Derrick Rose dominates the Cavaliers in Bulls loss

Derrick Rose dominates the Cavaliers in  Bulls loss

The Chicago Bulls lost the game, I guess, but Derrick Rose's 30 were about 10x as impressive as Irving's 28 given that he did virtually all of his damage against Kyrie while Irving only lit up Aaron Brooks. LeBron appeared to mostly take the day off, Kevin Love couldn't get going, and the rest of the Bulls stunk in a preseason game which ends up telling us very little.

Pretty sure if LeBron wanted to score 50 with Mike Dunleavy guarding him it wouldn't have been a problem, but instead he mostly gave the ball up and didn't really even attempt to play anywhere near full speed. Whether Love was trying or not was up for debate, but he seemed to get the ball rarely and not do much with it when he did.

For the Cavs the game was about Kyrie Irving lighting up scrubs and Andreson Varejao lighting up everyone. I noted that Varejao's health would be key for them, and this certainly looked like the case last night. Varejao was ultimately 10 of 13 from the field for 22 points and made Pau Gasol look old, warn out, and useless when Gasol attempted to score.

For the Bulls, the lead story, and only good story, was Derrick Rose. This was the biggest "I'm back" moment we've seen from Rose since the ACL. He was playing in hyper drive mode most of the game and one man fast breaked the Cavs to death. He frequently out ran three guys who had a head start to get layups in transition.

He looked explosive, fast, finished strong, knocked down the three, and brought out his A game. The Cavs ended up winning the contest, but the Bulls certainly got that one very important good sign from this game.

Unfortunately, the game lives us with just as many questions.

Let's be honest, Joakim Noah looks like crap

If you're a Bulls fan, Joakim Noah can't help but be one of your favorite players. He's a hilarious individual, hard worker, has an unusual game, plays with intensity, and is one of those "soul of the team" type guys.

You also probably can't help but be a little worried about his play so far. I'm sure he's trying to round into form after a summer spent mostly recovering, but we really haven't seen him play anything close to his ability yet this preseason. For a guy who's nearly six months removed from a procedure that typically has a recovery time measure in weeks, it's pretty startling.

As I noted earlier, I suspect whatever scoping Noah had done to his knee was considerably more significant than the media was led to believe.

Now Noah's historically been a slow starter, and it's most important how he finishes now how he starts, so there's no reason to panic over him yet, but unless he improves his play considerably Chicago isn't going to have that "best front court in the league" people talked about because...

Pau Gasol kind of sucks so far too

I was initially quite against signing Pau Gasol and have since talked myself into it because, well, he's here, might as well hope for the best. I can't complain about his deal at under 7 million per year either. At least, not yet.

Gasol's also a veteran player who may not take preseason with a whole lot of seriousness as well.

So throwing all of those caveats out there, let's be honest, the Bulls aren't getting much offensive production out of this guy. He simply looks old and slow on offense, he's turned the ball over at an alarming rate, and any big we go up against seems to have little problem controlling him.

Hopefully it's simply a matter of adjusting to teammates, finding some rhythm, and getting into regular season form, because if this is what we get in year one then year three won't be pretty.

Rookies continue to struggle

I was in the start Doug McDermott camp for a long time, but I'm finding it harder and harder to back McDermott as the starter. The last few games teams haven't defended him nearly as hard and Doug hasn't done anything to make them pay. They aren't leaving him wide open like Chris Duhon, but the Korver treatment has ended.

He looks like he's getting a little trigger shy to me too. He's passed up some open looks only to move the ball to a worse shooter who doesn't have any more space than he did. The Bulls can't afford for McDermott to get trigger shy out there, neither can Doug if he wants to play.

Shooters have to shoot.

Mirotic isn't playing any better either. His three point shot is still a work in progress. Much like McDermott he struggles with confidence in taking his shot. Particularly at the three point line.

One positive has definitely been his physicality, particularly inside the arc. A couple of years from now it wouldn't surprise me if we saw Mirotic play a stretch five role instead of a stretch four. He definitely has the height to play center and with some NBA strength training could easily have the strength in a couple seasons.

His mentality seems well suited for it as well. That said, it doesn't look like he's ready to make a big contribution out of the gates, and that, along with stiff competition for minutes, will likely limit his opportunities (and growth), meaning the Bulls probably won't see all that much from him this season.

McDermott will certainly have more chances because Tony Snell sure as hell isn't going to push him out of the rotation.

