Thibodeau's rotation adjustments hitting the right note

Thibodeau's rotation adjustments hitting the right note

Tom Thibodeau has had a reputation of not making enough adjustments and just wanting to do things his way no matter what. Fans have been upset about rotations, overuse of players, and other issues which Thibodeau doesn't seem to see in front of him at times. However, it's worth noting when he changes instead of sticking to the same script, and he's made a huge change for the better of the Bulls.

Thibs has been a fan of hockey line like substitutions frequently. We saw that in the first two years with the bench mob, and we saw that this season for much of the beginning of the year. The hockey line substitution hasn't worked well this season because it's taken too much experience off the floor.

When Mirotic, McDermott, Snell, Gibson, and Brooks were paired together the team was getting destroyed. I created a metric of guys you want to keep together on the floor to create your best lineup. Rose, Butler, Noah, Gasol, and Gibson were the guys I would put on the list, though Gibson has been out for all of the games I went through.

I've then gone through the last three games were Rose played the full game so we can get a more accurate depiction of how guys were used. It's worth noting that with Mirotic getting consistent burn, his level of play has gone up tremendously. He's no loner playing like a net negative player.

Here's the break down in rotations:

++ Minutes with the 4-5 stabilizing players
+ Minutes with 3 stabilizing players
-- Minutes with 0-1 stabilizing players

Stabilizing players:
Rose, Noah, Gasol, Butler, Gibson

Vs Utah
++ 12:00 - 5:07 Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Noah 5:53
+ 5:07 - 4:30 Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Mirotic :37
4:30 - 0:00 Brooks, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Mirotic 4:30
12:00 - 8:32 Brooks, Butler, McDermott, Noah, Mirotic 3:28
-- 8:32 - 5:31 Brooks, Snell, McDermott, Noah, Mirotic 3:01
-- 5:31 - 4:24 Brooks, Snell, McDermott, Gasol, Mirotic 1:07
+ 4:24 - 2:15 Rose, Snell, Butler, Gasol, Mirotic 2:09
++ 2:15 - 0:00 Rose, Dunleavy, Butler, Gasol, Noah 2:15
++ 12:00 - 4:54 Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Noah 7:06
4:54 - 1:59 Brooks, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Mirotic 2:55
1:59 - 0:00 Brooks, Butler, Snell, Gasol, Mirotic 1:59
12:00 - 7:56 Brooks, Butler, Snell, Noah, Mirotic 4:04
7:56 - 5:37 Brooks, Butler, Snell, Gasol, Mirotic 2:19
+ 5:37 - 4:20 Rose, Butler, Snell, Gasol, Mirotic 1:17
+ 4:20 - 0:18 Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Mirotic 4:02
+ 0:18 - 0:00 Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Mirotic 0:18

(notes Hinrich/Gibson out, Noah had to leave at 5:37 in the fourth with injury and probably would have stayed in until the end otherwise)
++ 15:04
+ 8:23
-- 4:08

vs Boston
++ 12:00 - 5:03 Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Noah 6:57
5:03 - 3:17 Hinrich, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Mirotic 1:46
-- 3:17 - 0:00 Brooks, Hinrich, Dunleavy, Gasol, Mirotic 3:17
0:00 - 6:37 Brooks, Hinrich, Butler, Noah, Mirotic 5:23
+ 6:37 - 5:54 Rose, McDermott, Butler, Noah, Mirotic :41
+ 5:54 - 4:35 Rose, McDermott, Butler, Gasol, Mirotic 1:29
+ 4:35 - 2:31 Rose, Dunleavy, Butler, Gasol, Mirotic 2:04
++ 2:31 - 0:00 Rose, Dunleavy, Butler, Gasol, Noah 2:31
++ 12:00 - 4:52 Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Noah 7:08
+ 4:52 - 3:12 Hinrich, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Noah 1:40
3:12 - 1:34 Hinrich, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Mirotic 1:38
-- 1:34 - 0:00 Brooks, Hinrich, Snell, Gasol, Mirotic 1:34
-- 0:00 - 9:26 Brooks, Hinrich, Snell, Noah, Mirotic 2:34
9:26 - 7:01 Brooks, Hinrich, Butler, Noah, Mirotic 2:25
+ 7:01 - 3:58 Rose, Hinrich, Butler, Noah, Mirotic 3:03
+ 3:58 - 3:02 Rose, Hinrich, Butler, Gasol, Mirotic :56
++ 3:02 - 0:00 Rose, Hinrih, Butler, Gasol, Noah 3:02

