Joakim Noah and building a better offense

He's one of the best help defensive centers in the NBA. He's a great rebounder, especially on the offensive end. He's a great passer, and despite appearances after three games this season, he's a good ball handler. Joakim does almost everything well except two things. Stay healthy and score, but the Bulls really need both to defeat Miami.

The Pacers took the Heat to seven games with a team much less talented than the Bulls by perpetually beating them up in the paint. Chicago will never have that offensive advantage inside unless Carlos Boozer becomes a dominant playoff player, something which few Bulls fans expect.

On top of that, the prevailing logic is that Boozer will be amnestied next season to make way for Mirotic. Nikola Mirotic may become a quality scorer, but he certainly doesn't look likely to become an interior one.

Bulls fans may dream of getting their own Roy Hibbert, but problem number two is that there are only a handful of big men in the NBA that can really trouble the Heat on offense and none of them are likely available.

The best realistic trade for one might be something along the lines of Joakim Noah for Al Jefferson, and I have to be honest, the thought of a Jefferson/Boozer front court doesn't leave me smiling and thinking championship.

Given that getting a dominant inside presence on the offensive side seems like a stretch, can the Bulls defeat the Heat with the types of players they do have? Can a team beat Miami without a dominant inside presence?

Yes. Yes they can. How do we know? The only team to do so lacked a highly skilled interior big man.

When looking back at Dallas, the one thing they really had that the Bulls lacked was a fearless shot creator who got on a hot streak. Nate Robinson was that player for a season for Chicago, and the Bulls decided he wasn't good enough to be that player again or that role simply wasn't necessary.

Maybe they knew the front court rotation was going to be short on minutes and wanted to go Dunleavy so when they inevitably have to play small, they're really still playing much bigger.

Whatever the thought process is, the team that defeated the Heat [Dallas] and the one that should have [San Antonio] did so with shooting, not with great interior play. Both teams had clutch offensive players on their bench. Both teams had guys who could knock down threes.

The Mavericks had Jason Terry creating his own shots while the Spurs had elite passing and spacing to create open looks for their role players. Of these models the Bulls aren't so far off the Spurs.

Their big men are great passers and Rose will create plenty of space once he's performing at his peak level. Can their wings knock down threes? Seems kind of dicey.

Chicago appears to want to win with just defense, but that won't get it done. There are several ways to build a great team, but I don't believe in the Derrick Rose and the defenders methodology. You need great interior play, great shooting, or great slashing. You need some pillar for your offense to stand on. Something to rely on when Rose is taken out of the game.

Bulls fans have been looking for that for several years, but the only additions in the name of offense have been guys who were low minute role players. Korver, Dunleavy, Robinson, and Watson have been the best offensive additions Chicago has made.

The Bulls still haven't injected any real improvement in offense into the lineup since Carlos Boozer arrived and until they do, they'll always be underdogs to win the championship. That said, it's easy to see the problem and hard to find the solution.


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  • Al Jefferson isn’t the type of player who causes the Heat problems. He’s too short. Bulls are better off keeping Noah. If the Bulls really wanted to take a flyer on a serious low post threat, they should have dipped into the luxury tax and signed Andrew Bynum. However, Greg Oden would negate that advantage if his knee swelling can somehow be managed.

  • Thibs continually runs a pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop with a big with no offensive skills. All the pick accomplishes is bringing a second defender to guard Rose, as Noah does not need to be guarded. I do not understand why Thibs does this repeatedly.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Totally agree, except that I don't think the Bulls should bother picking for Rose at all, clear the floor and get as many players as far away from him as possible and let him go to work.

    The Bulls essentially did this with Jordan in Doug Collins last season when they moved him to the point toward the end of the regular season and he averaged nearly a triple double over the last month or 2 of the season, and 8 assits and 8 rebounds for the season.

    This is something thats bothered me for most of the Rose era, but your right about Thibs, he is nothing if not stubborn. Not saying that he doesn't know more about the game even in his sleep than all of us combined, but this does seem like a fairly obvious problem, with a fairly obvious solution.

