Bulls

Rose eases himself back into the flow

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Rose eases himself back into the flow

His numbers were modest11 points on 5-for-9 shooting and eight assists in 32 minutes of playbut Derrick Roses return to the court was triumphant. Not just because the Bulls won, but for the first time in a long time, things felt normal again.

It was good, man. Spirits up just being out there, just getting a lot of love from the fans. It brought me up, even times where I felt down, the All-Star point guard said afterwards, as he answered mostly basketball-related questions from the media, instead of the injury inquiries that hes dealt with for the majority of the season. I just love the game, just being on the courtjust being with my teammates, reallyjust being out there, having the ball in my hands, it was an unbelievable feeling.

Roses playing status, in the Bulls third-to-last game of the regular season, leaked shortly before the contest against the visiting defending-champion Mavericks, began, but Rose knew hed play well in advance.

Rose decided hed play in the morning. But you know me, I dont like jinxing myself, he said. When I got here, I got a lot of treatment, went out there, shot a little bit.

Now, Rose still isnt 100 percent and he wasnt his typically explosive self, but some of that was by design and considering the fact that teammates Rip Hamilton and fellow All-Star Luol Deng had it going offensively, his usual exploits werent needed.

Rose felt a little bit of pain, but during the game, I was just trying to pace myself. Tried not to do anything to reinjure it. Trying to take the game easy, but play smart, Rose explained. Throbbing a little bit, but the great thing about it, we got the win. Got a couple days off, get treatment, stay off my feet and hopefully its going to get better, day by day.

Got to the lane a little bit during this game, but my confidence wasnt that high driving the ball and hopefully in the next couple of days, its going to get better and youll see me back to my usual self, driving to the hole, trying to get fouled, putting a lot of pressure on the defense, he continued. My conditioning is great. I wasnt that tired when I was out there. I didnt push the ball like that, so walking the ball up, seeing whos open, throwing the ball up to Lu and Rip so they could bring the ball up, try to attack. It took a lot off me.

I missed a couple shots, missed a couple threes, jumpshots, but shots that I normally hit, shots that I normally take. Lu and Rip played their butts, knocking down shots, playing defense, rebounding the ball and just trying to make it hard on the other team.

Added Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau: He looked good, taking everything into consideration. I think he played a very controlled-type game. He was taking care of the ball, running the offense and just trying to get a feel for being out there again. I thought it was a very good first step. Overall, I thought he played very well.

Rose also understands that its a process and he wont play at the MVP level of last season immediately, though hes confident he will continually improve at this late juncture of the season, as the Bulls attempt to clinch the Eastern Conferences top playoff seed and home-court advantage throughout the postseason.

When the opportunity comes, I know that Ill be totally healthy. I will, but until then, just try to make the game easy. We were going to do whatever it takes to win this game. Today, it was me passing the ball, getting guys open, putting them in situations where they could make the right play, he said. We still have to win out. The next one after this is Indiana. Were taking it one game at a time, not worried about any other team, just what were trying to here and were trying to win every game.

We want it, but if we dont get it, theres no excuses. We just cant stop playing because we dont get the No. 1 seed. Our biggest concern is trying to win out, taking it game by game. Were not trying to overlook any other team, Rose continued. Were playing against some good teams and towards the end of the season, people are trying to play hard against us, no matter what their record is. Theyre coming out playing hard and theyre NBA teams, so they can beat you any given night.

Our first look at the full NBA 2K20 roster models for the 2019-20 Bulls

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USA TODAY

Our first look at the full NBA 2K20 roster models for the 2019-20 Bulls

The release date of NBA 2K20 is near and as the September 6 release date gets closer, Bulls fans are finally getting a look at the full roster in video game form. 

Among the things that stand out in the video from Sports & Gaming Journalist Brian Mazique, the things that stood out the most was the new Zenni patch on the Bulls uniforms, which now has a light blue background to make the patch stand out a bit more. 

We had already seen how 2019 rookies Coby White and Daniel Gafford look but Thursday represented our first look at players like new Bulls Thaddeus Young, Tomas Satoransky and the longest-tenured Bull, Brazilian big man Cristiano Felicio.

Young currently sports a short-haircut after having more an afro in the 2019 season, so only time will tell if 2K will update his look before the season kicks off on October 22. 

Also fully visible in the video are the overall 2K ratings of all players on the team including Satoransky (75), Young (79), Wendell Carter Jr. (78), Otto Porter (80), Lauri Markkanen (83) and Zach LaVine (85).

Based off of what we see in the video, NBA fans can expect to see the Bulls simulate pretty well in NBA 2K20 as the roster's veteran talent will provide some balance as the young core develops, much like what the Bulls front office is hoping for in real life. 

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Lauri Markkanen makes the top 35 NBCsport's 50 best players in 5 years

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USA TODAY

Lauri Markkanen makes the top 35 NBCsport's 50 best players in 5 years

Over the summer the NBA team over at NBC Sports undertook a fun project in which they ranked the top 50 talents in the NBA in 2024. 

NBCSports.com's 50 best players in 5 years list is an interesting snapshot into the future of the league. Writers included Dan FeldmanTom HaberstrohRob DausterTommy BeerSteve Alexander, and Kurt Helin

While it is was fun to see where aging versions of Steph Curry (36 in 2024) and Klay Thomspon (34 in 2024) rank, the most interesting names on the list were the young talents who are projected to stars in the near future. Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen made the top 35, coming in at No. 34 on the list.

In the 2024 season, Markkanen will be 27 years old and theoretically, smack dab in the middle of his prime.

Coming into the 2019-20 season, 'The Finnisher' is on quite a roll. In his age-21 season, he averaged 20.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per 36 minutes and posted a career-best 55.3 true shooting percentage. 

The Bulls will need to Markkanen to step up his effort in terms of defense and rebounding, with the absence of Robin Lopez putting more stress on the frontcourt to pick up the slack in that department. Kurt Hellin acknowledged that if he can focus on consistency and commitment to D, the sky is truly the limit for Markkanen. 

The question is, can he [Markkanen] reach that ceiling consistently? He’s only 22, but he has yet to come anywhere near that.....If Markkanen can become a more consistent offensive force and better on the defensive end — he’s not a bad defender, he’s okay, but with his length and athleticism he should be a better rim protector — he can take over the role as the alpha on the Bulls

See the rest of NBCSports.com's 50 best players in 5 years list below:

Players 50-46

Players 45-41

Players 40-36

Players 35-31