(notes: Gibson still out)
++ 19:39
+ 9:53
-- 7:25

++ 12:00 - 4:22 Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Noah 7:38
4:22 - 2:43 Hinrich, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Mirotic 1:39
2:43 - 0:00 Brooks, Hinrich, Butler, Gasol, Mirotic 2:43
-- 12:00 - 8:56 Brooks, Hinrich, McDermott, Noah, Mirotic 3:04
8:56 - 6:54 Brooks, Hinrich, Butler, Noah, Mirotic 2:02
6:54 - 4:56 Brooks, Hinrich, Butler, Gasol, Mirotic 1:58
+ 4:56 - 3:53 Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Mirotic 1:03
++ 3:53 - 0:00 Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Noah 3:53
++ 12:00 - 3:45 Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Noah 8:15
+ 3:45 - 2:55 Hinrich, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol, Noah :50
2:55 - 1:52 Brooks, Hinrich, Butler, Gasol, Mirotic 1:03
-- 1:52 - :30 Brooks, Hinrich, Snell, Gasol, Mirotic 1:22
-- :30 - :00 Moore, Hinrich, Snell, Gasol, Mirotic :30
12:00 - 8:22 Brooks, Hinrich, Butler, Noah, Mirotic 3:38
+ 8:22 - 5:18 Rose, Brooks, Butler, Noah, Mirotic 3:10
+ 5:18 - 3:57 Rose, Brooks, Butler, Gasol, Mirotic 1:21
3:57 - 3:16 Rose, Brooks, Snell, Gasol, Mirotic :41
3:16 - 1:46 Brooks, Snell, McDermott, Mirotic, Nazr 1:30
1:46 - 0:00 Moore, Snell, McDermott, Mirotic, Nazr 1:46

(notes, Gibson still out, and not counting the scrub line up at the end when the game was out of reach as a bad rotation since they would have used starters if it mattered)
++ 19:46
+ 6:24
-- 4:56

The Bulls are getting their -- minutes down much lower than they were earlier in the season where we'd play poor lineups for eight minutes minutes straight at times. The result has been a more even performance where the Bulls aren't getting destroyed night in and night out when they go to the bench.

Other interesting notes, the Bulls started pulling players with four minutes left to go in the Brooklyn game, a common complaint with Thibodeau is that he doesn't pull players early enough. Granted, he waited until Brooklyn waived the white flag before pulling everyone though.

Another thing I found encouraging against Brooklyn was the use of a Brooks/Rose pairing. Kirk Hinrich's typically an abomination IMO, so I like that the Bulls are trying out Brooks/Rose together as I think that gives them a better chance to win more frequently.

Hinrich is still subbing in for Rose first though which means if one of our wing players actually stepped up and stopped sucking which limited Hinrich's minutes at the two that it would appear he'd still be ahead of Brooks on the backup PG depth chart.

What happens when Gibson comes back?

Was watching the game with Fred Pfeiffer of the Bullseye podcast and he asked me "You notice the Bulls aren't getting destroyed on the glass with Gibson out?"

He's right, Taj has been an atrocious rebounder this year, and while I hesitate to put all of the blame on Taj for the Bulls rebounding woes, he might own a bigger share of it than any other player.

Granted, he could have been rebounding poorly because he was playing on one wheel too.

Either way, Mirotic has played some outstanding basketball recently. His PER is up to 15.8 after last night's game and is now leading all rookies in PER. Mirotic's improved play has come by getting prolonged minutes without a short leash, and you wonder if he'll regress a bit if he goes back to playing 10 minutes a night.

The Bulls will probably (sadly) have enough injuries to continue to get him quality minutes over the season, but they need to find a way to keep him in the rotation even with Gibson back. I think Gasol/Noah can both have their minutes lowered to the 30 mark which would give Nikola plenty of time.