  • Doug's a great guy as we know, and as a sports voice you have to postulate great ideas no matter how ridiculous they sometimes are. I mean it just comes with the territory. Big dreams means entertainment and an escape whereas dire, gloomy, Realistic forecasts just add to the miseries of life. I get it.

    So this is more directed at the hype, money driven, phony media and head up their ass, know it all, rebuking others no life homer, no f-ing clue fans then it is Doug. That said...

    OK, OK(said in Joe Pesci voice, in fact make this whole rant in a Joe Pesci Goodfellas voice/character, why not?) The Bulls resemble the Mavericks or the Spurs of 2011?!?!

    Are you out of your fu*king mind?! Dirk in the playoffs that year in a HOF zone averaged 28ppg on .485 shooting and is 6'11 or 7 feet tall. Spurs had HOF Tim Duncan one of if not the greatest PF of all time who just so happened to have one of the worst seasons of his career 13ppg avg. as the Spurs departed in the first round.

    These imaginings of how the Bulls resemble a championship team are a homeristic farce. For the love of god, stop it!

    In Enabling Quest fantasy 'We Are the Champions' mode, We have to have some numbskulls resort back to the Pistons who won with poor shooting numbers but a defensive dynamo in Ben Wallace(before he was on the decline and Paxson signed him like an idiot) and nonetheless perennial talents in Billups, Hamilton, and Rasheed all when they were damn good players. Not to mention an all around HOF coach in Larry Brown unlike defensive savant but social dolt Thibs.

    Otherwise you have Boston three HOF's, Lakers Kobe argued as top 5 all time, Spurs Duncan and Parker two HOF's, Miami Wade playing out of his mind in the playoffs with grudge holding corrupt refs enabling that lame ass championship. And now, LeBron is the guard dog on the doorstep to the winning it all threshold

    Sure right now you have one of the most watered down, fundamentally fuck-d up one and done clown filled leagues of all time. Plus the greedy newcomer owners who wanted hobbies, but couldn't hack a financial loss dragging down all the potentially contending franchises with this horseshit socialist MegaTax.

    OKC with Harden, Durant, and Westbrook would at least be interesting and somewhat dynamic. maybe a key piece added and subtracted and they take out LeBron.

    But the league, as in the NBA, even as destabilized and lousy from a winning and talent laden team era as it is or could get, still the Bulls have no proven playoff HOF type performers let alone two or three.
    The fact that they even are considered by some as championship material just shows how fuc*ing pathetic the NBA and the hype money driven "media" have become.

    Let's just admit that the Bulls better hope D-Rose can find a way to be effective with all the hyper attention he now receives in a playoff setting. Like he was his first couple of playoffs where he looked great prior to the Bulls being perceived a s a serious threat not to mention all the building hype: Rose MVP, worldwide jersey leader seller, and major market money base Chicago that all distorted the fuck out of reality and continues to do so.

    Luol Deng and Joakim Noah as NBA All-Stars??? Are you out of your fu*king mind??? The Bulls as a playoff machine are missing a lot of f-ing parts I can tell you that. So top the championship contender bullshitm, and get a f-ing life.


  • If the goal is simply to find another shot creator, I wonder if the Bulls can try to pry Horford from the Hawks if they struggle this year. It'd probably cost the CHA pick, Mirotic and the Bulls' 2014 pick, but if you can move Boozer for Horford, you pick up a guy who can play center and can score in the post, solving 2 problems in one.

  • In reply to nafsllub:

    I think there will be a move to be made for Horford if the Bulls want to and I think you're right about what it will take to get him. Do you make that deal? Is he enough of a shot creator? Do the Bulls win a championship with Horford?

    I would do it. Mirotic is younger than Horford but there's no telling that he'd actually be better.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Love Horford, but, while still good in his own right, he is the least effective offensive player among the dream power forwards that the Bulls might target using those assets, the others being Love and Aldridge. Mirotic has a chance to be an elite offensive player, especially the way that the game is played today.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I agree, Horford is not a big enough return to give up Mirotic and the Charlotte Pick. I would rather the Bulls take the chance keeping Mirotic, amnestying Boozer, letting Deng walk, and using the Money saved to bring another star to Chicago.

