Gerald Henderson is having the worst week ever. It started about seven days ago, when the Bobcats opted not to extend his contract, despite the fact that he led them in scoring during the 2011-12 season. Then, Henderson had to watch draft classmate DeMar DeRozan get 40 million dollars over four years, despite the fact they’ve had very similar careers to this point. And today’s news? Henderson just found out he’ll be watching from the sideline for a while.
Losing Henderson for upwards to a month is a tough blow for the Bobcats, both for developmental reasons and because they’re supposed to thrive on high pressure, aggressive defense under new head coach Mike Dunlap. When Ben Gordon and Matt Carroll are the other two shooting guards on your roster, that task becomes a little tougher.
What it does provide, however, is a chance for Kemba Walker to carve out a true scoring role next to Ramon Sessions at point guard. That’s a tiny backcourt, but it’s not like Gordon and Carroll are hulking monsters. Welker has a little bit of Lou Williams in him and is probably best suited as a sixth man scorer off the bench, but in Charlotte, he’s now the top offensive option. That’s a recipe for disaster, of course, and it’s only magnified by losing Henderson.
There is no delusion that the Bobcats are going to contend here, but the next month without Henderson will make life even rougher on the ol’ Bobs.
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.
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 CSNChicago.com, 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.