The other problem is figuring out a four man rotation that works. I don't think the Bulls should play Nikola and Gibson together. The best pairings would be Gibson and Gasol and Noah and Mirotic, but to use those pairings someone would have to lose their starting job and that's not likely happening.

In short, Gibson coming back might have a negative impact on the Bulls rotations again forcing the Bulls into sub optimal pairings because of whom they choose to start.

Can the path to Nikola's success be applied to Doug?

Mirotic started playing well when he got consistent minutes. Early in the season he was playing considerably worse than McDermott but injuries forced him into the rotation and got him plenty of looks.

He was still gun shy for a long time, failing to take shots and took a little bit to find his nerve. Granted, it didn't take him long, but I'm not sure if he gets there or not playing 10 minutes a night.

McDermott started off strong, but his confidence is wrecked. His minutes are way down, he's struggling to contain anyone and guys go right at him as soon as he enters the game. His position usually looks good, but players are scoring over him anyway.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Bulls really aren't running plays for him much anymore. He's now standing in the corner just containing a defender rather than being looked at to generate some offense. In his new role with less scoring opportunities and fewer minutes he's regressed something awful.

It's an interesting debate on what the Bulls should do about it. If you believe in McDermott then I think it's worth forcing a few minutes his way and running plays for him while he's in the game. The Bulls need to get Butler's minutes down anyway, and if they can get McDermott going by the playoffs it will be a huge, huge help for them.

At the same time, he's maybe the 10th man on this team right now and sacrificing quality play in order to get your 10th man going in a year while you're trying to win the title isn't something many teams would do.

It's hard for me to believe McDermott is this bad of a shooter. I expect he'll find his niche when he gets some more consistent playing time, but we might have to wait until next season to see it.

(note, post inspired by Coldfish from realgm who looked at rotations here)

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  • Doug, I don't think Thibs has figured out the rotation, but was just forced to add Nicola into the rotation with Taj being out. And my observations are that the Bulls are playing better without Taj and giving more time to Nicola, which makes me wonder if Taj could be considered a trading chip now that we may have to figure out on how to give Butler a max contract next year.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    This is partly true, but he's also keeping the starters in longer. It is harder to judge entirely because we haven't had so much sample size with Derrick Rose.

    However, his hockey sub pattern of five bench guys is gone.

  • Taj is focusing way too much on scoring at the expense of his rebounding. When he gets the ball in the post everything stops. Someone has to tell him to concentrate more on the boards and stop trying to be Al Jefferson.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    One of the coaches needs to get this message to Taj, and do it soon!

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    I agree that he has played more selfishly on offense and that may have impacted his rebounding, but IMO it is more about a bum ankle and health for Taj. Remember how great and the effort he put in last year? Also, I'm guessing like you hear in most of the Bulls quotes, players and coaches get on Taj when he doesn't shoot enough, so he may be thinking he needs to shoot more. I would like to see a more efficient shot selection though and ones that are in the flow of the offense.

  • In reply to Keep:

    No, he started slacking off on the boards, in transition and on defense last season just about when everybody decided that he was a go to player on offense, which he isn't.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Actually the same thing is starting to happen with Jimmy Butler. The Bulls tried to force the ball into the post with Jimmy at least a dozen times yesterday(Brooklyn) and we got nothing but turnovers from it.

    Lets face it, none of our guys are Shaq or Moses Malone, even if they can score in the post, it has to come in the natural flow of the game, not by us forcing a mano e mano battle just to try to secure post position.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Agreed, I might understand if he was in a season like Jimmy, with a contract on the horizon. But Taj got his deal, he's set as far as that goes, at least for a few years. He's never struck me as a selfish player in the least bit, but I have noticed the offense forsaking defense stuff with him. Maybe he's just so competitive, after having gone through years of playing behind an inferior PF, and then thinking he's finally getting his shot to start only to have Pau Gasol end up here by several turns of events; I could see him pressing too much on offense as a result of his need to prove himself, as a result of the years he's served behind that Alaskan guy who used to play here. The chip on his shoulder may be the cause for Taj's rebounding woes, and this new offensive defenseless Taj is really bad timing due to the fact that for once this Bulls team DOESN'T NEED OFFENSE! We need Taj to do the one thing he's done since the day he got here, or I guess since the day he got here up until about 2 months ago, rebound the damn ball Taj

  • " I think Gasol/Noah can both have their minutes lowered to the 30 mark which would give Nikola plenty of time." I agree in principle, only exception is if game is on the line at the end.

