Derrick Rose is making his Chicago return – albeit in a Team USA jersey – and that means Bulls fans will have a chance to witness their former MVP’s apparent improvement in person. With almost 23,000 people watching on W. Madison St. and another couple hundred thousand tuning in at home (on ESPN), here’s what you should expect from Derrick Rose when he hits the United Center court tonight.

Minutes

Don’t be surprised if you see very little of Derrick tonight. Compared to the 35 minutes he’s used to playing in a Bulls uniform, the Chicago native will hover right around 20 tonight at the UC. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski has more than enough talent on his squad where he doesn’t need to push Derrick, or anyone else, for an insane amount of time. This will be better for Bulls fans though because you’ll get to see both Derrick’s offensive and defensive abilities. Unlike a regular season game, Rose wont need to pace himself tonight and should be playing the ball handler with some intensity.

Points/Style of Play

Rose had 8 points when the US scrimmaged in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. Expect something right around there again tonight. Derrick will be on the attack early in front of his home crowd and Krzyzewski will draw up some plays to get him in the game right from the tip. Once the second and third quarters role around, expect D Rose to be more of an assist man.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFN01ugBMak

Also expect Derrick to continue attacking the hoop like he did in Vegas. He has said in recent interviews he’s changing his style of play from attacking the basket to taking what the defense gives him. In his first game action, Rose ended up doing a lot of attacking the paint. Look for him to show off his reported improved long range shot tonight as well.

Confidence

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We saw it in the USA scrimmage, now let’s see if it’s back tonight. It doesn’t matter what any players says, everyone will have the Paul George incident on their minds. This will especially be something to look for with Derrick, who’s missed basically all of the past two years with knee injuries.

Rose has looked great in practice up till this point and we’ve heard a lot from all the Team USA coaches about how he’s improved from what he was a few years ago. If Rose is cutting to the rim early, that’s your sign everything is okay upstairs with him and he really does have all the confidence he’s been talking about.

Reception

Rose was getting ‘MVP’ chants when he was shooting free throws in Vegas, so just imagine what it’s going to be like tonight at the UC. The biggest thing for Derrick is just staying in his game and playing the way he knows how to play. Once he tries forcing the issue, bad things can happy. If this is the case, don’t be surprised if Krzyzewski sits him down and lets him relax a little too.

Also, if you aren’t yet fired up to watch R Rose play, here’s a little video reminding you just how good No.1 was before getting injured:

 

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The Chicago Bulls 2016-17 season officially began today with their first media session at the Advocate Center. In honor of this joyous day (hint: detect the sarcasm), we’re bringing you Part I of our four-part Bulls Season Preview. We’ll analyze the impact of players leaving, players returning and new players added to the fold. In Part IV, we’ll break down what to expect from the team this season, including our predictions for where they finish and team awards.

Last season’s failure is currently overshadowed in Chicago by the surging Cubs and depressing Bears, but those distractions will fade. The Cubbies can (and hopefully will) be playing into early November, but that will only mask the Bulls’ preseason and first few regular season games. If John Fox doesn’t turn things around quickly, Bears fans might just tune out completely. It’s already happening just three weeks into the season. The nationally televised games against Philadelphia and Dallas were the lowest in years for ESPN and NBC, respectively.

It won’t be long until the Bulls (and Blackhawks, thankfully) take center stage in Chicago. The biggest questions coming into this season are: 1) Can coach Fred Hoiberg prove he deserved that 5 year, $25 million contract? 2) Can incumbent star Jimmy Butler co-exist and find chemistry with free agency additions Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade as the team’s new “Big Three”?

So let’s break it down. This is Part I: Who left, and what impact will that have on the team moving forward?

2016-17 Bulls Season Preview Part 1: Departures

2016-17 bulls season preview part 1
Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose looking happier (and younger) than their final days with the Chicago Bulls. Rose was traded to the New York Knicks, and Noah joined him via free agency.

Derrick Rose, Justin Holiday – Traded to New York Knicks. Joakim Noah – Signed with New York Knicks as free agent. Pau Gasol – Signed with San Antonio Spurs as free agent. Mike Dunleavy – Traded to Cleveland Cavaliers. E’Twaun Moore – Signed with New Orleans Pelicans as free agent. Kirk Hinrich – Traded to Atlanta Hawks (midseason). Aaron Brooks – Signed with Indiana Pacers as free agent. Cameron Bairstow – Traded to Detroit Pistons.

Outlook: Cameron Bairstow and Justin Holiday won’t leave noticeable holes in the Bulls’ production this season. Holiday had some nice moments after coming over in the Hinrich trade, averaging 6.5 points in 19 minutes per game in 27 appearances. But Gar Forman and John Paxson didn’t bring in Holiday to keep him. He’s what the Bulls got in a move to dump Hinrich’s salary before the trade deadline. Bairstow was never anything more than a warm body during garbage time of blowout games. If only he had the charm and charisma of one Brian “White Mamba” Scalabrine. We never heard any “BAIR-STOW!” chants at the United Center. Then again, the Bulls rarely had a large enough lead in the 4th quarter to warrant such things. Too mean?

The Bulls will miss certain role players from last year’s team more than others. Aaron Brooks had a rough final season in Chicago. The veteran’s lack of true point guard skills showed, and the Bulls’ offense was a complete mess when Hoiberg was forced to use Brooks in that role. He can occasionally beat guys off the dribble and knock down threes, but when his shot isn’t falling he’s useless. His defensive liability (-2.8 defensive plus/minus) is no surprise. The fact that he couldn’t manage to be a positive contribution on offense (-0.5 offensive plus/minus) is the disappointment. No love lost here.

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