Bulls at Hornets 7pm on CSN

The Chicago Bulls would have little problem dispatching the Hornets best players with or without Derrick Rose, but they may be going up against the equivalent of their D-LEAGUE team tonight.

Eric Gordon is out. Carl Landry is out. Jarrett Jack looks like a game time decision [though he practiced Tuesday, so he's likely after missing three games with a sore knee]. Those are the Hornets three top scorers, and let's face it when Jarrett Jack is your second leading scorer, you're in trouble anyway.

Rest Derrick Rose

I don't know whether Rose will attempt to play through the pain or not. However, this is one of those games management needs to step in and say "You're sitting". The Bulls should destroy this team regardless of whether he plays, and his back injury is likely at least somewhat compensatory for coming back too early from the toe injury.

The Bulls need Derrick healthy, and there's absolutely no reason at all for him to play through injuries against teams that stand virtually no chance of beating the Bulls second string.

Pressure defense

The Hornets really don't have any shot creators on their team. If the Bulls buckle down defensively, they could probably hold this team to 70 points or less. Who's going to score the ball? Trevor Ariza? Emeka Okafor? Chris Kaman?

As long as Chicago prevents easy looks, they'll roll on defense.

Get the big lead early

This is one of those teams that's going to fold as soon as they hit even a shred of adversity. Chicago shouldn't find much trouble winning the game, but if they come in with focus and intensity early, New Orleans will fold and give up the game in the first ten minutes just like the Nets.

While the Bulls won't need a fast start to win, if they have a healthy respect for their opponent and play with high energy from the opening tip, they'll take the will out of the Hornets and have a much easier time.

Get some rest

I really don't want to see starters playing 35+ minutes if the Bulls have a 20+ point lead in the fourth quarter. I propose a new rule for the coaching staff. If the following conditions are met, you can't bring your starters back in the game after subbing them out in the fourth quarter:

1: Your opponent is a sub .500 team
2: You have a double digit lead

Pretty simple. If the Bulls simply rested their top five players under those conditions, we'd cut down their average minutes per game by probably 4-5 mpg while taking on virtually no risk whatsoever of dropping an additional game.

That results in 11-12% lower chance of injury for the starters and 11-12% less wear and tear on their bodies in a season where recovery time is limited and four of your five starters have already had notable injuries this season.

Pretty straight forward.


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  • May I add 11-12% more experience for players like Jimmy Butler... Let him shut down whoever scores a few points ;)

  • In reply to rodman:

    Good point, but for Butler/Omer it's more like 25%-40%+ improvement in minutes since 4 minutes a game means more to them than losing means to Rose.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Doug: A slightly off topic question; however it's incredibly relevant to the future success of the bulls. In critically evaluating the bulls salary allocation, the bulls have flexibility in adjusting their starting line up compensation:

    I. Projected bulls starting line up 2012/13 (contract dollars)
    1. Derrick Rose PG-$16,300
    2. Loul Deng SF-$13,326,700
    3. Joakim Noah C-$11,050,000
    4. Rip Hamilton SG-$5,000,000
    5. Carlos Boozer PF-$15,000,000

    "Why would Gar/Pax NOT consider shifting their considerable investment in the PF position + re-allocate those resources to an areas of greater need: shooting guard?"

    The presently constructed NBA rewards athletic wing players who can create their own offense. In Thibs offensive scheme, the bulls would be able to slot Taj Gibson in the starting line up + re-invest those contract dollars in Eric Gordon type shooting guard. Bulls management is not married to the Boozer contract. Would the bulls be bold enough to amnesty CB + acquire an all star SG next season? It's the answer to Indiana, Philadelphia + Miami match up.

    Calling Gar/Pax.....Derek can not do it alone. Eastern conference finals + another exit! Step up-make the roster change, C

  • In reply to cgiebelh:

    The Bulls are going to have their hands full just matching Asik this summer and Taj next summer.

    Rose's extention puts them about $10 million into the tax next season. Matching Asik adds another $5-10 million in tax money this summer. Matching Taj adds another $5-10 next summer.

    Putting us $20-30 million into the tax over the next 2 years without dumping everyone else, i.e. Korver, Brewer, Watson, etc.

    Doug, All basketball arguments aside, this is why dumping Boozer is indeed addition by subtraction. We get to keep 2-3 extra valuable role players by getting rid of "the escort's" contract, by whatever means necessary.

