Bulls

Rose voted All-Star starter

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Rose voted All-Star starter

NEW YORKAs expected, Bulls point guard Derrick Rose was voted a starter in the NBA All-Star Game, the league announced Thursday night. Alongside Rose in the Eastern Conference starting lineup will be fellow Chicago native Dwyane Wade in the backcourt, his Miami Heat teammate LeBron James and Knicks scorer Carmelo Anthony, who faces the Bulls Thursday night, at the forward positions, and Orlandos Dwight Howard at center.

I remember not being in the All-Star Game. Just being in the game is something you should take to heartI take to heartjust wanting to accomplish, especially when Im in this league and one of those accomplishments is being on the All-Star team. Its an honor, Rose said before Thursdays game against the Knicks. It means a lot, especially for my fans to vote for me. I didnt recognize that I had all those votes, but it shows a lot, man. Im appreciative. I dont take anything for granted. I dont take any one of my fans that went on-line and voted for me for granted. I appreciate them all and I hope they continue to watch.

Its definitely fun. You learn more leadership skills, especially playing on a team like that, where everyone of them are different type of leaders and me being a young player, thats something that I can take from there and add to this team, he continued, revealing his insight into actually playing in the contest. This is totally different, where its all All-Stars. All the guys that are there, theyre there for a reason and theyve been putting in work for X amount of years.

You know when you first go into the game, thats when the highlights are, in the beginning of the game. Then, later on in the game, thats when things start to get very serious and competitive, and thats when you want to win, especially if the games are interesting.

Rose, who has professed his dislike for exhibition contests, joked about not bringing back bad habits from the game, to be held Feb. 26 in Orlando, back to Chicago.

Im never going to throw a lob like that, especially on this team. Joakim likes bounce passes, so its just something Ive got to get used to, like back in my college days and I think Ive got a lob in me somewhere, said the leagues reigning MVP, who will start the game for the second consecutive year and play in his third contest overall. When you come back, youre getting back to playing a certain way with your team. Defensive slidesyou know how Thibs isclose-outs, just clicking with one another again. Its definitely tough, but I think this year its going to be a little bit easier because we have a year under our belts together, so we know how each other plays. So, that should help us.

Rose doesnt believe the game, featuring several fellow potential USA Basketball teammates, will prepare them for the 2012 Olympics.

I dont think its going to prepare us for that. The teams that were going to be playing against are definitely good, he opined. All-Star games are really just for the fans, really for the enjoyment, for the crowd, for little kids and for the excitement.

While Rose is honored by his selection, he also admitted that he could use the rest during this shortened season.

Thats a tricky question, Rose said. Everybodys looking for a way to rest, but this year, thats not going to happen, especially with this coming up, then after the season, youve got the Olympics, so this years definitely going to be hectic. This is something Ive been conditioning for and I should be OK.

In the Western Conference, Lakers teammates Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum, Clippers teammates Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and Thunder forward Kevin Durant were voted in as starters.

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

The door has officially been closed on the 2017-18 season for the Chicago Bulls, and the word that most comes to mind is “unfulfilling.”

Or maybe even “indistinguishable.”

Draft night was supposed to be a culmination of a painful seven-month stretch that only had occasional yet costly moments of light.

Death lineup? Meet Death March. And Death April, while we’re at it.

The Bulls brass sold everyone on a full rebuild after trading Jimmy Butler one year ago, with an unspoken promise that this draft would bear franchise-changing fruit—hence the general feeling of angst or even indifference with the solid selection of Wendell Carter Jr. and their not-so-secret affection of Chandler Hutchison.

It was why fans believe the Bulls got cold feet about trading to move up, and why they believe the Bulls weren’t being pragmatic in staying away from Michael Porter Jr.

Porter, some believe, has star written all over him given his prep ranking this time last year and the Bulls were in position to speed up this process without having to go into a painful Process.

They were desperate for a star, believing the tankathon had produced so much suffering it had to be something on the back end.

There was the fight (or the punch).

The aftermath.

The miserable 3-20 start.

The 14-7 streak that produced the audacity of hope.

The reality that 14-7 was damaging enough to the lottery chances that a 3-11 finish couldn’t rectify.

And finally, the coin flip that cost them five spots in the lottery one month ago.

So that empty feeling has less to do with Carter and Hutchison, who’ve done nothing to earn the “blah” reaction from the fan base and some media. It has everything to do with the unanswered questions over the last 82 games and lack of clarity over the three hauls from draft night last year.

It’s not that Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn underperformed individually last season, but the lack of cohesiveness due to injuries and circumstances has led to the varying thoughts.

LaVine is approaching restricted free agency and by all accounts is taking his continuing rehab in Washington very seriously.  Markkanen has added plenty of muscle since the offseason began, appearing as if he can play Michael B. Jordan’s in-ring foil in the next installation of “Creed” as Ivan Drago’s long lost son.

And despite the report about Dunn not working as hard on the floor this offseason, that would be more of a concern if this were late August, not June.

The last time they were seen together on the floor, they looked no closer to a pecking order than the day they arrived.

What we know is that they’re productive NBA players, capable of putting an individual tattoo on a game at a moment’s notice, skillful enough to take your breath away.

And for whatever reason, the expectations changed once the three displayed they could be dynamic on their own—a star needed to be anointed and groomed to go with the star they believed was coming their way after the season.

Management is fully behind Markkanen, but Paxson’s strong words about LaVine at the season-ending news conference illustrated how much it feels LaVine has to prove next season.

With his restricted free agency status looming, the Bulls’ initial offer will show how much they value him until and if he gets a better deal on the market.

And the fact the Bulls weren’t afraid to draft Trae Young while having a healthy debate about Collin Sexton on draft night has to show they have at least some skepticism about the future at point guard.

But stars—developing stars, acquired stars, drafted stars—have to do it on their own. No amount of promotion or prodding from management will validate their faith, if that’s the route the Bulls choose to go.

This has to be a meritocracy or it won’t work and, honestly, it’s time for a reality check.

All the worry about the Bulls getting back to title contention sooner rather than later seems like folks getting ahead of themselves.

The front office has taken its share of shots from media and fans, so some questioning is earned but they’re right about one thing. Rebuilds aren’t completed in a day or 12 months.

Expecting some magic potion to arrive in the form of a top draft pick isn’t going to cure what ills this roster, and it doesn’t seem likely all the cap space will result in a free agent choosing the Bulls over the usual suspects.

However, methodical building can look like complacency if not done with a sense of urgency.

And with urgency in mind, this past season was unsatisfying to say the least—heading into the next phase with two more young pieces to develop while the first three are still in the evaluation stage.

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Donte Ingram's 2018 keeps getting better and better.

The March Madness hero, who buried a game-winning 3-pointer in the first round of Loyola's win over Miami, will play on the Bulls' Summer League team.

Ingram, a Simeon Academy graduate, had himself an incredible senior season with the Ramblers, who advanced all the way to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed.

In five NCAA Tournament games Ingram averaged 7.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Ramblers. He also had 18 points in the MVC Conference Championship Game to secure the Ramblers' March Madness berth.

He'll join first-round draft picks Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison on the Las Vegas Summer League team, which will begin play early next month.