Darius Morris vs. Derrick Rose: Welcome to the NBA, Rookie

If you were to compare the respective rosters of the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls in anticipation of their Christmas Day regular-season opener, the Bulls would seem to have a clear advantage.

The five-game suspension of Lakers center Andrew Bynum and the departure of forward Lamar Odom could make for a very long night in the paint for the Lakers against the Bulls talented interior players.

Last Christmas, the Lakers celebrated the holiday by getting blown out by LeBron James Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat, and the Laker formerly known as Ron Artest capped the evening off by taking a (drunken?) tumble down the stairs of his home after the game.

That sequence of events may have been in the running for the title of Lakers low moment of the year, but the Bulls have the opportunity to make the anniversary of that defeat just as miserable this time around.

Reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose unquestionably enjoys the contest's biggest advantage in individual matchups, and the image of Derek Fisher and Steve Blake attempting to contain Rose sends shivers down my spine.

Rose is bigger, stronger, quicker and more athletic than Fisher or Blake, and the presence of Richard Hamilton in the Bulls backcourt means the Lakers could be forced to choose their own poison.

Last season, Kobe Bryant drew the defensive assignment on Rose and in their game in Los Angeles it was an effective strategy because the Bulls didn't have a legitimate offensive option at shooting guard.

Hamilton's scoring ability will make it difficult for new Lakers coach Mike Brown to employ the same tactic, so the Lakers may have to take a defense by committee approach when it comes to Rose.

Brown may give every player who sees any game action a shot at guarding Rose with the exception of Pau Gasol, but could the Lakers best hope of slowing Rose down lie in a rookie point guard?


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