Bulls

Rose a game-time decision vs. Celtics

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Rose a game-time decision vs. Celtics

Though he was a partial participant in Thursday mornings Bulls shootaround, its unlikely that Derrick Rose, still suffering from lower back spasms, plays in the evenings game against Boston. Rose shot free throws and watched his teammates prepare for the visiting Celtics, who beat the Bulls, without Rose, Sunday.

Im getting better every day, taking it day by day. Just trying to stay positive, like I always say, said Rose. His back specialist said that its just getting better. Its the same thing. Hopefully get this behind me, so I wont have to talk about it anymore.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said the organization would continue with its cautious approach to Roses recovery.

Well, hes got to be cleared by the medical staff first and then hes got to be comfortable that he feels good enough to go, he said. Its a compilation of things. Each day hes gotten better, so we just want to be patient.

Rose admitted that hes growing weary of answering questions about the injury, repeating the word tired three times in one response. The reigning league MVP, who acknowledged that he didnt do any running during shootaround, also stated some criteria for his eventual return to the court, as far as his pain threshold.

I dont know yet, game-time decision, he said about his status for Thursdays game. Rose will receive treatment again right now, treatment again when I get to the gym tonight and go out there, and warm up.

Rose will return when he doesnt feel any pain. I know that its going to be sore a little bit, but I know that I dont want to deal with it during the game, where it gets tight and it gets irritating. I think Im going to come back when Im ready, Rose went on to explain. The back is totally different. An ankle, you can kind of play through that. as a guard, youre used to twisting your ankle, but with your back -- this is my second time dealing with this -- its quite different.

Its killing me right now. Definitely missing these games, especially big games, going against Boston and all the other teams I didnt get a chance to play against this year. Its definitely hurting, but just trying to stay focused, keep my head right and try to get better.

Rose also humorously revealed the details of his visit to the chiropractor.

I cant explain all the things that hes doing, but I know that its a lot of stretching. I know that its a weird table I lay on and I know I stay there for about an hour, he said. When I was at Simeon, I think before we went downstate, we had a week off, so I didnt do anything for about a week. I didnt go to a doctor or anything and I came back healthy.

While Rose said its too far away to decide whether or not hell play in the Feb. 26 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando, for which he was voted an Eastern Conference starter and would join teammate Luol Deng and the Bulls coaching staff, he put a positive spin on his situation.

I take it as a blessing, where I guess God wanted me to get some rest, he said. Thats how Im looking at it.

Wendell Carter Jr. is now 6 feet, 9 inches---and other Bulls' height adjustments

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USA Today

Wendell Carter Jr. is now 6 feet, 9 inches---and other Bulls' height adjustments

With player heights long a topic of question and debate, the NBA informed teams that all players must be measured by a team physician this training camp.

It’s all part of the league’s push towards transparency, which includes detailed reports on officiating and other initiatives.

So who grew and who shrank among the Bulls?

Wendell Carter Jr. dropped from 6 feet, 10 inches to 6-foot-9, which will do nothing to change the narrative that he's an undersized big man. Kris Dunn moved from 6-4 to 6-3. Daniel Gafford isn’t 6-11, as first advertised when drafted, but 6-10. And Denzel Valentine is no longer 6-6 but 6-4.

The Bulls even pushed down Coby White’s flamboyant hairstyle and discovered he’s 6-4, not 6-5.

As for those who grew, well, Zach LaVine’s All-Star candidacy now features him as a 6-6 guard, not 6-5. New big man Luke Kornet is really big; he’s 7-2, not 7-1. And Shaq Harrison somehow grew from 6-4 to 6-7.

That’s the official Bulls’ roster. 

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Insider K.C. Johnson calls Bulls the 'sexy pick' to make the postseason but tempers expectations

Insider K.C. Johnson calls Bulls the 'sexy pick' to make the postseason but tempers expectations

On the 2019 NBA Preview Show, NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson broke down what it would truly take for the Bulls to make the jump into playoff contention following a particularly tough 22-win season. 

Johnson, like most of the national NBA landscape, is optimistic about the prospects of the 2019-20 Bulls. He stated that it is "widely accepted that they had a pretty strong offseason," but cautioned us against simply penciling in the Bulls for a playoff spot this season. 

Despite the additions of savvy veterans like Tomas Satoransky and Thaddeus Young, the Bulls still enter the 2019-20 NBA regular season as the second-youngest team in the NBA, as good of a reason as any to temper expectations.

That being said, the Bulls, from a simple talent standpoint, are much better than last year's squad that featured a ton of injuries and many Windy City Bulls/NBA G League call-ups. 

With a new coaching staff around head coach Jim Boylen and a new offensive philosophy, things will be very different in Chicago this season.

But as Johnson stated in Tuesday's 2019 NBA Preview Show, for the Bulls to achieve their ultimate goal of reaching the postseason, "basically, all of those [free agent] additions need to hit.

"You need to see Tomas Satoransky prove that he can be a full-time starter at that point guard position, you need to see Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen take a step towards stardom, you need to see Otto Porter Jr. stay healthy enough to contribute at that small forward position and you need to see Wendell Carter Jr. hit the two-way potential that the organization believes he has... and Coby White... needs to bring you something off the bench."

If that sounds like a lot, that's because it is and it appropriately represents the amount of work needed to make the leap from 22-wins to a playoff spot. 

What the Bulls have working on their side as of now is that everything we have seen and heard from the team throughout preseason has indicated that there is good shot that every one of the things K.C. Johnson named happens. 

Carter was limited to just 44 games due to injury last season and while he has looked rusty in the preseason, he has also had some explosive finishes and shown his trademark appetite for help defense and blocked shots. Carter blocked 2.0 shots per game over two preseason games but was abysmal in terms of his offensive efficiency (26.7% from the field), something to keep an eye on throughout the first week of regular-season games. 

Boylen recently made comments about managing Porter's workload, so clearly keeping Porter healthy amid the backdrop of the Bulls questionable wing depth is already something the organization has discussed and seems to have a concrete plan for. 

Satoransky has shown that he can comfortably handle the starting duties at the one as Johnson suggested, averaging 7.5 points, 4.8 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.2 steals per game while being lights-out from 3-point range (80% on 1.2 attempts per game). And while Sato represents the steady hand, Coby White represents the true "boom-or-bust" option in the backcourt, capable of going off for 25+ points or fading into the background while playing more of an off-ball role. 

The factor that Johnson mentioned that will have the greatest impact on the 2019-20 Bulls season is if Markkanen and LaVine can take a step towards superstardom.

LaVine looks clearly poised to do so, finishing the preseason third in the league in scoring at 23.2 points per game on 59.3/56.0/ 83.3 shooting splits. Markkanen, on the other hand, struggled to find his shot and despite being one of the top-three scoring options on the team, struggled to get his scoring average just over 11.0 points per game (11.2). 

It is only preseason action, so all results are to be taken with a grain of salt. But as we gear up for the start of the Bulls games that count on Wednesday, it is clear that the national outlook on the Bulls is much rosier than it has been in the past.

Johnson stated that the Bulls are indeed shaping up as a "sexy pick" to make the playoffs and that alone is a monumental step in the right direction as the franchise looks to put last season's disappointment further in the rearview mirror. 

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