Separating concern from the blips

The Chicago Bulls lost to the Golden State Warriors last night in a disheartening game where they simply didn't look like they could compete at times. That's two games in a row the Bulls have played poorly, though they've managed to escape with a 1-1 record so far. Some things should work themselves out, but others are genuinely concerning.

Only two starters were in at the end of the game -- concern

Sitting on the bench? Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, and Richard Hamilton. Hamilton hasn't really earned a closer role yet, so that might be his regular location for awhile. Noah/Boozer have generally closed games for Chicago, but the Bulls went small to try and generate more offense as they needed to come from behind.

Boozer was getting abused by David Lee on both ends of the court, and the Bulls opted to keep Taj on him rather than Noah for their lone big man.

It might not be time to panic about Carlos Boozer after he played pretty well against the Lakers, but this game brought out the worst in him. If Boozer doesn't find a way to step it up, then he may end up sitting on the bench for a lot of fourth quarters and take on an Eddy Curry role for the team only generating some offense at the start of the 1st/3rd quarters.

Noah's game was a bit better as he showed a couple of post move son offense to get the Bulls some buckets and still had 10 boards in 25 minutes, but he's also still trying to find his niche out there and isn't having the impact he could have.

I'm concerned for Boozer and patient on Noah. Joakim actually looks like he's worked considerably on his offensive game this summer based on the things he's attempting. His effort level is still high, and he's probably due for a big game because of it.

Carlos scares me, but I'm nearly in acceptance stage with him. He's lived up to many of my fears when we initially signed him; no defense, offense that is far less impactful than the numbers. The Bulls turn the ball over attempting to feed him a ridiculously high percentage of the time and often stagnate the offense trying to use him in the low post.

I'd like to see Boozer in the pick and roll more than trying to be used as an isolation scorer down low. I think he'd be more efficient, less disruptive, and the team would have fewer turnovers.

Richard Hamilton not playing well -- concern

I want to think this experiment is better than having Bogans out there, I really do. However, let's be honest. Hamilton's scoring at an efficient clip, something he's done for three straight years. Shots that more efficient players were taking are now being taken by Richard Hamilton.

He is generating some easy offense for other players at times, but not nearly enough to make up for the fact that Keith Bogans, warts and all, would have scored six points on four shots rather than 10 points on 12 shots. Not to mention that Hamilton looks like the inferior defender of the two.

In his defense, Hamilton is still adjusting to a new team and judging shooting performance after two games is silly. He has plenty of time to improve and make a stronger impact on the team. That said, the early returns on the signing are not positive at all, and management should consider J.R. Smith if the trend doesn't reverse itself by March.

Derrick Rose jacking up threes? -- blip

Not a concern in this game. Most of his threes came late in the game when the Bulls desperately needed threes because the clock was working against them. As such, I don't have any major concerns about his three point attempts yet.

However, I do have come concerns on the minimal attempts at the hoop so far this season. Rip Hamilton's shots appear to come directly from Derrick Rose, and so far, swapping out Derrick's 55% TS% for Rips 50% isn't something that makes a whole lot of sense.

Rose is trying to become more of a distributor and running the offense rather than taking on so much himself. The plan is good if the Bulls can pick up the load, because a more balanced attack will make them more difficult to defend. However, it's been painful to watch at times when they can't.

Luol Deng looks awfully good -- hooray

At least it's not all bad news.

Luol is off to a tremendous start this season, he didn't have a great shooting night against L.A. but he basically won the game for the Bulls in the final minute generating a big steal, a big block, and five points in the final 54 seconds.

His offense looked outstanding tonight, as he was the only one of the starters dialed in. He scored all over the place and defended at a high level too. The only downside is because Deng was so good, he played 41 minutes, a trend Thibodeau needs to be wary of in this compressed season.

