Will Tom Thibodeau stick with Nikola Mirotic at the three?

Will Tom Thibodeau stick with Nikola Mirotic at the three?

With the injury to Mike Dunleavy Jr, Tom Thibodeau has played Nikola Mirotic at SF the past two games to a fair bit of success. Mike Dunleavy is questionable to return, and whether he returns tonight or not, he'll clearly return soon. Will (and should) Tom Thibodeau stick with Mirotic when Dunleavy is back?

The simple answer is "yes", but the question then becomes to what degree? Are the Bulls better when they consistently play big? How many players should they have in the rotation? Will playing SF minutes wear down Mirotic and Gibson [who covered some of the defense at the three in the lineups]?

I don't know that Mirotic is a sustainable option at the three for big minutes every game. I do know that the Bulls should continue to milk it until it proves gimmicky over a multi-game stretch.

Nikola used his length to disrupt the opposing defense, and the Bulls definitely benefited with additional size on the floor. They became a throw back team going big when the rest of the league was going small.

It's a match up that few teams can guard against. Especially when Gibson, Mirotic, and Gasol are on the court together. That's three players who can shoot mid range jumpers [Nikola out to the three point line of course] and three guys who can score in the post.

That means the opposing defense is always going to have one post match up that is difficult to defend [likely Mirotic draws the weakest post defender], or they're going to have to switch like mad and wear themselves out defensively trying to always rotate their big men.

Even if they keep the big men on the post, Gasol, Gibson, and Mirotic will shoot right over most defensive threes. It's a look few teams will see much this year or have practice defending, it's a look that gives the Bulls a nice personnel advantage, and it's a look that keeps their uber-talented rookie on the floor developing.

That said, Thibodeau is stubborn. He went back to Rip Hamilton after he returned from injury despite being a cancerous loser, so I won't be surprised if Mirotic goes back down with his minutes when Dunleavy returns.

The good news is that micro-managing minutes and substitution patterns [and the recent struggles of D-Rose] is about all Bulls fans have to complain about.

The Bulls are co-favorites to win the NBA title. Personally, right now, I think the Bulls are slight favorites to win the whole thing.

A Las Vegas sportsbook finally made official Tuesday what NBA fans have known for some time: The Chicago Bulls have surpassed LeBron James' struggling Cleveland Cavaliers as NBA Eastern Conference title favorites.

Bovada.lv has installed the Bulls and Golden State Warriors as 5-1 co-favorites to win the 2014-15 NBA championship. The Cavaliers, beset by injuries and saddled with a 19-16 record, slipped from 5-2 to 6-1 (also trailing the San Antonio Spurs, with 11-2 odds).

I figure if the Bulls stay healthy they probably have a 40% chance or better of coming out of the East. I'm not sure I'm ready to take the Bulls against the field yet, but they have to be viewed as the strong favorite against everyone.

While I think the Bulls might be slight underdogs against whomever comes out of the west, the key is slight. 40/60 in the worst case scenario. There's no team in the West that I'd give more than a 25% chance of getting out of the West, and I'm not sure I'd even go that high on any individual team.

Because Chicago has such an easier path to the finals, their odds of winning [even if underdogs if they get there] seem much better than any individual team out West.

To win the whole thing, Chicago will need to groom all of its pieces. Most importantly will be finding out what Derrick can do on a night in and night out basis. If he can't play at a superstar level then getting him to limit his shots, focus on defense, and pass the ball more and accept a lesser role.

Getting Nikola Mirotic and possibly Doug McDermott ready to play meaningful minutes. Mirotic has already proven he can play and make big clutch shots, but will need to continue to develop. McDermott is probably still the next guard in line afterwards, and it'd be nice to see him feel confident enough to contribute if needed [though he's likely dropped from a playoff rotation if there are no injuries].

They'll need to continue working on refining their big man rotation and improving the pairing of Gasol and Noah. Joakim Noah received MVP votes last season but doesn't even look close to all-star level this season. He's got plenty more to offer if the Bulls can work through the continuity problems they have.

This team is starting to have a championship vibe to it.
1: You see a swagger with this group. They don't always play at full intensity and have an extra gear for real opponents. It sounds like a negative, but it's not. They know they're better than the crap teams of the league and can beat them on talent and half effort.

2: They have a multitude of clutch scoring options and can create points all over the floor. In past seasons, their offense was extremely limited, but they've now got efficient options in the post, at the three point line, and multiple players who can drive.

3: Many of the players on the team have grown together for awhile already. They don't quite have the continuity of some of the other teams out West, but Gasol and Mirotic are the only new faces on the team even if Rose hasn't played for a couple seasons.

We'll see where things go for Chicago. I think they've maybe got a 20% chance to win the whole thing this year, in that sense, I think the Vegas odds are right on, but that makes for a great seasons for Bulls fans.

