NBA Rookie of The Year: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Like Dwight Howard for DPOY, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose won over all of the HOOPSWORLD writers who voted.
* Derrick Rose stars in a bright rookie class. The Bulls rebound from a down season to win 41 and a six seed while the other standout freshman are already on vacation. - Eric Pincus
* The 2009 rookie class has a lot of great players in it, but Derrick Rose has consistently been the best. He even led his team to the playoffs, which most rookie don't get a chance to do. - Bill Ingram
* An argument could be made that he's already one of the top five or six point guards in the entire league, how can he not at least be the best rookie? - Joel Brigham
KG-less Celtics begin title defense -
More than 24 hours had passed since they learned that Kevin Garnett would miss the first round against the Chicago Bulls, and probably the rest of the playoffs, and that general manager Danny Ainge suffered a heart attack that later was described as minor by the team.
The mood had lightened enough Friday for second-year forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis to joke about his role as the replacement for "The Big Ticket," Garnett's nickname, in Saturday's series opener.
"I'm not the Big Ticket. I'm the Ticket Stub," Davis said with a grin. "So don't count the Ticket Stub out. You might need the ticket to get into the game, but you leave with the ticket stub because you'll never forget this game. You need it as a souvenir."
Salmons not healthy, but playing -
Whenever someone playing through an injury struggles, the natural tendency is to wonder if the injury affected the performance. So it was no surprise that Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro was asked if John Salmons' subpar game Wednesday against Toronto was a result of the groin injury he's been nursing for weeks.
''No,'' Del Negro said. ''I think he's sore, he's injured, [and] he's not going to get better until he gets some rest. He's been trying to fight through it -- and sometimes it loosens up for him, and sometimes it stays tight.
''It's just unfortunate timing, but he's been battling through it and has been a big factor in us getting to this position. So he'll go out there and give it all he can, and we'll try to work it as best we can and see how it goes.'
Let's hope the good Bulls show up -
Starting in training camp back in October and continuing until about the All-Star break in mid-February, coach Vinny Del Negro often explained the Bulls' inconsistency by simply saying, ''We're an unpredictable team.''
TrueHoop has stat geeks pick every matchup. It's pretty interesting to see what all of the "numbers" predict. And less interesting to see that they all pick the Celtics over the Bulls (might have to click the CHI-BOS link when you get there).
Bulls must D up -
For weeks Vinny Del Negro has been repeating one particular sentence in a forceful tone, like a demand. Or maybe a plea.
"We have to get the opponents' field-goal percentage down," Del Negro has said.
So much focus has been placed on the way the Bulls closed the regular season in offensive juggernaut fashion that some have overlooked an important aspect to playoff basketball.
"Games slow down," guard Kirk Hinrich said.
Breakdown of matchups against the Celts -
This is an intriguing meeting of two of the best young point guards in the NBA. Derrick Rose has had an outstanding rookie season and has established himself as one his team’s leaders. Rajon Rondo’s emergence last season was a key to the Celtics’ title run and made some folks wonder if the Big Three should become the Big Four. Rondo’s defense gives him a slight nod over Rose. Edge: Celtics
Should the Bulls want KG in there? -
Here's an NBA koan to granola over while awaiting this morning's tip of Game 1 between the Bulls and Celtics:
It would be in the best interests of Derrick Rose and company if Kevin Garnett were healthy and able to play the full series for the Celtics.
Time to find some answers
Unless a cast is already on the cusp of a title and gets some last-minute luck to move toward the promised lane, there are seldom shortcuts to an NBA championship. The most enduring lessons frequently come from the hardest paths. The Celtics with Garnett are certainly a harder path.