Who plays next to Derrick Rose next season?

Who plays next to Derrick Rose next season?

D.J. Augustine has brought many things to the Bulls since his signing. He's given Chicago shooting, ball handling, and scoring. The Bulls definitely need all three. Another thing he's given the Bulls is a look at what a lineup with two legitimate ball handling threats can do on the floor. In general? That look has been awfully good.

Chicago's offense tends to run very smoothly when Hinrich and D.J. play together, and the pair has recently spent plenty of time together on the floor in the fourth quarter. Perhaps it's just that the alternative options aren't so hot.

Tony Snell hasn't played all that well and is gun shy on offense, Mike Dunleavy tends to go through funks, and Jimmer Fredette just arrived and hasn't had much opportunity. I don't think that's the case though. I think what is the case is that when the Bulls can attack off the dribble from multiple directions and still have shooting, that they're dangerous.

That's what the Hinrich/Augusting pairing has offered despite the fact that neither is particularly an elite dribble penetration guy. The question then becomes "How does Derrick Rose fit in with this dynamic?".

Assuming he can get his body fully right and we see a dynamic, athletic Rose, then Derrick certainly gives the Bulls more off the bounce and at the rim than either Augustin or Hinrich. He's not the shooter Augustin is, but he's probably not far off of Hinrich from beyond the arc, particularly what Kirk has done this season.

A healthy Rose can upgrade either player on the defensive end though he struggled at times with his lateral movement in his brief return this season. Bulls fans will simply have to hope for more when he returns, because if he can't move laterally then it's all over anyway.

Would Derrick Rose play more off the ball? That's likely one of the things that's really working in this lineup. That both guards will move the ball around plenty, both to each other and to other players. The Bulls are legitimately swinging the ball side to side with much more frequency.

Joakim Noah's also been in the mix in a big way in the high post and has given the Bulls quite a bit of offensive creation even if his plays aren't that difficult to sniff out and usually rely on bad defense. However, while Noah may not encompass everything someone wants out of a post creator, he still provides an additional point of attack.

Taj Gibson's offensive game has improved considerably this year as well. He doesn't quite have the isolation presence or passing of Boozer [well Boozer playing well which hasn't been so frequent lately], but he since he doesn't create the massive hole on defense, Chicago can play him plenty of minutes without feeding him the ball on offense and still get big benefit.

The result is that Taj gets better opportunities than Boozer when he does get the ball and fits into an offense more fluidly since there's no incentive to force the issue with him.

The Bulls offense is still lacking plenty right now. It's been improved over the past month on the whole, but at best it's middle of the road. Chicago will count on Rose to bring the superstar presence back when he returns next season, but what Chicago should have learned over the past two seasons without Derrick is that they need multiple points of attack.

Sure, against the scrub teams of the league Chicago can just give the ball to Rose and watch him go to work, but when they're playing a great defense, a playoff defense, the Bulls need to have different angles to attack from. That's ultimately why the Bulls lost against the Miami Heat in 2011.

That's why adding a Mike Dunleavy or Kyle Korver helps destroy the dregs of the league but doesn't give them an edge against the best. Players like that can punish you for leaving them open but don't create a new angle to attack from.

It's why the Jimmy Butler/Luol Deng wing combination likely would have failed in the playoffs even if it was good in the regular season. Neither guy could really attack off the dribble with that much effectiveness.

What the Bulls need is a second ball handler on the floor who can also shoot the ball. Derrick Rose + D.J. Augustin would look pretty good. Derrick Rose + Kirk Hinrich playing well would look good [note, I don't trust Kirk to play well for a season or playoffs to bring him back at more than the minimum]. Derrick Rose + a player not yet on this team that can handle and hit open threes will likely look good next year.

With Taj Gibson's emergence, Chicago doesn't need to worry about the perimeter defense so much. They can play two ball handling guards who are both weak defenders and then run them with Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, and Joakim Noah. Chicago still has an elite perimeter defender and two elite interior defender's on the court.

The opponent is forced to attack and take perimeter jump shots with their 2nd best perimeter threat in this scenario. The Bulls can live with that outcome.

