Noah's claims a triple double as Bulls claim 4th by defeating Hawks

Noah's claims a triple double as Bulls claim 4th by defeating Hawks

If you want to give someone an odd Bulls trivia pursuit question, ask them who has the most triple doubles since the Jordan era. The answer? Joakim Noah, who recorded his fourth.

While a casual fan might find surprise in that answer, a die hard might be just as surprised that he only has four. This was Noah's first triple double of the season, but it came after coming close on five other occasions. He actually missed one by three points earlier, another by one assist, and three more by two assists.

Noah can be frustrating at times because his game is so unlike any other big man you'll ever see. He has the court vision of a point guard, the ball handling of a forward, the defensive game you'd expect from a high energy thin center, and the only thing stopping him from becoming a true superstar in the NBA is that he never found a way to build up any type of reliable offense as a shot creator.

That said, despite the fact that he can't reliably go get two points for the Bulls when they need it, his other skills allow Chicago to run the offense through him quite effectively. Also, unlikely many centers, particularly ones without a great scoring game, Noah knocks down his free throws.

I don't think Noah will ever find the tiny piece missing to elevate his game from all-star to super-star, but he'll still always be one of my favorite Bulls.

Taj Gibson's shown us what we already knew

I think most fans have thought that Taj Gibson would be better than Carlos Boozer if he were simply given minutes and allowed to start. Well, with the Bulls lack of big men, Gibson is finally proving it. Gibson's playing the most minutes of his career and is almost at 30 per game. Quite frankly, I think he should have hit this number last year as well given the alternative was playing Nazr or small ball.

However, his improvement goes beyond the typical linear bump in stats by playing more. Gibson's scoring considerably more per minute than he ever has in the past, he's doing so on the same efficiency he always has, but he's taking on a much bigger role as a shot creator.

Even just one season ago Taj Gibson wouldn't take step back jumpers in the post (the Boozer move). He didn't look to create his own shot down low. He still scored largely off the creation ability of others. Hitting open mid range jumpers, cleaning up the glass for offensive put backs, or nailing shots on the pick and roll.

Gibson still does all of that, but the Bulls are running a lot more offense through Gibson, and he's delivering them valuable scoring output. In fact, Gibson's output is nearing that of Carlos Boozer in terms of points per minute, but he's doing it on greater efficiency. Boozer may not be happy about his minutes, but it's quite obvious why he's losing them.

Taj still brings the world class defense, but he also gives the Bulls real offense now.

He's streaking!

The Bulls were unable to stop Korver's three point streak, though given his friendly nature with most of the guys on the team, I don't know that they would place any special emphasis on doing so. Korver knocked down two threes driving the streak to 119 straight games of knocking down a three point shot.

I have to be honest, I thought the Hawks were a bit nuts for giving Korver a deal as big as they did, but he's paid off for them as he's had possibly the best two years of his career, and certainly the best years since very early on in his career. Will he maintain that level throughout the entire deal with the Hawks? I still have my doubts, but he's definitely giving them value now, and they sure wouldn't have any problems getting some value back for him in a trade.

Bulls claim the fourth seed

I'm not sure how important the playoff seeding chase is in the Eastern Conference. However, if we go by whom the Bulls have played well so far this season, then the match up against Atlanta right now works pretty well for Chicago. The Bulls are 2-0 against the Hawks, 0-2 against Washington, and 1-2 against the Raptors [with their win coming before the Raptors traded Gay and started playing better].

I'm not sure those regular season games mean much in terms of what would happen in the playoffs, but I don't think any of those four teams [including the Bulls] scare each other. All four of them should enter the playoffs feeling like they can beat the other ones. It will be nice if Chicago can hang on to home court advantage.

The Derrick Rose cold shower continues

Fans keep hoping Rose might come back for the playoffs or end of the seasons. He's traveling with the team and shooting in warm ups, but Tom Thibodeau announced that Rose is not practicing with the team nor is he expected to practice with the team the rest of the season.

This isn't a big surprise because the Bulls announced Rose was out for the season already. However, fans have hoped that Rose would come back, peripheral (ie, non sourced) media has hinted that Rose might come back (despite the instance of everyone that he won't). So this is a good dose of ice water from Thibs, let's not set up any false expectations for Rose.

Hopefully he's healthy enough to train with team USA this summer and ha a strong 2014-15 campaign.

