Networks, analysts high on Bulls IF a certain guard stays healthy

My latest Chicago Tribune column is on the networks looking forward to the return of Derrick Rose–again.

You also can access the column via my Twitter at @Sherman_Report.

From the column:


Welcome back, Derrick Rose. Signed, your friends at ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV.

The return of the star guard will have the Bulls in the national spotlight early and often this year. The Bulls-Knicks opener kicks off ESPN’s NBA regular-season coverage on Wednesday. All told, the Bulls will be featured on 10 games on ESPN; 10 on TNT, 5 on ABC; and 5 on NBA TV.

The national analysts think the bright lights then will shine on the Bulls deep into the spring, if not early summer.

“Barring major injury, I can’t see Chicago or Cleveland not finding their way to the Eastern Conference Finals,” said ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy.

TNT’s Greg Anthony goes further, saying “the Bulls are the team to beat in the East.”

As always, there’s the big IF for the Bulls when it comes to Rose. After what happened last year, virtually every assessment of the Bulls is preceded by the qualifier, “If Rose stays healthy…”

Van Gundy thinks expectations need to be tempered for Rose.

“Anybody who is expecting Rose to consistently be what he was the other night against Cleveland (when he scored 30 points Monday), doesn’t understand how hard it is in the NBA to regain your edge,” Van Gundy said. “When you are basically out two years, it’s not easy, even when you’re as talented as Rose.  And so that consistency of play, of recreating great habits on the floor, that will be difficult and it will be challenging. There will be some great moments and there will be some moments where he’s disappointed.”

TNT’s Reggie Miller contends Rose will need to make adjustments in his game.

“To me, it’s all upstairs for Derrick Rose,” Miller said. “His body is ready. It’s almost over ready. After two years off, your mind starts to play tricks on you. He’s going to have to change his game. He can’t be that Tasmanian Devil-type player who is always attacking and hitting the floor. He’s going to have to trust his basketball mechanics and jump shot. If he can do that, he can have an efficient year.”

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