D.J. Augustin dominates the Celtics, leads Bulls to victory

D.J. Augustin dominates the Celtics, leads Bulls to victory

As D.J. Augustin goes, so often do the Bulls. Last night, the Bulls couldn't rebound and struggled to defend, giving up 102 points to the lowly Celtics. However, they shot over 50% from the field and every time they needed points, there was D.J. Augustin to knock down a shot or get to the line.

It will be interesting to see what type of offers D.J. Augustin gets this off-season and whether the Bulls are able to keep him. Unlike Nate Robinson, D.J. does a good job of running the offense and is young enough that he's just entering his prime. His next contract should cover the best playing years of his career.

Whether Augustin and the Bulls can come up with a deal is another matter though. D.J. may see the writing on the wall with Derrick Rose returning and think his future role would be minimized here. The Bulls may look at the same thing and think they don't need Augustin so much either.

I'm going to go out and say both parties would be wrong for such thoughts. Augustin is the ideal backup PG for Chicago because he really could step into a primary role and still create real offense for the team. Since he's also a tremendous shooter, he could play along side Rose as the PG or SG as well.

The Bulls have done well with two ball-handling guard lineups, but they'll need a very good shooter next to Rose to make this work and Augustin is much better than Hinrich and should still be on his way up skillwise rather than on his way down.

Joakim Noah goes for the cycle in missed triple doubles

He's now missed a triple double due to lack of rebounds, lack of points (twice), and lack of assists (lots and lots of times). I suppose anyone versatile enough to be a consistent triple double threat has missed through various categories, but I don't know how many players have missed via all three. I suspect Noah is the only one.

If Noah finishes out the season on the same trend he is now, he'll become the 14th player to have a 12/11/5 average on the season. 10 of those players are in the hall of fame, Kevin Garnett is going there. The other two are Anthony Mason (would have never seen that coming) and Bob Kauffman.

The vast majority of those seasons were in the speed up era where there were about 30% more possessions though making Noah's feat a bit more impressive. That said, almost all the other guys averaged well over 12 points too, making his feat somewhat less impressive.

It's interesting trying to figure out where Joakim Noah is in terms of ranking in the NBA right now, but if he could create his own shot and averaged 20 points a game, he'd be a top five player, maybe the third best player behind LeBron and Durant. The fact that he's so skilled at passing, ball handling, defense, rebounding, and has an athletic body is simply bizarre.

I don't know that we'll ever see another Joakim Noah again.

Carlos Boozer bottom five in average distance traveled

In a stat which may mean something or nothing, Carlos Boozer is bottom five (in guys who actually play) in terms of distance traveled per 48 minutes in an NBA game.

However, before we completely throw him under the bus, it's worth noting that all big men move less than perimeter players, and the four guys even worse are Marc Gasol, David West, Paul Pierce, and James Harden. Harden sure seems like the outlier there, you'd think he'd have to move around plenty as a perimeter ball handler and perimeter defender.

Either way, that's not a bad list of players, and certainly not one I'd necessarily have associated with laziness outside of Boozer. Plenty of other cool advanced stats on this page. I intend to look at a few more in detail over the next couple weeks to see if there's anything meaningful to be gleaned.

Playoff chase

The Bulls are one game back of the Raptors and will lose the tiebreaker for playoff seeding. With nine games to go, it seems unlikely that they'd jump the Raptors who finished the season off with a pretty light schedule. The Bulls would likely need to go 8-1 or better over the final nine.

That's not outside the realm of possibility with their remaining schedule but it's a long shot.

That means Chicago will likely be the four seed.

They'll almost certainly play Brooklyn in round one. I think that will be a 50/50 matchup, and the Nets will be looking for some vengeance after the Bulls upset them last year. Brooklyn has played well as of late, and they won't be an easy out in the playoffs.

If the Bulls make it to round two, things are pretty much neck and neck. The Heat and Pacers are tied in the loss column with one head to head game remaining against each other. The Pacers have definitely been sinking fast lately though and still have a few tough games remaining on their schedule.

If the Heat take the final head to head matchup, they'll have a one game lead in the loss column (though they've played two less games). The Pacers still own the tie breaker whether they win or lose against Miami in the final matchup. If the Pacers win that matchup the one seed is all but theirs.