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  • And so this conflicted Bulls season continues... Another win, more big performances by Noah and Gibson and yesterday's game was actually fun and yet, at the end leaving you with a... "whats the point"

    As we creep closer and closer to the 3rd seed, every part of me is just conflicted. While watching this gutty Bulls team in the playoffs giving teams runs for their money, every part of me wants a wholesale firesale but that seems too late.

    Noah's best years are being wasted and by the time the next championship window rolls around, he's going to be old, bad money. Gibson's standout year is likewise a big waste but we still dont know if Gibson can be a full time starter, consistently giving 15 and 10. Augustin has become irreplaceable yet because of the Bulls giving him a chance, he's going to take it and run straight to the bank this offseason.

    Bulls FO seems content to see where the wind takes this ship rather than grabbing this by the horns and steering this ship in some sort of direction. Its too late for a firesale/tanking strategy and trying to avoid the repeater tax, they're not adding pieces for a sneaky playoff run.

    Even from a development perspective, its been discouraging - Butler has regressed, Snell doesn't get enough minutes and hasn't showed any progressive improvement, and Murphy is glued to the bench.

    While I've admired the heart and effort and try-hard attitude exhibited by this team (something easy to take for granted considering other teams), I still find myself repeatedly stating, "what are we trying to accomplish here."

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    I felt conflicted before (right around the Deng trade...I was on the tank bandwagon), but at this point, I'm just rooting for them to win. The east is such a joke there is no way the bulls arent' making the playoffs. Might as well see them try and get out of the first round and give Indiana/Miami a punch in the gut. Taj is playing great and hopefully he gives the FO enough confidence to amnesty Boozer after this year. I think Butler's turf toe injury is messing with his shot (also playing 40 min a night can't help it). That's one of those injuries that only heals with time. Noah has been beastly and is always fun to watch. At least there are some positives about this team...I know long term it stinks, but you gotta love the fight in them.

    About the offseason though, I think you have to look at a few options. Do you feel more comfortable with a core of Rose/Noah and go for Melo? By no means is this a given, and I think if Melo does leave NY (I'm still not convinced...they have a clean cap sheet in a few years), he'll go to LAL. But in going after him, you'd have to give up Gibson/Butler/possibly Mirotic in a trade. And if it's through FA, I think it'd be about the same, and I don't think you could bring Mirotic over. This team would definitely be primed for a championship window for a few years, but the back end of Melo's contract would be terrible.

    The other option is bring over Mirotic and amnesty Boozer, and then try and add a wing shooter (3 and D guy). I don't think the Bulls could afford much more than that. I think Lance stays in Ind - they developed him and fits in with their core. No way are they letting him go. He wouldn't be in the league without Larry and he really feels close to their FO. If Mirotic pans out as a stretch 4, that takes care of some spacing, but we really need a 2 guard who can create. Tough to find on a smaller contract. Maybe try and get one of the Clippers guards?

    I think the FO will most likely pursue the latter. They tried in 2010 to go for a home run and missed. Now, there's not a consolation prize if they can't get Melo. The championship window is probably only 2ish years, due to Noah's game and him aging.

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    If you watch sports with a mentality of "win a championship or there's no point," you're going to spend most of your time frustrated and disappointed and it doesn't matter which team you follow. Even the ideas that role players like Noah and Gibson are "wasting" their productivity -- by that measure, most professional athletes "waste" their ability for most or all of their careers.

    If you can't just enjoy rooting for your team, I suggest finding more enjoyable ways to spend your time.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I agree, I think this is a view I've always held, but few other people do.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    No, I think you have miscategorized my mentality. Yes, every organization's goal is to win a championship but I am fully aware, especially in basketball, that organizations go in and out of championship windows. My mentality is not win a championship or there's no point. My mentality is have a direction or there's no point. As a Cub fan, I'm actually happy/content. Even though they have been terrible for 3+years and they'll probably be bad this year, at least I can see the vision and see the clear goal of building a consistent championship contender. They're building it up from top to bottom and I can see a clear direction.

    With the Bulls, I dont know what the direction is. When Rose went down, the Bulls needed to take decisive action to tank and build towards the next championship window. Deng trade was more for money reasons than for tanking. Not moving Noah/Gibson and bringing in Augustin has taken them straight to basketball hell - good enough to be in the playoffs (with a lousy draft pick) but not really competitive to give Pacers/Heat/Thunder a run for there money.

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    Not sure what there is to be conflicted about with this team. With the right moves this off-season and a Rose recovery, the championship window is next year. I don't think Gibson or Noah's best years will be behind them quite so fast.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    My conflict with this team is for this year not next year. I agree with the right moves, a healthy Rose and current pieces, the Bulls can contend next year. The winning this year though does conflict me. Every win further removes them from drafting an impact player in a draft class with several impact players. All for what? 1st round or maybe at best a 2nd round knock out? To give the Pacers/Heat a gut shot? No thanks!