    " The best pairings would be Gibson and Gasol and Noah and Mirotic, but to use those pairings someone would have to lose their starting job and that's not likely happening." Again I agree. I also like Mirotic starting with Gasol, which puts Gibson with Noah to cover Gibson's rebounding weakness. If Gibson squawks about Mirotic starting over him, tell him to resume rebounding!

    Who might the Bulls be able to get at SG/SF for Taj? Or if they included the Kings pick? I guess it depends on who is available near the deadline, but that kind of upgrade could bring a title.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Nobody, Bulls aren't foolish enough to trade Taj for someone mediocre, it's not happening, this is the Bulls team for the year.

  • In reply to Keep:

    If the Bulls trade Taj and the Kings pick, they need to get back a wing player who is better than Taj. Obviously. Otherwise, why do it? The question is, will that SG/SF be available? If he is that trade likely brings a title to Chicago. Probably several titles, in fact, provided Rose can play 25-30 minutes per game.

    As noted below, I previously thought that SF/SF could be Afflalo, but now I have doubts.

    Also, a lot of fans on this site wanted Lance Stephenson. But not any more. Instead, the FO hit a triple or a HR with Gasol - kudos to them.

    So, who could the SG/SF be that would upgrade the team and be available? We may have to wait and see. But for sure it will not be "someone mediocre."

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Ya, I understand and appreciate what you are saying. I guess I'm just skeptical there really is anyone out there, since there obviously are salary matching issues, and most teams aren't going to give away a great player for Taj. Most fans and media have agreed that Taj is basically the best or one of the best (Crawford on Clips and few others) bench players, so Bulls FO would have to find a team willing to trade them a starter and that matches salary or other needs.

    I just find the trading game at this point as useless, since the team is fine now and does not need a dramatic change besides the obvious HEALTH...that's it, that's what it comes down to, this isn't ESPN trade machine to me, not worth considering as of right now.

  • In reply to Keep:

    You may very well be correct that the desired trade in simply not there. We hope it is but it's probably a long shot.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I'd like to trade Taj for a wing upgrade but you're right about it being a long shot, probably an extremely long shot. Fans (and Sam Smith) like to suggest trades, they're fun. But they are extremely difficult to pull off and rarely happen. Think about how often they happen in your fantasy leagues. Everyone is afraid of getting the short end.

  • In reply to Keep:

    I agree with your skepticism about their being a quality match.

    What about Taj for Lance Stephenson? Would you take the chance? Tough to sell me on that given Lance's play so far this year, but Lance playing like last season would be a beast.

    Also up for debate is if the Bulls could afford to bring in a wing who doesn't shoot the three well, because it'd be tough to pull the only quality three point shooter out of the lineup.

    I also think big man depth is important. Noah, Gasol, and Gibson have all been hurt already this year, so tough to go down to just three big men and hope everyone is healthy.

    Given the above issues, I think the Bulls are really unlikely to make a trade.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I agree that Taj for Lance would definitely be too much of a risk as you implied. Also, considering team chemistry ya never know if that would not settle well with Rose and Noah especially, but the Lance of last year would be helpful.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I was hoping that guy might have been Rudy Gay, but surprisingly he reupped with Sacto for "only" 3yrs/$40 million. I mentioned Jeff Green of the Celtics a couple of days ago. He's averaging 18 ppg this year and would be a legitimate upgrade as a starting SF.

    However, I don't see the Bulls making a move this season, too many injury worries with their big men. If you could count on Noah and Gasol to stay healthy, Mirotic looks like he could be ready to be that 6th man/off the bench scorer. By next season he could be ready to start.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    So it may well be that Mirotic develops enough to make Taj expendable but ONLY in a trade that upgrades the team! Hence the probable need to throw in the Kings pick.

