Bulls roll into all-star weekend on a high note

Bulls roll into all-star weekend on a high note

Joakim Noah followed up his triple double with another near triple double as the Bulls cruised past the Brooklyn Nets. The Bulls will head into the all-star break with a three game win streak, a 1.5 game lead on the Hawks, and trailing the Raptors by a game for 3rd in the East.

It's nice to see the Bulls play well again, and much like the team last year, the Bulls are starting to play well again rather than just scraping by against the dregs of the league. They had a couple of quality wins on their road trip, and dismantled two of the Eastern Conference playoff teams this week [even if those teams aren't so hot by typical standards].

Chicago seems to have found a groove again.

Jimmy Butler ends slump by avoiding threes

Jimmy Butler's percentages this season are down, way down. However, he's found some nice efficiency over the past two nights by attacking the basket and avoiding the three point shot. He's not taken a three for two consecutive games and has shot a combined 11 for 17 over that stretch.

It's a nice run for a guy who's presently shooting 37.9% on the season. His 2pt% is down considerably this season too, but it can be tougher to hit more twos, especially jumpers, if you are shooting lots of threes because the arc and angle is different for a mid range shot than a three point shot.

Butler's shooting 48% on two point attempts over the past 10 games vs 28% from the three point line. I know the Bulls want him to space the floor, but his three point shot sure doesn't seem good enough this year, and we've seen him go into crises of confidence with the shot as well.

Beyond giving the Bulls generally inefficient results, waiting beyond the arc can pull him too far away from the offensive glass where Butler typically does a lot of damage with his hustle and energy.

I'm not suggesting that the Bulls eliminate the shot from Butler's game, but they may want to limit those looks for this season and let him refine the shot over the off-season. Butler may also benefit from sticking to just corner threes and becoming a Bruce Bowen type specialist from that area on the floor.

Joakim Noah's finally healthy

That's what Noah said a few weeks back when noting it was the healthiest he's felt in a long time.

It shows.

Noah's been on an absolute tear lately. This might be the best season of his career. His rebounding has been perhaps the best it's ever been, his passing has been phenomenal, and he's really taken on a leadership role in tough circumstances with Deng leaving the team and Rose out with injury.

If Noah can give the Bulls two more years at this level, and Derrick Rose can come back strong then I'm excited to see what the two of them can do. They'll still need to fill in some holes, as the Bulls obviously need one more high volume, offensive shot creator, but it hits me sometimes that this team still has potential to be awfully good next year.

Paxson taking change? Slow deadline?

John Paxson came out and noted that the Bulls would likely sit out this trade deadline. Paxson has always been extraordinarily up front with the media. He's the anti-Krause. There's no sleuthing. When he says something it's because it's true, there's no counter intelligence going on.

The comments makes sense given they have little money under the tax, so they could only make a trade that sends out more money than comes back.

On top of that, they have little incentive to trade for a short term piece or rental. Paxson simply noted that it didn't look like attractive long term pieces were available, and he's right. At this point, I think it's more likely teams are trying to steal from the Bulls, hoping their rebuilding, then looking for their assets to give up players.

The lone shot of anything big happening is if NY decided to dump Anthony as well as Carmelo agreeing to an extension with Chicago. However, I don't think either of those two things would happen and certainly not both.

Perhaps what's even more interesting to note though is not what Paxson said, but the fact that Paxson is saying anything at all. For quite some time, it seems like Gar Forman was brought in to do all the day to day media stuff, but recently, we've see John Paxson at a lot of the press conferences.

I don't think any of us really understand the specifics of their working relationship (if one of them largely manages personnel, the other media, joint decisions on all things, if one guy (Paxson) has veto power, etc... However, it's just interesting to note that Paxson is starting to be more visible in the press.

Happy Valentine's Day Bulls fans!

I hope you're all in love, celebrating, and that you've made sure your significant others "see red" (roses) tonight.

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  • Apparently the smart thing to do at the deadline was nothing -- so the Bulls did it!

    While there were quite a few calls about Dunleavy, Taj, and maybe even a few about Hinrich, teams make trades to upgrade something and no other team was offering much of value. O well. Hope the scouts are doing their homework!

  • It is too bad that the Bulls didn't get to take their shot this year fully healthy. While they wouldn't have been the favorite by any means, they would have had a puncher's chance.

