With two all-stars, can we really say Derrick's cast isn't good enough?

In a move that surprises me a bit, and is sure to upset fans of other teams, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah both made the NBA all-star reserve list as voted in by the coaches.

If you're a Brooklyn Nets fan, how do you look at your team with a better record than Chicago, and say "we get no all-stars but Chicago gets two?". Indiana Pacers fans can have a similar conversation. Quite honestly, even I have to somewhat question Noah over Lopez given how strong Lopez has come around recently, but when the votes were cast probably played a large role in the decision as well.

That all said, congratulations to both players. While I think from a high level, it's odd that the Bulls get two all-stars, on a detail level both players are as deserving as anyone in the running. The east had a great number of guys on the bubble, and it's easy to make a case for probably the next four guys who missed the cut.

Allow me to steal an idea from my good friend Coldfish from realgm, because the post rocked my foundation when I read it:

Take off the best player on every team in the league (LeBron, Durant, Griffin, whomever you feel is the best). Have all the teams then play without their best player. How many teams are better than the Chicago Bulls?

Given that only seven teams have better records while Chicago IS actually doing just that. The worst Chicago could rank is eighth, and that would be saying you believe Derrick Rose gets the Bulls no wins. While we've complained that Derrick Rose doesn't have a good enough cast, it's time to step back and realize that Derrick Rose has, at worst, a top five cast in the entire NBA.

At worst, top five. I mean it's basically impossible to argue otherwise.

Did you feel that way before stopping and considering it in this light? I know I didn't.

You can certainly argue that the Bulls are missing particular features of their cast that can hurt them in the playoffs. That lack isolation scorers outside of Rose, and their offense can stall, but they also have other features that opposing teams don't to compensate for that. That's why they've won so many games.

If Derrick Rose hits this thing Adrian Peterson style, the Chicago Bulls have a legitimate chance to win the championship this year. Forget blowing up the old bench mob, the only guy from it they miss right now is Omer Asik and quite honestly, the fourth big man won't be that important in getting past Miami since they largely play small themselves and Omer couldn't help the Bulls dominate offensively going big.

On top of that, from what little we've seen and heard of Rose's recovery, he has a fair chance at knocking this thing out of the park Adrian Peterson style. Rose discussed at length how he's never been this strong before because he's never had to work on all these muscles. He discussed improving his core, his balance, and thinks he'll be physically stronger.

On top of that, he won't have come off a full season of pounding while entering the playoffs. Instead, he'll have relatively fresh legs after skipping approximately six months of hard work on them during the season and focusing mostly on building up strength.

Of course, it's much more likely that he won't come back Adrian Peterson style. We call it Peterson style, because no one else has ever come back physically stronger before, but I think Rose has a legitimate chance due to his own descriptions of his lifting routines prior to the injury and Chicago's cautious nature with it.

He has probably the perfect amount of time to reintegrate into the Bulls offense when he returns, build his confidence, and build his continuity. This felt like a lost season the second Rose tore his ACL last May, but it doesn't feel that way right now. Now, it feels like there's hope again. Chicago probably won't win the title this season, just like 28 other teams, but right now, I think there's only two teams with a better chance.


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  • Doug I really like the point you brought up about taking the best player off each team. But I think our coach is not factored into the equation when arguing Rose has a top five cast. I think having Tom Thibodeau gives us an advantage most teams wouldn't have missing their best player.

  • In reply to dldjr:

    You could view the coach as part of the cast IMO.

  • What it tells me is that as much as I love me some D-Rose, the Bulls are at a disadvantage building around a 6'2" point guard versus a big man like a (young) Duncan or even a LeBron. What I'm saying is, the Bulls' best player is not as good as some other best players in the league.

  • In reply to John Lash:

    I'd agree with that. I don't think anyone thinks Rose is better than LeBron. I'd rather build around a superstar bigger player than a superstar smaller one, but it's still preferable than being one of the 20 or so teams without anyone near superstar level.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Agreed Doug and that's part of why the Bulls are one of the best teams in the NBA. I'm strictly talking about the difference between being one of the best teams, and the very best.

  • In reply to John Lash:

    It's not a problem of building around D Rose it just that in the year when they had an opportunity to do so they struck out (LeBron, Wade, Bosh). After that they had to spend the money on the players that they already had on the roster like Gibson and Noah, or tank and do a complete rebuild. This management team seems unwilling to blow up the team so I think it's more of a management philosophy than building around D Rose.