What Chicago does need is to continue to create multiple attacking angles so that we don't see an offense shut down by a mob Rose defense. The Bulls weren't all that successful in learning that lesson last year when Rose returned (however briefly) this season. Chicago quickly fell in the give the ball to Derrick trap.

If the team is ever to get better, ever to win a title, Derrick needs to become more of a cog in the offense rather than the offense. If he returns as a superstar, he can take out a bunch of middling teams, rack up a bunch of points and have a Carmelo Anthony like stamp on his career down the "Derrick does it all" path. However, he'll never get the ring.

Hopefully, Derrick, Thibs, and management all see the problem. Hopefully, we come back with a multi-faceted offense. In the best case, bringing in a star creator next to Rose will solve the problem, but if the very few options for that don't work out, the Bulls have already seen what two ball handlers and Joakim Noah can do. They just need to stick with it with Rose back.



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  • It is probably the one thing that frustrates me the most about GarPax. They have devalued the position almost every year despite the major contributions we have always gotten from it. It makes no sense how they have never filled the secondary ball handler and shooter role with anything more than a vet minimum player even going so far as not to even bother filling it this last offseason. Which many including myself said was a major mistake and it wasn't till they signed DJ that the season turned around for them. That said I fully agree with you on this I would even go so far as to say if they don't fill it again next year the only excuse will be complete incompetence by our GMs.

    Van Gundy even stated that DJ was a season saving signing for the Bulls everyone can see the meaning of this role to the team. Whether its DJ and/or another similar player it has to be filled its not even an option IMO. If you can lockup DJ for the MMLE I think that would be a wise investment.

  • DJ Augustin is not the long term solution, he's a short term stop gap and I'm for one not willing to overpay him this summer based on his stellar play since coming to Chicago. Same as Nate in the sense that he filled a need while Rose was out, and will be too expensive to resign.

    The Bulls need more than just a secondary ball handler and shooter, they need another star who can take over games offensively. I commend the Bulls for how well hard they play without Rose, but the fact remains that we're the LOWEST scoring team in the NBA for the second consecutive season. That offense / defense disparity will never win an NBA Title.

    Once again, find a way to get Melo either via sign and trade (Boozer, MDJ, both 2014 picks and maybe even the rights to Mirotic if that's needed to close the deal) or by signing him with max cap space which would entail dumping MDJ and Taj for cap space and future assets.

    Melo is exactly what this franchise needs to put between Rose and Noah - just find a way to get it done for once......

  • In reply to Dajody1:

    Good points about DJ. While we all agree they need a secondary ball handler, and we'd all love a second star, I'm not convinced they NEED another star who can take over a game offensively, so long as Derrick can be one (no longer a given). There just aren't too many of those players in the game and the only team with as many as two is Miami, and I don't think Wade will fit that description much longer.

    It doesn't matter which NBA team you root for, if you're pining for two scoring stars who can take over games, you're going to be frustrated. I'd say Miami is an exception, but nobody actually rooted for them until they got two scoring stars together.

  • In reply to Dajody1:

    "too expensive to resign"

    Nate got $2 million per, if that is too expensive then the Bulls and their fans are in big trouble. That is basically, the next step up from the veterans minimum, and below any and all exceptions, just below the BAE, I believe. Most everybody on this site is suggesting retaining BJ for the BAE, or at most the room exception, which is slightly under $3 milllion right now.

    Hinrich makes $4million per, so that seems to be the Bulls budget for backup point. If BJ comes back at anything less than that and Hinrich comes back at the minimum or doesn't return the Bulls are better off than they are now(or no worse) salary cap wise. If there is a better solution than DJ and he happens to be cheaper and available, well then let's hear it.

  • In reply to Dajody1:

    That's a very binary view. The Bulls need scoring, so your only solution is to get a superstar. What if you can't.

    Let's say you can't get a superstar. Melo just wants the money and stays in NY.

    Yes, D.J. (or Nate) may not be a long term solution, but you're offering them what? 2 million a year? That's not long term money or franchise saving money.