    You know what would have really helped the Bulls contend next year - a Top 5-8 pick - a Parker/Wiggins/Smart/Randle/Exum along with a healthy rose, along with right moves this offseason. And with the draft pick, we have them for 4 years at an affordable contract.

    We're now hoping for the Bobcats to miss the playoffs but not be bad enough to be in top 10.

  • I agree it is very disheartening to be in the 3rd biggest market in the US and for our owner to not give us a serious chance at a championship, regardless if Rose went down or not! I mean any big star power off a team could/most likely turn them from championship bound to 1st round and out, but still when teams like Indy, Clippers, OKC (small market teams, LOL I know Clips are in LA, but Lakers are the golden boys there)! Also even Golden State for crying out loud are building teams to compete for the championship...could add the Trailblazers in there too!
    Well with Thibs we still have a team we can be proud of and plays as a system and is way more synergistic than its individual player goes down or traded like Deng, Boozer, Rose...we find a way to shop from the Dollar menu and luck into DJ...have Butler and Snell take on bigger roles...Taj continue on his breakout year! Have Mirotic hopefully coming over in the offseason!

    I just wish our FO would put more into getting us a pure scorer even off the bench because we can only go so far with defense, we still need to score!

    WOW monster game from Taj and Jo!!! Those 2 guys really like playing together and it shows...both NYC guys who r hard hat and lunch pail guys!
    GO BULLS!!! :-)

  • In reply to smiley:

    I completely agree the FO needs to put a greater emphasis on scoring, I am similarly frustrated that they continue not to.

    That stated, I don't know how you can say they haven't had a serious chance and then cite teams like Indiana and Golden State. Bulls had a serious shot 3 years ago -- as serious as Indiana's this year -- with the No. 1 seed in the East and made it to the ECF. They had a serious shot 2 years ago but Rose went down in the playoffs. The Bulls would have a serious shot this year if Rose were healthy.

    The large market/small market stuff means almost nothing in the salary cap age. Personally, I'm thrilled that small market teams like Indy and OKC can compete with the New Yorks and Chicagos, I don't like "haves and have nots" like baseball. For what it's worth -- nothing to Bulls FO haters -- Bulls have even gone into the tax to try to put together a winner, acting like a big market team.

    What is Indiana now that the Bulls weren't just 2 years ago? How are Golden State or Portland ahead of where the Bulls would be if they had their best player healthy? How good would any of the teams you mentioned be if their best player were out for the season?

  • In reply to smiley:

    No team who loses a top five player is still really a championship caliber team. That's effectively where the Bulls have been the past three years without Rose.

    It's just not feasible to still have championship caliber teams in this era while also missing pieces that are so important.

    I think the lack of emphasis on scoring is somewhat of a misconception. Belinelli, Robinson, Augustin, Dunleavy, Korver, and Boozer have all been offensive oriented signings. In fact, the majority of their signings have been for offensive role players.

    The problem is that they haven't been able to get a go-to scorer, but that's a different thing, and I don't think it's a prioritization thing, but a "this is just really, really hard" thing.

  • Anybody think they should at least kick the tires on a trade proposal for Afflalo? His name has been linked to the Bulls many times in the past (whether it is pure speculation or not). He's averaging around 19 a game, and shooting 42% from 3 this year, and the Magic probably want to make Oladipo their primary 2 going forward. Afflalo makes around 7.5 mil, and the reports say Orlando is looking for young players and draft picks. Just a thought, could be a nice sneaky type move to set them up for the next couple years when Derrick is back.

  • In reply to JC 2012:

    I've always really liked Afflalo and think he would be the 2-guard the Bulls have needed all this time. How realistic is it that they could get him?

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I bet Orlando would want to get rid of Nelson or Davis as well. We would probably have to give up a combination of Taj, Butler, Snell, Charlotte pick, or Mirotic.

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    If you make a move for Aflalo you can't give up any front line talent, that would defeat the purpose whack a mole style by creating a hole somewhere else while filling the one at starting shooting guard.

    Basically, no Gibson, Butler or Mirotic. It would simply have to be a draft picks deal, maybe throw in Snell if they want him.

