a glimpse of their favorite player.

This dude has a constant, 24/7 reminder of "His Airness":

Yep, that is a full tattoo of a Jordan "23" jersey on his back, complete with a Michael Jordan "autograph" in the middle of the "2." 

Dedication at its finest.

Couple questions: 

A) Does it carry over to the front at all? And if not, is that a plan for the future?

2) Will one of his buddies get a "45" Jordan jersey tattoo or are we just gonna continue to pretend that era never happened?

D) What will that tat look like in a few years? That guy better stay away from the Doritos...

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career

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AP

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career

Don't tell Wendell Carter Jr. the center position is a dying breed.

The 19-year-old rookie hasn't exactly been able to ease into the NBA, finding himself up against a handful of All-Stars and powerful frontcourts just five days into his career.

It culminated Monday night with a date against Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan, and once again the seventh overall pick held his own. It was much of the same as it was against Philadelphia's Joel Embiid and Detroit's Andre Drummond last week (and Nikola Jokic in the preseason finale): some good, some bad, plenty of poise and zero backing down. The NBA is unforgiving, but this could very well be the toughest stretch Carter faces all season.

"He’s playing against top level centers now," Fred Hoiberg said before Monday's game. "It’s a great experience for him. He’s going to learn and get better and he plays within himself, we will continue to look for him to be more aggressive."

He was as aggressive as the Bulls have seen him against Jordan and the Mavericks. He blew by the 20 and 18 minutes he played in the first two games of the year, totalling 32 minutes. His final line won't tell the story - 4 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and a block - of a Carter who defended well at the rim, picking and choosing his spots on when to attack shots and when to simply use his verticality.

He wasn't credited for a block but he contested a Jordan dunk that turned into a Bobby Portis dunk on the other end. Plus-minus isn't always a good indicator of a player's worth, but Carter was a +5 in a 14-point Bulls loss. He even attempted a corner 3-pointer early in the shot clock, showing no hesitation. Carter's had his moments, but it's also apparent he's got a 19-year-old body going up against veterans each night. That'll come with time in the weight room. For now the experience is 

"I appreciate the fact I’m able to play against these very talented bigs early in my career," Carter said after the loss to the Pistons. "What I need to work on is I have to get stronger; that’s the first thing I recognize; just being up against the best. I love the competition. It’s always a great feeling going against the best."

What the Bulls are finding out is they have a player mature beyond his years. As he progresses he'll continue to get more difficult assignments. He had his rookie moment late in Monday's loss, committing a turnover in the backcourt after the Bulls had cut the deficit to five with 35 seconds left. The fouls are also an issue, as Carter has committed 10 in three games (after committing 17 in five preseason games).

That doesn't necessarily seem important for a Lottery-bound team, but considering the continued struggles of Robin Lopez (and Cristiano Felicio is entirely out of the rotation) it is. Lopez had 2 points and 1 rebound in 10 minutes while committing five personal fouls. In three games he has 11 personal fouls and 11 points, and also has more turnovers (five) than rebounds (four). If the Bulls are going to compete until Lauri Markkanen returns, Carter will need to hover around the 32 minutes he played Monday.

He'll get a much easier test on Wednesday when the Charlotte Hornets arrive in town. Cody Zeller doesn't exactly have the credentials of a Jokic or Embiid, meaning Carter may have a little more room to work. 

The Bulls know they have something in Carter. It'll be abother month until they can deploy him alongside Markkanen, but if the first three games are any indication, Carter won't have any problems matching up with some of the league's best.