  • In reply to cgiebelh:

    The CBA makes it a bit hard to just "reallocate resources" ... when you're over the cap (like the Bulls will be even if they amnesty Boozer) you only have the MLE. You don't get all stars for the MLE very often.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Shakes: I would be able to conservatively anticipate several bulls roster moves for the purpose of being under the 2012-12 CBA salary cap.

    I. Transaction savings: $21,691,875
    Omer Asik Moved @ trade deadline (2012')
    Ronnie Brewer or Kyle Korver (offseason trade)
    Carlos Boozer-Amnestied/traded offseason

    Why would the bulls be over the cap + not be able to acquire an upper echelon shooting guard? It is a given......these moves are an eventuality. I am simply encouraging Gar/Pax to assume a pro-active tact in the process. Do you envision an alternate senario, if so please explain? Tx, C

    I. Projected bulls roster 2012/13 (contract dollars)
    1. Derrick Rose PG-$16,300
    2. Loul Deng SF-$13,326,700
    3. Joakim Noah C-$11,050,000
    4. Rip Hamilton SG-$5,000,000
    5. Carlos Boozer PF-$15,000,000
    6. Taj Gibson PF-$2,155,811
    7. CJ Watson PG-$3,700,000 (club option)
    8. Omer Asik C-$2,321,875 (club option)
    9. Ronnie Brewer SG-$4,370,000
    9. Kyle Korver SG-$5,000,000
    10. Jimmy Butler SF-$1,131,720

  • In reply to cgiebelh:

    OK, assume you want to get as much space as possible. You amnesty Boozer, waive Brewer, Korver & Watson (since their next year is optional), you obviously let Scal & Lucas go, you decline to pick up Asik's qualifying offer, you trade Gibson, Hamilton & Butler to teams with cap space to absorb them, and you trade the 2012 first round draft pick for future picks (or draft some Euro guy who doesn't come over).

    Even in this slash and burn scenario, you have over 40 million tied up in Deng, Rose & Noah. By the time you add in the cap holds for the other roster spots you can't even offer a max contract.

    And that's assuming the Bulls got rid of everyone but three guys ... in any sort of realistic scenario where they keep at least enough players to have a rotation you're at best below the cap by about the MLE amount so you're under it in name only.

    Not to mention I doubt the Bulls would be gutting the team to maybe get Eric Gordon (the only near all-star SG free agent available) who is restricted and hence might be matched by NO anyway.

    The Bulls will probably end up amnestying Boozer at some point. But it will be a purely tax avoidance move, not to become a player in free agency.

  • In reply to cgiebelh:

    They won't have FA money even if they amnesty Boozer, so they won't be able to get Eric Gordon even if they were willing to pay him as much.

    Amnestying Boozer will save money, but it won't improve the team unless there is a method to take the money and reapply it, and there really isn't.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    You reapply it by being able to keep 2, 3 or maybe 4 other quality rotation players, like Asik, Taj, CJ and maybe even Korver.

    The Bulls will be over the cap with or without Boozer, they will be unavoidably in the tax with Boozer, at or around the tax line with him.

    We still don't know if Reinsdorf is willing to pay any tax at all, but assuming he is willing to pay some we have a choice, use it all on Bozo, or use it to keep a solid core of rotation players. Unless you believe that he(Reiny) will go Jerry Buss on us and go deep into the tax and keep and pay everybody.

    To me the choice could not be easier to make. Get rid of Boozer(both his pathetic play and contract), keep the key role players.

    Barring an unforeseen trade, the Bulls have to amnesty Boozer(summer of 2013 at a minimum) or forfeit any chance at a championship while he is still on the roster, because in short order we will lose everybody not on a rookie deal or not named Rose, Deng and Noah.

    If Reiny refuses to amnesty Boozer, then your biggest fear will become reality as it is a sign that he will never willingly be a tax payer, even to win a championship.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Love your 2 point rules for the 4rth quarters, please submit them to Thibs in person. think that he will listen?

  • Speaking of coaching, didn't Thibs get a first shot at the NO job? Thibs must have been drinking big time yesterday in celebration that he didn't take that job to coach Jarrett Jack instead of Derrick Rose.

