The Bulls open their preseason schedule Saturday in Indiana against the Pacers, and all eyes will be on Derrick Rose as he returns to action for the fist time in almost 18 months.
Rose won’t be playing alongside his team’s full compliment of players, however, as Joakim Noah will be sidelined due to injury.
From Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago:
Coach Tom Thibodeau finally revealed Friday that Noah has missed the last three practices with a groin issue, but characterized it as a minor injury. Thibodeau said that Noah would miss Saturday’s game, but Noah revealed that his absence would be longer.
“We’re just trying to be smart and I probably won’t play for the first couple of preseason games,” Noah said. “It’s unfortunate. I want to be out there real bad but we’re going to be smart and I will be ready when it counts.”
Noah said he’d play through the issue if these were games that count, but at some point his durability is going to come into question if he keeps struggling with injury.
Noah has been limited by plantar fasciitis in recent seasons.
There’s no sense playing while injured at this early stage of the preseason, so the Bulls are doing the smart thing in holding Noah out. What will be even more important to his long-term health is a reduction of minutes during the regular season — something Thibodeau has promised to make a priority this year.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
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.