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    The only trouble I see with starting Niko is the refs. They call some ticky-tack fouls on him, and foul trouble could become an issue. Other than that I would start him and ride the rook like a brand new Maserati (all game long). If Niko logged as many mins as Jimmy Butler, he could be a 20/10/5 guy easily. Even if he doesn't start I would play him starters mins sometimes @3 and sometimes @4.

    I may be critical of Derrick Rose sometimes, but Rose is really progressing well. If and when that 3 pt shot does start connecting Derrick will be a huge threat at PG, and opponents will be forced to honor his shooting range. Until it does the Bulls still have Aaron Brooks. Thibs was wise to force management to sign AB over the summer.

    Hopefully, Doug McDermott will return better than ever by the end of the month. The Bulls could use a wing player to relieve Butler, and Doug could be Mr. Instant Offense for spurts if he excepts that as his role on the team. The Bulls could also use a really good shooter to space the floor.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    I don't think we can ever expect Rose's three to come around. He has awful form and awful arc. His shot is not built to ever be consistent.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I agree, and wish he would realize this and stop chucking up contested 3's early in the shot clock. I don't mind the open 3 when the ball's been worked around, but if the point of the offense is to get the best shot, a Rose 3 attempt with 18 seconds to shoot is definitely not it!

    I know he wants to shoot the three to help open up driving lanes for himself, but if I were a Bulls opponent, that's exactly what I hope he does possession after possession, and would live with a make here or there.

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    In reply to kozzer:

    That is why teams are packing it in the paint defensively against the Bulls cause they do not honor the Bulls shooting (not just Derrick's). 25 for 95 is horrible, but Rose's shooting touch is not that far off. Often his shot is online to go in they usually fall short due to his release point, and the arch on his shot. Shooting gets better with practice and confidence and the more he shoots the better he'll get.

    No one thought Jimmy Butler was much of a shooter last season yet his shots are falling at a much higher rate this yr due to his confidence.

    As long as the Bulls continue to win games, Derrick should keep on shooting the deep ball. By March or April Bulls Nation will notice a more consistent D. Rose. He's been away from basketball for 2 yrs, and is still working his way back into the rotation and finding his role. I'm not as concerned about his shooting as much as I am his costly turnovers. I expect those to come down too by the end of the reg season.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    I would say that his shots are actually very far off. Without fail they are barely making it to the front of the rim. You can tell just by how he jumps, before he even releases the ball that the shot has no shot. It is a lower body problem which is effecting the mechanics of his entire delivery. Not sure how easy this is to fix, especially in season.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    No it's miles off, it looks like he's trying to throw the ball through the front of the rim rather than the top of it. It's a shot he's never been any good at and should only ever be taking when he's open. He currently takes more threes per minute than Kyle Korver! It's just inexplicable why he keeps on shooting them.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Then he shouldn't be shooting the blasted things! The coaches are not doing their job.

    And Rose needs to be bb smart.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Agree Completely! Rose is simply not a 3-point shooter! Rose's shooting form is terrible from 3. Whereas when shooting mid-range his form appears much better (although not so much lately). During his MVP season Rose seemed nearly automatic from around 18 feet and especially around the elbow - that's what he needs to regain shooting wise.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Really the coaches should do some film study with him to show him how bad his shot looks and to help define for him when it is a good shot for him and when it isn't. It is pretty much blatantly obvious that the only 3 pointer he can make are those in which he has the space and time to walk or stride into the shot, thus getting full use of his legs momentum. He simply doesn't have the legs to take spot up or contested 3's, that is why his form is awful and every shot barely even makes it to the front of the rim.

    There was a sequence in the Houston game that illustrated this perfectly, he walked into an open 3 which he still missed but it hit the back of the rim not the front generating a good rebound which I believe Gasol tipped out Tyson Chandler style. Rose who had been retreating on D came forward to gather the tip and strode right into another 3, this one he drained. That's it that's the only type of 3 point shots that he is allowed to take. The coaches should sit down with him, show him and tell him why this is best for him and the team. The rest of the time he needs to focus on penetrating the paint, even if it doesn't end up in him going all the way to the rim for a shot.

    This game is really quite simple, all you have to do is watch it on TV and you can pretty much figure it out.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    If Niko were to start regularly he would start to gain more respect from the refs as they became more familiar with him. It will probably be a problem for all of this season, but maybe by the playoffs he would be over the hump with them.

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    Just adding my thoughts to this statement you made, "but Gasol and Mirotic are the only new faces on the team" Brooks and McDermott count as new faces who'll contribute tons in the regular season and playoffs. Brooks has been just as important as Gasol IMO and once McDermott gets his legs back under him, expect plenty of minutes at the 2 and 3.

