The summer league debut of Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley drew a capacity crowd of NBA coaches, scouts, and media here at the RDV Sportsplex. The matchup of Rose, taken by the Bulls with the first overall pick in the draft last month, and Beasley, who went to the Miami Heat with the second pick, made for the main event as the middle of three games in this first day of the Orlando Pro Summer League.
Rose, Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah, Demetris Nichols, and Keith Langford started for the Bulls. Thomas guarded Beasley to start. Rose was short on his first shot, a midrange jumper. The Bulls trailed, 7-0, until Langford drove through the Heat zone for a layup with 6:53 left in the 10-minute first quarter.
Rose ran what was a ragged offense early--to be expected after just four days of organized practice--and scored his first points when he finished a give-and-go on the Bulls’ next possession.
For perspective, the last time this summer league drew as much media attention was 2003, when LeBron James and Dwyane Wade made their debuts. Of course, James and Wade were so big that their first game was moved to the Orlando Magic’s home arena, where 15,000 fans watched the two budding superstars. These summer league games, the Bulls will play five in as many days, are not open to the public.
Rose was initially defended by Mario Chalmers, the 6-1, 190-pound guard from Kansas. Rose played the first six minutes and 15 seconds, when Vinny Del Negro, making his coaching debut with the Bulls, replaced him with JamesOn Curry. Del Negro’s presence on the bench was also unusual for a summer league game since most veteran head coaches choose to watch their teams from the scorer’s table. Yet, Del Negro knows this is a valuable learning experience for him and he had Bernie Bickerstaff and Del Harris, his veteran assistants, on either side.
Rose was on the bench to start the second quarter and assistant coach Bob Ociepka shared some notes with the rookie point guard. Rose checked back into the game for Curry with 7:46 left in the second quarter. Rose started a fastbreak with a rebound and left a drop pass to Will Daniels, an undrafted forward from Rhode Island, who failed to finish with 3:51 left in the first half. Daniels was not the only open man that couldn’t take advantage of a pass by Rose in the second quarter. Nichols came up empty on consecutive jumpers before halftime, when the Bulls trailed, 46-34.
Beasley, who was playing with a fractured sternum sustained in a practice last week, spent most of the second quarter on the bench.