    That said, NO is in the best position for a new ownership with minimum number of contracts and possibly a #1 pick next year. This is why you must be careful about ESPN. They were ripping NO front office(NBA basically) about not taking Odom and Kevin Martin for Paul. They didn't know that Paul to Clippers will happen(big city ratings). They somehow wanted Paul to Lakers to further their big market/legendary story ratings even though that was a lousy deal for the Hornets. Actually for once, I am glad Stern stepped in and stopped the Paul trade to Lakers for 32+ year old has-beens like Odom

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I believe NO offered him more money, but Rivers told him to take Chicago because his career would be determined so much by team success and Chicago was a much better situation.

  • fb_avatar

    "...they'll take the will out of the Hornets and have a much easier time...."
    Doug, I applaud you for avoiding the phrase "take the STING out of the Hornets." We'll hear that enough on the local news broadcasts tonight.
    Unless the Bulls should somehow lose, in which case we will all be hearing about how the Hornets "stung" the Bulls. Ugh.
    Thanks and Go Bulls!

  • Right on Doug. This is one of those games where Thibbs should make up for lost practice time for that "3rd group" , the Butler/Asik/JL3 lineup. Have the starters dispatch this team early.

  • Agreed 100%, Doug. No question Rose should sit, tonight, and possibly Friday as well against lowly Charlotte.

    Thibs just doesn't get it because he NEVER PLAYED in the NBA.
    Doc Rivers gets it and gives his players plenty of REST. In 2010, Thibs would have played Boston's players into the ground in the regular season, but Rivers got his aging Celtics 1 game away from a ring by keeping them rested up for the playoffs. And Boston would have won Game 7 and the ring if not for:
    a) Perkins knee injury eliminating him from game 7, or
    b) 20 4th quarter FTs awarded to Lakers by refs in game 7

    Memo to Thibs - Learn from your mentor Doc Rivers!

  • In reply to Edward:

    We haven't played in the NBA or been around players to know what matters to tell Thibs what he should be doing. As a fan, I feel that Rose should be super-healthy during the playoffs because he is our only real offense. That said, I am sure Thibs is consulting with Pax(that famous Pax who was ready to hurt Vinny for Noah). Imagine what Pax would do for Rose?(who is million times more valuable to the Bulls than Noah). Probably Pax would really choke Thibs(and I don't want to imagine Thibs screaming after a choke as he already has a raspy voice:-))

    Maybe Rose is figuring how to play with such an injury. What if this happens in the first round of the playoffs? It would be beneficial for him to know how to contribute as the major key for the Bulls with a minor injury.
    In total, ideally these games don't matter as a fan compared to the playoffs and they(Rose, Deng) should be getting more rest.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Double Ditto's, Rose should sit until Sunday angainst the Celtics.

    If we cannot handily beat the 2 worst teams in the league without him, then we do indeed need to blow this whole thing up to get Howard.

    I would like to see both Asik and Butler get a ton of minutes, they both need the court time right now.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Steve Jobs never built or programmed a computer, yet nobody seemed to hold that against him, and it didn't seem to stop him being wildly effective as a CEO of a computer company.

    I don't really understand why in sports people have this fetish for coaches having played the sport.

  • That's a complete fallacy. You know who did play in the NBA and then coach a game or two? Phil Jackson. You know how many minutes MJ averaged at the same point in his career? 40. Pip? 38. Wilbon puts it down pretty effectively here: http://espn.go.com/chicago/nba/story/_/id/7554015/chicago-bulls-need-luck-play-june

    This just in, Thibs knows how to coach his team a damn sight better than each and every one of us.

  • In reply to kukoc4cocopuffs:

    I certainly agree that Thibs knows more about basketball than anyone on this forum ever will. I wouldn't limit our players at the expense of wins which is why I wrote some fairly simple rules which would extend the long term health of our important players, improve their odds of being healthy in the playoffs, and keep them well rested.

    I don't think that our guys are so old that they need hard limit caps, but in this type of shortened season, there's simply no reason to run guys into the ground when it's not even impacting wins. We've seen Derrick Rose dealing with what appears to be a compensatory injury from coming back too soon and playing too much, and we've seen Hamilton have to go back to the bench twice for coming back to soon and playing too much.

    Why keep amping up the risk against cellar dwellers?