    Could we compete with Rose, Aflalo, Butler, Mirotic/Gibson, Noah and hopefully Augustin going forward essentially capped out with those guys. I agree that Orlando doesn't do a deal without taking back another bad contract. Big Baby off the bench doesn't suck, except that he views himself as a starter.

  • In reply to JC 2012:

    Orlando isn't going to want to completely rebuild around picks (teams that do that fail). Afflalo is a good young veteran for them, so I'm not sure they'd want to give him up, especially given he has a reasonable salary.

  • yes, I was hoping for the tank as well... and still am to some degree. But, let's face it, this team should be a top 5 or 6 team in the East unless Augustine, Noah or Butler goes down. Maybe top 3.

    Plus, the Bull tend to draft well no matter what position they are in. Would they have been better off drafting 10th instead of 20th? Hardly. The 2014 draft will be better, but we all knew this team was not going to get a top 5 pick.

    The draft will help, but free agency should help more. Bulls should bring over Mirotic for $5-7 mil per year. Hopefully a 4 year deal that is closer to $6 mil will get it done.

    Then, there is Lance Stephenson. I have not been a big fan, but he will be 23 and can do it all as a SG - excellent defender with size and athletic ability. Can shoot the 3. Indy runs the offense through him sometimes, so he can play some backup point. I really think he'll get $12-$14/year given his age and upside and all-around game. He may be the best SG in the game the next few years because he plays well offensively and defensively.

    I would rather have Stephenson and Mirotic than go after Melo. If we were to go after Melo, we would lose parts in a trade, or be forced to give away Gibson.

    I think Chicago could trade Dunleavy and have nearly $15 mil under the cap - outside of any cap holds for picks... and sign Stephenson and Mirotic. Could you imagine the balanced lineup?


    I am also a believer that Augustin will not get a strong offer given his size, age and the current salaries of recent Bulls back up PGs. Augustin could be signed using the $2 mil biannual exemption, or for something around that amount. Maybe Bulls resign him for a bit higher than the minimum, but for 3 years? If he can't get a big contract after this year, he'll never get one. So, maybe he'll decide to stay if given longer term security.

  • In reply to Granby:

    We would have to use the Room MLE ($2.732MM for '14-15) to sign Augustin...because you can use EITHER the Room MLE or the Biannual exemption ($2.077MM) but not both. We may not be able to afford both Lance S. and Mirotic even with trading Dunleavy. It's really gonna depend on how much Mirotic wants and where the cap is set. Rumors are that Mirotic is going to be seeking more than the MLE. I would like to see us grab Afflalo if we can't make Stephenson work. We may be able to do that deal in July when we can absorb him directly into our cap (if we dont get Lance). We could give them a 2015#1 (Lotto protected). The squad is then:

    PG: Rose, Augustin (Room MLE), Vet Min PG (we can always find these for some reason)
    SG: Afflalo, Snell
    SF: Butler, Bobcats #1 Pick
    PF: Gibson, Mirotic, Murphy (his cap hit is less than that of a vet min guy so he stays)
    C: Noah, Our #1 Pick, Our 2nd Rd Pick

    This team would still have flexibility should a superstar become available and would be able to compete in an even further watered down East (assuming LeBron leaves Miami).

  • In reply to nolebron:

    Here is the salary structure (credit Sham Sports, Larry Coon CBA FAQ and Real GM for some of the salary info) forgot about Dunleavy, we could keep him in this scenario.

    Player 2014/2015
    Derrick Rose $18,862,876
    Joakim Noah $12,200,000
    Taj Gibson $8,000,000
    Aron Afflalo $7,500,000
    Mike Dunleavy $3,326,235
    D.J. Augustin $2,732,000
    Jimmy Butler $2,008,748
    CHA #1 (#15 OVR, 120% of Scale) $1,855,320
    Tony Snell $1,472,400
    CHI #1 (#20 OVR, 120% of Scale) $1,458,360
    Vet Min PG $915,243
    Erik Murphy $816,482
    CHI #2 $507,336
    Richard Hamilton* $333,333
    Total $61,988,333

  • In reply to nolebron:

    Need to find room for Mirotic. I'd certainly swap out Dunleavy for that room, no brainer. It still might not be enough, depends on the new cap number. If we don't get Charlottes pick then we'd be fine after moving Dunleavy.

    I'd be quite happy going into next season with that team, minus Dunleavy, plus Mirotic.

    Your analysis, also suggests that we can't afford Stephenson, as he won't leave Indy for less than $10-12 million per.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    you're right, wow, i cant believe i forgot Mirotic. Yeah, the team listed above is impossible. i'll work on it some more.

