Last night, the Bulls went to 0-3 in their preseason campaign, a record that in and of itself doesn't mean a whole lot. Preseason NBA basketball is much the same as every other professional preseason: It means very little, if anything, and only rarely can concrete conclusions come out of it. More often than not, it's a big ball of nothing.
Still, given the mystery surrounding this year's Bulls team -- how good will Derrick Rose be? how will Vinny Del Negro coach? -- any glimpse is bound to be overanalyzed. So it was with Tuesday night's 98-86 loss to the woeful Timberwolves. Del Negro played around with his lineups a bunch, starting Kirk Hinrich and Larry Hughes and benching Derrick Rose. That's fine for now. But if it becomes a habit, Bulls fans have a problem.
Del Negro doesn't seem like the type of coach to play a guy like Hughes over a guy like the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft because of "veteran intangibles," or something, but as we don't actually know anything about Vinny, maybe he will. It will be an easy trap to fall into. Fortunately for Rose, this entire Bulls team is young. There's no escaping youth. Why not play the best of it, which is very clearly Derrick Rose?
Anyway, in the meantime, Drew Gooden let slip with a semi-revealing quote:
"As long as you work hard," Gooden said with a mischievous smile, "you can take pretty much any shot you want."
So this is what we know about the Bulls after three preseason games: Del Negro is going to play small lineups; he's going tinker about for a while; he's going to let Drew Gooden (and anyone else that "works hard") take any shot they want; and he's going to give Larry Hughes decent burn at least until Ben Gordon gets back. Add those last two together. It means all we really know about the Bulls, as of October 14, 2008, is that Larry Hughes is going to be "taking any shot he wants."