Chicago Bulls draw Miami Heat on the road to kick off the 2013/14 season

It might be a perfect storm for Chicago and Derrick Rose. The Bulls will reportedly open the season in Miami on ring night against the defending champion Miami Heat.

Bulls fans have pleasant memories of playing the Heat on ring night in Miami when they crushed the Heat in 2006. Tyrus Thomas had a monster dunk on Shaq, and Chicago was on the rise having its best season since the Jordan era.

Ring night seems like a good night to play a defending champion. The players minds are bound to be elsewhere, the game doesn't mean so much as the ring, and you have a shot to pull off an upset against a team that is bound to be somewhat distracted and emotional.

The Bulls will be focused as hell, Derrick will be looking to prove himself to the league again, in short I like their odds in that game more so than if they were to play the Heat a week later.

That said, it's still a tough opening act for Chicago to start on the road against the best team in the league. Of course even if they lose, there's no where to go but up, and you get one of your toughest games out of the way early.

It will be interesting to see if there is any talk of "easing" Rose back into action or whether he goes full bore in game one. We should get a taste of what Rose can do in preseason, and my hope is that he goes hard in preseason to get his timing/rhythm back.

The natural tendency might be to limit his action a bit right away since it's his first real game back. However, Rose should go at full speed right out the gates given it will have been over 17 months since he had the surgery to repair his ACL, and the long end of the recovery timeline is 12. If he's not, then something has gone quite wrong with his rehab.

We'll see what happens.

Filed under: Miscellaneous

Tags: chicago bulls, miami heat, nba

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  • Wow. I would take the Bulls if I'm betting. Rose may be a bit nervous since it will be his first NBA game, but he will have played several preseason games. He'll have gone full tilt already. I think this increases his laser-like focus on the 2013-2014 season. I think he held out hope to play last season, but he was really looking ahead to this one.

    He already said that he's the best player in the NBA the other day, so you know he'll be gunning for the title and possibly another MVP trophy. I think he can get the MVP with lesser stats if the Bulls finish with the top NBA seed and win 60 games, which they easily could. He could easily average 20 and 10, shooting 34-35% from 3 (with an improved shot) and controlling turnovers. He's clearly the best guy on his team. So, this season could be all about Derrick and the Bulls and let's see if they can finish this time when it counts.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I too think Derrick has a big year and is MVP candidate. He has something to prove and the talent to do it which is a deadly combo.

  • In reply to Granby:

    When I read that comment Rose made, my first reaction was that Rose may still be taking some serious pain meds. But, after a moment, I was actually glad he said it. Much like a prize fighter shouldn't step into the ring unless he (or she) thinks a win is probable, I want Rose believing he is the best every time he steps onto the court.

    My baseline for Derrick is 23ppg, 8apg and 4rpg this year. I'd like to see him average a double-double, but a lot of that rides on the shooting of Jimmy Butler and whether Hinrich and Rose plays a lot together (read: the more they play together, the less likely 10apg becomes).

  • In reply to Granby:

    I'd be floored if Rose won the MVP this year. I think if there's someone outside of LeBron who can win that it'd be Kevin Durant.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Doug, yes, he could start off a bit slow, but you know that he is hungry with more to prove than anyone. Players get better in the summer when they can work on their games. He's had more time than anyone to work on his game (mostly his shot, but watching film and learning from Thibs) and his body (the bad knee, the good knee and upper body, too).

    He will easily be the sentimental favorite, which counts as much as anything in these voting contests, when everyone is clamoring for anyone but the favorite (LeBron, or Jordan back in the day...)

  • In reply to Granby:

    I think Durant will be the sentimental favorite. I think Rose will be fighting an uphill battle to win two MVPs.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    While I doubt that it would happen this year also, if Steve Nash can get 2, in a row no less, then I certainly think that Rose can get another one.