    It's end of bench money, and for a team with lousy scoring, get some end of the bench scoring would be awfully helpful on the cheap.

    Yes, I'd prefer a star scorer as well, but if we can't get one, I'd prefer a good cheap option on a short term deal than just not doing anything.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I think DJ is going to get more than $2M per season, he's got a much better reputation than Nate so I expect a team to throw $4
    -5M at him.

    If the Bulls can't get Melo im not sure how I'd approach the summer. I'd certainly look to amnesty Boozer and dump MDJ - then try and find a way to land both Mirotic and Stephenson......

  • In reply to Dajody1:

    I like that! Adding Rose, Mirotic, and Stephenson to this team makes it a contender for sure.

    Plus, the Bulls right now would have Picks #16 and #19 in the draft. And in the next draft, perhaps a swap of 1st rounders with Cleveland, plus the Kings pick. IMO, that is a bright future.

    This year, could the Bulls move up into the top 6 of the draft for their two 1st rounders plus Taj? That could net them Exum. If they can, should they? That would allow them to amnesty Boozer, sign Melo for $16 million, and still bring over Mirotic. IMO, that is also a contender.

  • Outstanding analysis Doug. You hit the nail on the head. The fans here have pretty much seen it since 2011, so it's hard to think the FO doesn't see it too. This is why a lot of fans wanted the Bulls to bring Nate back -- to be a secondary ball handler and shooter who could play alongside Rose. Others were distraught that the Bulls didn't pick up OJ Mayo. I don't know if either of these guys would be the answer (probably not Mayo) but it is clear that we need someone to fill that role. Your analysis also did a great job of diagnosing exactly why Deng wasn't worth more than $10MM per year to the Bulls. Thibs likes to say that Deng does everything well, but watching him handle the ball was sometimes painful.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    in reality, he does everything mediocre. Deng is the basketball equivalent of having 2 starting quarterbacks.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    2 low end starting quarterbacks.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Yea, that's sort of what I meant, what they say when you have 2 starting QB's is that you really have none.

  • The Bulls could use the talents of a Carmelo or Lance Stephenson, but at what cost. With each virtue there's a menace also lurking; whether money, losing existing assets and attitude, there's pros and cons for each side.
    My sentiment is at the end of the year the player best suited for a Chicago uniform is Evan Turner. With the size and skillset, he would only compliment what we have here. I am not suggesting that he would be a savior, merely another 'angle of attack'that DT alluded.The cost would not be extravagant and his transition to the Pacers sucks as they players who duplicate each others game. Hell, with that type of addition we won't have to lose proven assets (Taj or DJ), and possibly add Mirotic. This would allow other players to explore different roles in the offense. Rose playing off the ball, Jo continues in the high post, with the shooting range in place.
    There is going to be a transition next year anyway. Faces will be gone for various reasons but it will also be league wide and there's a certain window of opportunity; players with ability that would create for this particular offense, in addition to all the aforementioned players. Being able to keep the talent we have is also a win. DJ, Jimmer, Taj, might not have to go. We don't know what we will get with new players whom we invest heavily in. What if they get injured or don't mesh and we have sacrificed depth for rep. It's been a long year for New Jersey and the Lakers who did just that.
    Turners name is simply an alternative, the Clips won't be able to keep Granger who looks awesome right now. Plan B or C might be the first for players whommight not move anyway.

  • In reply to mummuhwalde:

    Evan Turner is certainly no offensive difference maker, but he can possibly be had for the cap space that we might have left over after signing Mirotic(if we amnesty boozer).

    I've always kind of liked(parts) of his game when he plays against the Bulls, but his numbers(advanced stats) aren't that impressive(actually they kind of suck). Which I guess makes him the perfect Bull. I suppose that we/Thibs could do worse than having Turner and Butler as our starting wings. Is Turner a bonafide 2 guard, or is he more like Jimmy, a guy who can play there, but is a better fit at small forward?

    Also, depends on who we draft this year, as Snell certainly doesn't look like he is starting material at this point.

