Bulls finally get to practice, what do they work on?

Bulls finally get to practice, what do they work on?

One of the biggest problems with a compressed season is the lack of practice. The only time available is the morning shoot around between games, the games themselves, and the rare days off between games. However, with the total amount of travel, injuries, and frequency of games, the Bulls haven't been practicing on most off days.

The Bulls finally get a chance to practice with two consecutive off days, but they'll need to do it without Derrick Rose lending the practice somewhat less helpful.

The Bulls biggest problem is how to score on a defense that traps Derrick Rose and forces him to give up the ball. If everyone is healthy, I'd play a bunch of Watson, Brewer, Butler, Taj, Omer against Rose, Hamilton, Deng, Boozer, Noah. Force a bunch of traps on Rose with combinations of players and see what the first team offense can do.

However, given we don't have everyone healthy, subbing in John Lucas for Derrick Rose and taking two defenders out of the play but forcing him to give up the ball might simulate the same action. The key is that the other four offensive players on the court need to know how to beat the remaining three men.

The next thing I'd spend considerable time on is pick and roll execution. Particularly with both Noah and Boozer on the floor. The key will be to find a way that Noah's not clogging up the lane if Boozer slips the screen or if Rose drives, but makes himself available for a quality shot if his defender leaves him.

Despite last night, Noah and Boozer have struggled to coexist on the floor, and the Bulls will need to spend considerable time trying to force what might be square pegs into round holes. However, with 135 locked into the players and Boozer being completely untradeable, Thibodeau has little choice but to make the best of it.

The pair will certainly hurt each others rebound numbers, but there's no reason they shouldn't play well offensively next to each other if the Bulls find enough time to work on it. Combine Boozer's missed training camp, alternating injuries, shortened training camp this season with a lack of practice this year, and the pair have still spent relatively little time together on the floor.

I'm sure Thibodeau will spend plenty of time drilling defensive fundamentals, but to be quite honest, the defense looks outstanding so far. Granted, much of the great defense [defensive rating of 96 has only happened three times since the advent of the three point line] is also due to poor offense due to the lack of training camp [three teams are on that pace or better this year].

Still, the Bulls offensive rating [106.4] is two points less than last year's 108.3, but given that the league average is five points down from last year, the Bulls can hardly complain.

Practice will also open up what's been a rare chance for Jimmy Butler to get some meaningful learning time. Hopefully, some coaches are working him hard before and after games to get him some individual work, but the life of a rookie outside of the rotation doesn't offer much room to improve outside of practice.

Finally, the biggest factor going is the Bulls integrating Rip Hamilton into the offense and learning his tendencies and how to work with them. Rip should play a large role in defeating the Derrick Rose trap with his decisiveness and basketball IQ, but the team will need to learn to work with him.

Of course, Chicago will need to be careful with Rip, because if his sore groin flared up at all, they can't afford to have him re-aggravate it in practice and miss more game time. Particularly if Derrick Rose is out for any stretch of time.

What will us fans do without the Bulls for two days? I guess we'll have to pretend it's a normal season until the weekend.


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  • I want to see another option as Doug mentioned of breaking the trap. Now, it is only Noah and the man doubling Rose or somebody else never goes to Noah because they know he will not take a dribble or two and shoot a mid-range jumper. Hopefully, Rip can help out a bit on this. And, also Noah should work on help defense.He seems to jump ship fast

  • Brian Scalabrine just said on ESPN radio that they have only practiced ONCE since Christmas. wow.

  • In reply to ManOnNeptune:

    Yet another reason that their 13-3 record is impressive so far.

  • In reply to ManOnNeptune:

    It's been pretty incredible, but the Bulls have chosen not to practice on a lot of off days, and they've played 2-3 more games than most teams in the league.

  • Who would have thought that at this point in the season, if the playoffs started today, Miami would be the 6th seed in the East! I'm not sure if that's a reflection of Miami's level of play so far or just improved play by other teams. I'm leaning towards the latter.

  • In reply to NateTags:

    Also just noticed, Cleveland would get into the playoffs as a 7th seed and Boston doesn't make it. There's definitely still a lot of games left for all of this to change but it's crazy to see how things are changing.