    If he comes back at full strength, and the Bulls compete for the best record, he could well be the sentimental favorite, which does seem to have an impact on the winner, otherwise, the best player(i.e. Jordan, Lebron) would win it every year.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Maybe not MVP but should be a strong candidate for Most Improved. If he comes back and has a strong season after taking the year off people will want to give him something. It's crazy to think how much the season will be affected by major injury returns. Who would of guessed Rose, Westbrook, and Kobe would all go down and miss the playoffs. All 3 should have major impacts on their teams when they return

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    i truly feel as long as Westbrook is on the thunder durant will never win the mvp award which is a travesty but LeBron has separated himself from his other two superstars and this past playoffs have shown Westbrook may play a bigger role for durant career

  • I agree in that Derrick Rose has to function more as a point guard instead of allen iverson combo guard. I like him to put stats of 21 pts and 9 asts with less wear and tear on the body throughout the season. The big story to me is how Jimmy Butler functions as a shooting guard next to Rose and if he can put up 14 pts per game and be a secondary ball handler. You figure he will have to share some minutes with Hinrich/Teague so he probably won't play more than 36 minutes per game.

  • I realize part of being a fan is believing in your team, and thinking the best of them. That said, I think people are drinking way the hell too much of the Kool-Aid.

    Derrick shot .445 and .435 the last two seasons he played. That rationalized by a higher P.E.R. and increased three point shooting attempts, and yes three more FTA's per game. Yeah.

    Playoffs in 16 games .396 and .248 from three.

    As I've said the last 8 NBA Champions all but two had a wing or big of 6'5 or larger scoring 25ppg in the Finals on .460 shooting and usually much higher. The other two led in scoring n the Finals by two HOF's(Boston and San Antonio).

    Beyond Chicago, nobody thinks of the Bulls as NBA championship material. The ECF is pathetic accept at the top with Miami, the Pacers, then a drop off in Chicago and Brooklyn. I know people on this website will give Indy little props, but anywhere else in the country and people think of them as genuine contenders with Paul George, Hibbert etc.as in guys who actually score in the playoffs on a high percentage the way true contending teams do.

    The Bulls have old past their prime guys on the decline in Deng and Boozer. And are the most injury prone loaded team in the NBA most likely. Thibs defense makes them regular season phenoms, but post season they have been duds basically and will likely be so again.

    Sorry if this sounds trollific, but really just IMO the truth.I will say if Derrick regains his mid range shooting stroke at 43 and 44% a game from 12-23 feet he will be fun to watch again especially if he can go back to a respectable .332 from three on 5 attempts per game as he shot in his MVP season.

    What the Bulls really needed for Derrick IMO was a second efficient prolific scorer which they could have had in Damian Lillard swapping out Deng and amnestying Boozer, and a tough talking and somewhat acting presence such as a K.G. Granted he's an a-hole, and maybe not attainable but somebody in that mold to set the tone not to assault Derrick the way Dwight Howard, Dirk, and other NBA players did at times.

    Oh well, the bad karma of the outing by Rose(who of course was also largely to blame) by the organization, forced spaz statement by Gar/Pax, post Reggie's meddling comments, and firing of Thib's version of Tex Winter as in lifetime partner in coaching in Ron Adams, none of this will cause problems potentially.

    Yes, I forsee a championship or near so run by the Chicago Bulls. For sure dude!!(cough, cough pass me that doob man, where the hell are all the damn Ho-hos?!)

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Also, Derrick at SG while not the most favorable option was really likely their only chance to get a prolific efficient scorer while keeping Joakim. They may not have won a title, but they would at least have that second legit in their prime scorer. Something Derrick needs desperately to unleash he true beast in his game.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Road Warrior - I hear you. A couple things:
    1. Rose has struggled with FG%, but he shoots more than he needs too, IMO. Utilizing Boozer and the emerging Butler and Noah and even Dunleavy should help. I think that if he improves his shooting and takes better shots that he will improve his overall FG% from 2 and from 3. I do not think he's capable of shooting over 50% overall. That's just not his game. I hope that he learns that he can trust his teammates and move the ball to guys like Butler, Deng, Hinrich, Dunleavy, Boozer and Noah.

    2. Health is a factor. The Bulls were healthy in '11 and they gave Miami a good run. The games were all close, with Miami even winning one in OT with Rose missing a shot to end regulation. Bulls also gave up that 10 point lead in game 5 with 2 minutes left with some AMAZING plays from LeBron/Wade, including a 4 pt play from Wade. Asik got hurt in that series, which was big and nobody mentions it. Haslem came back from injury and made some BIG shots in game 2, keeping Miami from going down 2-0.

