Second-year point guard Derrick Rose takes on the very best of his position tonight, as he face Chris Paul, the 5th season wonder who has established himself as the best pure lead guard in the NBA. Paul is once again in the early MVP talks as he's averaging 20.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 10.9 assists per game on impressive efficiency.
The Bulls, who have been bombed with coaching rumours over the last few days, remain shaky as their record of 10-17 are a general disappointment to the fans as well as the franchise. They'll look to get back on track tonight against the Hornets.
The 21-year old Rose has stepped up as of late. Over his last three games, he's averaged 27.3 points a contest and has showed a willingness to take shots throughout a course of a game. Rose has suffered from lack of offensive help, in particular from center Brad Miller and guard/forward John Salmons. Both players have been removed from the starting line-up and have been replaced with Kirk Hinrich and rookie forward Taj Gibson.
Gibson has found a way to contribute off the bench and have been steadily improving his rebounding numbers. He leads all rookies in rebounding at 6.4 a game, but does not have the highest rebound rate. Gibson also has been showing more and more consistency with his mid-range jumpshot and is able to spread the floor from the free throw line area.
Tonight, a familiar face returns, as power forward Tyrus Thomas will make his just fifth appearance of the season. Thomas has been out with a broken arm, and will come off the bench for tonight. It's likely that head coach Vinny Del Negro will attempt to ease Thomas back into the rotation, so a low-minute night for the fourth-year forward isn't out of the question.
Kirk Hinrich, who has just been inserted into the starting line-up, has struggled much like John Salmons over the first 27 games. But he does give the Bulls and additional ballhandler and brings a better defensive presence to the starting unit. Hinrich will also try to come off screens offensively, and attempt to spread the floor. Hinrich has had previous strong seasons from behind the arc, but has dropped off this year.
Luol Deng, leading scorer and second-leading rebounder, will remain as one of the three permanent fixtures in the starting line-up next to Joakim Noah (12.2 rebounds a game) and Rose.