  • In reply to nucahx:

    I don't follow how this is a management philosophy issue. Of course it would have been great to get a superstar that one year, but they have built around Rose without any of those guys. Are you advocating for blowing up the team and a complete rebuild around Rose? I don't see how that gets them closer.

  • In reply to John Lash:

    I know Doug disagrees with me, but Skiles had the Bulls top-5 in defense every year, and I know people like to go back to 'Skiles burns out his players', but that final year where he got fired, the Bulls were bad because of Gordon/Deng's contract negotiations and then having Paxson throwing their names around in trades. If you replaced Gordon for Rose for example, I think Skiles would be having the same success as Thibs is having now.

    So in case you don't get my point, I'm saying Thibs is LUCKY to have an MVP caliber level superstar who's humble, hard working, and wants to be coached. You think Thibs would be having the same success if he had someone like Jennings instead?

    So of course if The best player is 'buying in' to Thibs, everybody else as lesser players couldn't argue with Thibs's style.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Oops, posted under the wrong conversation thread.

    (This was meant to respond to dldjr above)

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    In reply to John Lash:

    Seems odd to say you can't build around a 6'2 guard as talented as Rose. I understand what you are saying, but it's not completely accurate.

    Rose needs help carrying offense at the end of games. Could the Bulls have beaten the Mavericks in the final in 2010? Absolutely, Dallas had not one player that could have guarded D. Rose, so their philosophy for playing great defense and allow him to close out, might have worked.

    Miami had the luxury of putting a 6'8 defender on Rose. Locking out their only major offensive weapon. At that point had Boozer, Deng and Noah been dominant enough to force James back to his normal role, then Chicago might have had more luck.

  • In reply to John Lash:

    Your height argument doesn't hold water. You name two big players that have won championships & Rose has not so I guess that would validate the point he isn't as good, but based on size? No your basis is strictly titles. Let's look at two all-time greats that played and dominated their eras while standing even shorter than D-Rose. These two were 6'0" Allen Iverson and and 6'1" Isiah Thomas. The first didn't win a championship losing to the Shaq/Kobe led Lakers in 7 games in 2001 (but he never had the supporting cast IMHO & there isn't a lot of shame in taking that team to 7 games). He was a 11x All-Star, MVP, 4x scoring leader; & 3x steals leader. Isiah Thomas was a 2x NBA champ and Finals MVP, 12x all-star, 3x All-NBA first team (as was AI). Great players with will learn their strengths and break down players based on the advantages they hold. Neither AI nor Isiah had trouble scoring on anyone they had put on them be it a taller Kobe Bryant or Bernard King. Another example is MJ. Kobe and James have a height advantage but MJ in his prime would score on them at will. That's subjective though so take Patrick Ewing and Hakeem two of the best 7 footers that Michael played. Although MJ gave up at least 6" on them he had no problem scoring on them. It's a little premature to make such a statement....he only was the youngest league MVP and those that followed him in the voting had a height advantage. Lebron had to bail on Cleveland to win a title. MJ and Kobe took a little longer to win titles as did Isiah showing more patience for their teams to build a solid core around them. All had to lose before they could be champs.

  • And again we are talking about the regular season performances here. Yes Deng and Noah are fantastic regular season players and are worthy of an all star spot this season, more so Noah than Deng in my opinion but both are worthy. But as far as the Bulls contending for a championship this season???... I really don't think so because of the Bulls lack of scoring efficiency when the playoffs do start. The defense of the Bulls will be solid come playoff time but the offense will be difficult to come by even with Rose.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Well this IS the all-star, where selections are based on the regular season.

    But if your message is in response to Doug calling us a top-5 supporting cast, you have a case there. Defensively these guys will bring in in the playoffs, but so does all the other teams in the playoffs. They will have to prove to us they can SCORE in the playoffs as well.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Yes that's exactly what I was getting at that Doug had mentioned the Bulls might contend for the championship this season but I highly doubt it. Now if the Bulls owner would've made some minor moves meaning a couple of trades or at least kept Asik and brought in another scoring guard, say a Mayo type guard then I really do believe this team would've been a strong contender this year and that would be without Rose. Having Derrick with a team like that would put them very close to the Heat come playoff time. But a team that's worth 800 million don't want to pay for players like that...GO FIGURE!!!