Tony Snell can't shoot or defend

He's a three and D guy without the three or the D. That means he's likely out of the L soon. I wasn't overly excited about Snell coming into this season, wasn't pumped up by his summer league performance, and nothing he's done in preseason has helped improve my opinion either.

Now maybe Snell will still put it all together. It's easy to keep thinking that, in theory, he has all the tools. However, in three years of college ball he wasn't able to put them together to become a great player at that level which is a lot of college ball for a guy to play, be pedestrian, and still become a quality player in the NBA.

Quite simply put, I'm not hopeful. That may not be fair to Snell. McDermott and Mirotic are struggling right now too, and Snell's actually younger than both. I will hope that I'm wrong, because the Bulls could use a guy who does what we want Tony Snell to do.

I just don't see it happening.

Did Stacy King really just say Aaron Brooks was better than Robinson and Augustin?

I can't remember the real quote, but it went something like "He's not Nate Robinson or D.J. Augustin, he's a true point guard" (followed by something about scoring better I think). It was one of two quotes that made me want to spit out my drink (the other one was one Neil Funk called it a "neutral court".

Look, I loved the Aaron Brooks signing, and even though he's been scary bad in preseason, I'm still pretty happy with the signing. Let's not delude ourselves though. Of those three players, Augustin is the only one who's a real PG and can run an offense.

Of those three, Brooks is trivially the worst shooter of the group as well.

Maybe Brooks has an edge in driving into the lane. Maybe. I'm not convinced it's true, but I won't out and out call you crazy for saying it.

However, his decision making has been an abomination, and his scoring rate has been awful. His defense has been abysmal.

Thibodeau had no choice but to live with Augustin/Robinson. He had no other options. Those guys responded with great offense even if they couldn't defend anyone. So far Brooks is giving you nothing on either end of the court except frenetic energy, poor shot selection, and awful defense.

I believe Aaron will settle down a bit, but his poor play has perhaps exposed where the Bulls are right now.

The Chicago Bulls aren't a deep team, at least not yet

They're supposed to be a deep team. That's supposed to be their strength. However, it's not coming to fruition. At least not yet.

With Gasol/Noah still struggling to find their ways, McDermott and Mirotic still playing like rookies, Brooks/Snell playing like guys who don't really belong in the league, and Kirk Hinrich playing like Kirk Hinrich (one amazing game for every four poor ones) Chicago has seven of the 11 guys who were expected to make up an incredibly deep and strong rotation struggling.

Butler and Rose are all that's really playing well. Dunleavy, who's missed half of preseason, and Gibson are probably in the neutral category right now.

With just over a week until the regular season tip off, that's a heck of a lot of your roster to have struggling. I remain optimistic on where Chicago will be by seasons end, however, they'll likely struggle against any real competition early on in the season.

Jimmy Butler to get MRI on sprained thumb

The Bulls still have a week to get Butler back for the opener, and it's probably unlikely he plays in the preseason finale. I'd say an MRI is a bad sign except that teams are frequently overly cautious with players in these types of situations, so it doesn't mean a whole lot necessarily.

That said, if this turns into a torn thumb ligament or something that costs Butler six to eight weeks then it could really derail the Bulls start as he's the only guy other than Rose playing well right now.

LeBron has turned into humblebot

Before the game he was quoted as saying the Bulls were better than the Cavs right now due to their chemistry. Nice LeBron, but you don't really believe that do you? Of course not.

I get where LeBron's coming from, and he's matured a lot in terms of getting out the right public message in front of the media. I can't be made at him for saying it, but I have to kind of laugh. I'll give LeBron some credit, he's managed to keep his actions the same but choose his words in such a way to make everyone love him instead of hate him.

He fled Cleveland originally because they couldn't win. He fled Miami this season for Cleveland because Miami could no longer win. He was a villain then and a hero now. It's all about the execution.

As for LeBron's point, how much chemistry do the Bulls have? No one's really played with Rose in two years. McDermott and Mirotic are rookies. Gasol's new to the team. Noah's still working his way back from injury (sadly enough) and isn't playing like himself.

Hell, watching the Bulls in preseason their chemistry looks to be one of their biggest flaws. It's one I think is ironed out, but it sure isn't a strength right now.

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  • This is the first time I saw Rose play like his highlights from YouTube. I'm from Argentina, so I watched some of the Spurs because of Manu, but I started watching the bulls again in the 2013-14 season, when Rose was out, so not too many games of Rose. I was very happy watching him play that way, it was awesome.
    I still believe in Snell, he can't be that bad and still get minutes from Thibs.
    I think this is going to be a funny season

  • I was always one to give Thibs the benefit of the doubt offensively due to the lack of offensive players on the team. Even though the Bulls still lack that second creator, the offense is very predictable. When you take Rose isolation and PnR away they are easy to defend.