  • In reply to Motoman:

    I also agree with both you and BigWay. Let's face it, Mirotic is still a kid, yet he is a tear in the Euroleague. Yeah, the NBA is tougher, but Mirotic is still growing mentally, physically, and experientially (in experience). This kid could become a top ten player for a decade here. It would be insane to trade him unless the player he brings gives the Bulls 50% shots at the title for multiple years. Otherwise, we fans and the FO itself may be kicking the FO for a decade!

    I would trade Boozer, either Teague or Snell, the 2014 1st rounder, and the Charlotte pick. Preferably for Love, but I guess for Horford. No way trade Mirotic!

  • In reply to nafsllub:

    Always loved Horford as perhaps the perfect compliment for Noah, but he is not really a center and not really a go to post scorer. To me he is a vastly better version of Boozer to play power forward next to Noah.

    It is getting very hard to even consider trading Mirotic in any deal, as I posted this yesterday.

    Nikola Mirotic has been named Euroleague MVP for the month of October. Mirotic helped lead Real Madrid to a 3-0 record while averaging 16.3 points per game on 71.4 percent two-point shooting, 85.7 percent from three and 91.7 percent from the free throw line. Mirotic also averaged 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1 block per game. Mirotic's per-minute index rating was 48.14, which is 30 percent higher than the full-season record average of 37.21 by Arvydas Sabonis. RealGM -

    Small sample size, but the guy is still young and seems to be improving every year. I always said that he might be something between Kukoc and Nowitiski, he seems to be trending more and more toward Nowitski.

    If we can get him to come over next season, depending on his adjustment period, he looks like he would instantly become the second best offensive player that we have had in the Rose era.

  • Thanks Doug,

    It seems to me that you have basically endorsed my long standing proposition that the Bulls need a solid 3 or 4 big man rotation(with legitimate size) dedicated to defense and rebounding surrounded by shooters, Rose and 2 wing scorers who can consistently knock down 3's (@40+%). Replacing Boozer and nobody(currently) with Asik and Mirotic addresses that part of the equation. Next you replace Deng with a bonafide shooter, either at small forward or 2 guard depending on what you decide to do about/with Jimmy Butler. We all love Jimmy, but he likely will never be a legit/bigtime 3 point threat.

    That's basically the way the game is played in the NBA today, and more or less the way that Dallas and San Antonio beat the Heat.

    The ship has already sailed on Asik, so we have an extra hole to fill. The next ship(s) that need to sail are Deng and Boozer.

    Let the howling begin.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Doug has fully endorsed my argument that the Bulls need better scorers and that Rose and a bunch of good defensive players won't beat the Heat and won't bring the Bulls another championship. The Mavs and Spurs both had 3 point snipers and good perimeter scorers, thats why both teams were able to beat and should've beaten the Heat. It's not that hard to figure out how to beat Miami, the Bulls .
    need one more big man and Nate and Bellineli should've been retained by the Bulls. Since both guys are gone the Bulls now still need one mord big man that can bang down low and grab some boards and they definitely need some better perimeter scorers. I say wait til the trade deadline try to come up with some suitors forDeng, Boozer, and whatever other aszets the bulls can come up with and try to come up with a roster altering move. I doubt if any of this happens but i hope that the Bulls FO will try.

  • If we could get Horford for Boozer plus prospects (CHA pick and Mirotic) I think it's worth it. I could even see Lu go, but that would be tough to swallow mid-season since it would mean we're throwing in the towel.

    But, if the CHA pick turns out to be, say, no. 11 in this years draft which people say is at least 15 deep, I think the Bulls might actually use it, bring over Mirotic (or try to), Amnesty Booz, say goodbye to Lu and Teague, and try to sign a F/A or get a player in a trade for aforementioned parts.

