With the Chicago Bulls' recent additions of John Lucas III and Jannero Pargo, the Bulls will get some injury insurance and financial flexibility. But one thing it could also do is allow the Bulls to reduce Derrick Rose's practice time as we near the end of the regular season and start of the playoffs.
Rose is 12th in the NBA in minutes per game at nearly 38 per game, and has played in all but one game for the Bulls this season.
He's the leader for the MVP award and has led the Bulls to a 49-19 record despite Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer missing a combined 54 games. However, even Rose knows he can't lead the Bulls to where Chicago fans want -- the NBA Finals -- on tired legs.
In his quest to get to the free-throw line more, Rose has taken it to the basket much harder this season, in terms of seeking out and drawing contact. He's shot 100 more free-throws than last season and has averaged nearly eight attempts since the All-Star break.
Friday night against the Indiana Pacers, Rose set career-highs in free-throws made and attempted -- at 18 and 21 respectively. With the Bulls down double-digits for most of the second half, and his jump-shot as flat as the backboard, Rose simply put his head down and attacked the basket, taking a beating along the way.
Rose scored 42 points Friday night, almost willing the Bulls to a win. They lost the game 115-108, snapping their eight game winning streak, but it was just another game to add on Rose's fabulous resume, just another example of why he is this season's NBA MVP.
Still, he can't do it if he's battered and, as he put it, "beat up" come playoff time. The Bulls' recent signees won't provide the Bulls any impact on the United Center floor, but they will on the Berto Center floor.
With the two added bodies in the back-court, the Bulls won't have any increase in depth during the games, but during practices, Lucas and Pargo can give the Bulls bodies to use if they decide to reduce Rose's practice time.
With 14 games to go, the Bulls would be wise to limit Rose during practices. Several stars around the NBA are limited during practices, and it would be smart for the Bulls to do the same as the regular season's nearing closure.
Rose won't change his attack-the-basket mindset, nor will Tom Thibodeau make him. But one thing the Bulls can control is his practice time, and with the additions of Lucas and Pargo, the Bulls are in position to do just that.
Boozer returns to practice; Deng and Gibson sit out: Carlos Boozer, who has missed the past five games, returned to the court on Sunday since his March 9 injury, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
The Bulls are calling him a game-time decision for Monday's game against Sacramento. He felt good, but also had some caution for his return.
"I feel good," Boozer said. "We'll see how it feels (Monday). We'll make
a decision then. We just want to make sure it's right. The pain is
still there. You don't want to be stupid and come back too soon and have
a nagging injury."
Monday's return date is one that seemed likely for a few days now, and it seems like he'll be ready to go. However, as Boozer said, it would be stupid to bring him too soon, especially against a lowly team like the Kings.
In other practice news, Luol Deng (bruised left thigh) and Taj Gibson (jammed big toe on his right foot) sat out practice. Both seem like non-issues, although Gibson, who injured his big toe in the Bulls' last game against Indiana, was seen wearing a walking boot on his right foot.
With Boozer seeming likely to play against the Kings, the Bulls can sit Gibson for Monday's game against the Kings, but with Boozer not having played for over nearly two weeks, the Bulls could need Gibson depending on how Boozer looks.