Bulls

No contact yet, but Rose returns to practice; set to travel

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No contact yet, but Rose returns to practice; set to travel

Ever since he first tore his ACL during Game 1 of the Bulls first-round playoff series last spring, the progress of Derrick Rose has been something of a mystery, as the organization hasnt been exactly forthcoming with updates, and for good reason, being that they would be deluged by requests for information about the superstars rehabilitation efforts.

But CSNChicago.com has learned that over the last two days, minus the contact portions, the former league MVP has been a full participant in the teams practices at the Berto Center.

However, that doesnt mean Rose will return to the court in the near future, as it was always the plan to have him increase his basketball workload in an effort to get familiar with his new teammates, have a comfort level in running the offense and regain a semblance of his timing, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

While there is no set timetable for Rose to resume playing, according to multiple sources, the 24-year-old point guard will be back on the court sometime after the NBA All-Star break.

There are still some hurdles to clear most notably, taking contact in practice, something hed have to do for a significant period of time before getting clearance to play but one of the next steps, traveling with the team on the road, should occur on one of the Bulls upcoming January road trips, according to multiple people with knowledge of Roses recovery, including the player himself, told CSNChicago.com (the All-Star point guard and this writer happened to be leaving the Berto Center simultaneously after the teams shootaround Saturday morning).

Still, before Rose returns to action, he will again take a visit to Southern California, where he has split time doing rehabilitation, in order to have the medical specialists he has consulted with there examine him, according to a source.

That same source told CSNChicago.com that Roses return will be a collective decision made between the players representatives, the organization and its medical staff, as well as Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. But, regardless of medical clearance, Rose will have to be comfortable mentally in order to get the go-ahead to play, making the idea of coming back early moot, as his next game will be exactly when the stars align, so to speak.

While many observers have cited the case of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, in the midst of a career and potentially record-breaking season, as an example of an explosive athlete who returned from ACL rapidly and at the same, if not higher level, it should be noted that there are vast differences in the two athletes body types, nature of their sports and respective recovery processes, as recently detailed by Peterson in Sports Illustrated.

As far as what Rose has been doing in practice, its much of the same as what has been previously walking through dummy offensive sets, shooting drills but according to a person familiar with the proceedings, hes also dunking the basketball occasionally, going full speed when its called for and participating in staples of Bulls practices, such as defensive slides and closeout drills.

Though Rose acknowledged Saturday that he felt blessed to be back on the court and sources say his teammates are equally as pleased to see him increasing his participation, though it has not raised their expectations and while the sight of him at away games in the near future will surely bring more anticipation, that is also part of the recovery process.

Another person with knowledge of the situation told CSNChicago.com that it wont affect the Bulls roster moves, particularly in regard to backup point guard Nate Robinson and his non-guaranteed contract, of which the team must make a decision about by Jan. 10 who is likely to remain with the squad for the rest of the season.

Regardless, its an encouraging sign overall and while patience on the part of fans and media alike should be exercised, for Roses long-term future, which seemed so shaky just months ago, perhaps it may partially allay the fears that the Chicago native wont be able to overcome a significant roadblock in the way of reaching his magnificent potential.

Options if the Bulls trade down: Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura

Options if the Bulls trade down: Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura

On draft night, there is a decent possibility that the Bulls front office looks at their draft board and collectively decide that they can get a player with No. 7 pick value later in the first round. They could be inclined to feel this way more than in most years due to the 2019 draft class being such a toss up after the top three picks. If the Bulls traded down in the draft, I am assuming they would be netting a valuable future first-round pick, likely with some minimal protections. In this series, we will be looking at prospects the Bulls could take should they trade down in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Rui Hachimura per The Stepien:

71 percent at the rim

44.2 percent on short midrange

47.6 percent on long midrange

52.1 percent on NBA 3s (12/23)

Boylen talked a ton this season about “toughness” being a key tenet of the new Bulls culture moving forward. The idea of that “toughness” didn’t translate on the court heavily, though the Bulls did improve slightly in rebound rate under Boylen.

