Bulls fall to Grizzlies, Is Derrick Rose the Bulls defensive MVP?

Bulls fall to Grizzlies, Is Derrick Rose the Bulls defensive MVP?

No, he's not a lock down defender, and no, he isn't making all the plays on the defensive end of the court. However, after watching the Bulls lose to the Grizzlies making the case for Rose as defensive MVP is simple.

When he's not on the floor, the team's offense consistently puts the other team in position to score with a high turnover count and an inability to penetrate to the rim.

It's not the high turnover count that did the Bulls in, or the fast break points directly. The numbers (19 turnovers, 17 fast break points) weren't that far out of the ordinary.

What was out of the ordinary was where the turnovers occurred and where the opposing defense was setting up. Without Rose on the floor the Bulls struggled to respond to a pressing defense. The Grizzlies forced turnovers out at the three point line repeatedly for easy fast break points rather than two on threes or three on fours.

They forced the Bulls into long rebounds where they were able to score consistently through early offensive opportunities before the Bulls defense was entirely set.

Even without Zach Randolph in the game [and perhaps in this game it was helped that he wasn't there], the Grizzlies scored 62 points in the paint. Their high FG% was largely a function of Derrick Rose not pressuring the opposing defense. Not forcing players to stack back or collapse around the rim to defend him.

Without Rose in the game, the Grizzlies were able to consistently press an early advantage on offense for easy points, and the Bulls could do little to stop them.

By the time C.J. Watson worked the rust out and started his Derrick Rose impression, the Bulls were down by 20, and it was simply too late. The Bulls will be buffered by Watson's return, and after he worked the rust out, he showed he can still provide efficient scoring for the team.

Luol Deng stepped up and had a fairly nice outing scoring 20 points on 18 shots was a vast improvement over the game against the Wizards where he went 5/21 despite playing against a more accomplished player in Rudy Gay. Carlos Boozer chipped in with 13 points on 10 shots himself to help the offensive load.

Taj Gibson had another beast of a game where it felt like he had at least 10 offensive rebounds even if it was only three. How does Taj not start next year, and why wait until then?

Joakim Noah quietly disappeared again, and while Omer has hands of stone, the Bulls sometimes turn the ball over far more trying to utilize Noah's improved ball handling and passing rather than ignoring the center position on offense except when open dunks are involved.

Noah's game has simply regressed, and I think in order to see the higher scoring player we saw last year, he needs to consistently touch the ball over and over to get a good feel for it. That's why he plays well when Boozer is out. However, with Boozer in there and Noah getting occasional touches his offensive ability becomes less steady.

If that's the problem, is it worth feeding Noah over and over to maximize his offense? Hard to say, but probably not. However at his best, he's very effective passing out of the low or high post and can make himself a threat. Noah simply needs to find a way to play more consistently with the opportunities he gets rather than having his game fall apart.

Of course, the Bulls 1/12 shooting from the three point line didn't help them much either. It's not hard to imagine that knocking down 4/12 would have put the Bulls in position to compete in parts of this game. They had plenty of wide open misses as well including a couple by Kyle Korver.

All in all, the Bulls lack of offensive firepower is completely exposed with Derrick Rose out for a game. At the same time, Chicago might benefit from Rose missing a few games if it forces the rest of the team into a more shot creating mindset that can spill over to when he gets back.

Too many times his teammates stand around waiting for someone else to create offense with no one there to do it. C.J. Watson may take on that burden as the rust wears out, but do the Bulls really want C.J. Watson becoming the focal point of the offense?

It was once said about the dynasty Bulls that the triangle wasn't for Michael Jordan, the triangle was for everyone else. It gave the rest of the team something to fall back on when Jordan was out or not shooting well. It gave everyone else a comfort zone in terms of how to create shots and where they'd be.

I'm not suggesting the Bulls install the triangle, but it's painfully obvious that they have nothing to fall back on with Rose out. The players don't feel comfortable or know where they're suppose to be. With scant practice time, they'll have to figure it out on the fly just like everyone else.

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  • Doug, do you think Noah might have Tyson Chandler syndrome? I remember how much Tyson sucked the entire season when he played on the first year of his big contract- maybe Noah is feeling the pressure of the big $$$ and pressing?

    If he plays this bad all season, do the Bulls dump him for expirings/non-guaranteed deals and a 1st-rounder?