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I think it was a philosophical issue more than a monetary one. GarPax love them some defensive scrapers that bring little to the table on offense. Kirk signed for nearly as much money and more years than Mayo so in this case the cheaper option was Mayo. Not sure he puts them over the top as he too seems more like a third option but yeah they would have better odds in my oppinion with Mayo than Kirk.

  • Kenny the JET made some profound, yet controversial points yesterday about why no Nets or no Hawks got One All-star, and really why we got two...and it comes down to the coaches.

    Dwill got Avery fired (although i think Avery got himself fired), so the other coaches didnt want to reward any of their players with the selection...Looez was collateral damage.

    Josh smith started out the first two months strong, along with Horford having ATL as high as 3rd in the East. But his actions the last 2 weeks...getting suspended, arguing with coaches, and ATL's recent regression all contributed to him not being picked.

    Now among the other candidates:

    There was no way coaches would vote in a 3rd player from a team barely at the 8th seed (under .500) so Pierce is out. If KG wasn't voted in, then maybe.

    Lopez was really the most deserving since he's been the most consistent on that team. I remember when he went out with his foot for a few games, the Nets sucked and that's when they started their downward spiral that eventually led to Avery's firing.

    Other possible candidates not talked about were Horford (too many bigs already), JJ (numbers are down across the board), West (same issue as Horford), JR Smith (i disagree with the TNT guys...you can't give a career achievement to a guy shooting .400 unless he's leadin his team to the playoffs as a 1st option like...), Jennings (personally i reward team record so i would have taken him over Irving and lesser degree Holiday).

  • "he has a fair chance at knocking this thing out of the park Adrian Peterson style. " Mixed up your sports cliches, Doug! haha.

    I still think they're going 40-42, it's important to stand by predictions otherwise nobody would take them seriously, and what a travesty that would be.

  • In reply to bullsblogger:

    That's why I'm a blogger and not a writer. ;)

  • Congrats to both Deng and Noah for making the All star team and they deserve it. Those two have fought hard night after night to get this team where it is right now and while it hasn't always been pretty they've gotten the job done. Winning is all that matters and they've done just that.

    People are always so quick to count Chicago out in the playoffs but you never know they just might surprise or pull an upset. No one expected the Pistons to take it when they did and the Lakers were at 100%. The same goes for Dallas and the Heat was every bit as hyped up as they are now. You can make the argument that our team is every bit as good as those or even better with a healthy Derrick Rose.

  • Not sure how you can say the ONLY person we miss is Asik. He's definitely the biggest loss by a fair margin, but I think the loss of Kyle is pretty big when you consider our lack of three point shooting (something that's pretty important for contending teams).

    Albeit that loss is greatly offset by the improvement of Jimmy, the full-time return of Rip, and the so-so play of Marco. But it doesn't change the fact that this team struggles greatly from beyond the arc, and Kyle is one of, the best shooters in the league. Not to mention the other facets of his game that helped our team (overall bench scoring, passing, underrated rebounder).

  • While I am happy for both guys, especially Noah, who has been my favorite bull from day one, I am not sure that either is truly an all star. They are certainly not all star game players.

    What is an all star, one of the 24 best players in the league? are they. I certainly don't make my decisions based on stats only, especially something like Hollinger's PER. But since it has become a known measuring stick, lets take a look.

    The Matabozo is the Bulls leading player at 52 with a PER of 18 something. Next are Nate and Jo tied at 78 with a PER of 17. Deng comes in at 134, and a PER of 15.25, then Taj and Jimmy tied at 147 with a PER of 15. Just for comparison, Lopez is 5th at nearly 25.

    PER mostly only measures offensive performance, with some rebounding. It clearly doesn't address defense or any kind of team play intangibles. Still those are pretty damning numbers.

    To me, having those 2 guys make the all star team is really a condemnation of the talent level in the eastern conference. I felt that way going in to the vote, when I couldn't come up with even 10 guys that I thought were obvious all stars.

    ESPN has a fan poll ranking the 24 all stars, Noah and Deng come in at 23rd and 24rth.

    Now I have to go and read your buddy's article at Realgm. going in my sense is that the bulls over performance has more to do with Thibs and his system than talent, we'll see what I think coming out.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    They also have Rajon Rondo ranked as 8th... its a fan poll and 99% of sports fans who rely on ESPN are idiots.

