Derrick Rose misses a game with knee soreness as the Bulls have a rough week.
Bulls Beat #351 - Rose down
Boozer 13-14 per 36:
Pts - 17.5
Reb - 10.6
FG% - 45.6
Love 14-15 per 36:
Pts - 17.7
Reb - 10.5
Ast - 2.3
FG% - 43.8
So far we dodged a bullet.
Kevin Love TS% this year is .565. Boozer's TS% as a Bull were .542, .549, .510, .489
The comparison is ridiculous, in a bad year Love is still more efficient than Boozer ever was with the Bulls, and the gap between Love and Boozer's last season is bigger than the difference between MVP Rose and busted knee Rose.
In any case given the current Bulls starting PF puts up 9.1 points per 36 on .478 TS% without being a good defender I'm not sure we're in a position to call Love or even Boozer a dodged bullet.
I certainly hoping that you are not even trying to compare Noah playing bad defensively(for him because he is playing out of position) with bozohole style bad defense which is absolutely non existent based on not even trying to play D.
Nevermind that the core of the Bulls defensive problems are starting point guards(Rose and Hangdog) who can't guard anybody of the dribble or in pick and roll and a center (Gasol) who plays defense like the statue of liberty, tall but nearly completely immobile.
I was exaggerating for effect. Can't be saying Kevin Love is bad this year when the Bulls guy has seen a much bigger drop in performance.
I love Noah but he's been awful this year, and although I agree pairing with Gasol is not ideal (which is why I called for Mirotic to start Bogans style before the season) I really doubt it's all due to being at PF, Noah has played at PF before with Asik for example without being this bad. I think it's probably due to his knee not being fully right after the surgery he had on it. If him taking a seat like Rose is doing would help it then he absolutely needs to do that, it's not like sitting this year means Nazr plays like it did last year, it means Mirotic plays.
Actually if you want to argue over Kevin Love on the Bulls, to me the better argument is that Mirotic can do a lot of what Love does but is locked into a contract at 30% of the price. Unleash Nikola!
Agree, which is a point several of us made here before the Bulls made a try for Love. Mirotic has a superior cost/value ratio, which is moneyball. Need the savings to resign Butler.
With Noah and Rose both injured a lot, the Bulls will need the starting SG/SF brought in to up their chances at the title.
I don't see how the Gasol signing made sense if Mirotic was seen as a Kevin Love on a budget. If they thought Mirotic was that good they wouldn't have signed someone to block his minutes.
The comparison was just a joke but the comparison is not that ridiculous.
The gap is obviously bigger last year because Love was the go to option. I was making a comparison of them in similar situations. As you stated Boozer shot .542 and .549 on the Bulls when he got good looks.
46% of Love's jumpers this year are open looks. Last year Boozer was open 32% of the time. Boozer also averaged .578 TS% when he was a main option in Utah. Not saying Boozer is better but Love has been awful so far.
The fact that Gasol is putting up career best defensive numbers while averaging almost 20ppg (good for 5th for centers), Taj career best efficiency numbers and Niko shooting 58 TS% in limited minutes helps cover up Noah's absence this season. His knees may not get better but he is reigning DPOY and we know what he can do when healthy.
Love has been below expectations but far from awful. That's really my problem with this discussion.
I get that people want to see the Cavs do badly and are happy that it's happening. Of course we all want that, since the Cavs are the biggest competition for the East.
But the gloating about Kevin Love feels like unearned schadenfreude. Don't see how Bulls fans can be gloating about another team's star struggling when the two guys who were supposed to be the Bulls best players haven't even played like average starters thus far this year. Just feels like throwing stones from a glass house to me.
What are the career best defensive numbers that you are attributing to Gasol? Surely you are not equating an uptick in blocked shots with overall good defense, which the Bulls team defensive stats certainly do not support.
As for what Doug's saying, I agree Love is a good not great three point shooter, and Cleveland using him as mainly a spot up guy hurts his game in a number of ways - it's a big reason his offensive rebounds are down for example. On the other hand Cleveland (when healthy) were a top 5 offense so I'm not sure how much of a worry that really is. The offensive concerns really do mirror the ones from Miami, right down to people wondering if a coach has the authority to reign in the egos.
Of course Miami was winning a lot more games which cures a lot of ills.
Cavs problems are defensive which we know Love contributes to but we knew that before they started. He is what we thought he is there. LeBron is the actual disappointment, he's not moving the needle defensively like we know he can. It may be that his body doesn't let him play both ends like he used to, in which case given the composition of the team he really should be costing on offense and saving himself for defense. Huge ask for him to do that though!
My feel is that Shump and Mozgov are only average defenders - that's better than what they had, but they aren't going to make the Cavs a good enough defensive team to be a legit contender. LeBron and Love to both leave at the end of the season.
I initially posted this in the wrong place, it was supposed to be a response to today's podcast, so sorry to anybody who read it twice.