    Just a thought, also if Jo can't smoke weed during the season, he can't calm himself down? (/sarcasm)

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I agree. Big money contract and all the trade talk are bothering him. However, Noah should be capable of focusing his game when it counts. His regressing defensive skills are the most disappointing part of this season IMO. However, is his dynamic with Boozer the biggest issue? How do we figure that out? We have a small sample size from the beginning of last season, but is that enough? I would rather have Noah playing good defense while putting up 14 points and 10 rebounds than Boozer playing inadequate defense and putting up 18 points and 10 rebounds. Trade Noah or amnesty Boozer? If we lose to the Heat in the playoffs again, I believe one of those scenarios has to happen.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    right now it is 13 & 8, aren't those Dwight Gooden numbers.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You're pretty close...Drew Gooden's career averages - 11.8ppg, 7.8rpg

  • In reply to NateTags:

    Oops, I guess that I meant Drew, Dwight was the drug addled pitcher for the Mets in the 80's right.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Understood. I'm dreaming, imagining that Noah and Boozer can play up to their potential in separate vacuums.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I don't think he has Chandler syndrome, this is the first year he's collecting the money, but he signed it last year. I don't think the pressure is different this year.

    I can't imagine the Bulls dumping him.

  • I don’t put Tyson Chandler’s disappointing performance in the 2005-6 season all on him. Bulls management jettisoned two of the three components of what was in 2004-5 a solid and very effective frontline, namely, Antonio Davis and Eddy Curry. This left Tyson Chandler alone with little support to do the work of three men. While a dominant center like Wilt or Shaq can function as a team’s entire frontline, Tyson could not as he’s really just a role player. As we are seeing once again with Noah, no matter how much money is given to a role player they’ll always be - just a role player.

    In 2004-5, those three bigs (Tyson, Curry, Davis) playing in tandem (two on the court at all times) was a very effective frontline as their abilities were very complimentary to each other. In contrast, Noah and Boozer are not complimentary and that will never change – because it’s inherent in their skill sets. Their skills sets are a mismatch, a total mismatch. Noah's presence on offense hinders Boozer - Noah just gets in the way on offense. And on defense Boozer's ineptness often times puts Noah out of position.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Rosenblog over at the Trib may have come up with the nickname of the day. Check this one out.

    Monday’s garbage was frighteningly comparable to the Bears without Jay Cutler. The Bears were unprepared, could not react and failed to finish. Except in this scenario, the Bulls are paying $80 million for Caleb Boozer.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Not a Michael Sweetney fan eh?

  • Honestly, does Noah have any skill-set which you can say he is better in that skill than 50% of the opposing Centers/PFs? Boozer has some skills and a lot of "no-skills". The Bulls should just put his chair at the end of the bench and make him play garbage minutes for a few weeks.
    Speights was killing him yesterday.
    GarPax have a big dilemma on their hands. Wait for his value to decrease or sell him at what might be his highest value.
    As a Bulls fan, I hope this guy gets focused. It is not Boozer's fault. Noah can't even tip in lay-ups and his defense(supposedly his forte) is just a turnstile for anyone. He is a classic no-man's Center...not strong enough to be a Center and not fast enough to guard the perimeter guys and not focused/smart enough to help at the right time.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Last year, I would have said Noah had innate feel for the ball (e.g. knowing where the rebound was going to be, putting back tip-ins, volleyballing the rebound out to teammates, etc) and good hands (could take the quick pass from Rose).

    This year, he is playing like he is wearing stone gloves most of the time.

    Say what you will about training camp and catching his wind, but everyone else in the league was in the same boat. Actually many were worse off, as Noah got to play competitive ball with the French National Team. There is something wrong with him, and I wouldn't guess it to be conditioning.

  • In reply to Salvamini:

    heck, at the beginning of last year I was arguing Noah was the 2nd best player on the team. now, he might not even be the best center.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Skills Noah is better at than more than half the starting centers in the NBA:
    Dribbling, passing, pick and roll defense, perimeter defense, shot blocking, offensive rebounding, defensive rebounding, running the fast break, free throw shooting, and stealing the ball. [quite possibly jump shooting as well sadly enough]

  • After yesterday's game it would be hard not to think that Asik and Taj should start and JoaH and TOAH should both go to the bench.

    However, that would be a bit of an overreaction, and given Thibs mentality won't happen anyway.

    Joah's play is disconcerting to say the least, however, to suggest that being forced to play with Boozer is not at least 50%(if not significantly more) of the problem suggests a lack of understanding of what Joah's game is really all about.

    A simple test of my theory would be to start Taj with Joah and see what happens. The only question with starting them together is what kind of offense do you get, as Taj's offense is based more on effort than skill also. However, if/when Rip establishes himself in the starting lineup we might not need whatever net offensive benefit(neglible as it might be) that Boozer provides.

    Joah, is a tweener, but he leans a bit more toward being a center than he does toward being a power forward.

    Joah is reputed to be our starting center, yet more often than not he is forced to guard the opposition power forward because Bozo is such a slug that he can't guard anyone who actually moves on offense. It is hard to defend in any league, never mind the NBA when you end most defensive possessions with your head directly under the center of the rim.