  • no one denies that the supporting cast is solid but its not ideal. There is no real number two option, a dynamic two headed attack that will have defenses punished if they load up on one guy. The configuration of Chicago's big 3 of Rose, Deng and Noah compared to Durant-Westbrook-Ibaka or any of the several other big 3 and you see the Bulls don't have the firepower but have to rely on 3rd option type players like Deng and Boozer filling in the option 2 void which works sometimes but when it comes to playoffs, forget it...these two 15 points per game type players usually disappear in the playoffs. On top of that you need Korver and Shane Battier top notch role players to knock down 3s for scoring support of the big 3. The Bulls are close but not there yet.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    Exactly, unfortunately.

    BTW, our homer announcers are a couple of clowns, they just keep on rambling on about nothing, while not even noticing that the opposition is on a 12-0 run to cut a 26 point lead to 14.

    But hey, at least they made their assinine case that the Matabozo should have been an all star. Yea, 16 & 10 combined with the worst defensive player in the league, there just aren't too many guys like that.

    By the way, why isn't the Matabozo guarding David Lee, oh yea, Thibs is terrified of what might happen if he did. But at least they were able to breathlessly count down Mr Garbage time getting his double/double before halftime. Which, apparently, is all that really matters so that Senile Sam Smith can highlight that in his coverage of the game tomorrow, win or lose.

    Any of these clowns ever watch the Matapussy guard pick and roll? I don't know how thibs doesn't run onto the court and shoot him in the face with a double/double barreled shot gun every time.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Boozer deserved to be on the All-Star team! Noah, Deng and Booz deserved it. Then when DRose comes back he'll (legitimately) be an All-Star again next season. Hey, why even do voting and stuff? Just make the Bulls roster the All-Star team. Makes sense to me. Scalabrine deserved it last year, too. He was wearing a Bulls jersey after all.

  • I like to see our players not in a game that does not mean anything....rest up for the push later.

    What if Noah breaks an ankle?...or Noah knee goes out?

    can anyone name the MVP, who won, the city the game was played in and the score of last years game without looking it up?

  • Why the fuck did Jimmy Butler have to play 44 minutes and was still on the court all the way to the end. Typical Thibs.

    As a starter who played an amazing game, Jimmy Butler deserved to sit at the end of the game(last 3 minutes) when Thibs finally cleared his bench.

    I know that he is young and all that other crap, but we have another game tomorrow night.

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    What I am wondering is now that Jimmy has proved to be a solid player and frankly not too much of a drop-off from Luol, do you see Thibs altering the rotation to allow both more rest. We always seem to give Deng a pass and he seems to pace himself given his 40+ minutes per night. I envision more minutes for Jimmy allowing Luol to be much more aggressive both defensively and offensively since he will be able to rest. Same for Jimmy. Is this realistic or will Deng go back to his usual minutes once he gets back? I also think these guys allow us a hellauva matchup problem for Miami with biog advantages at both the point and center. If Jimmy and Luol can just SLOW DOWN Lebron and Wade, we are in good shape. We also don't need to double team as much as most other teams... I like our chances, just hop we utilize Jimmy more!

  • fb_avatar

    What I am wondering is now that Jimmy has proved to be a solid player and frankly not too much of a drop-off from Luol, do you see Thibs altering the rotation to allow both more rest. We always seem to give Deng a pass and he seems to pace himself given his 40+ minutes per night. I envision more minutes for Jimmy allowing Luol to be much more aggressive both defensively and offensively since he will be able to rest. Same for Jimmy. Is this realistic or will Deng go back to his usual minutes once he gets back? I also think these guys allow us a hellauva matchup problem for Miami with biog advantages at both the point and center. If Jimmy and Luol can just SLOW DOWN Lebron and Wade, we are in good shape. We also don't need to double team as much as most other teams... I like our chances, just hope we utilize Jimmy more!

  • I've said all along that the Bulls are a "Pistons model" team. Really I worry Rose isn't good enough a lot more than I worry about the players 2-13. Bulls fans seem to always trash the team's players, which is weird because most other teams have their fans talking like their 8th man is a dark horse MVP candidate.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    I would call that the Jordan-Pippen effect. They set a very high standard for Chicago and it's Bull's fans. Rose is not Jordan and Deng is not Pippen but then again in the history of the NBA who compares to either of them? Even while Jordan and Pippen were playing for the Bulls I think there was a Jordan-Pippen effect. I mean Kukoc was a heck of a player for them but always seemed to get kicked around by fans - unless he had drilled 6 straight 3's that night.