Kind of surprised that you more or less dumped the whole thing in Noah's lap. Clearly he has lost a step athletically due to injury and he had already lost a step or two over the previous 2 seasons prior to the injury. From the day that he signed his current contract, I've thought that Noah wouldn't be worth resigning when it was over.
However, the crux of the Bulls problems this season start with the Gasol signing which forces Noah to play out of position on a full time basis. Even before the Gasol signing I always contended that Noah was not a full time power forward.
Gasol can only play center and is a 7 ft version of boozer on defense. Not only is he virtually totally immobile, he is either stupid and doesn't understand basic defensive concepts or just doesn't bother trying to do so. In fact if Gasol were 6'8"(like boozer) he'd be out of the league. Because he has more offensive talent than we ever had on the frontline he is both a blessing and a curse, but in the end, I fear that he will be fool's gold.
Taj Gibson has certainly not earned a starting job with either his attitude or play this season.
All that being said, the only solution as some of us have said since the preseason and you restated today is pairing Gasol with Gibson and Noah with Mirotic and then platooning them hockey style, with each pairing playing in 6 minute shifts. Obviously this means that someone has to give up a starting position. Noah sacrifices starting and Gasol sacrifices finishing or closing out games.
However, I am starting to sense that Gasol might actually be a little too self centered to go for this. Since joining the Bulls, he has made a number of comments that indicate that he is really concerned with his own personal statistics. The most recent or interesting one came after his 9 block game when he was asked about being aware of the possibility of getting a triple double, and he emphatically noted that he always knows what his stats are, that he is very aware of them even during the game. I was kind of put off by this, I didn't expect that from a veteran, a champion and a guy with his personality. Maybe all of the problems in LA weren't the coach's and Dwight Howards fault. Maybe it does take two or three to tango.
So while I agree with your overall premise that Noah hasn't played well at all this season, and I agree with your solution, the problem is a team problem not just a Noah problem.
Something interesting to note in light of Gasol's career night which illustrates the conundrum/dichotomy that is Gasol. At the point that Gasol had scored 30 points last night the Bulls were down 51-50, at the point that he had scored 40, they were only up 68-62, and for the game he had the lowest plus/minus at plus 5 of all the starters. The Hangdog who was our second leading scorer also had the second lowest plus/minus at plus 7, while Noah, Butler and Snell of all people were plus 12.
Unfortunately, I think that Gasol's performance the previous 2 games, against Nene, and the human stick figure Rudy Gobert are far more predictive of what the playoffs are going to look like than last nights romp in the park against the Milwaukee lilliputians. Heck, even Stacey and Neal were making little people jokes. Sam Smith even noted that Gasol had problems against Gobert in the world cup this past summer when France derailed Spain from reaching the finals.
I wasn't a huge fan of the Gasol signing, and I agree the 46 points against the Bucks had an element of feasting on weak competition. However I really don't think he's a selfish guy out for his own. You don't take less money to play for a team you think is your best shot to win then play stat pad basketball unless you're an idiot. Gasol doesn't strike me as an idiot. I think he knew his stats because most players know their stats, some just don't admit it.
I think for Gasol perhaps he wouldn't accept going to the bench because to win a championship from the bench would feel like hanging on for a championship rather than earning one. Sometimes it's a fine line between pride and selfishness perhaps.
I really think right now this is a test of Thibs ... we've given him the benefit of the doubt because he's been so good at putting a defense together in the past. But he's not working with the raw materials he had before. Rose and Noah have knee issues. Gasol is less mobile. Hinrich and Dunleavy are at the age where the ability to defend often just falls off a cliff. Maybe Thibs reputation as a defensive mastermind is a little over the top and at the end of the day he'll get out of his players roughly what you'd expect, which for this team might only be to hang around 10th in defensive efficiency.
What he said was that he was "keenly aware of his stats at all times". That surprised(actually shocked) me coming from him and goes beyond the norm for most players. Combine that with his comments about starting and finishing, and his issues over the past few seasons with the Lakers and maybe there is something there that we don't see in his overall professional demeanor.
I simply don't think that he would tolerate not starting, while Noah might for the good of the team. I also think that he even if Noah gave up starting, Gasol would not be willing to give up closing out games.
Also, the only place where he was getting more money was L.A. Of the contending teams the Bulls offered the most money. I was always surprised that he chose the Bulls over OKC or SA, but I attributed that to the city of Chicago, maybe it was about the money.
I'm not calling him outright selfish, but he may not be the saint in that regard that many are making him out to be. If politics and egos were not involved Thibs might already have chosen a different starting lineup than he has, and those might be the only things stopping him from changing it as the season progresses, and it could very well cost us in the playoffs.
Well at this point, egos aside, Gasol should start and finish over Noah anyways just based on performance.
My point was he could get more money from teams that weren't thought to be contenders, like Atlanta. He turned that down because he want to win. To then be playing me first would be stupid, why not get bigger money to stat pad?