    This situation is unacceptable, and likely negatively affects Joah's overall game, especially defensively. Its bad enough when Boozer can't be trusted to check Zack Randolph(he of the zero lift), but he's even afraid of Maurice Speights.

    As I have said before, I would even be OK with starting Asik and Boozer for a while, just to prove that Boozer is the real problem, not Joah. However, we probably don't want to start Asik, simply because it may jack up his value so far that we simply cannot match his offer this summer. Too bad that he wasn't a late first round pick instead of a second.

    It makes no sense whatsoever to trade Joah simply because of incompatibility with Boozer, when everyone knows Boozer is a horrible fit for this Bulls team(at least as a starter and at his contract value) and will be gone one way or another by the summer of 2013.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'd agree with 85% of what you said, especially since either looked their best last season when the other was out of the lineup. However, the thing that bothers me the most are the instances when Noah is missing tip-in after tip-in after tip-in right at the rim. Those are mostly 'touch' plays, and Noah has been horrible this year in that regard.

  • In reply to Salvamini:

    Yes, he has, is there a simple reason as to why, hopefully time will tell as the season progressess and he workes himself into shape.

  • Link to annual survey of NBA GM's, according to them the Bulls barely have a better chance of winning than they did of getting Rose, 3.7% v 1.7%.


  • In reply to BigWay:

    What's stranger than that is that 3.6% think Indiana will win the Central Division!

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I was just about to post that. ONE GM picked the Bulls to come out on top in the East. Let's assume it was Gar/Pax. Which means they're delusional and won't likely put in their best effort to acquire Howard. Stupendous!

  • In reply to Jmax:

    The ONE GM who voted for Bulls could not have been Gar/Pax. The GMs can't vote for their own team/players/personnel in this survey.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    GMs saying who they think will win isn't actually related to their percentage chance of actually winning.

  • Which player forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments?

    1. Dwight Howard, Orlando -- 29.6%
    2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City -- 22.2%
    3. LeBron James, Miami -- 18.5%
    4. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas -- 14.8%
    5. Derrick Rose, Chicago -- 7.4%

    Also receiving votes: Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers; Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers

    Last year: Kobe Bryant -- 35.7%

    So what happens if the Bulls have number one and number five on that list? Back to back championships?


    Who is the best point guard in the NBA?

    1. Derrick Rose, Chicago -- 59.3%
    2. Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers -- 37.0%
    3. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City -- 3.7%

    Last year: Deron Williams -- 50.0%

  • Who is the best defensive player in the NBA?

    1. Dwight Howard, Orlando -- 76.9%

    Also receiving votes: Arron Afflalo, Denver; Shane Battier, Miami; Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee; Kevin Garnett, Boston; Luc Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee; Dwyane Wade, Miami

    Last year: Dwight Howard -- 77.8%

    Who is the best interior defender in the NBA?

    1. Dwight Howard, Orlando -- 88.9%

    Also receiving votes: Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee; Kevin Garnett, Boston; Kendrick Perkins, Oklahoma City

    Last year: Dwight Howard -- 92.6%

    Which is the best defensive team in the NBA?

    1. Chicago -- 66.7%
    T2. Boston -- 11.1%
    T2. Miami -- 11.1%

    Also receiving votes: Memphis, Milwaukee, San Antonio

    Last year: Boston -- 75.0%

    Oh the possibilities.

  • You simply cannot bench Noah. You absolutely cannot bench Boozer. The financial ramifications are too severe. If things aren't turning out with them we have to at least keep them at a tradable level of production until we get rid of them. Send Boozer to the bench, NO ONE will take a chance on him. Same with Noah. Boozer is overpaid but at least he is scoring relatively efficiently and rebounds well. Noah is my big worry, and I love the guy. But we have to sit tight, and hope he turns it around. If he doesn't, yea we look into trading him, but don't be naive, the only teams who would take Noah will be contenders. Contenders we could very well meet down the road. If we move Noah to get him off our hands, we won't be handing him over to a team that can't hurt us down the road. That is a dangerous move to make.

  • In reply to Chicagosportsguru:

    I disagree that only contenders will take Noah. There are a lot of teams like GS Warriors, Portland, Sacramento(off-course, they will dump Cousins on the Bulls) who are desperate for big men who will take him. Even though his size is mis-leading, he has good value. If he continues his horrendous play this season, I am not sure that will hold up.
    I agree it it tough to bench Boozer and Noah. It is kind of crooked thinking. If the Bulls want to win this season, they need to bench them. If they want to get rid of them, play them more to get exposure for trade but lose. I guess Thibs is trying to balance both cases.

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