  • In reply to NateTags:

    Still too many inequities with schedules to draw any true conclusions. Teams like Indiana and Philly have great records but haven't beaten anyone.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Yeah, there's still a lot of games to play. I have a lot of friends that are sixers fans since I live in PA. I was just analyzing schedules today and despite philly's good record, they're only 1-2 vs teams with .500 or better records. I think February will show everyone that they're only an above average team and not elite.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Yea, Philly's SOS is around .370,which might explain why their advanced stats make them look like the strongest team in NBA history

  • As Doug and others are saying, Derrick getting fully healed, even if it takes two or three weeks, is paramount. Lose games now, or enter the playoffs with an injured, physcially limited Derrick Rose.

    Opportunity knocks, anybody home? Every time one of our bench guards plays well be it Ronnie Brewer etc. it only takes one bad game to say, "What were we thinking?"

    Once more into the breach then, but C.J. Watson looks viable right now as a starter. Both of his productive years at Golden State he shot high 40's with 25 and up minutes per game. He gets to the line and racks up assists at a good rate also.

    We know that when C.J. has seen increased minutes or starting he can score efficiently. And it doesn't hurt that right now he's hitting a meager .500 on three's at a legit 2.6 att's per game.

    Of course you could say that's what makes him the perfect off the bench guy; ultra productivity in limited minutes. If he had starter's talent he'd be starting by now after four plus seasons in the league.

    All I know is C.J. Watson is getting it done. RIP's so far extended absence due to injury, factoring in his age and diminished games played the last three seasons has to be a concern. Are we better off with a starter in name only RIP playing 22-24 minutes a game with a shot at a fresh, healthy playoff tested Richard Hamilton?

    RIP has looked better as a starting SG with the Bulls then I ever could have imagined. The guy can still play at a fairly high level, and is a tremendous fit with this Bulls team. If he's fully healthy come Miami Biatch II - The Re-Match..? It could be huge.

    It will be interesting to see if Rip starts racking up some 27-30 minute games, especially if Derrick is out for any length of time. Can he stay healthy with regular season starter's minutes? And if C.J. gets the minutes, 26 per game or more, will his excellent production continue? If RIP does get more rest it will make it easier for Ronnie to still get his, and stay in that nice shooting groove he's in.

    Finally, if Boston is indeed post "window closing" as they say, do you cash in sunsetter Ray Allen's current high value for young talent and picks to restock the cupboard before it's too late i.e post run Armageddon. Ray Ray with the numbers he's putting up now would be playoff gold to several contenders. But what would you have to give to get a one year rental at 36 years old?

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I doubt Boston would trade Ray Allen as they seemed to have comitted to the guys and Doc for "one last run." Yet it's clear that last run was last year. I know A) Boston probably won't trade Ray this year or before the deadline, and B) The Bulls probably wouldn't make such a move due to their general conservatism and also value lost such as Omer etc. for a one year rental. Though I'd be very tempted to do it(that is if I knew his high level of play would continue troughout the year and post-season).

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I think Boston will jump if the Bulls are trading Taj or Asik. That would be really crazy on the Bulls part to do that unless they know something about not resigning one of them in the off-season.

    Plus, I am not really crazy about Ray Allen in a way. Although, he would be a great addition against the Heat especially. Allen and Rip can alternate based on who is hot and play together sometimes like Korver and Rip have done.

    The for-Bulls deal would be trading Korver for Allen if salaries can be matched by fillers, 2nd round picks etc..

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I'd love to get Ray Allen, but I don't know that it's really possible. His style of play would fit in very well with what we need because he spaces the court a bit better than Hamilton.

    I doubt we could realistically grab him for something that makes sense though.

    I agree on C.J. I've been saying for over a year that I really like what he brings to the table when they unleash him, and you see it when Rose is out.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    What about Paul Pierce? I've heard some rumors about Pierce getting traded...

    Just curious if you think he would fit on this team, regardless of what you gave up. I don't know how well he's playing this season (haven't paid attention to Boston), but he would give us that second ball handler/shot creator, right? Could you play him and Deng together?

  • What I find surprising is the Bulls top offensive players (Rose,Boozer, Deng) all have lower scoring averages this year yet are having great success. In Rose's case, his apg is nearly 9 a game which is great. Maybe they can work on offense a little bit more and hopefully Deng, Korver, and Rose can become more consistent with the 3ball. Of course the Bench is scoring a little bit more but Korver continues to struggle, hopefully he can refind his touch. The only other thing they can work on is to lower turnovers which has cost them some games. The defense and rebounding should be fine....well maybe not the starting frontcourt D but we'll see.

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