Like we’ve said before, the offseason is prime time for supreme optimism and high expectations. In Chicago, you’ve got a lot of people pegging the Bulls as a Top-5 team in the East. And from Derrick Rose specifically, he’s gunning for the likes of Chris Paul, Tony Parker and Chauncey Billups sooner than you might have expected — not to mention eyeing the crowns atop Kobe and LeBron‘s respective heads. Asked in a Chicago Sun-Times interview about his Year 2 goals, Rose said, “To be the best player in the League at my position, and hopefully be the best player in the NBA. There’s no point of playing basketball if you don’t want to be the best — or doing anything if you don’t want to be the best.” Obviously we’re huge fans of D-Rose over here, but he’s still a couple years away from that top spot … Another second-year PG to look out for, though? Russell Westbrook. He’s gonna be a monster next year … In the meantime, we’ve been looking at some other players set to blow up in ’09-10. Al Horford headlined the list of five centers to watch next year, and yesterday we picked the two-guards, including Eric Gordon and Jason Richardson … From the “NBA players: They’re just like us!” files, Shaq was pulled over in Hollywood recently and given a ticket for impeding traffic. How’d he manage that? By stopping in the middle of the street (at 2 a.m.) and talking to somebody. Like we haven’t all done that before. But really, the worst is when two cars are taking up the only two lanes of traffic and they’re sitting there chatting it up like it’s somebody’s porch … No word on whether Shaq flashed one of his police badges to get out of trouble. Did he learn nothing from Olden Polynice? … There actually were a few NBA moves yesterday: Adonal Foyle re-signed with Orlando, Johan Petro re-signed with Denver, and Sean Marks re-upped with the Hornets. Unfortunate news for all you Greg Ostertag fans out there hoping The Big Oaf makes that comeback he’s been talking about … One of our buddies sent us a link about Birdman Andersen landing an acting role in a Chinese-language film slated to drop in 2010, and when we saw Jet Li‘s picture atop said article, we immediately got psyched at the prospect of Birdman playing Bizarro Kareem to Li’s Bruce Lee in an homage to Game of Death. We got our hopes up too soon, though. Turns out Li is doing an entirely different movie, while the Birdman portion of the article was about his role in Du Lala, a romantic comedy “adapted from a popular novel about an office lady’s struggle for promotion at work.” Sounds like a train wreck … From Thursday’s games at the FIBA Americas tournament: Andy Rautins (Syracuse) scored 18 points on six threes to lead Canada as they handed Mexico an industrial-grade meat-slapping, 95-40; Francisco Garcia put up 24 points on five triples, Charlie Villanueva had 15 points and 10 boards, and Al Horford added 10 points and seven boards in the Dominican Republic’s win over Panama; Carlos Arroyo dropped 24 points, five assists and three steals to help Puerto Rico beat the Virgin Islands; and Leandro Barbosa scored 15 to lead Brazil over Venezuela, while Anderson Varejao added 14 points and nine boards … Dime’s Gerald Narciso broke down nine North American cities that deserve to have an NBA franchise (and not all of them are in the United States). Note to Clippers owner Donald Sterling: If you ever want to crawl out from under your permanent JV status in L.A., look into this … We’re out like Olden Polynice …
Derrick Rose gunnin’ for Kobe’s #1 spot; Birdman following in Kareem’s footsteps?
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