    I don't think it just comes down to chemistry issues. All Thibs seems to do for McDermott is run those baseline screens but he couldn't even get separation from Mike Miller. So far it's looking like our 4th qtr offense for the season is again going to be Rose.

  • This seemed like a throw-back gme from 3 seasons ago. No one was a dynamic scorer besides Rose! This has to get fixed for the Bulls to take down the Cavs in the ECF.

    Unfortunately, it does not appear that M or M are anywhere close to becoming deadly scorers. The Bulls got these guys for firepower. Hopefully, 40 0r 50 games will be enough for them to blossom. If not, no title this season.

    I frankly do not get their lousy shooting because both have been shooters for years and solid players in big games. The ball is the same size, the hoop the same size and height. Why all the jitters? The coaches need to work with these guys!

    Another problem - LeBron and Love both had off nights, but the Cavs still won. Would the Bulls have won with Butler healthy? Probably. But how often will LeBron and Love both be off? 20 ppg from Butler will help, but the Bulls still need a lot more scoring.

    The bench won the game against the Hornets, but not last night. This team is not about Hinrich, Brooks, or Snell, tho they may help. It's about the guys in front of them, and like you wrote, Doug, only two of them look solid so far!

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I know that it was just one preseason game, but the Bulls may well be able to neutralize Love(at least, offensively). Lebron and Irving will do the damage against us, just like Lebron and Wade did, with Bosh being more of a role player.

  • I see the bulls bigs aren't worried about the last couple of preseason games, especially Gasol. I think Noah just has to get into his rhythm with coming off of off season sugery. Gasol is a two time champion so he knows when to get it into gear no matter how old he is. He will contribute when it matters. Rose imo has been playing at a nice pace during preseason ignoring his critics until this particular game when he showed what he's capable of. I still believe this bulls team will struggle to score at times but if Butler can stay healthy and continue his offensive scoring contributions, the team should be ok. Looking forward to the upcoming season and the fight between the Bulls and Cavs for the central division crown.

  • Gasol rarely gets the ball in the low post. that is why he is here, not to shoot jumpers 18 feet out or have to put the ball on the floor to get into the paint. this team needs to play inside out instead of moving the ball around the perimeter for 20 seconds and chucking up a shot

  • I live on the East Coast so this is the first chance I have had to see the Bulls this pre-season. On top of that I only caught the fourth quarter of last night's game. So, based on that incredibly small sample size here are a few random thoughts.

    1. Rose looked much more explosive than I expected. I do find myself holding my breath though every time he makes a hard cut or is in traffic.
    2. Mirotic looks like he has a very quick release on his three-pointers. However, it seems to me that he will need extended minutes to develop a rhythm. However, Thibs will likely have him on a short leash barring an injury to one of the top three big men, the type of situation where Thibs will pull him after four minutes unless Mirotic plays perfectly. Thus, it will be a frustrating year for Mirotic and Bulls fans. I almost would like a non-serious injury to happen to the top three from time to time so that Thibs has to use him. I think he would benefit greatly from knowing he will get his minutes.
    3. Taj thinks he is Hakeem Olajuwon when he gets the ball in the low post. It is almost embarrassing to see him operate as if he is some alpha scorer. It totally messes up what little offensive flow the second unit has.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    I was watching the game with the Cavs broadcast team and they pointed out something very interesting. When Mirotic puts it on the floor he always goes to his left. If you look at the game again you will see they were exactly right. This will be a problem as he will be easily defended unless he can vary his attack going to the basket.

    Tony Snell is a lights-out shooter in warm-ups but a terrible shooter under game conditions. Look at YouTube clips of him in the gym and then watch him during the game. It's like looking at a different player. He is too slow in getting his shot off and his form is not the same when he is being defended aggressively-which is what the NBA is all about.

    This may sound heretical, but I would put Noah in the second unit with Doug M. and Mirotic. Jo has always been an energy guy and can provide the defense, rebounding, and veteran leadership to get the M&M boys going offensively. So far, I am not thrilled with Pau and Noah on the floor together.

    Yes, I am happy with Rose's performance. But if the rest of the team starts standing around waiting for Rose to get into beast mode we are going to see a stagnant offense. Do we really want to see this again?

