While the starting of Thabo (which is official, btw) is a worrying (and continuing) indicator that the Bulls don't know what the heck to do with their roster, I'm still excited for this opening game. Especially if Gordon plays a lot, Gray plays a little...heck extra-especially if Thabo plays like he hasn't the entire preseason and majority of his career. That'll be nice, if unexpected.
I've been excited to start seasons before. Sometimes it was met with a crushing thud, like in 2003 when they got clobbered a home against the Wiz. Sometimes with exuberance, like the complete dismantling of the defending champs in 2006. And sometimes with a should've-been-worried-but-wasn't-at-time nonchalance, like after they let a lead get away in New Jersey to start last season.
But this is an extra-special beginning since it's the start of the Derrick Rose era. I don't know how it's possible not to get excited about that. And this is only heightened by a preseason show that let us (and an apparently surprised management) know that Rose is ready, right now, to be very good.
That's the number one story of the season, but it's also about so much more: Can Tyrus Thomas make the leap? How will Ben Gordon and the Bulls handle their one-year tenuous relationship? Can Luol Deng regain his form? Is the VDN administration truly a commitment to player development?
But on that last one: despite what Drew Gooden says, the Bulls are not rebuilding. They have to first figure out who they can get rid of before getting to that point (maybe that's what Gooden is gearing for?). And even better news: they're too good of a roster to not go for the playoffs. I think there's no better way for Derrick Rose to start his career than giving him the chance to lead a team to the playoffs.
It's a nice situation: their best players happen to be young. So if you play them, you'll win and develop at the same time. Find out who fits best with Rose, get rid of the rest. It should be a lot more fun than the slash/burn rebuilding efforts commonplace in the league.
But that's mostly because of that 1.8% chance. The Bulls are a rare team that's good enough to be a fringe playoff team (that's young!), while also having a new young star in their midst. So I will not accept excuses and incompetence if they're not doing their best to win right now. It works for all parties: Rose, the non-Roses, playoff revenues, and me.