C.J. Watson looks awfully streaky

He's had a stretch in each game where he killed teams with three point shooting, but in both games he was otherwise ineffectual on offense. I still like his defense, and he was a big part of important, meaningful runs in both games. Hopefully, he can add to the good and let go some of the bad. C.J. is 5/9 from the three point line and 0-7 from inside of it so far this season.

Final thoughts

Well it's never pretty to lose a game like that one. The Warriors destroyed the Bulls in transition, got to the foul line, and contained their turnovers. They hit tough shots when the Bulls played solid defense and had enough easy opportunities to win the game fairly easily.

The Bulls did some things well, as they did well on the boards and defended the three point line well, but they turned the ball over too much and struggled with defensive fundamentals. They get an off day to think it over, before heading out on the next back to back.


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  • Doug,
    How can the Bulls add unrestricted free agent JR Smith when they've already used their mid-level exception? Would that other, smaller exception be enough to sign JR?

  • In reply to Edward:

    There is no other exception, the LLE or Million Dollar Exception was eliminated in the new CBA.

  • I really still wish the Bull signed Jamal Crawford this offseason. We would be paying rhe same exact amount for someone, you Doug, thought was a better all around option. Im pretty positive we would have gotten the same amount of defense from JC but better offense in terms of creating his own shot. Thibs tried to make up for this by playing Rose and Watson, but that was desperation and JC would have put up alot of points in quicker time, which is what we were looking for.

  • Watching Kwame Brown steal the ball from Boozer twice on set-up passes was disgusting. I don't think I'll ever grow to like Boozer. Starting to consider trading Noah to the homers in my fantasy league. Aside from a couple of hook shots, his offense looks terrible.

  • -Rose is annoying with his 3pts shots. Even the real 3pts shooters don't attempt that much.
    -Like I said before, Hamilton is an update but not a huge one. I don't think that team can overcome miami heat step.
    I really hope GarPax make something big happens.

  • 1. The Bulls need to do something different on offense. They have spacing but that is what created turnovers. Spacing implies long passes above athletic defenders or double-teamed at the corner with the ball down and not being able to pass(by Rose, Deng, CJ).
    Thibs hasn't figured out the trap thing yet. Trap Rose or Deng into a corner and Rose maybe gets out 50% of the time but is stuck in the corner unable to pass or take a bad shot or make a turnover. What happened to "without the ball" movement by Rip?

    2. It also feels like the Bulls are a little bit over-confident in their talent. This has a feeling of a team thinking they will eventually prevail even if they play upto 75-80% of their intensity. Everybody looked bad(Asik, Brewer, Rose and off-course Boozer). It looks like a little bit of focus, intensity missing and a little bit of the effect of sync, no training camp. Rose looks like he is playing pre-season games until the 4th quarter.

    Hopefully, Thibs will clean up the offensive schemes after a few weeks. Brewer looked tentative and bad again and the Bulls are back to finding a SG again.

  • Ugh, the turnovers....just cant overcome that least they fought back a little.

  • Doug complained that Rip is taking inefficient shots at the expense of efficient ones. Crawford would've done the same thing at higher volume. All 3 MLE candidates were flawed in some way. It's way too early for buyer's remorse.

    Thib's ability to make offensive adjustments will be key. Derrick has to stop this CP3 act as he says he will. He can create for others by attacking and dishing. Rip can help by moving like he's supposed to; stretching the D and catching and shooting. More PNR and less entry passes for Booz. All this is obvious to casual observers. Can Thibs put it into practice?

  • Why does it seem that GSW has our number? This was just like last year's game, where GSW uptempo, almost chaotic pace/style sort of nullifies anything we try to do. They were taking quick shots, but they seemed so confident when taking them, not to mention actually making them too. As with last year, I haven't felt as helpless when facing GSW on their home court. It's like their pace just totally disrupts our flow.

  • Positives: Deng's shooting and hustle; the fact that we didn't give up at the end; the fact that we got to practice our end of game situations (fouling, running up court, getting a good look from downtown); Taj's post game; getting Korver some shooting practice.