    See Jamie W's comments below about Afflalo, including his latest stats. If his game holds up I could see the Bulls going after him at the trade deadline. They might even get him as a rental for the rest of the year for picks only, except I think the Bulls would have to throw in players to make the salaries work. I am wondering if they could get him and still keep Taj. Snell, Nazr, Kirk and Bairstow might be close to matching Afflalo's salary.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I'm sorry but I think the trade Taj talk is a bit foolish and premature. It's not like Pau Gasol is in the midst of his prime(even if he's playing like it), he's going to be out of the picture relatively soon. Taj needs to get back to rebounding, and I believe he will, lets not pretend like Thibs hasn't been up front about this with him. I suppose if Taj put up anemic rebounding numbers over the course of the season, then maybe I trade him, but unless theres some health thing I don't know about, this is very fixable. I would imagine theres a good chance Taj would rather not be traded, considering all the crap thats happened in his life he's probably pretty damn close to his teammates. He'll make the adjustments, and we'll need his rebounding badly when Pau retires or loses his game; Mirotic looks incredible, I love the guy, and he's not a bad rebounder, but Taj's athleticism can grab playoff rebounds that Mirotic just isn't capable to getting. I imagine we'll see a lot of rotations with Taj Mirotic and Noah on the floor with Rose and Butler when Pau is gone. That is of course, if he doesn't get traded. Jimmy Butler also makes the idea of trading Taj less necessary, we no longer have 0 near-elite or elite wings. This makes us much more flexible with who we can play at whichever wing Butler isn't playing. We can utilize spot shooting SF's more effectively now because the need for a slashing wing has been minimized. Not to say we couldn't function with a slashing style scoring SF, but the flexibility is there, we aren't hurting for a wing who can pound the basket, our PG and SG both get there at will. Maybe you move Taj if you can get a true assassin SF from deep who is also an elite athlete, who is also young, good luck with that. Better to keep Taj, develop McDermott(he'll come along he's an elite shooter, he didn't forget), and see what you can do in the draft. Taj's final year of his deal will be the time to revisit trading him. Assuming of course he improves his rebounding back to Taj levels.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    So far the top 3 defensive rebounding combinations are:
    1. Gibson/Mirotic 77% DRB
    2. Noah/Mirotic 76.7% DRB
    3. Gasol/Noah 75.7% DRB
    Team average 73.5%

    The top 3 offensive rebounding combinations are:
    1. Mirotic/Noah 30.5% ORB
    2. Gasol/Gibson 27.5% ORB
    3. Gasol/Noah 25.6% ORB
    Team average 24.6%

    Gasol/Mirotic worst defensively allowing 47.3% OFG%
    Gasol/Gibson best defensively allowing 38.7% OFG%

    Gibson/Noah worst offensively making 39.6% FG%
    Gibson/Mirotic best offensively making 51.4% FG%

    These are team stats when these players are on the floor, not individual stats. Gibson is 1st and 2nd DRB and ORB lineup and in the best offense and defense lineup. From watching the games Gibson hasn't been great but the stats say otherwise.

  • In reply to Jamie W:

    Interesting stats. Gibson's personal stats are awful, but interesting to note that his lineups are actually doing well.

    Would be interesting to see what Gibson's other stats are though for defensive rebounding and not just the pairs.

    Looking at Gasol's team defensive rebounding percentage 68.5% when he's on the floor, he looks like more of the problem.

  • In reply to Jamie W:

    Apparently some stats do and some stats don't, but isn't that always the argument about stats, you can usually find some to say whatever you want.

    Total Rebounds per 36 minutes

    Gasol 11.35
    Noah 10.97
    Mirotic 10.16

    Gibson 7.19

    Thats a huge(statistically significant) difference between the top 3 and the bottom one, a difference that doesn't really square with the numbers above unless the Bulls somehow play at a much slower pace only when Gibson is on the floor, even though he always shares the floor with one of those other guys.

    We all acknowledge that Noah hasn't been himself and that his numbers are down because he's playing out of position more than half the time, and he clearly hasn't recovered from knee surgery.