  • In reply to Anthony Hinton:

    McDermott doesn't seem like a major contributor this season, you are right about Brooks though, that was a miss on my part.

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    In reply to DougThonus:

    Well of course not Doug. He's been out rehabbing an injury. Nico has seen a lot of time because of Dun's injury. And because he fits the rotation and gives the other Big's rest. All of that has turned Nico into a possible Rookie of the Year. If McBuckets is ready to play, his minutes will evolve and I have no doubt that he'll become an important player in the rotation. Lets face it...the Bulls are loaded with talent top to bottom. I still expect Rose to explode. It's in his competitive nature to demand the best from himself, and once he hits his rhythm, I think the Bulls run away from the pack.

  • I hope Mirotic continues to get some run. I'd like to see McDermott get a chance, too, when he gets back. Both have higher ceilings than the guys in front of them.

    Both are great shooters and McDermott could be one of the elite shooters in the league - one of those players that has the green light every time he touches the ball. So, I'd say that he'd be a real factor in the playoffs in terms of drawing attention away from guys like Rose, Butler and Gasol.

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    In reply to Granby:

    I'll be glad when Dun is back. He's such a streak shooter. Once he hits his first three, they begin to fall like rain. I like his defense too. Remember when everybody said Pau couldn't play defense? hehe, Surprise,. Everybody that plays for Thibs plays defense.

  • In reply to Larry Brown:

    Gasol doesn't play defense, he blocks shots just by being tall, otherwise he is almost as big of a defensive liability as the bozohole. If Gasol were 6'8" like boozer, he'd be out of the league, or at best on his way out.

  • Think of the years when Bulls were the 1 seed ahead of Miami, and it always seemed like even with regular season losses, the Heat were never worried at all about the Bulls. It's like they knew their game would go to a higher level while the Bulls would stay the same, and they really never took the Bulls seriously. Now, the Bulls are starting to have that confidence. They play down to their competition and get up for teams like the Rockets or Blazers...I too think this causes for great optimism in the playoffs, since they are still a ways away from their best games of the season...

  • In reply to Keep:

    I totally agree with you, Keep. This is a dynamite team with weapons everywhere -- really fun to be a fan right now.

    And by the way, Doug, your blog adds greatly to the fun. Thanks!

    The FO has done a pretty good job overall, despite missing on a couple of picks.

    IMO, biggest room for improvement - the coaching.
    1) Rose's lousy form on 3s and poor decisions;
    2) Minutes management;
    3) Overusing Hinrich and Dunleavy, while underusing Mirotic and Brooks;
    4) Nice to see Moore and even Snell getting some court time - they might provide a few key minutes in playoffs.

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    In reply to rustyw:

    On seeing Moore and Snell with more time, I agree. I think that Thibs is grooming this time for the back end of the season and the playoffs. It should be the kind of team that no matter who is on the floor, the Bulls have zero letdown. The reserves are just as dangerous and experienced as the starters. I'm more interested now in who closes the games than who starts. I'm confident in all the players. They're all rising to the occasion.

  • Is Nikola Mirotic a sixth man/impact player on a championship team? That could be the "44" Million Dollar question right now. The likely ROY is distinguishing himself in some ways that few "rookies" can. Of course in reality he's been playing in a professional setting for years. Just not in the NBA. But the second best league in the world should account for something in experience right?

    Another question: 18? Bulls fans? The number of minutes wasted watching commercials in a Bulls game? Nah. Try the total as in meager minutes per game Nikki "Magnum .44" Mirotic is getting on this Bulls squad. While 34 year old playoff bust(four out of five playoff games occupying 32 huge minutes per game shot terrible percentages either in volume two's or threes aka winning poison) Mike Dunleavy is averaging about 30 minutes per game. Wow, is all I can say.

    If Nikola is one of your best players then 18 should look more like 25 or more per game right? Can you switch Taj and Nikola at the three with interior help defense from twin tower shot blockers in Noah and Gasol? Answer: you damn well better because you need to get(and keep) this kid on the court IMO anyway.

    Though the "coach" may have other ideas. "That said, Thibodeau is [STUBBORN]. He went back to Rip Hamilton after he returned from injury despite being a cancerous loser, so I won't be surprised if Mirotic goes back down with his minutes when Dunleavy returns." D. Thonus.

    John Starks. Patty Mills. Trevor Ariza. What do these names have in common? Surprisingly all former or current NBA players who excelled at badminton. OK, not really(badminton a once popular game played with tiny rackets in the 70's - my apologies to younger viewers). No, all are players of low pedigree who seemingly came out of nowhere to contribute in the NBA playoffs with crucial contributions in either reaching the NBA Finals or Championship success.