    If the CHA pick remains protected this year, then that pick is probably worth more to another team than it is to us. Move it plus anything except Rose, Jimmy, Noah to retool for a run while the Heat begin their decline.

  • In reply to bfranke:

    Addendum to my own post...I don't think the book is totally written on Jimmy him, but it turns out that his shooting is not going to materialize then he's gotta go. But for now, he's cheap and worth the price.

    Didn't mention Taj. Eh. He's great, but he is a great role player. I have lost faith that his jump shot is actually improved. He looked good in pre-season but a couple of times already in games that matter he has taken shots that completely missed the entire basket apparatus.

  • In reply to bfranke:

    Charlotte is terrible. That pick will remain protected in 2015 and it is becoming VERY in-the-money. Charlotte is hopeless and will finish in the bottom 1/3rd this year - almost without a doubt. What makes this great for Chicago is that Charlotte has a low chance to grab a top 1-2 pick in the 2014 draft (Wiggins or Randle) and that means they have a strong chance (in my mind) at becoming a bottom 8 team in 2015.

    This means that in 2016, the Bulls should have a top 10 pick because they sure as hell are not going to get good all the sudden. Thus, in 2016, there is a probably a 75% chance that the Charlotte pick will be top 6. I'd say there's a 40% chance that it's top 3. It will be about how the ball bounces.

    Name 4 teams that have less going for them than Charlotte over the next 3 seasons? Charlotte is bad, but not quite bad enough to finish dead-last and get in the Wiggins-Randle sweepstakes.

    Unless the Bulls are quite sure that the 2016 draft will be weak, you keep this pick.

    You keep Mirotic for sure. (See Bigway's comments.) He is a legit offensive star - probably not superstar, but exactly what Rose and Noah need at PF.

    Rose needs to be patient because around the time that his contract is up the Bulls should be a top NBA team with Rose, Butler, Mirotic and the Charlotte pick youngster. (Notice that Noah will be aging by then, so reason to move him for a scoring wing... perhaps after this season)

  • In reply to Granby:

    or maybe by then we can trade him for Asik.

  • In reply to bfranke:

    Even if Butler doesn't show signs of improving his shot, why would the Bulls let him go? Assuming Deng is not still around by the time Jimmy has to 'go', they could easily move Butler back to his natural 3 position where his athleticism, defense, and mediocre offense (again, assuming his offense doesn't progress) would still fit perfectly in the Bulls schemes. A lineup of Rose, *Insert scoring/star wing here*, Butler, Mirotic/Taj, and Noah doesn't look all that bad.

  • Pacers fans piss me off. They act like they just won the championship because they finally beat the mighty Bulls! Rose needs to get his confidence back, he is playing scared.

  • In reply to Motoman:

    Pacers are just the better team with far better athletic players that know how to score. Bulls played a good game just had too many forced turnovers that the Pacers forced them into. Rose and Deng had 17 points each and Hinrich a good game for him with 12 points. The rest of the starters and team didn't have a good game. Pacers are just better, sorry Bulls fans.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    With the Derrick Rose the Bulls have right now, the Pacers are a better team. He played 27:28 and the Bulls were -28 with him on the floor. In 20:32 without him on the floor, they were +11.

    The rest of the bench was the same, except for Hinrich who was there but played a bunch with the starters at the end and got his score dragged down with them.

    This is why so many of us wanted him to come back last season, to finish his rehab by knocking off the rust. So many people bought his "coming back 110%" crap, well at least you got what you wished for.

    Enjoy the next 15-20 games as Derrick gets back into game shape and gets readjusted to the speed of professional basketball. Enjoy seeing at least 3-4 games that should have been wins turn into losses because the team's superstar is still working his way back from an injury he was 100% physically recovered from about 8 months ago.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Lol why don't you be a Pacers fan since the Bulls are never good enough for you? The Bulls played a terrible game, plain and simple. Nobody, including their 'superstar', played very well. You literally just said "Bulls played a good game" and "rest of the starters and team didn't have a good game" in the same response. The Bulls will break ou of this team-wide slump and be just fine.

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