    The big negative: On offense, it's always clear 10 seconds before the shot goes up who's going to be taking it, which makes it easy for the opposing defense. Once we've committed to a player taking a shot (be it Rose, Deng, or Boozer), there are no more intuitive passes. And the only cuts and PNRs we run are painfully obvious. Everyone, except Rose occasionally, looks like they are mentally running the Xs and Os in their heads as the play unfolds, which means we have no ability to improvise or take advantage of defensive missteps.

    Ongoing negatives: Boozer's unreliability; Noah looks frustrated with Boozer (he should be working with him instead); we have no pure shooters, especially with Korver looking so mediocre; not getting to the foul line nearly enough.

  • In reply to bzoooty:

    Agree about the offense stuff. We all understand the team is still not in sync, shape. But, you don't see the intuitive passes or taking care of defensive mis-steps or innovative offensive sets. It seems like Thibs's philosophy is: we will stop the other team on defense and then score opportunistically by wearing the other team down or Rose go iso. Is he scared that trying new things(except for the last few minutes yesterday) on offense means it will create more turnovers or there is no talent to execute anything new he might try?
    This is not a good omen because as important defense is all the elite teams have different ways of generating offense(Miami, Dallas, NY, OKC). It is ridiculous for Deng to act like Rose trying to do cross-overs and CJ being a blackhole if he gets the ball.

  • When I was younger I watched every Bulls game win or lose. Now I'm older, and don't have the free time I had in my 20's. Yet if Derrick was just a flat out stud developing on both ends of the floor I'd watch win or lose. He could be that guy with the right mentor and support group preferably with a second star.

    But I don't have the time for dissapointments, and investing in guaranteed failure. Nor will I watch Derrick languish with the greedy, Billion in profits no Tax Reinsdorf. Even though Reinsdorf should have paid the tax, and made a trade and used the M.L.E to get not one but two scorers which is what they needed after clearly missing some pieces in their ECF and entire playoff offeensive struggles. No way, we can't trade Asik..?! It was time, and long suffering/ though enabling fans deserved it.

    Honestly, I think Derrick looks like a somewhat unsure, scared kid who really doesn't have the confidence he had earlier and for parts of last year where he exploded.

    Not arming the team did him a grave disservice. As much as I find Derrick's personality/dialogue unsatisfying and seriously lacking depth or charisma at times, he is a good kid. And there is something special about him. And given the right circumstances he's a killer competitively.

    I really don't think the owner or Gar/Pax have what it takes to commit rescources and make the moves to build this team into a true contender. As I said last year other then Derrick there offense often is just boring to watch. Boozer isn't even the scorer we thought he was going to be. You look at Jan/Feb. on, and his numbers sucked. So Lou and Derrick are really the only quality scorers on this team with Lu being physically somewhat lacking in speed, ball handling, and explosiveness. Teams win with dominating players and skilled offensive support players. The Bulls have none of these other then Derrick and Lu.

    IMO you either move forward or backward, you don't stay the same(famous quote/sentiment/axiom said by someone/many). Blowing off an experienced coach in Carlisle(not necessarily hire him but not even talk with him), and hiring a 30 yr assistant coach for a reason. Not pursuing exploring by far the best candidate in Richardson for SG which everybody including the national media almost begged the Bulls to do.

    Finally, you had one of the highest rated games in years for Christmas with Derrick Rose's Bulls facing the Lakers/Kobe. The kid could make such huge ratings profits for the league. What a novel/special person he is despite not being a super persona(and he does posess a nice personality/smile at times etc. with quotes that show accountability and champions understanding of what it takes to win). He just goes through these droopy "malaise?" periods. It just makes so much sense to hook Derrick up with a second star/good offensive partner/team. God this really sucks.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Wow you have become so annoying it's sure waste plenty of time posting tho you dont have time to waste...that must be worth it...what a joke

  • In reply to bullswin60606:


  • In reply to waitwhat:


  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Road Warrior is just showing his ignorance. Reinsdorf DID use the full MLE, he DID use it to get a scorer. You can complain that JRich or Jamal would have been better options, but the money would have been the same.

