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updated: 10/22/2013 4:30 PM

Miller, Kerr give their Bulls prognosis

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  • TNT analysts Reggie Miller and Steve Kerr are impressed by the preseason form of Bulls guard Derrick Rose, but they're still concerned whether the team and Rose can hold up over a full NBA season.

    TNT analysts Reggie Miller and Steve Kerr are impressed by the preseason form of Bulls guard Derrick Rose, but they're still concerned whether the team and Rose can hold up over a full NBA season.
    Associated Press


While the Bulls did not practice Tuesday, they'll try to improve to 7-0 in preseason games when they face Oklahoma City on Wednesday in Wichita, Kan.

In the meantime, two of the NBA's best television analysts -- Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller -- discussed the upcoming season on a national teleconference. They had some interesting thoughts on the Bulls, so here's a look at some of their answers.

Q: First of all, even while the Bulls are cruising through preseason, Tom Thibodeau has talked quite often about how the team needs to practice better and sustain intensity.

The Bulls do get plenty of days off, but they've been hampered by injuries during the playoffs the last few years. This has been a continuing debate: Do the Bulls work too hard, and can they stay healthy for an extended playoff run this season?

Miller: My only concern for the Chicago Bulls, with getting Derrick Rose healthy, is are they going to get to the finish line healthy? Because if they're already having issues here in training camp (Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler and Kirk Hinrich are currently out with injuries), the season hasn't even started yet and we know what kind of grind the season is.

When Derrick Rose comes out and says the Heat is the only real competition -- No, health is. Health is the only thing that's holding them back. We haven't seen Noah yet. We haven't seen their full complement of players playing together. So I want to know if they're going to be able to make it to the finish line. That's why I have Indiana ahead of them (in the East). Just for the simple fact that I know Indiana's going to be healthier in April and May. I can't say that for Chicago.

Kerr: That's a tricky one. Is there evidence that playing Luol Deng 41 minutes a game last year led to what happened to him in the playoffs? Probably not. It's tough to say definitively if you play a guy 35 minutes instead of 38, he's got a better chance of being healthy in May. That's kind of the conventional wisdom. I know just as an observer, I would prefer to see the minutes come down for some of those guys. It's a tough call. I think you really have to rely on your medical staff.

There's no blueprint for this. I agree with Reggie, that the big challenge for the Bulls is managing their health. That's the case with everybody. But with Thibodeau's minutes that he plays these guys in particular, it just seems to stand out in Chicago.

Q: Derrick Rose has scored 78 points in 81 minutes during the last three preseason games, while shooting 62 percent from the field. It's early, but does it surprise you how well he's played?

Miller: Amazed, no. He took enough time off. Don't you think he should have come back in MVP form? I've always told people the one player that I would actually open my wallet and pay to see is Derrick Rose. I'm so happy to see him back to his MVP form. The question is, is he going to be able to sustain this? When you get into those four games in five nights, is Tom Thibodeau going to think about resting him on some of those back-to-back nights?

Kerr: I'm not surprised. He's had a lot of time. He's totally healthy. I'm not as concerned about him. He's young, he's strong, he's athletic and his ACL is healed. I think he's going to be fine. I look at him as the same guy we saw before the injury. I think this has been a great preseason for him, just to get right mentally and confidence-wise. Right now, he's heading into the regular season with a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum. Hopefully he'll have a great year.

Q: Will there be any lingering issues with fans upset about Rose not playing at all last season?

Kerr: Derrick built up a lot of trust with the Chicago fan base before last year. He's always carried himself so well. He's a modest guy, he's soft-spoken. He played so hard. Even though there was frustration last year and a lot of people called him out, including me on the air. (Kerr said at the time, "If he was able to give 20 minutes to his team without risking injury, he should have.") I think all that goes out the window. I think the fans are going to be so excited to see him back.

He and the Bulls probably could have handled it a little differently last year. I think the right thing to do would have been just to announce that he was out before the playoffs started. Just say he's not playing. For whatever reason, he didn't want to make that announcement. I think that was a mistake, but I don't think it was really that big a deal that it's going to hurt his reputation.

Miller: At the end of the day, all players are CEOs of their own companies. Derrick had to do what was right for him. You have to remember, people considered him the game's best point guard. So to come back possibly in February or March for 15 games, then a possible playoff run, not really knowing if he's 100 percent healthy, and lingering doubts if he could make those cuts and be that explosive. If you're not 100 percent sure and you've got to shut it down -- again, you're running this ship. If he stays relatively healthy -- I don't expect him to play 82 games -- and they win, I think the fans will let it go. The bottom line, it's all about winning and being healthy. Again, he's what, 24 or 25? (Rose just turned 25.) He's still young."

• Follow Mike's Bulls report on Twitter @McGrawDHBulls.

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