  • Just looking at the Bulls schedule in February, it has to be the toughest of the year so maybe from a record standpoint the Bulls might even regress while incorporating Rose back into the lineup.

  • "March 18th 2013" this is the date targeted

  • Wouldn't the logical extension of this argument be that GarPax know what they are doing?

  • First: I think most people have acknowledged GarPax's ability to scout and draft good talent, and even get good value through the draft. What they can't do is cut a deal, or put themselves in a position to cut a deal, often out of sense of loyalty to the talent they drafted. I think that's the critique, but it's not a critique I believe particularly strongly in.

    Second: If the Bulls slide a little in Feb. Rose comes back in march and they pick up steam again in April, I think that's actually the best position for the Bulls. We learned from the 60-win seasons that the Bulls play every night with the effort that other teams only bring in the playoffs, and by comparison the Bulls have less intensity in the tank from the regular season wear down.

    Third: I think the Bulls can actually beat the Heat in a playoff series, but only if it's in the first round. We know that Miami takes a while to warm up and play with the intensity they need to. Basically, I think the 8th seed, with a healthy Rose is the scariest thing to Miami. If the Bulls meet them in the ECF, Miami will have its engines going. I don't think the Bulls fall the 8th, but I think that's actually the best scenario.

  • In reply to bfranke:

    How many good "deals" do you see in the NBA over the last few seasons? This isn't MLB, trades are quite a bit more complicated with cap space and all the other tricks that have been built into the NBA agreement between the owners and players association. I'd say it's closer to the NFL in terms of trades than MLB. So GarPax aren't cutting a deal to improve the team but who is?

  • In reply to Super Natural:

    I think he meant signings in this case although GarPax aren't exactly known for their trading prowess either... Agree with your point about it being closer to the NFL model.

  • Thibs' coaching was worse than the Bulls performance.

  • To all the Luol dis-loyalists especially those saying he can't get it done in the playoffs I must say you all have horrible memories. The guy was playing with a torn ligament which team dr.'s recommended he get repaired but he chose to gut it out and play which effected his performance at the end of the season and throughout the playoffs. The prior year he was money with his 20 footers and playing some great D on LeBron who praised him for his defensive tenacity.

  • So anyone care to explain what happen in the playoffs last year ?

    Or why did everyone disappear in the miami series ?

    this cast is a reg season cast ...

    These players have the dna to get a championship

    But they havent shown the heart to step up in the playoffs.

    I think we do have a good team but its more of the construction its built on that we have so much success and that is why thibs/front office deserve almost all credit..

    The front office gets players that work hard and listen .. Not to mention be productive.. But they dont just get anyone.. They get character guys who love playing together,putting in extra work in the in gym and truly want to be apart of winning .

    This team to me is like the patriots organization back then.. They could easily replace guys because of their front office eye for hidden talent and character that follows their great coach works perfectly. Then u add in the star that follows the lead perfectly and then boom . You win.. Alot

  • It said take Lebron off the Heat and they'd be in trouble, but if we're arguing that because the Bulls had 2 all stars wouldn't that negate that argument? Seeing as to how D Wade and Chris Bosh are headed to the all star game.

    I agree with most people when they say Joakim Noah benefited from Thibs, but couldn't we say so did Rondo? Of course along with playing with hall of famers. I know the right system can transform a role player into a superstar, but I think also benefited from other players; Brad Miller- Passing skills; Ben Wallace- positioning, veteran moves; Kurt Thomas- screens and mid range game. I just don't think we can put everything on Thibs although I believe him to be a great coach.

    As far as Luol goes statistically he's been the same player since about 2006-2007, where Thibs helped Luol is defensively, which is why I don't understand people reasoning for not wanting to trade for Rudy Gay. Disclaimer: I love Luol Deng's game and what he does for the team and always have and I am in no way for the trade, but if we're going to give Thibs all the credit with helping turn around Luol's career and his "soft" label, why couldn't it be done for Gay? He's more athletic, quicker, faster, taller, and maybe more skilled what he lacks is an high IQ. Now if Thibs is the guy who can make players better why couldn't he bring out the full potential in Rudy Gay? Just a thought of mine

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