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Starting Gasol with Noah could turn into a season long problem. We would definitely be a more/better balanced team by splitting them up as both are centers and both Taj and Niko are power forwards. I just don't see it happening though. How do you bench the defensive player of the year and a first team all NBA center?

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Yea, Taj has been out of control since last season when he first sniffed a little success in the post. He is not now, nor will he ever be a go to low post scorer. He just needs to take whatever he gets in the flow of the game instead of forcing everything like a Bull in a china shop.

  • The Bulls offense looks completely disjointed, predictable and basically a one man's show, where we have either Dunlevey or McBuckets running like a chicken and taking bad shots. Taj wants to be a hero and go on isolation with 3 guys on him, which is insane. Everyone besides Rose is afraid of taking shots when they are open. This team is going nowhere with this train-rack offensive on a one-man's show. The ball has to move much better and the open guy has to shoot the ball, no matter if he makes it or not. M&M are not being used as they should. Mitotic could be a deadly pick-and-roll, besides 3 point shooter, but I haven't seen any plays for him. McBuckets should be explored more on corner 3's or post-ups against smaller guards. Everyone should be moving when either Noah or Pau has the ball so they can either pass it or score it. We have a lot to improve to be considered contenders, as at this point, I am with Doug and don't think we have any strength other than Rose.

  • This team is built like the Kings team that got robbed of beating Shaq and Kobe in their prime in 2002. Our back court is better than that team (Christie, Bibby), but there are a few ways we're worse.

    1. Noah and Gasol are both like Divac, and we have no Webber (big guy that can score). The guy that has the potential to be this is Mirotic. He needs to play more and be a focal point on offense.

    2. We have no Peja. McDermott should be that guy, but he needs extended minutes and not be relegated to such a small role on offense.

    3. Taj is a better version of Scott Pollard, but he thinks he's Chris Webber.

    4. Hinrich should be Bobby Jackson (backup point guard), but he's actually more in a Doug Christie role.

    Long story short, the path to becoming a good team is obvious. Give up the pipe dream that the team can win a title this year. Give McDermott and Mirotic important roles. Bench Brooks. Remind Taj that he's a role player. And play Hinrich at his natural position.

    Instead of imitating the Kings, we're pretending to be the Spurs even though no one on our roster can remotely do what Ginobili does offensively.

  • Whether or not you like Lebron, you cannot deny that he is savvy, smart, calculating, and politically in-tune.

  • I don't see what everyone's worried about. The Bulls have a nice mix of young and old. Old washed up has beens(Hinrich mostly never was) in Gasol, Dunleavy, and Klank. And the young "NBA ready" M&M "Boys" which sounds accurate as they mostly appear to be boys among men. McDermott's shots missing the entire basket and backboard? Not to mention his hot potato discards almost every time he receives the ball accept at the arc. Mirotic camped out perpetually for threes right now what is he really going to give you offensively? And Tony Snell your bus ticket to the can't shoot to save your life D-League is waiting at Gar's office.

    Somewhat joking aside, granted Doug and Nikola could be solid or better players some day, but this season?? I suppose it's possible. Noah so far looks almost as old as Pau, and Taj is..? At least they will be solid. Gasol though he can't move a sixth grader to get post position let alone NBA defenders. Boozer 2.0 jump shooter.

    Derrick can look as good as MVP Derrick, but will it really matter with this cast of White Shadows? Maybe preseason, but with regular season right around the corner, and Thibsy taking Rose out for interminable stretches while Irving thumps his chest and then throws Derrick back in for mop up duty in the last 5 minutes? He should have just let him go a little longer to continue to own Irving, and then given him the rest of the night off. Luv ya Thibs!<Derrick.

  • By the All Star break, fans will be talking playoffs. No worries yet.

  • Sound the alarm! Gasol and Noah are washed up! They're done! Mirotic and McDermott suck!....

