Bulls win second straight laugher with Rose out

C.J. Watson's playing some pretty solid PG in relief of Derrick, John Lucas is stepping up and doing a solid job off the bench as well. However, the biggest difference in the past two games has been the play of Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah.

Give Boozer his due

Carlos Boozer has been repeatedly maligned for his lack of defense and hasn't delivered the offensive punch to counteract the defensive lapses for much of the season. However, with Rose out, the Bulls really needed him to step up, and he has delivered.

He's shot 63% and scored 50 points over the past two games.

With Boozer giving the Bulls high quality offense, the whole team has played smoother.

Joakim finally looks like Joakim

His scoring numbers are still a tad low, but the Bulls have found plenty of offense recently, so his touches have also been down. However, his hustle, defense, and rebounding are back. Noah's getting back to the things he's best at and was a thorn in the side of the Cavs all night on the offensive glass.

He also did a nice job helping on Irving, forcing a jump ball on one play while Irving attacked him off the dribble and tried to draw a foul.

Rip Hamilton fitting in like a glove

He's a player who's ability on the court goes well beyond his stats and watching him recently makes that readily obvious. His mediocre efficiency can be annoying at times as he doesn't shoot threes or find his way to the line much, but his constant off the ball movement is creating tons of space and easy looks.

Richard Hamilton does more to help the offense flow than can be quantified in the box score.

Luol Deng had a big night

Like many nights, Deng was doing a bit of everything. He scored well, slashed to the basket well, moved well without the ball, hit the glass hard, and played great defense. Luol Deng isn't an all-star in my opinion, but he's a two way player who can contribute in all facets of the game.

He'll never be the shot creator we sometimes wish he was, but in Bill Simmons terms, he's a class table player. He brings a lot of things to the table but doesn't take anything off of it.

C.J. Watson has looked awfully good as a starter

Prior to the injury, Watson was knocking down his threes and playing defense but couldn't buy a bucket inside the arc. As a starter he's been aggressive looking for his shot and leading the offense. Watson's playing at an extremely high level sporting a 23+ PER and has admirably stepped up his game.

With the level of play he's shown so far, particularly when Rose is out, he's going to make it awfully hard for the Bulls to cut him to save money this summer. Quite frankly, Chicago isn't likely to find another player to perform as well for his three million.

Random thoughts

The rotation is going to look awfully crowded when everyone is healthy

There really aren't enough minutes for Rose, Watson, Hamilton, Brewer, Korver, and Deng. It will be interesting to see if there is a consistent loser in that group. Watson is the most likely candidate as the Bulls probably won't limit Rose's minutes or slide him to SG with the glut of players there already.

This looks like an elite team

Chicago has had its rough patches. The offense has stalled at times and looked too reliant on Rose. However, they've had few games with the full team healthy. Rose has missed time, Hamilton has missed time, and Watson has missed time.

Yet Chicago is posting huge wins against the non elite teams even with players hurt. They're performing at a high level with injuries, and have done so on both ends of the court.

The Bulls have wins of 40, 39, 24, and 21. In fact, only three of their 14 wins were by less than 10 points (and one of those was by 9).

The Bulls have shown they're capable of doing it on both ends of the court, and if they are able to ride into the playoffs looking this strong then it will be tough for anyone to stop them.


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  • Come this summer you almost have to keep Watson over Brewer, and most likely over Korver also.

    that is assuming that Asik gets a $6-10 million per deal, and JR sto;; won't pay the tax.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Beginning next season, the extra windfall Rose will receive via his namesake Derrick Rose Rule will just about cover CJ's full salary.

    I hate that new rule. It will damage Bulls' depth by eliminating one solid rotation player every year. Like it or not, with the severe penalties beginning in 2013, the luxury tax threshold is the new hard cap.

    And its not like Rose needs the extra $3 million per year. He's already making more off the court than on it. That rumored Adidas lifetime deal was supposed to pay Rose $25 million per year.

  • In reply to Edward:

    The minute that I heard about Westbrooks deal, I had the exact same thoughts about Rose & the Bulls future cap problems.

    It is unfortunate(for us) but true, that Rose will get about $3 million extra per year than Westbrook will, basically paying for C.J.

