The Chicago Bulls tipped off their 2010-2011 NBA preseason schedule Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks without two projected starters, and lost 92-83. Ronnie Brewer has an injured hamstring, and Carlos Boozer will miss the next six to eight weeks with a broken pinkie.
Yes, preseason doesn't mean much, but for a team with several new faces, preseason gives the players time to gel with one another and build team chemistry.
Playing against their division rivals, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Bulls had several positives, but also showed some rust.
Here are some positives and negatives for the Bulls to take out of the game versus the Bucks.
Derrick Rose: In 23 minutes of game action, Rose had 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and went 5-10 from the field.
Although his self-proclaimed improved jumper did not look up to par, his driving ability was nothing new for Bulls fans. Rose had several acrobatic layups and often times looked to pass first before looking for his own shot.
Rose, who turned 22 on Monday, is only going to improve this season and his development alone should make the Bulls a better team.
Kyle Korver: The Ashton Kutcher look-a-like was clearly the MVP of the game, as he dropped 22 points on 7-12 shooting from the field and hit the only three-pointer he took.
The Korver acquisition went overlooked throughout the big moves made in the offseason, but his shooting, something that was severely lacking last season for the Bulls, should improve the Bulls a lot.
Korver is usually a three-point specialist, but last night he was running the pick-and-rolls, making plays for himself, and others.
Luol Deng: The Bulls' X-factor had 16 points on 6-10 shooting from the field, along with three rebounds in nearly 26 minutes of game action. Deng is the key player that will make the Bulls a legit contender, or a pretender. Deng was slashing to the basket and hit a few mid-range shots, too. He was also 1-3 from three-point land.
Taj Gibson: The second-year forward, who is the projected opening night starter, tweaked his back and received treatment from the medical staff. Hopefully it wasn't serious, since the Bulls will need Gibson come regular season. Gibson averaged 9.0 PPG and 7.5 RPG last season, stats he will surely improve on this season.
Moving screens: Several of the Bulls' big men were called for moving screens throughout the game. Omer Asik and Taj Gibson had a couple each; even veteran Brian Scalabrine had one. This is a problem they will have to fix, since Rose and Korver will command several screens. Coach Tom Thibodeau will surely work on the issue with his big men next practice.
Disappearing Acts: Keith Bogans, who started at shooting guard for the Bulls with Ronnie Brewer nursing a tweaked hamstring, was not noticeable when on the court. Known for his three-point shooting, Bogans missed both attempts from downtown. However, it's easy to give the veteran the benefit of the doubt.
All in all, the Bulls battled hard against the team they will likely be battling for the division crown. With Boozer out for the next six to eight weeks, Bulls fans will have a tough read on the team's true potential. However, preseason gives fans a look at the team's offensive and defensive schemes, and helps the team build continuity and chemistry.
Next up for the Bulls: Thursday at Dallas. Game time is 7:30 p.m. CST.