    Everyone fucking relax. This is a new team, contrary to the ignorant noise out there saying the Bulls have a large advantage over Cleveland because its core has gone through the playoff grinder together. Well, Rose hasn't played with these guys in years, Gasol never has, and you've got two rookies who will be expected to contribute as the season progresses, This Bulls team will take longer to reach its potential than any Bulls squad from seasons past. Take a step back and calm down, Gasol isn't out there pushing himself in the preseason and I'm ecstatic that he isn't, Noah even has reserved himself which is good to see from him. I mean, for Christ's sake, Gasol showed his still high level of talent this past Summer, nothing happened between then and now. To draw any conclusions from preseason ball aside from how rookies look against pro size and speed is truly silly and always lends to bad ignorant predictions. Good points about Lebron though, the guy is smart, its incredible to see how much he learned from Miami and how he's applying those lessons learned to this Cavs run. As far as the Bulls go, calm down Doug, to postulate that Noah might be severely diminished, even the claim that Pau is slower than last year, its just blowing your analytical load far too early. This team isn't deep? Have you looked around the NBA? Everything is relative, and its safe to assume McDermott and Mirotic will improve immensely with experience; the fact that they find struggles early on should provide zero surprise, and in the end is a necessity. Rose looks athletic, maybe as athletic as he'd be without the injuries ever happening, this alone makes the preseason a positive thusfar. It's going to take Thibs time to get these guys playing together, this is as new a team as he's had to get coalescing since he arrived here. This is not a finished package, this is a complicated roster that will require trial, error, failure, success, and most of all game after game before it shows itself for what it is.

  • Doug and the rest of you guys - I think the Bulls should be fine in the end as long as they stay healthy. Thib's teams can start somewhat slow. In 2010-2011, the Rose MVP year, they were barely over .500 about 20 games in before going on a tear.

    It's preseason so we all need to get a grip. Gasol is 10x better than Boozer. Rose and Butler look great. Noah is coming off injury, so he'll play his way back into form soon enough and we have more depth in the front court than anyone else.

    Just remember that October and November mean zip and chemistry will improve. Garpax has added too many offensive-minded players for this Bulls team to not improve in that category.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I agree with you Granby!

  • In reply to Granby:

    We don't have that frontcourt advantage we had over the Heat in 10-11. It could again end up being a Rose oriented offense by the time the Conf. Finals are here.

  • Ya'All

    A few observations:

    1--Very non-playoff type feel for this game.

    2--Gasol and Noah out-energized by Varejao(disappointing)

    3--Butler very important to this team, defense obviously, but we need some offense from him too.(Letting him go would be a big mistake)

    4--McDermott and Mirotic still works-in-progress and will need time(minutes). I am curious to see how Thibs Grows McD with minutes and placement with Rose.

    5--Gasol and Noah need time too.

    6--Snell obviously lacks confidence.

    Summary to date
    Lots of potential but will take lots of time to grow, gel, and become consistent.

  • In reply to rakmessiah:

    Noah barely played against Varejao, maybe not at all. Varejao destroyed Taj, particularly in the first half, then he got Gasol in the second.

    I pointed out yesterday(before the game) that when healthy(not that often) it could be argued that Varejao has out performed Noah, and that he was superior(maybe vastly) to Taj. I'm sure that he has always out energied Gasol when they've matched up in the past. Energy is not Gasol's game.

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    Does anyone here realize it's only preseason?

    It's funny how everyone one changes their opinions after a couple of worthless pre season games.

    Just not that long ago almost everyone was saying Rose needs to look like his old self MVP so we can win a championship. Well he sure as hell looks better than everyone expected him to look. Yesterday he definitely was playing as him old self. Yet everyone is changing their stories now that everyone else sucks on the rooster and we will never win a championship with this team! It's just too funny to see everyone already changing their believes on this blog after few pre season games. Isn't pre season NOT about winning games but testing out plays, players and rotations?

    Rose is back. Buttler is a beast. Taj looks great and is attacking and shooting his jumper (something everyone always wanted him to do but now everyone complains that he is trying to do to much)...Noah always starts out the season slow and becomes a great player half way thru the season once his emotions start to kick in. Kirk is washed up and sucks as for the last couple of seasons, which we all know about. Gasol is new addition and is getting the feel for the team and finding his role. M&M are new to NBA. They will be fine. They will be better then fine once their hype goes down a bit, they will relax and do great. Brooks should not see the court as much as he has.

    Everyone should relax. Stick to your hopes of championship and stay positive. It will be a great season. Only worry should be Cleaveland right now. We got the East and we're in Finals if we can beat Cleaveland. This should be our only worry.

  • It was encouraging to see Derrick Rose looking like Derrick Rose. I like his new style of play and while it may be a bit predictable, not too many guys can stop him anyway. Basically he drives the lane on the break, try to get his man off the dribble and drive the lane, and other than that looks for the jumper or finds an open teammate. I'm not too worried about Gasol and Noah, I'm sure eventually they'll pull it together. Having said all that I think Butler is Key. If he can truly step up his offensive game like he's demonstrated thus far in preseason, it could be the difference from the Bulls being a good team and a great team this season. As for M&M brothers it appears it's going to take them a bit more time, and as for Snell I don't see much of a ceiling for him. At best he's Larry Hughes 2.0

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    At best Snell is Larry Hughes jock strap 2.0.

