The Washington Wizards' preseason continues as the team travels to Brazil to face Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls. Here's what you need to know.
Where and when? Tip off is at 5 p.m. EST from the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro.
Why should I care? Nene is returning to his home country of Brazil and Derrick Rose is not only playing but playing against John Wall.
How do I watch? The game's not on CSN, but it will be on NBA TV and 1500 AM. Allegedly.
Are they good? Yes. Chicago won 45 games last year despite missing Rose for the entire season. With Rose back to replace Nate Robinson, a revamped bench, and the emerging Jimmy Butler, the Bulls are expected to contend for a title. For what it's worth, SCHOENE - an advanced statistics-based projection system developed by the Basketball Prospectus folks - pegs Chicago to win 50 games and finish with the NBA's fourth best defense.
Who's out? Washington is going to be without Chris Singleton, Otto Porter and Emeka Okafor. After sitting out the Brooklyn game with a sore knee, Trevor Booker hopes to play today and will give the coaching staff the green light if he can make it through morning shootaround. Chicago is healthy because they're a normal NBA team and normal teams don't lose a fifth of their roster before the season begins.
What are they good at?
Defense and offensive rebounding. Typical of a Tom Thibodeau
team, Chicago swarms the strong side like madmen and finished with the NBA's sixth most effective defense on a per possession basis last year, despite knowing full well that the team's ceiling was limited without Rose (a lot of what goes into a good defense is effort and discipline and Thibodeau, just like Randy Wittman
last year, deserves a lot of credit for keeping his team intense and engaged all year). Atypical of a team associated with Thibodeau, Chicago was also beastly on the offensive glass, pulling down 29.4% of their own misses, good for sixth in the NBA. Both of these traits can be tied back to the elite frontline of Joakim Noah
, Carlos Boozer
and Taj Gibson
, who's quickly become one of the best role players in the NBA.
What are they bad at? Putting up points, especially in an aesthetically pleasing way. Rose is one of the most exciting players to watch in recent NBA history and Chicago's offense is built around his ability to make plays without the ball. With their franchise player gone, Chicago was forced to run their offense through Noah, Boozer and Robinson. While these aren't necessarily bad players per se, none of them is at their best creating their own offense (other than Robinson, who can create offense but is too limited to consistently set up teammates), and Chicago struggled. After ranking fifth in the NBA in offensive efficiency during Rose's last season on the active roster, the Bulls fell to 23rd without him last year.