    On a comment I made on this site prior to the season I said that I thought the progress Taj seemed to show in the pre-season was a mirage and that he would revert to form in the regular season. I am happy to say that I was clearly wrong about that. I also am very impressed with Noah. He will never be a true scorer, but this season has made clear that he is the true leader of this team. It wasn't Deng and it is not Rose; it is Noah.

  • How far can this Bulls team go if the remaining cast remains healthy? Remember last year, without Kirk and Deng and half Noa the Bulls stayed closed to Miami for the entire series. This year, with Miami a bit worse and the Bulls healthy, we never know what to expect, but it would be historical if the Bulls win the series.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    to be more precise, that would be half No(ah)

  • I agree with Doug, the Bulls have a chance to be very good next year.

    There's no reason to think it's over for Derrick. The meniscus is not a death sentence, and his ACL other guys have come back from them. Discarding threes for the most part, he was despite a false rep a good mid range shooter his first few seasons. He comes back with lowered expectations and can just play ball I don't see why he couldn't average 17-18ppg on 43% and up with 7-8 assists.

    Joakim to average 4.4 apg with only 2.2 turnovers or a 2 to 1 A/TO ratio is pretty impressive. Think about it, Noah averages only one assist less per game then Damian Lillard.

    If Mirotic comes over this summer and plays for the Bulls next season I will be excited for sure. Say half way into the season he adjusts to the pace of the NBA, if not sooner, and ends up scoring 10-13ppg on a good efficiency for threes 35% and up and 2's 45% and up. Hopefully with a rep as one of if not thee best player in Europe along with any kind of acceptable lateral quickness and hopefully he's not highly foul prone the refs give him a break and he's viable as in not a disaster on the defensive end.

    Then if the Bulls get two picks in a loaded draft, looking back many "hits" do produce in either the first or second season. So you could be looking at a nice offensive player in Mirotic, another nice offensive player out of the two picks(such as Kyle Anderson), a very solid Derrick Rose to go along with Jo, Taj etc. That would be a fun team to watch for sure. Starting on draft day to news on Mirotic things could go from zero to 60 pretty quick. Especially if they amnesty Boozer's last year which I think from past experience they will.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I like this type of RoadWarrior post, good insight! It will be a very interesting offseason for the Bulls, that much is sure. They could go in so many different directions whether they package their assets to try to net another star (or even superstar), or use what cap space they do have to add a quality shooting guard along with keeping the draft picks. Boozer is as good as gone after this season, and the addition of Mirotic alone should be a big one - much bigger than some people are thinking. This is a kid that would most likely be a top 5 pick in the upcoming draft if he were available. Also, that is truly crazy Noah only averages one assist less per game than Lillard.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I'll be extremely disappointed if rose shoots only 43% from the field, make that disgusted. He needs to be in the 46-50% range depending on his dependence on 3's. As you mentioned he had a better than reputation mid range jumper his first 2 years in the league, when he shot closer to 50% from the field. His mid range game seems to have regressed as he has increased his 3 point shooting.

    I also have higher hopes for Mirotic, something like mid teens, low teens is Jimmy Butler territory, we have to hope that he is a bigger offensive force than Jimmy is, otherwise there goes the 2014 plan.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    "i'd be extremely disappointed.. make that disgusted."

    Really? Do you have any capability to realize what an overly reactionary, disgruntled spaz comment that is? I said from the bleak place Rose is at now to initially next season put up steady numbers at an acceptable percentage of 43 AND UP hoping he'll climb back to a more quality percentage of yes 45% and up but right now I'd say that's a bit pie in the sky for starters. Give him time.

    As for Mirotic, again, "there goes the 2014 plan" cliched allusions aside, I'm talking in his first season as in rookie season coming in at 10-13 ppg on a quality percentage would be terrific for starters. Of course you hope he becomes more prolific in his second season and beyond which is what an average ppg like that would point to. Realizing you are incapable of reaching nuances beyond anything basely literal but your stupid, overly reactionary, negative replies only serve to misconstrue my observations in the first place.

    So as in the case of Noodles Romanoff and Don Cornholio if you can't respond with halfway intelligent and non-reactionary overly negative utterances get a life and just glob on to the multitude of other posters on here OK? Seriously if someone doesn't wish to be involved in your moronic responses can't you just respect that and look elsewhere? Shit. I don't mind if someone replies with something intelligible but you three are just an annoyance so again please f-ck off.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I usually ignore your idiotic posts since they are usually just, obscenity filled hateful rants, but since you actually tried to make an basketball point, I responded rationally, apparently too much for you to take.