    Asik makes $1,857,500. How are the Bulls supposed to trade him for a scorer? How many scorers out there make less than $2 mil and are available to be traded for?

    Some people will just never understand that spending more money in salaries guarantees NOTHING. Look at the conference finalists from last season:

    Dallas - 3rd highest payroll
    Miami - 18th highest payroll
    Oklahoma City - 24th highest payroll
    Chicago - 26th highest payroll

    RoadWarrior obviously didn't watch the Bulls of the late 80's. They didn't keep adding a bunch of veterans over the summers- they let their young players develop and get better from experience.

    And I'm sure Road Warrior has no clue that paying the Luxury Tax hurts your chances of signing a player the next summer. The MLE is currently $5 million- but if a team paid the LT the year before, their MLE is only $3 million.

    It was literally impossible for the Bulls to pay the LT this season, but that doesn't matter to anyone who is a card-carrying member of the "Reinsdorf is cheap" crowd.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Guys, The Bulls signed Hamilton who would accept two years of the M.L.E guranteed not the Four they would have had to pay the much better offensive player in Jason Ricahrdson. Doug already pointed this out. He also said Reinsdorf should have paid the tax, and went after it this year. Now he's dealing with the hand that's been dealt. With upgrades the Bulls could have possibly built on their monetum, and made it to the Finals. Instead it looks like standing relatively pat may send that momentum in a stall if not tailspin.

    I have no problemw ith anyone's opinons good or bad. Only with personal attacks that are unwarrented. The outrage with Reinsdorf is warrented in my view. Doug has said he's been cheap, and taken the money, and run. Posters who get so personally bent out of shape simply at contrary views or anything critical of the Bulls team..? I mean really? God, it's just a game, and this is just a sounding board. Get over it.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Doug never said anything about the Bulls paying the tax THIS YEAR and "going for it".

    He did speculate that maybe the Bulls didn't sign JRich because of the LT implications for the 2013-2014, but again that's just speculation.

    But again there is basically no way the Bulls could pay the tax this season. There are two ways they could do it:

    They could sign players to the minimum salary until they are over the LT threshold- but that's just stupid.

    They could make a trade where they take back more salary than they send out. I have yet to hear of the Bulls turning down a good trade that would improve the team enough to justify paying the LT. If there has been one, let me know.

    Doug thinks they should have signed JRich instead? Great, that's his opinion, I just don't agree with it. Even if JRich would have signed a 2-year deal like Rip did, I'd rather have Hamilton. Just my opinion, of course.

    The "Reinsdorf is cheap" stuff just gets soooooo old, that's why people are getting sick of reading it. When ALL of your posts include a rant on JR being cheap, I can understand why. Some people want him to spend money just to spend it- there is a Salary Cap in the NBA, and there's a reason that twice in the past 6 summers, the Bulls have had Maximum Cap Space.

    I'll ask you a straight-up question- what should the Bulls have done to allow them to pay the LT this season?

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Come on RW, you complained about the Bulls hiring "a 30-year NBA assistant" even though he was COACH OF THE YEAR.

    If that's not just looking for something to complain about, I don't know what is.

    I remember the last time the Bulls had a young superstar and they hired a guy with no NBA head coaching experience... some guy named Jackson? That worked out OK.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:


  • I know we lost primarily because of uncharacteristic poor team defense but the offense is questionable......I was watching the Orlando Magic vs Houston Rockets and one thing the Magic did was have their point guard dribble drive, collapse the defense and kick out to the corner 3 spot up shooter. We can't do that with Rose? and Lu is said to be good at that corner 3 unless he lost his touch. I've noticed a few things, teams usually start attacking Boozer off the pick and roll with the opposing PF having monster games against us(maybe we should start Taj Gibson for the first 5 minutes), another thing I noticed is teams always trying to strip luol deng and carlos boozer causing many turnovers. There's alot to cleanup, but Rose has to attack the basket to get the line and especially open up the spot up shooting of Deng and Hamilton.