    Look, among the guys that are actually in our budget range, he is a reasonable option. It will be interesting to see the market for him this summer.

  • In reply to mummuhwalde:

    Turner's an interesting option if cheap, the problem with Turner is that he can't shoot, and I think the Bulls really need a ball handler who can shoot next to Rose since Rose is also unreliable.

    I don't think you can have a lineup without having a single threat point threat out there.

    That said, Turner could still be a decent fit if he comes cheap enough as an off the bench ball handler.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Agree completely about Turner not being a good enough shooter, and he is pretty much a non-threat from 3 as well. Bulls definitely need ball handlers who can shoot next to Rose! It's painfully obvious. Outside shooting and 3s seem to grow in importance each season.

  • Find a way to get:
    A) Melo + Mirotic
    B) Stephenson + Mirotic

    Not sure if that can be done, but it would equal championship, even if we had to lose Dunleavy and Taj and multiple picks.

    (It would kill me to lose Taj, BTW, but for these guys, bye-bye, Taj!)

  • In reply to Granby:

    Theoretically, both of those are possible. Either can be done, amnestying Boozer. Trade Taj and Dunleavy to move up in the draft. That frees enough space to offer $16 milion per and still bring over Mirotic. Plus they should be able to draft a decent SG.

    If Melo doesn't go for that offer, then Stephenson and Mirotic is not a bad consolation prize, especially with a better SG from the draft.

  • Like your analysis Doug, and I agree that what the Bulls need when Rose returns is for him to be a part of the offense, not the entire offense.

    I have always contended that he is not an elite ball handler/distributor, and certainly not an elite pure point guard. Having a second, maybe even primary ball handler would free Rose from having to dominate the ball on every possession for the entire possession, and focus on scoring. He already seems to be more Allen Iverson or Melo anyway.

    However, for the Rose/DJ pairing to work, Rose would have to become a Hinrich level defender, or Thibs would never play them together. Does Rose have that in him, even if fully healthy, he certainly has the athletic ability, but does he have the grit and grind.

    This is going to be a very interesting off season, maybe even more interesting than 2010, since we all knew in our hearts that we had no shot at Lebron, Wade or Bosh.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    He may not be an elite ball handler/distributor, but he's not an elite off-the-ball player either. He plays best dominating the ball in my opinion.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I think Rose is a very good ball handler, but he's not a very good distributor. He creates assists because of his skill at getting to the lane not because he's good at running an offense.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I don't think we all knew we wouldn't get LeBron Wade or Bosh. the Bulls were widely predicted as the landing point for LeBron. It didn't work out, but I thought we had an excellent chance of getting two of those guys.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    c'mon, in your heart of hearts you really believed we were going to get those guys.

    When they ended up in Miami, the universal reaction was that it was a foregone conclusion. I think that we all allowed ourselves to get caught up in the emotion of the moment, dreaming that we could get them, but dreaming is not believing.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    If Melo and Lance are not in the cards the Bulls best option might be Kyle Lowry. Lowry could be the primary ball handler with Rose at the 2 spot. This would also have the benefit of moving Jimmy to the 3, where his skill set is more suited. If you bring Mirotic over and re-sign DJ you'd be looking at the following lineup.

    PG Lowry
    SG Rose
    SF Butler
    PF Taj
    C Noah

    Bench Mirotic, DJ, Dunleavy, Jimmer, Snell, Bulls 1st, Cats 1st, backup C (hopefully not Nazr)

    Now is that a team that contends for the title? If Rose can come back at 90% of what he was in 2011 then I'd have to say yes.

  • In reply to Zorb:

    Lowry is an interesting player, but not likely on the Bulls radar, plus who knows how much he will cost this offseason. He is certainly a feisty competitor, but he seems like another one of those guys who teams are always looking to get rid of, bad attitude I guess. Plus, another career year in a contract year guy. Plus, I doubt that the Bulls would actually bring in another point guard to be the starter. We probably need to find a combo guard who can play the point and allow Rose to play off the ball for some stretch of the game.