    Sorry that I got under your douchebaggy thin skin by not agreeing totally with every word you said. But coming from someone who usually has nothing more to offer than cursing, name calling and ad hominem attacks what should I expect. and you delivered perfectly which says a lot more about you and your demons than it does about me.

    So in the only words that you are capable of comprehending Fuck off you mother fucking fuck. Hope that your Mom gets you back on your Meds before you hurt yourself.

  • In this case of Noah...Is it the shoes? Ever since he switched to Adidas from those crappy French Shoes, he has avoided the lower body issues that have plagued him over the past several seasons.

  • One other note: I don't hear many comments about college ball(as it relates to future NBA talent) or other NBA teams on here which is fine. It's a Bulls site, though when they are not playing great or loaded with talent I would think some outside basketball comments about say how Indiana's, OKC etc.stock rising or falling likewise certain high ranked college prospects would creep in. But.. they just don't on fan sites like this so fine.

    Regardless, I look forward to Kevin States, if he comes back, providing analysis on draft picks. Especially if we double up with the Charlotte pick. I'll tell you right now Kyle Anderson(though he will probably rise out of our reach) is my top choice based on where picks sit on mock boards as of today. Also, T.J. Warren(have yet to check out his personal appraisals scouting comments etc. and interviews, on court/sideline demeanor) would be a strong second option as he's looking like he will be a potent scorer on the next level sooner rather then later. Joseph Young while not a prolific assist guy, does have a good A/TO and has all the earmarks of a successful NBA guard. All could be available though Young is not yet on boards, but he will be.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I'm a big college hoops fan, from Chicago area, but went to school at UK in Lexington. So, Bulls and Kentucky fan. I think the talent pool is pretty deep compared to many recent drafts. I'm not sold on any of the top guys being superstars.

    A couple things:
    1. The college game is so different because of the rules. Refs can be bad in NBA, but terrible in college. The hand touch rules this year are beyond ridiculous.

    2. Talent evolves game-by-game. These are 18-20 year old kids, mostly. An 18 year old can have a good March (D.Rose) and he jumps 15 spots in the draft.

    3. Individual workouts and combine measurements/tests are critical.

    So, hard to do much draft talk unless you now you have a top 3 or 4 pick. Look at the ESPN mocks from two months ago and they are drastically different than now. Hell, the kid Embiid is now #1 and he was #5 to start the season - which I thought was nuts.

    I think they'll be more draft talk come tourney time and again around the combine and draft times.

  • In reply to Granby:

    It's not hard to talk about draft prospects once in a while if you simply watch the guys play and keep up with their stats. Just not many people do. Mocks and erratic performances don't negate overall hallmark stat lines and amazing performances like Joseph Young's 30 point second half against Arizona State or Kyle Anderson's tremendous display against Colorado the other night. Just because people aren't generally interested doesn't mean there isn't something tangible there for those few that are.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Kyle Anderson is impressive, but I don't know if he can score enough for the Bulls. As you said above, TJ Warren can score. I keep seeing, though, people saying he doesn't have good range. It seems to me that the Bulls need someone who can score at either the 2 or 3 spot. I wouldn't be disappointed if they got Warren, but the guy that I'm most intrigued by Zach Lavine. He may not be ready to dominate from day one, but I think in a year or so, he could be.

  • Someone believes the Bulls have a shot at EFC this year...http://sports.yahoo.com/news/could-chicago-bulls-win-eastern-conference-yep-could-175400291--nba.html

  • What is this about Carlos Boozer telling Craig "the d-bag suit wearing" Sager that Bulls assured him they will not be buying out/amnestying his contract barring landing a "superstar." As being reported by Basketball Insiders formerly Hoopsworld.

    Sure doesn't sound like something any smart front office would say or hold themselves too. So either Boozer is full of sh*t and has just cemented his amnesty this summer or Gar/Pax are up to more of their inept and/or disingenuous B.S. dialogue with players G.M.'s see Deng, Memphis Grizzlies front office.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    If this is true, I hope Mirotic counts as the superstar. Also, if the Bulls keep Boozer and he is not willing to be the backup (which I don't think he would do), then I think Gibson should demand a trade. I love Gibson and think he has played long enough behind Boozer. Maybe he would be fine with it as long as he gets good minutes, but I think he could have much more success if he played 30 minutes or more a game. Don't know if he could do that with Boozer around. If Mirotic came in too, forget it.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    If that happens then for once, the cries of "The Bulls can't win because Reinsdorf is cheap!" will actually be true.

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