    Mirotic's numbers are trending up as his playing time has increased and he figures out how to play in the NBA game, suggesting that his numbers could be even higher.

    Gibson has been hurt, but his numbers have been declining since his rookie year when he was at 10 rebounds per 36, last year he was 8.5 per 36.

    Gasol has been about as good as we could have hoped for, yet I don't think anybody thinks that he is a dominant rebounder.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Taj/Sac pick for Afflalo/Nurkic, probably a bit biased though. If Denver are missing playoffs they may look for picks.

  • In reply to Jamie W:

    I would have made that trade a while back, but then Afflalo scored 2 points total in 53 minutes over 2 games! I thought, 'What in the world is going on?' The Bulls do not need another Snell. Maybe Afflalo was hurt.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Yeah the whole Denver squad sucked the first 6-7 games. His last 8 games he's shooting 18ppg 50 fg% 48 3pt%, while bringing good defense. He's like another Jimmy with a 3pt shot but not as good D. He's an unselfish player and plays within the offense(even in Orlando), he would fit right in.

  • In reply to Jamie W:

    In that case, I would do your trade in a heartbeat. Maybe it will be there at the trade deadline, since Afflalo can opt out next summer. I bet he would re-up with Chicago if he wins a title here.

  • In reply to Jamie W:

    I liked what I saw from that Nurkic kid in the preseason game against the Bulls. He moves really well for a big guy. Hasn't gotten much playing time in the regular season, maybe they're too dumb to know what they have, but I doubt they want to give up on him this soon. He seems to be a pure center though, which would leave us with 3 centers and only Mirotic at PF. That would still be an interesting trade for the Bulls. It does however move Butler to SF, which I still think he is, but I'm not sure how the Bulls see that. You are probably right that Denver wouldn't look as favorably at that deal. I also wonder if Afflalo isn't one of those guys that we might sour on when watching him every day.

  • Doug McDermott needs to be taken out of the rotation. He has been just awful on offense and defense, to the point I am thinking BUST. Even Tony Snell gives you a little more on the defensive side, and I am no fan of Snell. McBuckets (what a joke) looks like he can't compete athletically at the NBA level. Yet another miss by the great team of GarPax. They traded up for this stiff and both rookies Denver drafted with the Bulls picks have double McD's PER.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Yeah take him out of the rotation that will help him get better, anyway Jimmy needs the minutes. Far too early to call him a bust, don't get too mad at GarPax, their 30th pick from 2011 is the playing the best from that draft class and is in the MVP conversation.

  • In reply to Jamie W:

    Agreed about Butler. Besides, Gasol was the best value-for-cost FA signing of the summer!

    As for McD, it is impossible to score like he did in college without having the talent. After all, he did that for 4 years running. He may need a lot of minutes to establish his rhythm, and it does not look like he is going to get them this year.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Have you forgotten about Adam Morrison, and he never looked as bad as McPansy has so far. Actually a lot of NCAA leading scorers have been busts in the NBA, particularly since they started letting underclassmen declare for the draft. These days, I'd almost say its a red flag.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You're jumping the gun. Adam Morrison got 36mpg from the get go and about 5x the amount of shots that Doug is getting. When Doug plays 10-19mpg he has a 48FG% albeit on very few shots but he doesn't get anything run for him. The first 15 games of Morrisons career were probably his best and he shot 37%.

  • In reply to Jamie W:

    I'm not jumping anything, I'm simply pointing out to Rusty that leading the NCAA in scoring or being a great scorer for 4 years in college is not a great predictor for NBA success. As I said, since they started letting underclassmen declare for the draft, I'd bet that the leading scorer in the NCAA has been a bust more often than not.

    Like I said, I don't doubt that McDermott is a great shooter(in a vacuum) or empty gym, it just doesn't look like he has the athletic ability to allow his shooting skill to transfer to the NBA. Will he get better than he is now, I certainly hope so, will that ever be good enough, who knows, but it doesn't look promising unless he is the first guy in history to find the miracle cure for a total lack of athleticism.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    McDermott is an all time great three point shooter in college. Morrison shot like 30% or so from the three point line in college, he was a pure mid range player. It's not surprising that his mid range game off the dribble didn't translate.