    I know that it is unrealistic, but given his new $250 million deal with Addias, Rose could have given the Bulls the so called hometown discount by taking "only" the 25% max contract.

    If he stays healthy and signs a second max deal he will make between $450-500 million over the next ten years. Losing out on $15-20 million in that context isn't much to fret over if winning is indeed your number one goal.

    I hope that the Bulls, specificaly JR will find a way to keep Asik, Taj and CJ.

    Hopefully Butler(on his rookie deal) can replace what Brewer gives us.

    Then we need to find a 3 point sniper who costs less than Korver(maybe another guy on his rookie deal).

    Marshon Brooks is scoring and PERing at a high rate in NJ.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Not only is it unrealistic to ask Rose to take a paycut. It's abhorrent.

    The luxury tax won't prevent us from keeping C.J. Watson, Jerry Reinsdorf demanding to make 80 million per year instead of 70 million per year will.

    Rose probably generates 2-3x his salary in revenue for the Bulls directly, and it's silly to say he should even for the slightest instance take a pay cut.

    Instead, it's on Jerry Reinsdorf to not be a cheap bastard running the Bulls at a profit margin that is probably 2x as high as any other domestic sports team.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    H Doug,
    With the punitive luxury tax beginning in 2013, and the way it severely penalizes (in both flexibility and money) teams paying the tax for 3-4 years out of 5, do you think any team will consistently and repeatedly pay the luxury tax? I'm doubtful.

    IMO, the new CBA has set the stage for the luxury tax threshold operating as a de facto hard cap that no team will exceed - except occasionally as it makes roster moves, but always with the goal/plan of quickly getting back under the threshold within a year or two at the most.

    Going forward, I'm doubtful any team will pay the luxury tax for 5-10 consecutive years like Mark Cuban did with Dallas

    I think the Derrick Rose Rule should have somehow been structured to not penalize the team - perhaps making the extra 5 % not applicable to the luxury tax and its penalties - both flexibility and monetary. Or reducing the team's penalties somehow.

    I don't view this as Rose vs. Reinsdorf issue. It's a supporting cast issue. It's the role players (who can least afford it) who will take the hit.

  • I tried to post these 2 links on last nights game thread, but they didn't show up. If they do so belatedly, I appologize for being redundant.

    The first is a very unique analysis on playing time vs winning championships by Henry Abbott, the Truehoop stat geek & founder.


    The second is by Michael Wilbon longtime NBA journalist and lifelong Bulls fan.


    and that is all that I have to say about that, at least for now.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    the last paragraph of the wilbon piece says it all:

    In the meantime, the management of minutes played, of rest, of playing time for the reserves, of developing players who in other seasons would be afterthoughts has never been more important ... or so worth keeping track of over the course of an NBA season..

    this is basically thibs biggest weakness as a coach imo

  • In reply to adamlweber:

    The minutes concern me some, but it's worth noting that despite all the complaints, Rose is averaging 37 minutes per game, Deng 38.2.

    Do those numbers really jump out at you and make you cringe that much? No one else is averaging over 30.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    What makes me cringe is when Rose or Deng play all 24 minutes of a half. Particularly all 24 minutes of a second half against Miami in the playoffs. IMO, that is a recipe for failure - it weakens Bulls responses to Miami's massive 4th quarter surges.

    Also cringe worthy is Deng averaging 43 minutes over 3 games in 4 nights - its pointless, it serves no purpose.

  • complaints of too many minutes in Lakerland, what a bunch of pussies, didn't Magic and Kareem play every minute back in the day.

    • Not breaking news here, but Mike Brown is overplaying his guys. It was fairly shocking to watch the Lakers keep their starters on the floor in the fourth quarter of a blowout Thursday night when they were facing a back-to-back at Orlando on Friday night. Kobe Bryant is 33, and Pau Gasol is 31; you can't keep sending these guys out there for 38-40 minutes and not expect to have some consequences by the postseason.

    A year ago, Bryant was running on fumes in the playoffs after averaging 33.9 minutes in the regular season. While his knee feels better this season, it's also a much more punishing schedule, especially for Western teams that already have lengthy travel. As for the upcoming schedule, the Lakers began a stretch where they have only three home games in a span of four weeks. Taxing the starters at the end of a game they had no chance of winning was an odd way to begin it.