    The Bulls were again healthy in '12 until the end of game 1 of the playoffs. I think the Bulls had a shot that year, too, looking amazing in the game that Rose went down. Noah and Gibson would also get hurt that series, so it was worthless after that.

    Last year, of course, was just brutal with all the injuries and Deng's random botched spinal tap. You can't make that stuff up!

    This year, I think Thibs focuses more on the playoffs and pacing the team. Keeping minutes down. Bulls had the #1 overall seed his first two seasons, so doing it again does not prove anything if the Bulls don't have their health.

    3. The emergence of Butler is HUGE. Assuming he can do what he did in the playoffs again, which I don't see why not because it was under the intensity of the playoffs. If Rose improves his shot and Butler continues to improve his shot, the Bulls starting 5 has very few holes and is a top unit in the league. Consider the defense with Butler and Deng on the wings?!

    4. Deng has played poorly the last 1 1/2 seasons , I think, for two reasons. 1) No Rose made him have to take more shots and that's not his game. 2) His wrist should be fully healed now and that kept him from getting into the lane and more of a corner 3 shooter. He could not dribble as well. He played in the Olympics last summer and did not get time to rest. Do I have to remind anyone that he's in a contract year? Not that it matters because he comes to play every game, rarely missing games or taking plays off.

    5. Bench - without really counting on Teague or Snell, the Bulls bench consists of 3 guys that could start for 95% of teams out there: Gibson, Hinrich and Dunleavy. Regardless of what you think about that statement, these three will be playing a lot against opposing team's second unit rotations. Throw in Butler or Deng and our second unit is better than most 1st units. You can make an argument that this bench is better than any of recent memory. Teague and Snell could surprise, but I doubt they see much action unless there are injuries.

    Those are the reasons that I think the Bulls can win. It's not going out on a limb to expect a top seed in the East since they do it about every year when healthy. I'm not sure Miami can get any better. I think the Bulls are still young and improving. The Bulls core is still young with Noah and Deng just turning 28 and entering their primes. Butler and Rose are under 25. Sure, Dunleavy, Hinrich and Boozer are older, but they will not get big minutes.

  • In reply to Granby:

    To be clear: I expect the Bulls to get a 1 or 2 seed in the East if healthy. The Bulls are no stranger to getting a top seed. Now, the playoffs is a different story. I do not expect that the Bulls will make The Finals, but I think they have a 35-45% chance of making it. They can get by Miami, Indy and Brooklyn, IMO. It's no layup for any one of those teams, including Miami. Miami is not getting any better and the other 3 teams made moves to improve. Should be interesting.

  • In reply to Granby:

    So, I don't think that's being a "homer", by any means.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Deng and Noah are not entering their primes, they are in the middle of their primes, and in Dengs case the numbers and the eye balls indicate that he is past his prime and clearly in decline, the only question is how fast and how far.

  • In reply to Granby:

    You make some interesting and valid points, but calm down just a little bit, individually none of those 3 guys could start for 95% of the league never mind all 3 of them. They all could start for a few teams if those teams were desperate, i.e. had no other better options.

    They are all quality veterans, the type that usually fill out championship rosters. I hate to even say it, but if we still had Asik, our second unit would be awesome and fun to watch. Without him, the best second unit in the league probably goes to Brooklyn.

    now if Teague and Snell make Bulter like jumps in their games, we could have a great small ball second unit with Taj at center and Dunleavy playing the stretch 4.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Well, I have to agree with at least part of your post. My biggest dissappointment in Rose's game was the dimunition in his shooting percentage the past 2 seasons. He was't considered a great shooter coming into the league, yet he shot 47.5% as a rookie, 49% in his sophomore campaign, before stumbling to 44.5% and 43.5% in years 3 & 4.

    Many of the best players in the league are setting career highs in shooting percentages. Rose needs to be a guy that shoots at least 50% from the field.

    There is strong evidence that guys, especially young guys dramatically improve their shooting after returning from an ACL.

    We can only hope that Rose joins both trends.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I think that you have continuously over rated the Bulls ability to trade Deng that summer for the 6th pick(Lillard) or better. Portland wasn't trading that pick to us under any circumstances. The teams ahead of them weren't doing so either unless the Bulls took back a really bad contract, and maybe not even then.