    It wouldn't be surprising to me if McDermott's post up and mid range game didn't translate. It would be surprising if he couldn't shoot threes in the NBA though. He has the makings of an elite shooter like Korver/Kerr etc..

    That said, it hasn't happened or come remotely close yet.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Vic - go back and look at Butler's stat line for his rookie season. I get that McDermott was drafted higher than Butler, but he will still need time to adjust to the NBA; McD simply is not going to get playing opportunities on a team that's contending for a title. I just don't understand how anyone thought this guy was going to come in here, and start tearing shit up.

    The good news is that it looks like the Bulls will still have plenty of offensive production to get the job done, even without McD's contribution.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    You guys are much nicer than I am. I think phrases like "Yet another miss by the great team of GarPax," are completely ignorant and don't warrant a response other than STFU until you're ready to discuss the NBA like an adult.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    ha that made me laugh, would love to say that as well but trying to hold back lol

  • I agree with Doug about McDermott. The McDermott bashing is halarious. This is a rookie who gets basically no time and some are calling him a bust already? Man, I wish I heard how people talked about Jimmy Butler when he was a poor shooter early in his career!

    The fact is that if McDermott becomes a consistent contributor then it is most likely bad news for the Bulls, since it would mean there are still major injuries. If he gets 5-10 minutes a game, that is perfect for him RIGHT NOW. Once we need him more, I'm confident his shooting will improve with more game time and more plays ran for him. Relax people.

  • In reply to Keep:

    Jimmy was 30th pick and there was no better perimeter defender last season and look at the criticism he got for the lack of offense. What chance does McDermmott have, fans are spoiled.

  • In reply to Keep:

    Actually, most people were pretty high on Jimmy once we saw him play, because you could see that he had the athleticism to compete on the NBA level. That was immediately obvious with him on the defensive end. Obviously, no one saw him developing into the kind of offensive player that he has this season, but some people thought he could replace Luol Deng by the end of his rookie year, and many if not most did by the end of his second season.

    Right now McPillsbury shows no signs of having the athleticism to compete at the NBA level. That isn't something that suddenly materializes when you are 23-24 years old. That is also something that an NBA front office should be able to determine before they draft a guy. That is the difference between Jimmy and Dougie.

    I don't think pure shooting ability is his problem, he has that, what he doesn't have is the requisite athletic ability to make his shooting ability viable.

    The only hope that I see for him is if he becomes a nutrition and fitness freak like Ray Allen did early in his career, thus losing a ton of weight which allows him to become more athletic and gives him a shot at being a servicable/shooting guard/specialist, like maybe a Steve Kerr type. Right now, he looks considerably less athletic than even a guy like JJ Redick, and I think that we dodged a bullet when Orlando matched on the deal we offered him.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I have had similar thoughts about McD.., ways to improve his speed/quickness. The change in eating habits,a specialized weight-training program, MORE THIBS' Practices, and here's a couple more from me:

    1---Let him play 6-7 minutes with at least 3 starters.., for a number of games..., and tell him to just have some fun again.

    2---Run a few plays for him.

    Both of the above to build that confidence. I still think we got something here. Those who are talkin' of him being a Bust are way too impatient.


  • In reply to rakmessiah:

    Good ideas!

  • In reply to BigWay:

    "McPillsbury" is cute but too many letters :)

    McDough gets at the same thing while playing off his name, you could make it McDoughboy or McDoughnot if you really want :)

    Anwyays, I think he'll have a long NBA career, as an off-the-bench shooting specialist if nothing else, but perhaps more. While he's obviously not a great athlete, I don't think he's as completely un-athletic as you think he is.

    I'm mostly bothered that we traded two picks to get this guy. Why not have two guys developing instead of one? I thought it was because he was going to contribute this year, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

  • Give Doug McD some time people!
    I was hoping for much more from him as well and am at least very happy how awesome Jimmy is playing for his big contract and how Mirotic is playing great offensively and defensively with more minutes with Taj being out injured!
    It would be nice if we could be get some starter rest minutes at SF with Taj (defensively) and Mirotic (offensively/defensively). I like how mobile our bigs are, of course, when uninjured!
    Noah, Taj, and Mirotic can do a good/decent job guarding the arc away from the basket when needed.