  • I see another of Thibs stubborn streaks haunting us this season, one that began in last seasons playoffs. He seems to think that Noah has to play with Boozer, and therefore has to sit with Boozer.

    Carrying Boozer kills Noah's game, and tying them together at the hip, as Thibs seems to be doing is going to kill Noah's career.

    Can we just trade Boozer for David Lee?

    Can somebody tell me, why exactly Monta Ellis would be such a bad fit for this Bulls team again. It certainly doesn't look that way every time we play them.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I wanted David Lee over Boozer, oh how I wish GS would take that trade. Wish there was some way we could get Scola too. There's a guy with a real post up game, can score in a variety of ways, very clever. Kind of like a Kevin McHale Lite. I'd give them Boozer & the Carlotte pick, but don't think that would be enough. Can Mirotic come over here next season?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Agree that we should look into getting Mirotic here sooner rather than later. The buyout is 2 million euros, apparently, but all the articles say that it'll be 2-3 years or more, which I don't really understand. I mean, why can't we get him whenever we're willing to pay? And if we think Jerry is being cheap, this would be something to push him on, paying for Mirotic asap.

  • In reply to bzoooty:

    Are the Bulls allowed to pay the 2 million euro buyout? I could be wrong, which is why I'm asking, but I vaguely remember other Euro players having to pay their own buyout or NBA teams only being able to contribute a small amount and the player having to pay the rest. I think that's why it usually takes a few years till the buyout amount drops to a point the player is willing to pay. Can someone confirm that or correct me if I'm wrong? Thanks.

  • In reply to NateTags:

    Nate, you're correct. The Bulls can only pay $500K. Mirotic has to pay the rest unless the Bulls can negotiate a smaller buyout with the team. There are conflicting statements (even out of Mirotic's own mouth) about how willing he is to come over.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    We should send em Boozer as a negotiating ploy!

  • Noah's rebounding numbers were very deceiving. Probably half of those 10 were failed off balance tip ins that had a very small chance of going in. He's not securing many rebounds in traffic, not timing his jumps well, not pulling them down with authority, & is getting pushed around out there. I don't know what's wrong with him, but he needs to step it up.

    His post game on the other hand has looked promising. Those failed tips have caused his FG percentage to look worse than it has, but I like when he goes to work down low & uses that hook. More of this please.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Kwame Brown was killing Noah, Boozer. It looked awkward with Neil Funk making fun of Brown's hands when his hands were doing a lot of good things for his team. And he was killing the bulls in rebounding. Noah was better than what he played in the Lakers game but still was outplayed by Brown/Biedrins and was playing like a 3rd string lean center. To compound it, Asik is looking like a zombie running around without a clue

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    It was terrible. The Bulls should be outrebounding every single team in the league. They were getting pushed around all night, & were getting outjumped, both in the timing of quick jumps & in extension. It appears to me that Noah has lost some spring, hope it's just his annual slow starts to getting in game shape.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Funk and King are the biggest homers. When Derrick fouled Curry (I think it was Curry, maybe Ellis) on his attempted block late in the game, all Stacey could talk about was Derrick being from Chicago and having a 40" vertical and the rest of NBA forgetting how high he can jump. He failed to discuss the fact that Derrick committed a foul before blocking the shot. It was pathetic. Just like the Bulls' play.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    I watched the game on NBA League Pass (Free Trial) and it's always interesting to hear the other teams announcers. Kinda gives things a different perspective. The team just looked very out of sorts last night. I think they'll pull it together, but it was frustrating to watch. Asik looked lost. Hopefully a practice will address some of the mistakes. After all, this shortened year has made preparation tough. Hopefully we can bounce back in the next two games.