If they lose it, Miami has an edge in securing it.

From a Bulls perspective, I think the worst case scenario is to sit remain the four seed, play Brooklyn in round one, and then have Miami waiting for them in round two. That said, let's be realistic, the Bulls don't have a real shot at winning this thing anyway, and if they did, they'd have to go through both Miami and Indy on the road, so I suppose it doesn't really matter what order you start with.

From a team building perspective, I think it becomes more important to make it to round two though. I think it helps lure free agents to have a team that's made it to the second round of the playoffs twice without Derrick Rose and will get Derrick Rose back.

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  • I'd rather play Miami. Chances are very good the bulls are going to lose a series against either Miami or Indiana. But beating the Heat would be so much sweeter than beating Indiana. If you're going to lose, better to lose to the two time defending champs.

  • In my opinion, the distance traveled per 48 minutes statistic is very misleading on the offensive end. My theory is that the less you travel may indicate just your style of play and how best you can contribute in your role as an offensive player. For example, Marc Gasol is terrific as a high post facilitator for other players who cut to the basket. He also is deadly with that one-handed set shot. No need for him to run around the court for him to be effective and contribute to the type of offense Memphis plays.

    James Harden's role is to attack the basket going north-south because he is probably one of the best in the world doing this. No need for him to go east-west creating spacing for other players on the floor. This makes Houston's offense effective. The opposite extreme is someone like Tony Snell who is always going from one side of the court to the other trying to create spacing and lanes for other Bulls players who actually know how to score.

    Anyone who is not legally blind knows that Boozer plays Matador Defense. I'm sure that accounts for much of his lack of distance travelled on the defensive end. However, on the offensive end his style of play has not really changed much from his Utah days. When he was younger he was much more effective around the basket and converted at a higher rate in the paint. He was an effective player then even though he didn't "travel" much distance wise. A better example is Shaq. He hardly ever moved on the offensive end but was a dominant player in the league for years. The amount he travelled had nothing to do with his effectiveness. He just lost his explosiveness as he aged and got hurt.

  • Not sure how old you are Doug, but I remember during the dynasty days the announcers would often praise Anthony Mason's ball-handling.

    I hope DJ is back next year, but if not I suppose we should have faith in their recent track record. With Nate and DJ's success, maybe Thibs can make something out of Jonny Flynn or somebody.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    Mason was a great ball handler. I remember him playing "point forward" for Don Nelson.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    I'm 38. I remember Anthony Mason primarily from his Knicks days, and I didn't think of him as a 5+ assist a night guy, he was generally around 3 assists a game there though, so he obviously always had skills.

  • My first thought on the boozer distance traveled stat was, Of Course, but how could anybody be lower.

    If I am not mistaken that same system, AccuView, or something like that can track a players average speed while on the court. BozoHole would have to be the league Leader(loser) in that category. Any way that system measures lack of heart, hustle and muscle, he'd be in the GBOWR(Guinness Book) HOF for that.

  • Most of boozers distance traveled probably comes from a defect in the technology of the system tracking it. The system probably detects wild ape like gesticulation and flailing as movement and adds it to the distance stat.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Does the distance that his jaw travels when he lets out demented primal screams count toward his total, it must.

  • The Bulls could let Hinrich go and use the money for him to sign DJ. Having 2 ball handlers in Rose and DJ next season would help out with the poor offense of the Bulls. Rose could do the slashing and cutting and DJ can do the 3 point sniping. Thibs could use the 2 PG line up in stretches where the Bulls are offensively challenged. I wouldn't think that this lineup would be too much of a gamble on the part of Thibs cause Rose is big enough to guard opposing 2's.

  • In reply to Tamaraw:

    I would love to see Rose and DJ on the floor together, how could the Bulls not be excited about that pairing for next season. That should definitely be part of their pitch to DJ. Of course, the only way that he buys it is if they tell him that Hinrich is not coming back.

    They would certainly have some defensive issues, but it would greatly diminish the effectiveness of the aggressive trapping that Miami does against Rose(and DJ) which seems to totally discombobulate our offense.

    Hopefully, in this scenario, they could "promise" DJ a consistent 25-30 minutes per game, even if he doesn't start, and hopefully that will be enough for him to accept an offer to remain with the Bulls.

