Chicago Bulls v Phoenix Suns

Alvin Gentry lets his bench know Steve Nash needs some rest

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Hello Goran Dragic. We’re looking right at you.

Steve Nash has averaged 34.8 minutes per game this season, which is up two minutes a game from last season. The man is 36, has groin and foot soreness this season, and has been battling a bad back since, roughly, 1978. Nash needs to be playing fewer minutes, not more. Not 49, like he did in the double OT game against the Bulls Wednesday.

Coach Alvin Gentry knows that but said he’s had no choice, as reported by the Arizona Republic.

“(Dragic) didn’t play very good and, as a result of that, I have to play Steve too many minutes,” Gentry said. “Forty-nine minutes for Steve is too damn many. Then I got another guy out there (Hill) who plays 46 minutes and should be playing about 30 in a double-overtime game. So we’ve got to get the bench playing well again.”

“It’s not fair to him,” forward Grant Hill said of Nash. “Dealing with the (groin) thing, and his foot’s hurting him. He gave it all he had out there and did a good job. When we don’t go to him, we’ve got to be a little sharper with execution.”

Dragic seemed to take a step forward late last season and into the playoffs, but so far this season he has been average. Not good enough when you have Steve Nash as your other option. But at some point Gentry needs to go to Dragic or get someone to step up, because the Suns will need Nash come the playoffs and if he has to play this many minutes the Nash that is left in late April will be a shadow of the one that is playing so well right now.

PBT Extra bold prediction: Is this Andrew Wiggins’ breakout season?

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Minnesota is going to be entertaining to watch this season. A healthy Ricky Rubio (hopefully) dishing at the point, Karl-Anthony Towns is already a high-IQ passer, and bench players such as Shabazz Muhammad and Adreian Payne have shown some skills.

Then there’s Andrew Wiggins. The reigning Rookie of the Year developed quickly last season — particularly his jump shot — and he should make a big leap this season. He’s going to dunk on people and end up in a lot of highlight packages while putting up a lot of points.

Enough to set the Minnesota Timberwolves single game scoring record, currently held at 52 by Mo Williams? That’s the question for this PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.

Derrick Rose being back for start of season in question

Fred Hoiberg, Derrick Rose
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The Bulls have said Derrick Rose is about a week away from returning after suffering a facial fracture this preseason.

The start of the NBA season is two weeks from today (Oct. 27).

So Rose will be ready to go when the Bulls start their season that first night against Cleveland, right? Don’t bet on it, says Vincent Goodwill of, quoting coach Fred Hoiberg.

The opening night projection for a Derrick Rose return is a bit murky at this point, as the Bulls are taking a cautious approach to his recovery with Fred Hoiberg essentially ruling him out for the rest of the preseason.

“Most likely (out for the preseason),” Hoiberg said….

In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rose sit out the first handful of games, as the Bulls start the season with a three-game in four-night stretch starting Oct. 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is in two weeks.

“That will be in consideration, sure,” Hoiberg said. “We gotta make sure, he really hasn’t done anything and that will be a good two or three weeks where he has total inactivity, so just to throw him back out there going 100 percent with his speed and everything, you just don’t want to take any risks, chances, where it could be a lingering issue.”

Just what TNT and the NBA hoped for with an opening night Bulls vs. Cavaliers showcase: Kirk Hinrich vs. Mo Williams. (Don’t forget Kyrie Irving will miss the start of the season recovering from his knee surgery.)

Of course, this is the smart play for the Bulls who need to be thinking about getting Rose fully healthy and focusing on what condition he will be come April 27, not Oct. 27.

And of course, a lot of Bulls fans who are down on Rose will slam him for this. Even though the injury was a freak accident and the team is right to be patient.

Rose could play opening night, if he gets back to practice next week and can get closer to basketball shape. But I wouldn’t bet on it.