    I hope McD starts coming around, but he is a rookie, even though he has had a full 4 year college experience and has scored the most, or close to it in college. Hopefully in time he can be a Kyle Korver for us but with more put it on the floor and attack the hoop ability which we see he can do, he just needs to adjust physically and to the speed of the NBA which I feel he will do and at least be a 6th man or well utilized shooting specialist role player, while with out draft pick and giving up 2 good 1st round picks for McD we were all hoping for him to be are starting SG/SF at least mid way into the season along side Jimmy and return Mike to the bench.

  • Circus-Trip Observations

    1--Dunleavy not scoring very well. #2 spot (Jimmy solved), #3 spot is the new problem.

    2--# 1 point above somewhat hidden due to the fact that his replacements(McB and Snell NOT playing well)+Mirotic scoring going up)

    3--Brooks inconsistent, but still contributing quite a bit.

    4--Pau needs to "come out" on guys who are hitting 15-18 footers. This is a big problem in close games , especially when we are behind. Thibs may put him on the bench for Noah at the end of games. If so, we lose scoring and some spacing opportunities.

    Summary of MAIN Problems:

    1-End of game lineups against the Better teams.
    2--Improvement at the #3 positions.


  • In reply to rakmessiah:

    It doesn't much matter which position Jimmy plays, Bulls still need an upgrade at the other wing position to be championship caliber, IMO.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    The team would certainly be better with another starting quality SG/SF - but where will they find him? It does not appear that Snell or McD are going to develop that fast, so that only leaves a trade. Or wait until next year when they might get one with the Kings pick.

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    Forget about McDermott. Unless there's a significant injury to Mike Dunleavy or Jimmy Butler this season, I don't see McDermott earning any more than cleanup mins. He's not a bust, but he's a little unsure of himself vs Pro level competition, and he seems like a player who will find his way after his 2nd or 3rd yrs in the league. He's one of those high volume players who was used to the offense running through him. Now he has to learn how to score when called upon. He also seems like a student of the game, so he's trying to take in the overall talent, the speed, and athleticism of his opponents and so far it has left him in a funk.

    I'm not sure what the Bulls are going to do with Niko once Taj returns from his injury, but I agree with Doug on this one, that the Bulls will have to make room for Mirotic on a nightly basis. Either Thibs can play Niko limited mins @ the 3 spot or expect Taj to be tradebait by the trade deadline. I'm confident Taj will find his midrange jumper and his rebounding will improve, but Niko's improving each game, and One can only figure yesterday's 12 pt 12 reb performance will only get better as the season progresses. Niko is making the most out of his limited mins.
    Overall, Thibs is doing an excellent job this season juggling around rotations, and easing Rose back into the rigors of the NBA. The circus trip always seems to bond the players together, so hopefully the Bulls will end their losing ways in the United Cntr and go on a nice long win streak in the month of Dec.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    I don't think that Niko has the athletic ability to hang at the SF position, but given what we aren't getting out of that position right now it couldn't hurt to find out. Dunleavy isn't killing us, yet, but he certainly isn't killing it either.

  • Only thing I care about the bulls is......

    - they are healthy for the playoffs
    - they can go the Finals
    - and they can win in the Finals

    if that can't happen, many Chicago sports fans will be turning their attention to the Blackhawks and the Cubs when May is upon us.

  • Yo, if you haven't checked out this SI article titled: "How the Bulls Offense Grew Through Derrick Rose's Injuries"

    Get on it asap, its very good stuff. It came out over 10 days ago so I'm sure many of you have already read it, but I found it just 4-5 days ago and it was good enough that I wanted to hop on here and give it to anyone who might have also missed it. This isn't the one I posted the other day from SI about Jimmy Butler btw. If you are weary of clicking links just google the title of the article I typed above in " " + SI, it will come up first. Especially for the more pessimistic Bulls fans on here(there are a lot of you), this article might even make You crack a smile, before returning to your never ending state of dread.

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