From the time for Boylen took over, the Bulls ranked 14th in defensive rebound rate and 25th in total rebound rate, up from 16th and 28th respectively under Hoiberg. Those numbers are a bit of smoke-and-mirrors with all the factors at play this past (weird) Bulls season.

But Boylen did have a much heavier focus on generating points inside first, with the team ranking third in the league in points in the paint per game during his tenure. Rui Hachimura fits in extremely well with the idea of the Bulls punishing teams inside with low-post scoring depth, resulting in open looks on the perimeter.

Hachimura stands 6-feet-8-inches tall, 230 lbs., with a 7-foot-2-inch wingspan. He is a very physical player and utilizes his wingspan incredibly well in traffic. Hachimura posted a 17.4 percent defensive rebound rate over his three-years at Gonzaga. I mentioned above how Hachimura embraces contact and his career average of 7.5 free throw attempts per 40 minutes helps showcase his ability to be a wrecking ball in the paint.

He has the potential to excel as a small-ball center with the right personnel surrounding him. The fact that he can grab a defensive board and initiate the fastbreak makes him an even more valuable prospect. But when you consider that lineups with he and Markkanen as the two bigs on the floor would have five capable ball-handlers, the idea of Rui in Chicago becomes even more enticing.

Overall, Hachimura is a great prospect with a solid skill set that should allow him to be a decent scorer from day one, it all just depends on how much of an opportunity he gets.

The Bulls--as John Paxson has reiterated many, many times now--feel comfortable with the starters they have at the two, three, four and five positions, with point guard being their main area of weakness. While the Bulls don’t necessarily need another big, they do need to add productive players who are young. With Boylen’s emphasis on having multiple ball-handlers, driving the ball and points in the paint, Hachimura would be a logical selection, though No. 7 overall could be a bit of a reach for the 21-year old big.

His defense definitely has a long way to go--as with most NBA draft prospects--but Hachimura’s situation is unique since he literally had a language barrier to overcome when he first got to Gonzaga in 2017. The belief right now is that Hachimura is in a comfortable spot right now in terms of both speaking and understanding English, as reporting from Sam Vecine of the The Athletic (LINK is behind a paywall) and others has backed up.

With that being said, the Japanese forward still makes too many mistakes on the defensive end of the floor to be a surefire top 10 pick.

He is at his core an offensive-minded player, and as a result has not exactly developed much in the way of defensive intensity over the years. Hachimura averaged 0.6 steals per game and 0.5 blocks per game for his NCAA career.

For comparison’s sake, his steal and block rates are almost identical to Marvin Bagley III during his time at Duke. Bagley had a highly productive rookie season with the Kings--landing a spot on the NBA All-Rookie First-Team--but the Kings defense was still four points worse when he was on the floor per cleaningtheglass.com ($).

Despite having similar measurements to Bagley, I don’t believe that Hachimura posses quite the level of athleticism that Bagley does, making his path to becoming an above average defender that much harder.

Ultimately, if Hachimura’s awesome shooting numbers from NBA 3-point range (41.7 percent) on a small sample size (36 attempts) aren’t smoke-and-mirrors, he will greatly outplay his draft position. Hachimura shot 52.1 percent on his NBA range 3-pointers and also has a career 74.6 percent free throw percentage. Whether he was diving to the rim on pick-and-rolls with Lauri spacing the floor, or playing in a high/low offense with another big on the bench unit, there is a clear path to Hachimura being effective in Chicago. It would just take a ton of patience from the Bulls new-look coaching staff.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: The Bulls need a point guard. The Bears Top 100 list continues

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: The Bulls need a point guard. The Bears Top 100 list continues

0:00- Will Perdue drops by to talk hoops. What will the Bulls do this summer to address their point guard need?

7:00- The Bulls need a point guard. Derrick Rose is a free agent. Should they bring him back home?

11:30- Carman says the Bulls should consider trading for Lonzo Ball. Kap yells at him.

16:30- Will talks about this year's playoffs and if anybody will be the Warriors?

20:00- The Bears Top 100 list continues to dominate discussion. Chris makes the case for Jay Cutler to be higher. He gets yelled at.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: