Its time people. Bulls fans, we are about to see Derrick Rose take the court again after 526 days away from live, NBA action. Yes, it is only the pre-season, but real fans of D.Rose realize what a big deal this is. When I reported on Derrick’s devastating ACL tear back in April of 2012, I acknowledged and realized that he’d be gone for quite some time. Well, the expected 9-12 months turned into 18 (seriously?) and I don’t think ANY of us could fathom a player of Rose’s caliber staying inactive for a full year.
I agree with Sam Smith that the NBA indeed also missed Rose… Derrick’s absence, coupled with the gutsy, against all odds performance of the Bulls in last season’s playoffs, solidified Chicago’s spot at the very top of the Nationally televised games list (33, tied with the Knicks). ABC, ESPN and TNT (NBA television partners) know that the Bulls are the kind of team that fans of the sport want to see. A bunch of competitors. Overmatched at times? Yeah. Missing key personnel? Sure. Will any of that criteria be used as an excuse? Nope.
Last season, particularly the post-season was the first time that I actually bought into coach Tom Thibodeau’s philosophy. I knew the team was on board (obviously from their success), but I typically dismissed his post game presser blustering i.e. “…next man up, we have more than enough to win, do your job…” as just… I dunno, pie-in-the-sky thinking? CLEARLY we didn’t have enough to win! We were without our superstar. Seriously Thibs? But slowly, as the Bulls competed, no matter the opponent, no matter the score, no matter the odds, I started to believe. This team is special and the larger audiences they can draw, the better.
If you haven’t been following closely, the Bulls unfortunately didn’t re-sign Nate Robinson, who I’d like to just take a second and applaud his efforts for the Chicago Bulls last season. Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap. Bravo Nate! #Holdat. Chicago will ALWAYS have love for you my friend (and hopefully when you visit, you’ll never have to pay for dinner again). Best of luck to you with the Nuggets.
I’ll be talking more about this roster more as the pre-season progresses, but want to get you guys up to speed on exactly where the Bulls are:
Bulls open tonight against the Pacers. Perhaps this matchup WILL turn into a bit of a rivalry after all. The Bulls really didn’t consider them to be as much of a rival as the Heat, but #PacerNation loved to hype it up whenever these teams met. Now that Indiana pushed Miami to 7 games in last season’s ECF, they are the “sexy” pic for most journalists who are analyzing how the East stacks up this year.
Looks like Granger will be returning to game action as well, however his knee tendinitis is a tricky injury and he had a setback in a previous return last Spring.
Time: 6:00 CST
Channel: NBA TV and WGN (Channel 9 in Chicago)
I will be in-game tweeting from @ChiTwnBullsBlog. Follow us for the latest. Go Bulls and welcome back Derrick!