  • and an interesting analysis from Henry Abbott, the godfather of advance stat-ism


  • and now Michael Wilbon chimes in,


    I really don't understand why all these coaches, players, analysts and journalists are so unintelligent when it comes to the debate over minutes & fatigue vs. health & winning.

    For a minute there I just thought that it was just me, Edward and all the other uninitiated posters on this site.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I read some of the back and forth over minutes and I think the high minutes doesn't win titles is a little too simplistic. It identifies the correlation, sure, but does nothing to prove the causation. How many guys playing 3k+ minutes are actually on real contenders? Of the contenders how many are playing 3k+ minutes because the rest of their team isn't up to the job? Why are we treating 3k minutes as some magical barrier? If staying under 3k is what matters why did Kobe win when playing 2960 minutes but lose when playing 2779? Both are under the 3k mark ...

    There are a lot of players seasons that don't result in championships ... a hell of a lot more than those that do, given only ~1/30 players each years gets a ring. So it's expected that you'd be able to find a reasonable size group of players who did something nobody who won a ring did, that in and of itself doesn't prove that it's the reason for not winning.

    I don't know, it just feels to me like the "can't win a championship playing over 3k minutes" is no more valid than the idea you can't win a championship with the league leading scorer on your team. Just because that happens to be true for a period of time doesn't make it a rule of nature. I mean LeBron had statistically perhaps the greatest playoff series ever in 08-09 after playing 3k+ minutes ... if was the players on the Cavs who didn't play so many minutes who let him down. Maybe if they'd played more minutes in the regular season they'd have been better ... since the guy who played 3k+ minutes stepped up for the playoffs! ;)

  • In reply to BigWay:

    The article by Michael Wilbon is choice. Thank You.
    It takes the subject out of the realm of merely comparing stats, and into the world of reason, observation, experience and common sense that is so often lacking in the blogosphere.

  • Salary cap concerns will limit this team going forward and that is why I believe they will trade Asik during the draft and probably let two of the three expire(brewer,korver, cj). What is most frustrating is how quality veterans haven't signed up with Chicago for a chance at a championship. When Chauncey Billups was amnestied, right away he wanted to run to Miami and you would think the Bulls could entice someone like Grant Hill to come here but he wanted the money. What will it take for these veterans to want to come help D Rose get a title??? i'm sick of these quality veterans wanting to run to Miami or New York.

  • As for who's minutes drop once everyone is healthy, shouldn't the answer be Luol Deng? Both Korver and Brewer can play the 3 in stretches, and Butler's looked nothing but good so far (though against garbage time competition). The Bulls can definitely afford to give Luol 5 or so minutes less per game, give the above guys more time, then that frees up a couple more minutes at SG, so you can play a Watson/Rose back court.

    Or, of course, also reduce Rose's minutes some. If his missing these games has any benefit aside from Rose healing, it's that everyone else is getting experience playing with one another without relying on the Rose-end-of-the-shot-clock-bailout. If CJ can run the show this effectively in a backup role, there's no reason to play Rose 40 minutes per game.

    Depth is much more useful in the regular season than it is in the playoffs. It's useful for both covering for injured players, but also to lessen the minutes load for the starters. I love Thibs - I truly think he's the best coach in the NBA - but I do think he needs to avoid driving his horses into the ground. This team is too good to really worry too much about the regular season. They need to be getting themselves in position to peak during the playoffs, which did not happen last year.

  • After seeing the last two games, I understand why they say our offense is much better when Rip is on the floor.
    Nice wun bulls.

  • Sometime next year/draft time, I can not imagine there not being a deal completed that includes either Taj or Asik and a mix of Korver, Watson and Brewer to get an upgrade. Of course this is if we don't win a championship this year. The front office will have to decide if depth is better than greater talent. We are the only team in the league that can legitimately play 12 guys and be very competitive. Heck guys number 9-12 are probably better than most teams 6th men.

  • In reply to do53:

    Apparently there is a January 25th deadline for extending player's contracts or else the player becomes a restricted free agent at season's end. For example Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love who were in the news this week.

    We are not hearing any talk about an extension for Omer Asik by January 25th. Do Bulls simply intend to let him become a RFA? Do Bulls maintain more flexibility by not extending Asik now? Greater flexibility to trade him?

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