    So Lillard wasn't really getable, never mind if he would really be compatible with Rose, which as a ball dominate scoring point guard, I don't see as being the case.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Sooo sick of the Lillard talk. Just to be clear, I've stated time again that I'm frustrated with this FO's inability to swing the big deal so I'm not trying to defend them but:

    There are always trade rumors but the difference between a rumor and a trade is a chasm.

    If everyone knew Lillard would be so good, he wouldn't have fallen to 6th. The armchair, Sunday morning GMs here knew it all along but 5 professional GM's didn't.

    Rose is not a SG, he's a PG. The best path to winning is maximizing the strengths of your players. Moving Rose, our best player, to a sub-optimal position is a bad idea, no offense meant to anyone as I do like creative ideas but that won't work.

    Yet I've read a lot of complaints that the rumor of trading a borderline all-star in Deng for a developmental backup PG didn't happen, as if that would get us over the championship hump? I don't think so. Even worse is the idea that Lillard would have developed into a trade-able asset, so now we're talking about a really great future trade based on a rumored trade. Let's move on people, there's nothing to see here.

    I'd much rather talk about trading players who could potentially get us over the hump e.g. Love or Aldridge.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I don't understand how Indiana is better than Chicago. Defensively maybe they are neck and neck with the Bulls, but the Bulls have a closer in DRose when healthy. Sorry I'm not trusting Paul George and Danny Granger over DRose. You talk about how the bulls are aging but compliment Thibbs for their D, but it's not Thibbs playing D. Yes Thibbs has his schemes that put the Bulls in defensive positions to win but you still need durable horses. Maimi has gotten to the finals 3 straight times while lebron played in the Olympics and wade clearly is declining, can they get there again, I don't know. When playing the bulls now there is no better team that has tools that can switch on everything. Jimmy and Luol are interchangeable and taj and noah are the 2 best bigs switching onto pick and roles. Who's going to switch on to Drose during screen and role activities, Hibbert, Lopez come on.

  • In reply to argie2333:

    The Pacers were four wins better than the Bulls while they were missing Derrick Rose and had significant other injuries.

    I don't see how the Pacers are better either.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    DRose and the Bulls are going to be so focused and the best thing that could've happen was the bulls playing the heat this year without DRose. There isn't a single person on the bulls roster that is at all intimidated by the heat. I'm actually putting money down on that first game because the bulls are going to treat it like a game 7. Miami is going to feel fat after receiving their rings they're not going to be intense at all. The only regret I see the bulls having is letting Nate go. He's not just another guy that can take over stretches of a game, but in the dog days of an nba season he can be an emotional lifter for a whole team and I know the bulls will miss that at times.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    The main reason that people(some) are giving Indy the edge over the Bulls is the uncertainty over what Rose will be after his injury. If he returns to his MVP level self or some new permutation of that player then most people will rate the Bulls ahead of the Pacers.

    However, Indy was already giving us a very hard time 2 seasons ago before Rose got hurt. They have clearly gotten better by virtue of the internal development of key players(George, Hibbert). Have we gotten better or worse since then, it likely all depends of Rose.

    Even with a healthy Rose, a Bulls/Pacers series is a 50/50 proposition in my mind.

    The Heat were what, 15-20 games better than Pacers and then the Pacers took them to 7 games and competed the heck out of them, so I don't necessarily think that regular season wins is definitive measure of how close any 2 teams are matched up head to head.

  • 1) I agree the Bulls can challenge Miami if healthy. But they never have everyone healthy throughout the playoffs! Still, if Teague and Snell play well in their minutes, and Butler and Deng are better, the Bulls have a decent shot.
    2) Couldn't the Bulls have kept either Belli or Nate for what they paid Dunleavy? Should we expect him to be an upgrade over those two? I hope he is, but ...
    3) The Bulls still need a backup C.
    4) The Bulls are in the tax, so JR must have approved the Dunleavy hire. Thus, if they are close at the trade deadline, look for a move by the FO to get better with JR's approval.
    Maybe trade the Charlotte pick and a young guard for a SG.

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