Some were skeptical that it was a good idea for Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol to attend the FIBA World Cup. Don’t count the Chicago Bulls among them.
Tom Thibodeau and coaching staff getting extended look at future pairing
One of the reasons Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau joined the U.S. basketball team as an assistant coach, aside from helping them win a golden medal, was to get reacquainted and back in rhythm with Derrick Rose. The star Chicago point guard has missed almost two full NBA seasons dealing with knee injuries. His hope is that playing in the world championships will get him better prepared for the coming season. The added advantage is it will give Thibodeau a front row seat to see how Rose progresses, what he can do and what he needs to work on. So far the results are mixed. At times Rose looks extremely explosive, showing his old ability to knife through a defense to the rim. Other times his shot appears erratic and he struggles at the free throw line. So far he’s averaged 7 points, 2 rebounds and 1.5 assists in limited playing time. Not great but not terrible given his rust factor.
The added advantage for Thibs is it will also give him time to evaluate tape on a probable future U.S. challenger in Spain, who are being led by veteran star forward Pau Gasol. The Bulls made him their biggest free agent acquisition of the summer in hopes that at age 34 he has enough gas left in the tank to get them over the playoff hump to a championship. They have to like what they’re seeing so far. In three games Gasol has averaged, 23.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots. That includes outbursts of 33 and 26 points when he played 29 minutes each against Iran and Brazil.
That kind of production has been missing from the Chicago Bulls front court for years and is a primary reason they struggle in the playoffs. While beating Gasol and Spain in the tournament is the first priority, Thibodeau likely can’t wait to start working with him and Rose before the season because the potential for what the pair can do together along with Joakim Noah is generating a different kind of buzz for the 2014-2015 season.
Dare say, a championship buzz?
Image Source: Eurosports
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