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I don't disagree. I think if guys are banged up and you have a chance to get some rest, it's an idea worthy of consideration. My problem was with the assertion that somehow Thibs doesn't know how to handle this because he didn't play in the NBA and the general bitching and moaning about Rose and Deng's minutes.

    The injuries are a valid topic of discussion in terms of the merits of rest. I was merely responding to the whole hoo-ha over the number of minutes The Bulls' key players average and whether or not the actual head coach of the team might deserve enough respect to earn the benefit of the doubt in deciding how to handle them.

    It is likely one of those things that will always present two schools of thought, like resting players once a playoff position is clinched vs. playing them to keep rhythm and continuity. Ultimately, in Thibs I trust.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    NBA knowledge or not, your approach seems far more reasonable, especially when the empirical evidence league wide is that players are getting killed physically, and when the only expectation of this season is to beat the Heat and compete for the title in the finals.

  • In reply to kukoc4cocopuffs:

    apples to oranges. You reference MJ and Pip blatantly ignoring the fact this is an abbreviated scheduled including many back to back and a back to back to back. Different season that requires a different approach, i.e. getting rest when you can.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    Kind of agree about MJ/Pippen. I don't know if Rose is smart or mature enough in his basketball knowledge to play like how MJ did(rest on defense or sometimes on offense). The big problem with Rose is he cannot rest on offense against even a D-league team because there is no ball-handler other than CJ who doesn't play with him most of the time. That's where LeBron is helping Wade in extending his NBA life. That is why Rose's minutes are so unique compared to anybody else.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    great point about MJ being able to find rest during a game. Great point.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Interesting point but doesn't really address the original argument. MJ didn't have Pippen "at the same point in his career" (which I'm assuming the poster meant age 23). In 86-87 I very much doubt MJ was able to take many offensive possessions off if the Bulls wanted to win the game.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Although now I re-read the original comment for some reason he thinks Phil Jackson was MJ's coach at an equivalent point in his career ...

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Pick what nits you want, but the fact is, aside from the 40+ minute seasons that predate Jackson, Jordan averaged more than 39 minutes per game for Phil three separate seasons, and 38.8 two other seasons. This kind of minute load began with Phil's first year in '89 and included four championship seasons. Hell, Jordan averaged 38.3 for his career. Derrick's at 36.1 this year.

  • In reply to kukoc4cocopuffs:

    And those 40+ minute per game seasons for MJ were for Doug Collins, who, say what you want about him at that point in his career otherwise, also knew a thing or two firsthand about playing in the NBA.

  • In reply to kukoc4cocopuffs:

    I'm on the minutes are not excessive and are unlikely to affect playoff performance side.

    I think a point to be made about Jordan vs Rose's minutes is that Jordan's minutes were played at a higher pace than the Bulls are playing this year right up until he was winning the last 3 championships.

    It's really the number of possessions that matter: it's not standing on a court that wears you out, my grandfather in his 90s can stand on a court. It's the number of times you have to run up and down it only to be pounded to the floor - something which anecdotally also was allowed to happen more often in the NBA past (although since unlike minutes and pace, no stats are kept on it, it's hard to prove MJ was hit more/harder than Rose is).

    A normal 82 game schedule on MJ age 23 in 86-87 was quite possibly harder than this 66 game schedule on Rose age 23.

  • In reply to kukoc4cocopuffs:

    My reference to Thibs never having played in the NBA comes directly from Joakim Noah. A few weeks ago when discussing fatigue and how Thibs pushes Bulls, Noah commented to the media, "Thibs is always going to try to get the best out of us. Even though he's never run up and down the court, Ever." The reporter responded that Thibs had played Division III as a 6 foot PF. To which Noah sarcastically replied, "Exactly."

    Here is the link to the interview. Start at about 1:30 to 2:30.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Look, my point is that whether or not Thibs played in the NBA doesn't reflect on his ability to effectively coach or pace his team, Noah's pearls of wisdom aside. Beyond that, I'm merely pointing out that, historically speaking, the minutes themselves are not worth all the hand wringing.

    What's getting lost in all that, though, is that I agree that once a player is injured, if it's the kind of injury that can benefit from rest (like back spasms or a sprained toe), obviously there would appear to be evident wisdom in resting that player.

  • Its not about whether or not Thibbs knows how to coach or not. All I can tell you is what I see, which is Luol Deng playing extended minutes in a game we are winning by 30 a week after he tore a ligament in his wrist.

