Derrick Rose might not be back all season, the league’s best bench has been dismantled by salary-cap implications and Rip Hamilton could be out until 2013. For all of that, the Chicago Bulls are still leading the Central Division.

They’re not the same Bulls and they’re not a very likely title contender without Rose, still recovering from the traumatic knee injury incurred in last season’s playoffs. But the cupboard isn’t exactly bare for the team that takes a 9-8 record into the first Pistons-Bulls matchup of the season tonight at The Palace.

The Pistons put zero expectations on Andre Drummond with regard to starting, cracking the rotation or racking up any kind of numbers. Their demands were simple: Work hard before, during and after practice and affect the game – if and when you get a chance to play – in the ways that your physical gifts allow.

So, yeah, flying colors.