  • Boozer's rebound stats are inflated as well..he gets lots of them after missed free throws and others teammates "give" to him..his defense is beyond inept...he gets teammates out of position with his faulty rotations (or lack of any rotation)..How did Coach Sloan not beat the hell out of him in Utah? The Bulls need to run high screen rolls to open the games..get the opponents bigs in foul trouble. open the lanes and off they go. Instead they force feed the low post when the lane is clogged...Thibs needs to get it together pronto and make the guys play right.. I am fearing an injury and Chris Richard's return.

  • Wow people are being really negative after one loss...I think the biggest thing the Bulls can do is realize that it is a short season and try and get on the opposite seeding against Miami for the playoffs. Not sure if people have been watching the rest of the league, but everyone looks pretty sloppy out there right now. I think it's just an effect of the lockout, they should be fine.

    I did wonder last night how Lee would have fit on our team. I know his numbers are also inflated at GS but he had a few nice moves and was quicker than Boozer up and down the court.

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    everyone looks sloppy? Miami doesn't look sloppy which is bad news for the bulls. And to make matters worse, what the bulls desperately needed(another scoring guard), the heat got in the draft of all places.(norris cole)

  • There's 3 things wrong with the Bulls this year that was apparent last year, they have no good perimeter scorers, they aren't athletic enough, and Boozer doesn't fit along side Noah. And they still need another scorers that can create and get to the basket and draw fouls. The Bulls may have a good regular season but come playoff time... someone's gonna have to be able to score other than Rose. Yes its only been 2 games into the shortened season but it is senseless to know this team is one of the top two teams in the east and nothing will be done to push them past Miami cause this Bulls team will not beat the Heat as is no matter what anyone says because they can't score when needed. They can't sign anyone so trades need to be made. This is not a championship team long as they have to go up against Miami.

  • I'm saying this again, within a 4 month 66 game schedule, either Noah, Boozer, Asik, or Gibson are bound to be hurt--Chicago needs a fifth big man now--while they are still healthy so he can learn the routine. Is everybody blind, Boozer is playing like a player who doesn't want to be hurt--this is not the Boozer we saw playing at Cleveland (we admired that Boozer).

    I think Bulls management is over-confident with the team's talent--how else can anyone explain why they have coach Scalabrine and Coach Lucas on the team when players are needed in those positions. Why is Reinsdorf scared of paying the luxuary tax--is he going broke or what? What ever happened to the billion dollars he made on Bull's uniforms during the !990's?

  • Watching the Heat and Celtics, both teams know how to score going to the basket drawing fouls, both have players other than their stars going to the basket not shooting jumpers all game long. Bulls remind me of the Bears... can't score when needed and Defense will only take them so far.

  • All this Boozer bashing is getting old. He is what he is, we know that, let's move on. Let's talk about what really can be changed.

    Why does everyone give Thibs a pass? Sure, his defensive coaching is great, but, with an entire off-season to figure out some offensive sets that better match our talent, it looks like he's done nothing. Or maybe it's just too early and the players haven't adjusted or learned the sets well. Either way, as posted above, when you watch other teams, their offense flows much better and there's much better spacing. The Bulls, IMO, have the best starting lineup in the league. All 5 can pass, handle the ball and shoot (noah, maybe not), and they shouldn't be struggling to find an open shot. Seriously Thibs, spend some of that 'film' time watching the offensive end!!

  • Doug: At this point in the season, the bulls balance sheet will not be creating any revenue in 2012'.

    Carlos Boozer
    Kyle Korver
    CJ Watson

    Break even:
    Rip Hamilton
    Jimmy Butler
    Omer Asik
    Joakim Noah

    Derek Rose
    Luol Deng
    Taj Gibson
    Ronnie Brewer

    The early season question question:
    1) How will the bulls advance the play of the underperforming players in the 1st + 2nd units?
    2) Will coach thibs develop a scheme to minimize the negative play of our liability position players?

    With the reigning league MVP, it should make this equation a little simpler to solve. Let's watch tonight. Tx, C

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