Of course as it turns out Atlanta is probably a better team than the Bulls unless we see big turn arounds from Noah and Rose.
I'm curious, what were your expectations from Pau when he was signed? FWIW, he's exceeded mine; especially for a 34-year old at $7M a year. I also don't understand the fool's gold comment either because he was never supposed to be the sole focus of the offense and unless you were assuming so, the Bulls were not signing the 2008-2010 Pau. The offense should still revolve around Rose/Butler/Pau, without a single focus.
Pau was never a great PnR defender even when he was younger, so of course he's going to be worse at it now. He may have lead feet, but his height and rim protection somewhat makes up for his footspeed deficiency. Besides, I lean on Thibs to "hide" any deficiencies he may have. Noah's current state is definitely complicating things for sure though. Maybe Noah should shut it down for a few games, closer to the ASG?
I lived in Southern California for over 25 years and watched most of Pau's Laker career closely. He's very cerebral, which points to his ability to remember his key statistics and just his overall personality. He did seem to dog it his last season with MDA but I wouldn't call him selfish/self-centered. Regarding the starting/finishing rotations he's got the most clout and pull based on accomplishments and performance. He's got 2 rings, and he's still producing at a high level. Its Thibs' job to figure out rotations and it may still take a while because with Noah's current state he may not fully know what the Noah/Pau tandem can be capable of at full health. Now, my main concern is the number of minutes he's playing. I think ideally he should be at 30-32mpg. Too bad the Bulls can't blow out crappy teams and currently have a tendency to play down to their level, which could help rest the starters assuming Thibs' adjusts accordingly.
This Bulls team and especially its offense still has a lot of work to do, even to begin looking cohesive. I still think McDermott and even Snell need to be contributors for this team to potentially contend for a championship. If in March they're still slogging along AND still have health issues then I'll start to worry.
While perhaps too much is being put on Noah and his injury, I think you're putting too much on him playing PF. Noah and his long but lanky, athletic frame has always been more PF than C to me. It's been pointed out here before -- I believe by you, actually -- that Noah struggles with bigger, beefier men in the middle so I don't think he's a classic C. Also, PF Is an interior position, not one in which you chase guys around the perimeter except for on occasion -- and on occasion, Noah should be quick enough to do it. Finally, great players figure it out. Noah is in no way unequipped to play PF, he's big enough and quick enough. I think were he playing C, you'd still see a vastly different player than the one we saw last year.
Noah's strength defensively was never his one on one defense in the post, it was always his mobility as a center which allowed him to anchor our defense as an active help defender. Playing at PF removes him from this central position in our defense. Additionally while he might have had the athleticism at his peak to regularly defend PF, he clearly doesn't now due to both his injury and natural athletic decline that comes with age.
You are right that even if he was playing center full time we would see a vastly different player than last season due to these 2 factors. In fact he was a different player the last 2 months of last season after he started having his knee problems that no one was aware of.
Noah has always been somewhat of a tweener based on his size, but clearly a tweener who leans heavily toward the center position rather than PF. While he is not a classic center(which the game has evolved away from), I think that he is a natural center and not a natural power forward as do virtually all of his coaches. Didn't he play center at Florida even though he was an absolute twig and they had Horford who was always the stronger player.
So, I'd say it is about a 50/50 proposition as to the cause of his decline in play, 50% physical issues and 50% positional issues. I said a long time ago that I thought he wouldn't last much past 30 because his margin of error was so small athletically. It is scary to think that he could go from first team all nba and DPOY one year to not worth resigning the next season, but given his limited skill set that very well may be the reality of our situation with him.
Tyson Chandler is a guy I'd look at for a comparison to Noah. Age 29 he's the DPoY. Age 31 season in New York looked past it due to injuries (and perhaps motivation on a bad Knicks team), he's healthy this year in Dallas age 32 and effective again, having probably his best ever season statistically.
I think Noah can go on past 30 being a good player, but he can't do it hurt.
I agree with BigWay, the pairings of the 4 bigs need to be adjusted. But I do not agree on dissing Pau, who has been a fabulous FA signing, maybe best behind LeBron. He was a steal!
I also agree with Shakes, this team is a real test for Thibs in multiple ways - managing the bigs, coaching up Rose, wise use of the Gs, including Moore and Snell. This is a work in progress.
As JPesos wrote, "Still lot of work to do"! Agreed.
Pointing out someone's legitimate flaws are not a "diss". I am perfectly happy with the Gasol signing even without factoring in that he replaced the bozohole, but when evaluating this team as a championship contender you have to go beyond just saying he was a steal for $7million and he has been better than we hoped.
I'm evaluating everything that he brings on both ends in the context of can we win a championship with his combination of positives and negatives. My sense is that in the playoffs during a 7 game series, good teams will easily find a way to negate his offensive positives and find even more ways to exploit his defensive deficiencies, which are glaring. That is why I can't get too excited about 46 points against the lilliputians, especially when the rest of the team(O.K. except for Hangdog) still sucked.
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