  • Wow, I guess that you had a lot to get off your chest before your trip(India?). One of the reasons that Noah hasn't looked very good so far besides the injury and being a slow starter is that he is essentially playing PF full time. I have always maintained that doing so takes him away from doing most of the things that he does best especially on the defensive end. It might not be as bad as when he literally had to carry the bozohole around, but playing PF to Gasol's center is going to limit his game just the same. While Noah can play some PF he is really a pure center, albeit an undersized one. So as long as Gasol insists on starting Noah's overall effectiveness will suffer. We'll see if the Bulls overall effectiveness suffers also. If you really wanted to balance out the frontline, Noah and Mirotic should be paired together, with Gasol and Gibson pairing up. Or you could go defense(Noah/Taj), offense(Gasol/Mirotic). Not going to happen because of team politics.

    Notice that you mentioned Gasol looking bad against Varejao, however you didn't mention Varejao destroying Taj like he was Carlos boozer.

    I agree that Gasol hasn't looked good on offense at all, but I'd bet that his overall impact on the game has still been vastly more positive than boozer's ever was. Gasol also happens to be one of those guys who never looks particularly good even when he is playing well. He always looks old, slow and out of shape, stylistically, he's definitely got a little Hangdog in him.

    Mirotic has clearly shown more signs of being a real NBA player than McKorver. My sense is that he just has to get a feel for the NBA game, get his confidence up and he'll be fine. His defense is way better than any of us could have hoped for. Love tried to post him up in the 4rth and Mirotic played him perfectly and shut him down. He looks like a guy who was taught to play the game the right way, you know a guy that the Spurs would love. Right now he is simply too unselfish, a problem that should be easy to fix with experience.

    Right now McKorver simply isn't ready to be much more than a role player as the designated sniper. He might not ever be more than that, we'll have to see how he develops physically/athletically. Not that Dunleavy is all that exciting as a starter either.

    While I agree with you that Brooks isn't as good of a PG as DJ was, and that he hasn't played all that well, I'm surprise how critical of him you've been. Personally, I'd still prefer to have them both, rather than Hangdog. He is a professional NBA player as you can get for your 9th or 10th man. Really, whats the difference between Brooks and Ben Gordon other than the fact that he's better at just about everything(especially effort) than Ben Gordon was with the possible exception of streak shooting(or 3 point shooting). It is way too early to judge what he is going to be, remember we didn't love the other guys right away either. Honestly, you are borderline crazy putting Brooks in the same camp with Snell who belongs in the D league or summer league. I get what Stacey was trying to say, even if he went a little bit overboard.

    Hopefully Butler's thumb is just jammed/sprained. I asked last night after the game if Jimmy isn't our second most important player after Rose and ahead of Noah. Lucky for us that Lebron was in cruise control last night or we would have really notice Butlers absence.

    Unless the M&M boys become legitimate players during the course of the season, you are correct that we are not really a deep team. It also might be the case that starting Gasol with Noah will hurt our depth all season.

    Last night did nothing to alleviate my concern that the Cavs simply have too much offensive talent for us to beat them in a 7 game series. Maybe one of the West Coast teams can handle them, but to me they are the class of the east and the Bulls may be closer to the pack than we are to them.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    If I recall correctly, one of the reasons Pau signed with the Bulls instead of the other teams courting him was because of assurances that he would play a major role on the team. I frankly don't remember if he was assured that he would be a starter. Moreover, Thibs stated that Pau was more effective when he played about 37 minutes a game.

    So, expect Pau to be a fixture. And, as you say, there is no way Noah is not going to get heavy minutes as a first team all NBA center and Defensive Player of the Year. However, I agree that Gasol and Noah are not the ideal pairing. Both Pau an Noah are at their best with their backs to the basket. Noah's talents are wasted at the four position and I don't want to see Gasol hoisting up jumpers a la Boozer when he can use his size near the basket.

    I agree that the solution is to break them up. To assure that there are enough minutes to go around for Mirotic and Taj, I am reversing my previous position and advocating moving Niko to small forward. He is only about an inch taller than MDJ and his handles appear equal to both Dunleavy and Dougie. He is an excellent passer and IMO he is as quick laterally as the other two.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    While Gasol and Noah might be better off split up from each other, great players will find a way to play together.

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