    If anyone thinks this a good idea, please stand up...please stand up.

  • speaking of Rose being banged up. and interesting ESPN article about Rose calling Isiah Thomas after last seasons loss to Miami.

    Isiah Thomas said he met Rose last year after a game in Detroit and that Rose contacted him after the Bulls' season had ended.

    "He was pretty down," Thomas told ESPNChicago.com by phone on Wednesday. "He asked me 'How did you do it? How did you win back-to-back championships at this size?' And my response to him was that once you understand your opponent and know your opponent better than you know yourself, you'll win."

    Not many can know what Rose is going through as he endures the physical pain and rigors of the NBA season. He's been battling turf toe and back spasms that knocked him out of Monday's game in New Jersey. Even fewer can speak to the unique challenge the Bulls' 6-3 star faces as a relatively small man in a big man's game.

    I started asking that question last season well before the playoffs, can you win an NBA title with you best player being only 6'2". I also think that Thomas is the best high end comparison for Rose, with a guy like Kevin Johnson being the low end comparison.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    So long as it's a player calling IT for advice and not the owner ... ;)

    As for the winning with the little guy, I don't think there's any reasonable way to answer that question. Looking at history can only do so much, because once you get back past a certain point the style of basketball being played is different enough that I'm not sure any conclusions would be accurate. For example we're ~25 games into this season and yet the average team has made nearly as many threes as they did all season when Thomas last won a championship. I'm not going to claim to be wise enough about basketball to know whether that makes Rose's chances better or worse than they would have been back then, but it would be strange if such a different game being played didn't have some kind of effect on which types of players can excel in it.

  • Who the heck is that guy, Kareem Abdul Kamen?

  • the only time that Boozer is "active" on defense is when he tackles his own teammate to get a rebound. good thing he didn't injure him.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Gimme dat stat pad!

    I swear he's going to knock Noah out swinging his elbows around like an idiot protecting the rebound from his own team mates one day.

  • How about Carlos "the Red Sea" Boozer, as in parting of?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    The Red Sea parting showed entirely more lateral movement than Boozer ever does.

  • The Spectator "escorts" Kamen from the top of the key to the rim, not once, but twice, so far anyway.

  • Looks like you got your wish tonight Doug

    Rose: 22min (none after 1:52 in the 3rd)
    Deng: 34min (none after 7:54 in the 4th)
    Noah: 29min (sat out 4th)
    Boozer: 28min (sat out 4th)
    Brewer: 25min (none after 1:52 in the 3rd)

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    I would love to see something like a 60/40 split between the starters and the bench mob(including Butler)against all non playoff caliber teams.

    Sharing time like they did tonight will pay huge dividends in a multitude of ways come playoff time.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    If we're going to rest players, why take half measures, why not really rest them? Against the super scrub teams of the league like NO there's no reason why we couldn't give one of Rose or Deng the night off completely.

    Heck, given the Bulls only have 13 on the roster and Rip's not playing at the moment they could suit up and sit on the end of the bench as a "break glass in case of emergency" measure.

  • From Nick Friedell, ESPN's Bulls beat reporter.

    Fact or Fiction: Pushing his banged-up stars now will cost Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls in the playoffs?

    Nick Friedell: Fact. Everybody around the Bulls trusts Tom Thibodeau, but at some point the extra minutes are going to catch up with his team. It's been well documented how the likes of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen played heavy minutes during the championship years, but the issue with Thibodeau is that unlike most coaches, he doesn't pull his players until the bitter end of games. All it takes is for one injury to torch that line of thinking. The Bulls, especially Rose, were worn down during last season's playoffs. They appear to be on the same path right now unless something changes.

    More from Nick Friedell: Meanwhile, Derrick Rose's back is clearly still bothering him. He played just 22 minutes and scored just six points. It will be interesting to see whether Thibodeau decides to rest him on Friday night or not.

  • Which 23 point win do you prefer? Tonights 90 to 67 win, or Fridays 113 to 90 win at the Bucks. Somehow, I still think I prefer the better defensive game, I am sure that I am with Thibs on this one.

    Any chance that David Stern would let us trade Boozer to the Hornets for Kamen, if we throw in Scal so that they can have their own mascot too.

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