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Rose-less Bulls lose to Milwaukee

It's tough to evaluate the team minus Rose. Well it's not exactly 'tough': they're bad. But it's not exactly fair either. With Tyrus Thomas also out, bench players are forced into roles already jumbled by this being a scrimmage, and it's not how things will look in the regular season. Better not, anyway, since the game was marred with 27 turnovers (many of which on violations) and showed a team that could really struggle to score this season.

The Bulls were able to stay relatively close by getting to the foul line, but with Gordon gone I don't see many nights where the Bulls will have such an advantage. James Johnson seems to have a knack for it (as does Noah and Thomas) but he likely won't get the minutes to do such damage, especially if he's being called for traveling a half dozen times a game.

Hinrich played well (needs to shoot more than one three-pointer in a game, but he should when Rose is back), Salmons looked fine but didn't have a good shooting night, and I think after 3 games I can now stop being surprised that Taj Gibson can contribute. I'm not sure I'm enjoying the subtle campaign supporting him starting by Stacy King, however.

One top-7 player who didn't look good was Deng. While he did unleash another post move (on Charlie Bell, but still...) and was better in transition (who isn't?), there were some reasons to worry. One play stood out in particular, he was guarded by Ilyasova and first couldn't establish post position. Then he came out for the ball, and not being able to shoot over Ilyasova was able to drive by him...only to be cruelly blocked.

Team observers (including KC Johnson on the pre-game show) bend over backwards saying how it will be a group effort to shoulder the scoring load, but it will also take individuals making plays when the magical ball movement stops, and one of those guys needs to be Deng. It was also glaring when the end-of-quarter plays were handing the ball to Jannero Pargo and getting out of the way. 

But again, this is with Rose out. He can be one of the guys who steps up, and he should be the guy getting the ball where Gordon used to (for some reason, the Bulls, like the rest of the NBA, stick to isolations instead of running an offense when it comes to these situations). It's not news that they're better with Rose, but he doesn't fix everything. Especially the defense, which looks better but still has problems with skilled bigs like Andrew Bogut

And how much longer will Rose be out, anyway? Orginally thought to be of no concern, Rose's ankle injury now has him in a walking boot and may take 'a week or two' to heal, according to Mike McGraw