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.
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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