Kirk Hinrich practiced yesterday, expects to practice today, and will start in the season opener barring any setbacks. If Hinrich were injured for any period of time, the Bulls would really struggle to hold it together until he returns, but they should at least have a fighting chance at making it through November with a positive record if they can remain healthy.
“I’m doing much better,” he said. “I was able to participate in practice today and was pleased about it. As of right now, as long as I don’t have any setbacks tomorrow or anything, I plan on playing.”
“My thinking on it was if there was a chance of me playing, I was going to have to get out here a couple days and see how it feels,” he said. “I was very happy with it today.
“Moving forward, I want to push tomorrow kind of the same way — get through a full practice without any issues and just see how I’m feeling.”
The Bulls kick off November with a fairly light schedule, and overall, their schedule is definitely bottom heavy in terms of quality opponents. The weighting of the schedule gives them an opportunity to still put up a very strong record and compete for a high seed this season.
If the Bulls can hold things together through two months, get Rose back in January, and quickly build team chemistry, they could perform at a top 3-4 level when going through their tough schedule while still winning 60% of the games during the lighter stretch while Rose sits.
The Bulls should look to win at least three of their first four games to set the tone (Sacramento, @Cleveland, New Orleans, Orlando). Cleveland and New Orleans are teams on the rise with plenty of potential, but hopefully the Bulls should top them with veteran savvy and experience before they get rolling.
Final call on Gibson?
Time is running out on a Gibson extension, but I still think one gets done. With these type of things it's very common for them to go down to the wire as both sides are going to try and maximize their leverage by waiting until the last second. Both sides have strong reason to flinch and take the best offer of the other side.
Gibson's at an age where if he has some type of injury issue he may never get that large contract offer again. The Bulls would be hard pressed to lose him next season and may have to pay significantly more if they wait. Both sides want to stay together, both sides want to get a deal done.
As long as both sides are somewhat in the realm of reason, it makes sense for either side to fold. The only thing that stops an extension from getting done is if the gap is quite large IMO, and the positive talks earlier this month imply the gap isn't insurmountable.
Joakim Noah's the player to watch
For my money, Noah's had perhaps the best preseason for the Bulls, and I'm excited to see if he keeps it going during the regular season. He's playing with his trade mark energy looks confident around the basket with his hook, has knocked down a fair share of jumpers, and overall is playing at a high level.
Joakim's always supplied plenty of the energy for this Bulls team, and they'll count on him to build and keep momentum during the regular season.