Cartwright: Rose Poised for Career Year
A year in which Jalen Rose scores less but passes more could mean more wins for the Bulls and possibly an All-Star bid for Rose.
After turning in one of his best years as a pro, Bulls Head Coach Bill Cartwright says Jalen Rose (6-8, 217 – Michigan ’94) may do even better this season.
“After thinking about things all summer, I really feel that this is a great opportunity for Jalen to have the best year of his career,” Cartwright said. “He’s so versatile and we feel like we now have a lot of other guys that can play. He’s going to be the real catalyst for our team; that will be his challenge. Not only can Jamal [Crawford], Eddy [Curry] and Jalen score for themselves, but they can score for others. Jalen’s challenge will be for him to become even more of an assist man who relies more on his teammates.”
Rose, a nine-year veteran, begins his second full season with the Bulls. Rose averaged a career-high 22.1 ppg (14th in the NBA), to go along with 4.8 apg and 4.3 rpg. He finished the year ranked 25th in assists per game (4.8), 38th in three-point percentage (.370), 21st in free throw percentage (.854) and seventh in minutes per game (40.9).
Rose started all 82 games for the second year in a row and has appeared in 237 consecutive games, the fifth-longest active streak in the league. In addition to becoming an “assist man,” Cartwright says he’d like to see an improvement from Rose on the defensive end of the floor.
“Defense is going to be our absolute focus as we start this year’s training camp. It’s going to be a simple thing. There are guys in this league who aren’t great defenders, but they’re great team defenders and I think that is what Jalen can become. He’s smart enough to do it and I think that there is no question we will be able to accomplish that this season.”
Kendall Gill (6-5, 216 – Illinois ’90), who figures to be a key off the bench, returns to his hometown to play for the Bulls, after playing for five different teams over the course of 13 seasons.
“This guy works,” Cartwright said of Gill. “He works on his game and he works hard in practice. He’s the kind of guy that is there on time every day. He’s really a self-made man as far as things like working on his shooting. He takes a lot of pride in his defense and the fact that he can guard anybody in the league.”
Cartwright, who was a teammate of Gill’s in Seattle during the 1994.95 season, will count on his veteran shooting guard to lead by example and bring some of the Bulls’ younger players along the right way.
“I think he’ll bring a few things to the table for us—his defensive presence and his ability to show our guys how to be a pro. He’ll show our young players how to work hard and how to stay after practice and get up extra shots. Who knows, maybe he’ll even get some of our guys to dress correctly.”
In addition to Rose and Gill, the Bulls return veteran guard Trenton Hassell (6-5, 200 – Austin Peay ’01). Hassell enters his third season with the Bulls, averaging 6.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg and 2.0 apg for his career. During 2003 Rocky Mountain Revue action, he finished second on the squad in scoring, averaging 12.0 ppg with 4.5 rpg, 2.5 apg and 1.0 spg.
“Trenton had a great summer and he had a great summer league,” Cartwright said. “I thought that he lost a little bit of confidence in his shot last year. He’s gotten it back, though, and he’s shot the ball well this summer. He also lost some confidence in his post game but I think he’s got that back as well. He’s going to have a nice opportunity this season, especially playing alongside guys like Kendall and Pip, to watch how they work and grow an appreciation for that.”
Last season, Hassell played in all 82 games, making 53 starts. For the season, he averaged 4.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg and 1.8 apg. He produced season highs of 15 points, 9 rebounds (2), 9 assists (career high), 3 steals and 4 blocked shots.
If Rose takes advantage of his versatility and distributes the ball, not only will that benefit the team, but it will further accelerate the continuing improvement of the Bulls’ young big men, Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry. Additionally, while Rose’s durability will allow him to play a lot of minutes, having Gill and Hassell available off the bench gives the Bulls a formidable line-up of shooting guards for 2003.04.
- Adam Fluck, Bulls.com