  • In reply to nolebron:

    In order to get Afflalo, the Bulls need to trade with Orlando. They will most likely want to get rid of a toxic contract (Davis, Nelson) and want back cheap, young talent. They probably want Butler, Cha pick, and either Mirotic or Taj. The thing is Taj most likely will need to be traded in order to make salaries work. As much as I think Afflalo would be huge for the Bulls, I just don't see the Bulls being able to get him without giving up some combination of those assets.

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    You can't be serious, 3 of those 4 assets for what, a possibly offensively better 2 guard version of Luol Deng.

    They are not getting Butler, Taj or Mirotic. They can chose between the Charlotte pick, the Sacto pick, any of our picks and Snell, thats it.

    Aflalo is a very nice role player on a decent contract, but that's about it, he certainly isn't a difference maker who you give away 3 guys who can starter for.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Again, like I said earlier, the most likely trade scenario (not that I'm agreeing...I'm just trying to be realistic).

    Afflalo and Davis/Nelson (one of the two)
    Taj, Butler, Cha pick, Snell, Mirotic (three out of the five)

    After a hot start, Afflalo is coming back to earth but he's still averaging 20 points a game and is a top 10 shooting guard this year.

    Snell really doesn't have much value - we've seen him play and he's been inconstant at best. Do you think Orlando is really going to want him and give up Afflalo for him and a pick? If I'm Orlando I laugh in GarPax's face at that offer.

  • In reply to Granby:

    We won't have enough to get Mirotic and Stephenson unless we dump Gibson or someone else.

  • My final conclusion after watching the past 2 games as it was evident: If we had a 14M shooting guard instead of Boozer, we would be an automatic contender this year. This team as constructed today, with Rose plus another elite guard is all that we need. Mirotic would be a plus. Since FO cannot get rid of Boozer's contract this year, our window shifts to next year, where they can and will.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    I don't know that you get an elite player for $14MM. Iggy makes about that, what if we had him instead of Boozer? Contender?

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Take a look at the NBA player salary list...Boozer's salary of $15.3million this year ranks as the 19th highest salary. Players such as Eric Gordon ($14.3million), Andre Iguodala ($12.9million), Tyreke Evans ($11.8million), and OJ Mayo ($8million) all would make the Bull's a more legitimate championship threat than having Boozer on the roster IMO. Granted, this is assuming a healthy Rose and only taking into consideration a few of the players that the Bull's could have signed/traded for the past couple of offseasons.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Iggy isn't the scorer/shooter that we need, but he and Butler would make an awesome wing combo, defensively and on the boards. We would certainly be a contender with a healthy Rose and Gibson playing the way that he is now.

    We'd still fall short of winning a title this season due to lack of offense, but with Mirotic coming next season, and hopefully retaining Augustin, and multiple #1 picks coming, things could get very interesting over the next 3 years.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    Thats why a lot of us thought that Joe Johnson was the better fit back in 2010, and before Johnson got one of the most assinine contracts in NBA history.

    But back then we had just drafted Taj, had no idea what he would be and needed a scoring power forward for ever.

    Now we just need to dump the Hole and find a solution to the long term hole at shooting guard. We are certainly better positioned to succeed than we were in 2010.

  • It appears to me Bulls have effectively been in a holding pattern since going all-in and missing in 2010 free agency. We’ve been living through that 2010 ass-kicking ever since. Not one legitimate, long-term talent has been added to the roster since 2010, we’ve just had short-term signings of low-wage players.

    The recent talent additions have been of the futuristic kind: draft day trade up for Mirotic, Charlotte pick and now Sacramento pick. It’s understandable, yet frustrating. Basically, the contracts of Boozer (the 2010 booby prize) and Deng have paralyzed the team and prevented significant changes.

    Trading Deng ended the paralysis. Barring a miraculous trade, this off-season Jerry’s going to have to bite-the-bullet and pay Boozer to not play (the last bitter taste of 2010 free agency), or else waste another year of Noah’s, Gibson’s, Rose’s careers. Bulls got the short-end in 2010. I’m hoping they fare better this February trade deadline/draft/off-season. The next 5 months could be quite eventful. It’s really the first true opportunity to improve the team Bulls have had since losing out in 2010 free agency.

  • In reply to Edward:

    That's probably a good way to look at it. Since 2010, it's been all Heat, all the time, save for a puncher's chance win by the Mavs. Everyone else lost. Things are finally changing, but the Bulls can't get one-upped by the Lakers or Knicks, they need to step it up and seize the opportunity.

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