Derrick Rose cleared for more contact

Tom Thibodeau dropped an update on Derrick Rose's injury progress to the local media letting everyone know Rose has been cleared for 'more contact'. Rose had been taking "predictable" contact previously and now is cleared for "regular" contact representing the next step in his recovery.

Iman Shumpert returned nine days after being cleared for regular contact but don't expect the same aggressive timetable for Derrick Rose. The Bulls have previously talked about weeks of regular contact for Rose prior to bringing him back. With the all-star game merely a month away, it seems highly unlikely that they would bring Rose back before then.

Of course, it also looks more and more likely that Rose will be ready for a post all-star return.

How does the rotation change with Rose back?

The Bulls are presently give playing time to four guards. Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson, Rip Hamilton, and Marco Belinelli. With Rose coming back, at least one of these guys will get squeeze from the rotation all together and another one will likely see a significant dip in playing time.

The obvious candidate to get squeezed from the rotation is Nate Robinson. I'm curious to see how Kirk Hinrich works in the bench role where more shot creation is frequently required with lesser offensive players around him. That said, initially Kirk deserves to get the call given how much better the team plays with him on the floor than Nate.

The real question becomes whether or not the Bulls limit Kirk Hinrich to PG or try to start finding minutes for him at SG. With a healthy Rose in the lineup, I think it'd be ideal to move Marco Belinelli into the starting lineup and provide some shooting around Derrick Rose. This might also give Kirk/Rip some continuity playing together.

I'd leave Kirk purely in a PG role for this team. The Bulls mentioned his ability to slide over to play the two as something they desired when starting him, but after watching Kirk this season it seems like a big mistake to go in that direction. Kirk has actually done a fairly fantastic job in his minutes this season. The team plays significantly better when he's on the floor despite pedestrian numbers.

However, his game management becomes meaningless next to Derrick Rose who takes over that role. His weaknesses in terms of lack of shooting and low volume play become enhanced in a role where he'll need to space the floor. In effect, Kirk becomes Keith Bogans with better ball handling if he starts playing at the two guard. Both Belinelli and Hamilton are more natural scorers and Jimmy Butler's a more impressive defender.

The lineup questions will likely be eased into as Derrick will probably start with 15 minutes or so a night and gradually increase his activity up until his full role. This should also allow his teammates time to get used to having him back.

How will the Bulls perform with Rose back?

At the start of his second year, Derrick Rose entered the season with a leg injury and lacked explosion and effectiveness. For a brief period many fans wondered if Rose was simply overhyped. As he healed up, we found this was clearly not the case, and he went on to have an excellent season.

I would expect something similar to that with his return from the ACL injury. The Bulls have been cautious with Rose's recovery and have likely forced patience upon him. I suspect they could have gotten Rose back on the court closer to the start of January if they wanted to, but by making sure nothing is rushed, they mitigate the amount of time it takes Rose to get back to his physical peak in games.

Beyond Rose taking time to get back to his physical best, the rest of the team needs to adjust their roles, get used to having a dominant scorer among them, and continue to focus on defense, rebounding, and limiting turnovers. The best thing Chicago can do is to bring Rose into what they're already doing gradually and slowly allow him to retake control of the team as he becomes physically and mentally confident again.

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  • Don't you think his extended regular practices should also help them find the right mix? That's one thing Thibbs is good at. Finding the right line up with what he has. I have to say, if Rose comes back to even 80% and clicks with the rest of the team playing like this, I think we can make a deep run this year.

  • Kirk at 2 is a decent option. Hinrich's eFG% last year at the 1 was 43%, was 53% playing the 2. He is especially good at the corner 3, which is not often available for a 1. I think he probably defends 2s better at this point in his career as well. Keith Bogans with better ball handling is a great analogy, but I don't think this is a bad thing considering the atrocious defense of rip and bellineli, and the usefulness of having a 2nd ball handler out there considering how aggressive traps get the ball out of Rose's hands.

  • In reply to aaaa:

    37% FG shooter at SG just ugly. Kirk plays hard but isn't exactly a lockdown defender at 32. I would rather see Jimmy Butler at SG if you are looking for a defensive 2.

    Please no more Keith Bogans like players!

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  • "However, his game management becomes meaningless next to Derrick Rose who takes over that role."

    I think you missed the reason why the Bulls value Hinrich's ability to play the 2, or more accurately defend the 2 and not be limited to the 1 offensively. The point of playing Hinrich and Derrick together is to free Derrick from game management responsibilites. The goal is to free Derrick from administrative and other dirty work so that Derrick can conserve energy and focus on what he does best. I wouldn't advocating them starting together, but I wouldn't dismiss the value of them playing together particuarly in high leverage situations ( 4th quarters, high profile regular season games, playoff games).

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    Love my job, since I've been bringing in $82h… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online… Fox79.com

  • Forbes released its annual valuations of NBA franchises Wednesday, listing the Chicago Bulls third behind the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers at $800 million. Now why is it that the Bulls are listed 3rd behind the Lakers and the Knicks that they cant go all in on good players to surround Rose??? CHEAP OWNER WITH NO GOOD PUBLIC RELATIONS AROUND THE LEAGUE and known to be cheap by a lot of the players that are playing in the NBA today.

  • those are just estimations, if a lowly team like the Kings sold for $525 million, its likely some billionaire basketball fan would pay 1 billion for the Bulls who unlike the Knicks or Lakers have a complete monopoly on the Chicago market. Jerry licking his thumbs Reinsdorf knows he has a golden cow that he and his family will continue milking for generations to come....of course at the expense of Bulls fans if he doesn't spend like other major markets in giving Rose the best possible supporting cast to compete for championships.

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    I'd like to see Derrick come off the bench to start. The starters are playing well together, the bench needs scoring and it would have him going up against back ups initially. Plus, they'd only be changing one guy in the rotation (Nate) instead of two (Nate and Hinrich). Besides, it keeps Rip and Kirk playing together and let's you see what Derrick and Belli can do.

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    Another solid game from Jimmy Butler. 18pts 9rebs 4asts played great D and was all over the offensive boards. I'm starting to become a believer.

  • Is Butler a better defender than Taj, is he a better rebounder than Deng. He seems to be getting better every game right before our eyes, and a lot/most guys improve the most in their 3rd year in the league. Although with Butler a 4 year college player like Taj maybe that rule doesn't apply.

    Can't wait to see the Bulls 4rth quarter/closing lineup in March & April, and maybe in May & June, Rose, Butler, Deng, Gibson and Noah.

  • Didn't like Butler as a pick but I'm won over, his draft measurements suggested he was only an average NBA athlete but he's clearly better than that on the court.

    I hope I'm as wrong on Teague as I was on Butler. :)

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