  • By the way, since today's topic is DJ, did anyone catch the stat on his free throw shooting that they threw out during Sundays game. He has now hit 25 in a row and 60 out of his last 61.

    It was obvious from the beginning that DJ was a good free throw shooter, and likely our best, but despite watching every game, I really wasn't aware of this streak. I guess, in a way that is good, since when he steps to the line, you pretty much expect him to make it every time.

  • In reply to BigWay:


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    But Rose will never be healthy. He should be traded so the team can get at least a draft pick for him (I would settle even for a 2nd round pick). He will never play again for the Bulls; I am sure that he will get a hangnail at the start of the 2014-2015 season and miss 4-6 months. Get rid of him - he is the Great Coward!

  • In reply to Keith Kostecka:

    go back to a Bears site, You must be wesuck

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    In reply to Keith Kostecka:

    Hate to say it, but I tend to agree. I think Rose will come up lame again. Two non-contact injuries for a young man, one right after the other, essentially, are not good. He may play fifty games or so, with several long stretches off during the season.

  • Apparently, the bozoHole(or is it garbagehole) is now living up to my nickname for him in public.

    "Whether it’s a lack of playing time in the fourth quarter or the reality that his contract could be amnestied this summer, there seems to be a disconnect lately between Carlos Boozer and the media.
    Case in point: Asked to talk to awaiting reporters after a recent practice, Boozer declined and said loudly, “I don’t give a damn.’’ Chicago Sun-Times -

    Nice of the Hole to finally admit what those of us who actually care about the game have known since virtually day one of his Chicago tenure, that he doesn't give a damn.

  • "Assuming he can get his body fully right and we see a dynamic, athletic Rose, then..." That's one mighty big assumption. The guy hurt himself jumping and landing one time, then turning around and running the other way the other time. We can't bet the future on Rose anymore. Anything we get from him going forward is a bonus. We certainly shouldn't gut our team to get Anthony just to find out that Rose is now just another player with bad knees. That makes signing D.J. the first thing the Bulls have to do. We can't keep pulling point guards from the trash heap and making them millions. One of these times that's not going to work. Then we'll have an old Hinrich, and who else? D.J. is a must-sign.

  • In reply to EJMF:

    This has been addressed on this site multiple times: We have no choice but to hope that Rose comes back a dynamic, athletic player. Bulls are stuck with his contract and there isn't a team in the NBA that can simply pick another superstar to replace one it is losing. At this point, I don't think anyone here or even in the Bulls organization expects him to come back the same player he was before, but if Rose doesn't come back a dynamic, athletic player, then so what if they do or don't re-sign DJ?

  • This is one of the trickiest predicaments I've ever seen any NBA team face and call me crazy, but I'd go a totally different direction. You can't bank on Rose (and I'm a huge Rose fan), but you have to consider ...what a Melo would look like on this particular team. I'm not a Melo fan, but I'm positive it would shock people and that he would compliment the hell out of this team. So I'd get rid of Boozer and maybe do a couple more things like give up picks (cause we have some interesting assets) and try to keep Taj and DJ and instead of Mirotic I'd actually try to find a bruiser at a budget...basically get lucky like they did with DJ, but with a power forward to replace Boozer's minutes (sort of, except I'd now start Taj).

    You finally have the Bulls playing with a lot more focus on their front line and you have DJ, so rather than play risks there. Maybe try to get that other creator and plug the hole Boozer creates - I know people think he's consistent, good for 15 and 10, but I am a netherworldly statistician, ex ball player and grandmaster and I know the game extremely well...if you actually assess his full impact across all possessions it is horrid. You know the hockey assist thing? Take the converse metric...Boozer would be leading in it. He does massively careless things that create so many uncredited (to him) turn overs or points for the opponent that it totally neutralizes most of the times when he does give us 15 and 10.

    And Tony and JB need to attack more if they can't consistently hit shots. Those are our weakest links right now. You fix those things and add Melo and I hate to say it, but it'd be a done deal even if Rose did get hurt again (assuming we somehow kept Kirk or some other PG with good D for insurance).

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