Sleeping on it: Deng and Rose thoughts

Mark did a nice initial write up of the outcome of the Bulls and Spurs, but I after a good night's sleep I had a few thoughts about the game and how it pertains to the rest of the season. First, for one game anyway, Luol Deng was right and shut everyone up.  There were things that concerned me about Luol in this game.  He took a lot of tong twos, which I just can't stand.  You're literally 1 foot inside the three point line.   Is the shot really that much harder if you take a step back.   Most memorable was the time he got an offensive rebound about eight feet from the basket, ran to the three point line, and shot a turn around, contested jumper from six inches inside the three point line.   Which he made.  

Anyway, ignoring the long twos, as I hated them even in his good seasons, Luol showed explosiveness on the court.  He either healed considerably over the week that the Bulls had between the last preseason game and tonight, or he was just playing it really safe in preseason.   Either way, if Luol Deng can leap and move the rest of the season like he did tonight then he's going to be very valuable for the team this year and a whole lot of people will be signing the apology card.

Does that mean Luol is worth his massive contract?   No.   Luol probably isn't ever going to rise to the level of a guy who's worth his salary which is a 2nd best guy on a team type figure.   However, if he becomes a guy who helps you win, but he's overpaid by a few million then it's really not that big a deal anymore.   He'll be a very valuable guy who could easily be traded for an expiring.

Next, Derrick Rose played a fine game.  He didn't turn the ball over and had seven assists.  He score 13 points, made it to the line five times, and overall looked healthy which was our biggest concern.  Besides one comically bad defensive play at the end of the game, he looked improved on that end of the court as well.

Those are all good things, and hopefully Derrick improves as he finds his wind and comfort in the offense after a long lay off.   Still, a few things last night touched on concerns I've had with him over the summer.   He's not scoring points efficiently.   The difference between Zach Randolph and Tim Duncan is efficiency.    Rose scored his 13 points on 14 possessions (not counting TOs just shots or possessions ending in FTs).    That's not particularly good.  

The good news is that he did get a whistle on three drives to the basket resulting in five free throws.   If he can average five free throws a game it will definitely be a big step forward, and if he can hit 80% on those free throw attempts then it should add to his effeciency considerably.  

I'm only bringing this up due to the extraordinarily high standard and hopes Rose brings to the table.   He can make incremental improvements to his game and become a top 20 player, but if he's ever going to be the guy who leads us to a championship we're going to need to see a massive increase in his scoring efficiency. 

Quite frankly, I'm not sure he has the mentality to become a top five guy though.  You look at those guys and they're almost always hyper aggressive as young players, forcing bad shots, and being ball hogs.   They then learn to settle down and find their spots and improve efficiency as they age.  Rose is prone to playing passively.

Ultimately, you have to realize this is holding him to an incredibly high standard to bring it up.   It's not a criticism I'd make about a player his age unless I thought they had massive potential.  All-star level seems extraordinarily likely for Rose, but his game is going to require significant changes to become the championsihp level franchise guy we hope he an be.

That said, it was great just to see him back on the court, playing healthy, and having a nice overall game.

Overall, it was simply outstanding just to see the Bulls in action again last night.  They kicked of the season with a quality win against a quality opponent.   There's nothing more you could ask for in game 1.

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  • What a way to start the season! This Bulls effort was far different than I expected to see, but that is a very good thing considering the outcome.

    3 Positive Points:

    1) Hinrich/Deng/Noah - Each of these players already look improved from last year. If they can continue to play like they did last night, Bulls are not wondering about playoffs, they're wondering about homecourt.

    2) Rose did not look slowed by his ankle. Deeks made some comments about Rose's lack of defense, but I would argue the opposite. He has a sore ankle, and had to chase the fastest player in the NBA around screens all night. And the result was...Parker was ineffective the majority of the night. While some of that may be Parker's own fault, you cannot discount Rose's effort here. It is a very good omen. (So was his aggressiveness going to the rim as well as his lack of turnovers).

    3) Vinnie was running an offense...sort of. We are already seeing the benefits of Gordon's departure. No more clear-outs, we only had a couple of near-shotclock runout desperation shots, and the Bulls were screen-rolling the Spurs to death. We killed them on the screen roll/pop where Rose has his choice of taking it in, dropping it off to Noah filling the lane, or Tyrus popping to the circle at 17ft. There were actual designed plays!

    3 Negatives:

    1) Tyrus is still pouting if he doesn't get the ball, or doesn't hit a shot. When he hits shots, he is all over the court. When he doesn't, he disappears. He needs to be rewired so he's not so easily taken out of his game mentally.

    2) Taj Gibson seemed to relish the opportunity to show he earned to be picked instead of Dejuan Blair. While mostly effective, he was overly-agressive and played outside the offense for his points. He was a different player than we saw all pre-season, and not in a good way. However, I was glad to see Vinnie recognize this (along with Tyrus's second-half success) and sit him the majority of Q3 and Q4.

    3) No James Johnson. I was afraid he might not see the light of day last night, and he didn't. It is clear the staff does not trust him. And if you don't play him on opening night at home up 12 with 2 minutes to go and all the starters for the opposing team on the bench, I'm afraid we won't be seeing him much at all this year.

    All in all, it is hard to complain. A lot of improvement from last year to this game. Plus, Bulls are on pace to go 82-0!

  • roses rebounding was excellent, and i hope he maintains about an 8% TRB for the year. also, he ran the offense very well and easily could have had 10 or 11 assists tonight. as for his efficiency, that might improve as he gets healthy and gets his conditioning back and becomes more committed to attacking the basket again. i doubted his ability to ever be a guy who gets to the line 6 or more times a game, but last night rose was not particularly aggressive and got to the line 5 times against a spurs team that doesnt normally foul much. perhaps theres hope yet.

  • Neither Doug nor OlRoy seem confident in Rose's ability to get to the line. I feel his FTA is going to rise this year simply out of respect. I don't believe the notion he doesn't drive to the rim. I think last year he did, but would either not get the call or an offensive foul call would go against him. After winning ROY, and establishing himself as a star in a star-driven league, I believe he'll see an increase in free throws simply by getting the benefit of the doubt from referees from here on out. And it could increase by a wide margin too.

  • In reply to DanFrystak:

    actually, i never said he doesnt drive to the rim-- its indisputable that he does. i said he wasnt being very aggressive last night in particular, and that getting to the line 5 times in spite of that might be a very good thing.

  • In reply to DanFrystak:

    The Bulls were an awful 3/16 from 3pt-land...mmm. What am I thinking right about now? Derrick Byars 7/14 and 50% looks pretty good.

  • In reply to DanFrystak:

    I don't think you took into account the 3 or 4 plays where DRose was handed the ball with 3 or less seconds on the shot clock after a broken play, forcing him to throw up a bad shot. I don't think his efficiency was too bad considering these situations. I was very encouraged by his play last night. Let's hope that ankle recovers well after his first extended live action last night.

  • In reply to DanFrystak:

    Also, the second most important thing that took place in last night's game was the 2nd half by Tyrus. He needed to get off to a better start than last season. After the first half I was starting to think "Here we go again" and I noticed that he was looking much less than thrilled on the bench before they took the court. Very important 2nd half for Tyrus and the Bulls. Now let's hope he doesn't have that 2/14 (or whatever) shooting night that he had early in the season vs. Boston last year. It shouldn't be an issue, he's played some bigger games in Boston than this.

  • In reply to DanFrystak:

    I fully expect the Bulls to get off to a rough start - but winning this game is something I'll savor for awhile.
    Bulls had lost 18 of the previous 21 games with SA

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