    Unfortunately, knowing the Bulls, bringing Hinrich back at the minimum(while letting DJ accept a larger offer elsewhere) will be their plan.

  • In reply to Tamaraw:

    I think the Bulls will be limited in how much they can offer D.J. regardless of Hinrich. They probably won't offer him more than the room exception.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    This Bulls team basically will be adding Rose, Mirotic, a free agent and 2 draft picks as their offseason additions and possibly letting go of Boozer and Hinrich. I think its gonna be enough to knock off the Heat next year considering that Wade's knees are gonna be done and the core of the Heat would have an average age of 31.

  • We all know how you've felt about boozer for his tenure here. But let me state for the past 2 miserable years, he has been absolutely the Most hilarious human being (including mammals, fish, and birds) in the damn NBA.

    He's mic'ed up a few Sundays ago, still cussing, "gimme dat, mutha $€@#!!". Or that commercial where his mouth is open so wide you could toss a basketball through, while celebrating with Jo on the bench. And this NBA commercial where funny enough; he's on defense, and he grows like 8 extra arms, trying to keep someone out of the paint.

    Funny even more so, I think of You: BIG WAY. And what you would say if you didn't have your bozo to kick around these last few years. It has at least been side splitting to say the least.

    We are waiting for him to be shown the door this summer, slip hook or crook, he knows it too. But there hasn't been a more polarizing character in Chicago since Rodman and McMahon, and I feel that you are gonna miss him when he is gone.

  • this will seem like a prisoner of the moment comment/question, but who would you rather have DJ or Deng at whatever the market rate for them will be next year.

    I would go with DJ, he is certainly a better scorer and 3 point shooter, and he seems to me to be the eminently more enjoyable player to watch.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    The Bulls need D.J. more because they have so few guys like him, but given this choice I'd take Deng and then find another undersized shot maker that goes for cheap.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Do you realize you just agreed to pay "Market Rate" for Luol Deng? BIG MISTAKE!!!

  • It's obvious that there will be addition and bloodletting as well in regards to next year roster plans. And whatever the case, if we can't coax MJ out of the owners box where he's sucked, and back into the uni that put him on the map... we will need that 2 guard. Ya know? The 2 way slashing dishing defensively delicious stud that can manufacture his own shot, while creating for others inna single bound?
    Or will we be tracking down Melo?
    Or do we dare reanimate Capt Kirk? I don't envy the front office this summer since there are story lines filled feast or famine. Opportunity or ogres behind either door. I don't know, but one thing is certain; if they begin messing up again and don't get the best personnel to the floor, somebody has gotta be on the next stagecoach smoking, right next to Deng.

  • As a fan it was(is) frustrating to watch Noah miss so many triple doubles by one or two items. Last night it looked like he was going to miss it in the point column entering the 4rth quarter, but then he scored 9-10 points in the quarter. He already had the assists entering the 4rth(I think). All he had to do was get 2 rebounds(or was it 3), anyway he played the entire 4rth and didn't get a single rebound, how the hell did that happen.

    Not to nitpick, after a great stretch of rebounding in January and February, his rebounding has really tapered off lately. For whatever reason, I always find myself more interested in Noah having big rebounding games than scoring games. If he keeps this up he will lose his standing in that 12/11/5 category. I think that Doug might be off on 14 guys putting up that number for a season. I've read and the Boston announcers brought it up during the game that only Kareem, Wilt and Walton have ever done it before this season, which makes the comparison even more noteworthy.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I think those were the only centers to do it. The rest of the guys were PFs and Oscar Robertson.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Speaking of rebounding the Bulls were out rebounded(again) by a team without a center on the roster and despite defending the 3 for most of the game(of just getting lucky) nearly lost the game at the end with lackadaisical 3 point D, as Boston scored it last 15 points on 5-5 3 point shooting in the last 4 minutes of the game.

    Bad 3 point D, and lack of rebounding, that does not sound like the recipe for a long playoff run.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Boozer gets too many minutes that we basically give away defensive rebounds that should have been ours. He gets in the way of our better rebounders and is too slow to chase down loose balls that would have had a chance to be ours as well.

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