The NBA is getting its wish — the stars will be suiting up for the tip-off of the NBA season Tuesday night.
Well, not Kyrie Irving (knee), but the rest of them.
We knew LeBron James would play for the Cavaliers as they travel to take on the Bulls, something he confirmed after practice on Monday. Kevin Love will be ready to go also (although Love and LeBron got no time on the court together in preseason games).
Now comes the word from our own Sean Highkin that Derrick Rose — coming back wearing a mask after an orbital bone fracture — will not only play but start for the Bulls.
This is good news for Chicago — they need Rose to play, find a comfort level in Fred Hoiberg’s new offense, and mesh with Jimmy Butler in the backcourt if they are going to challenge the Cavaliers when it matters in the postseason. This is just the first step in that direction.
To me, the following confirmation of the expected is the more interesting Bulls news:
Hoiberg is doing the right thing breaking up the Pau Gasol/Joakim Noah pairing that was a disaster last season. However, every pairing he’s got has challenges — starting Gasol and Nikola Mirotic together has the potential to be a horrible defensive combination. And that would pile on top of a poor defensive showing by the Bulls in the preseason (because it’s the preseason we’re not taking it too seriously). Hoiberg has all season to mix and match Noah, Gasol, Mirotic and Taj Gibson to both see what works best and get the older guys some rest. We get to see the start of that experiment on Tuesday.
I’m just happy all but one of the big stars is healthy and ready to go.