Bulls

Rose displaying unselfish play, trust in teammates

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Rose displaying unselfish play, trust in teammates

By Christopher Cason
CSNChicago.com Contributor

The maturation of Derrick Rose has been on full display during these first few games of the season.

Winning last seasons MVP, Rose knew that coming into this season, opposing defenses were going to key in on him even more so and while he talked openly about improving his conditioning, adding a post game and fine-tuning his shooting; the one thing thats been evident in the Bulls 8-2 start is a more balanced floor game and his trust in his teammates.

Hes turning into one hell of a point guard, said a delighted Carlos Boozer when asked about his Roses patience on offense this season. Last year, he would take on the double and triple team and he would score most of the time. This year, hes doing a great job of trusting us. Hell see a double team and hell pass the ball to the right person and let them make the play and I like it when hes aggressive but hes playing incredibly smart. His assists are going up every game, hes doing a great job of getting everyone involved and hes kind of maturing right in front of our eyes.

Rose is averaging 20 points and 8 assists. His field goal attempts are their lowest since his rookie season (14.9) and while hes seemed more passive offensively to most, for opposing teams that has only made him even more of a threat.

Hes just picking his spots and that can be even more dangerous because hes less predictable, Detroit Pistons guard and former teammate Ben Gordon told CSNChicago. The thing Ive definitely seen from him is the maturation of his game from the standpoint, where hes picking his spots and trying to be more efficient. He doesnt have to shoot the ball 30 times to get his numbers and when he doesnt do that, hes even more of a handful because you dont really know when hes about to pick his spots.

The Bulls are second in assists per game at 22 per contest.

The ball movement has not only created easier shots for Roses teammates but has also kept them more engaged offensively which has caught opposing defenses, whos game plan is to stop him at all cost, off guard.

As spectacular as his exploits were last season, Rose appeared to tire in the postseason as the burden of carrying the offense fell on him even more so with Boozer playing through a turf toe injury.

He came back this year a better point guard, said Boozer. And I think his scoring ability isnt going anywhere and we know in the fourth quarter, were going to go to him until defenses stop him which I havent seen in my two years here. It is pretty amazing to be so young and learning how we can win games easier. I think its also less wear and tear on his body.

In just his fourth year, the thought of competing for a title is a very real one for Rose and the Bulls and to reach those heights, hes going to have to conserve his best for when its needed most.

Something it seems, he realized after his struggles in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat, a series in which he has taken all the blame for.

President Barack Obama, a well-known Bulls fan, welcomed the Dallas Mavericks to the White House on Monday and while he congratulated the team for their accomplishment, he let them know who he expected to be welcoming next year.

This was a remarkable run, a great victory," by Dallas, Obama said. "It's too bad that next year, it'll be the Chicago Bulls here.

When told of the Presidents comments, Rose grinned and replied;

Thats my guy, said Rose of President Obama. If we make it to the Finals, he promised me that hell be there so Im going to hold him to that promise.

As if he needed anymore motivation.

2018-19 NBA Power Rankings: Opening Week edition

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USA TODAY

2018-19 NBA Power Rankings: Opening Week edition

The theme of the 2018-19 NBA season will be: “old faces in new places”. Like a season-long game of the NBA on TNT crew’s “Who he play for?” game, this year will be about fans trying to get used to the idea of LeBron James in purple (I won’t call it ‘Forum Blue’)-and-gold, DeMarcus Cousins being on a championship-contending franchise and Kawhi Leonard being the new face of Toronto.

The Warriors are still the easy favorite to make it four NBA championships in five years, but they will be tested perhaps more than any year before in a loaded Western Conference, where even the lowliest of teams (here’s to you Phoenix and Memphis!) made solid offseason moves geared towards winning games.

Over in the now-LeBron-less East, there is hope amongst at least four-to-five teams that they could actually have a shot to win the conference. The Pacers still have budding superstar Victor Oladipo, the Sixers still have Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and the Raptors and Bucks made head coaching changes that could lead to deep playoff runs. But with the rest of the Eastern conference being stuck between lottery contention and middle of the pack, expect the half-experienced, half-youthful Celtics to takeover as East juggernaut.

But whether or not your favorite franchise is aiming for a high draft pick or a postseason berth, there is tons to be excited in a 2018-19 NBA season that will surely be an intriguing one. Check out Week 1 of our NBA Power Rankings right here.

Deadline passes as Bulls, Bobby Portis fail to reach agreement on contract extension

Deadline passes as Bulls, Bobby Portis fail to reach agreement on contract extension

The Bulls and Bobby Portis were unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension by today’s deadline, which will make the power forward a restricted free agent next offseason.

According to The Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson, Portis’ agent Mark Bartelstein and Gar Forman had “lengthy face-to-face negotiations” on Monday prior to the deadline. The two sides weren’t able to come to an agreement.

The negotiations – and lack of a deal – come after a summer and training camp in which Portis continued to show progression. After beginning the preseason coming off the bench Portis quickly played his way into the starting lineup alongside rookie Wendell Carter Jr. Portis finished five preseason games averaging 17.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals in just 22.4 minutes.

Portis, the 22nd pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, has seen his role increase each of his three seasons. He made a jump last season in Year 3, averaging 13.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in 22.5 minutes. He was one of three players, including DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Love, to average 21 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 3-pointers per 36 minutes.

Though the Bulls certainly had the room to sign Portis to an extension, there were obvious reasons on both sides to wait on a deal. For starters, the Bulls will still be able to match any deal Portis receives in free agency next July, much like what happened with Zach LaVine and the Sacramento Kings. The Bulls maintain their abundance of cap space for the 2019 offseason, when they’ll be able to offer a max contract to the top-tier free agents, and they get to see if Portis makes another jump.

For Portis, it’s a case of him betting on himself. If the Bulls came in with a number he wasn’t satisfied with – to help keep their max cap space – he now finds himself on a contract year playing for his next contract. Still only 23 years old, Portis should cash in in July.

Two players from Portis’ draft class were able to cash in. Pacers center Myles Turner signed a reported four-year, $80 million extension and Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. agreed to a four-year, $45 million deal. Portis likely would have fallen somewhere in between those two deals had an agreement occurred.

The Bulls are hardly in an easy situation with Portis. Though they value the versatile power forward, Lauri Markkanen is entrenched at the position for the foreseeable future and the team just spent last year’s No. 7 overall pick on center Wendell Carter Jr. Portis realistically is stuck behind both those players, though he certainly has starting level NBA talent.