Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose is dunking again, taking some contact in practice


Everyone near the Bulls still says the plan is to be patient. Don’t rush Derrick Rose back. Think more like the All-Star Game timeframe.

Still, there are positive signs.

Like the report in the Sun-Times that Derrick Rose is dunking again.

Aside that, he is taking what the team calls “predictable contact” in practice. Of course, the way the Bulls Jimmy Butler described it, to Aggrey Sam of, things are pretty hands off with Rose — and he is looking good.

“Everything!” exclaimed Jimmy Butler, when asked about pleasant surprises observed during Rose’s rehabilitation from ACL surgery. “I think it’s all a blessing and it’s just great to see him out there, jumping and shooting jump shots, and moving the way that he does. Who knows if he comes back and has a start like Adrian Peterson did? That’s crazy.”

“We definitely don’t want to get him hurt again, so if he’s going to the cup, let him go. Open ‘J,’ contest it, but don’t let him come down any wrong way. Playing smart basketball, but at the same time, we know—and that goes for anybody—don’t undercut anybody,” Butler explained. “Things that basketball players do with their teammates. As far as he goes, he’s continuing to go hard, that’s for sure.”

Peterson may be a little optimistic. But the Bulls with even 80 percent of Rose become a real tough out come the playoffs. And that may be the best plan in Chicago right now.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.

PBT Extra bold prediction preview: Markieff Morris will be a happy Sun

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After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.

So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?

Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.

The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.

Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.