    Great coaches often "see things" in players. They see a spark or potential and they invest in that player to great dividends come post season. Granted Starks was/is(?) a douchebag. Still, if you look at these guys and many other names out of nowhere you'll see championship teams with such one, two, and three year wonders. Riley, Pop, and Phil all found them. Cut to.. "Do_your_job" Tom Thibodeau.

    Is Thibs capable of seeing the player who is likely more then a two or three year wonder in Nikola Mirotic and what he could be for the Chicago Bulls this playoffs as opposed to Mike Dunleavy? As said earlier, he's not exactly a player of low pedigree. Not if you really follow such things as the NBA draft. Highly regarded as one of the best young players ever to come out of Euro basketball. Yet drafted with the relatively lowly 23'rd pick in the NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls.

    So I repeat in the potential championship run of the 2014-15 season the 44 Million Dollar question. Will Tom Thibodeau realize the impactful presence of Nikola Mirotic on the court for the Chicago Bulls, and commit to legit sixth man/impact player minutes for "Magnum .44"("and he'll blow your head clean off." Dirty Harry'ism really doesn't work anymore in today's gun crazed shooter world does it(?)) Mirotic?

    Answer: He damn well better if he plans on growing the energy of this team and not depleting it with the inferior drainage of the not impact player Leavyalone. That goes likewise for the parallel "dilemma"(ha, ha) with Brooks(20 minutes per game) and Klank Chokebrick (28 horrible minutes per game). WTF is an understatement.question.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    To your point, Aaron Brooks was playing great as the first guard off the bench during Captain Klanks recent injury. The moment he was healthy there was Klank being back as the first bench guard in Thibs cement headed rotation. I'd like to see some real player rotation management from Thibs. And I'd also like him to take a firm line with Derrick Rose whose play is unacceptable. But that would be asking a lot from a coach who let Carlos Boozer do whatever he wanted for 3 years.

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    In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    You know...you've got a lot of sarcastic commentary directed at a coach that has kept the Bulls in the playoffs without his star player for two years, and now has his team poised to take over the east and get to the finals. I tend to trust Thibs judgment on who should be playing just a bit more than what you're offering. And with regards to Kirk, aside from a few bad games that he played with bad decisions on passes and fouls, overall...I give him high marks for his role on the team including defense. I'm totally happy with this team as it stands from coach to players. And for those that love to hate on Gar/Pax...they're the ones that put this team together. We wouldn't be seeing this kind of team with Melo in Chicago. He might not even finish out the season.

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    As much as I like Niko's game (seems as if he adapted to the speed of the NBA) I would like him to come off the bench...but he needs more minutes...he gets robbed of minutes whenever Thibs gets his rotation back...he and Brooks actually dominate other teams bench..... as far as Rose's jumpshot is concerned anyone who knows anything about basketball will tell u he (and anyone else who is threat driving into the lane) has to shoot those jumpers to keep the defense honest..... plus him shooting these jump shots tells u a couple things...obviously he is making them in practice because it appears the only people who have a problem with him taking these shots are fans... however...I would like to see a couple jumpers AFTER some nice drives...not come out the gate shooting going cold then trying to go to the lane..... Im not ready to say anything about the playoffs just yet....Bulls look might dangerous esp. if Noah gets completely healthy...Im enjoying watching this team...but lets not start jinxing ourselves Chicago fans....we see how that has worked out for us in the past!

  • 1--I look ahead to the playoffs and see us as an Ultra-Versatile team IF HEALTHY.

    2--It's about match-ups. Washington and Toronto are way different types of teams. We are so much better off this year in playing them.,especially Washington with their bigs.

    3--Klank, as some call him, is still very useful if he is healthy and used properly. By properly I mean consistenly and at low minutes. He's 34 and plays with more heart than a lot of these NBA guys.

    4--Dunleavy, too, serves a purpose. At this stage he:

    a-shouldn't be playing big minutes

    b-serves us best with the right match-ups. Problem is, he is a starter who should be a sub. But every team has weaknesses.

    If I was an NBA coach and had to play the Bullies, I'd be praying that they had some injuries because at full-strength, they match well with everyone. What other teams can say the same?

  • In reply to rakmessiah:

    He may still play with heart sometimes, but when the entire rest of your body is useless, especially the part in between your ears you are simply not capable of making any positive contributions. If he plays at all, it should be for no more than 5 minutes per half. When everybody(Dunleavy and McPillsbury) is actually healthy he really shouldn't play at all. He should be Nazr's bench buddy.

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    I've enjoyed seeing Niko at the 3 and love watching him shoot (got to avoid those fadeaway 3s though, Niko). When he squares up he gets such nice arc and spin on the ball and his defense against 3/4/5s has all been better than average. He scraps for loose balls too. I estimate he will become an All-Star quality stretch 4. He will not be able to guard 3s with serious foot speed, but with the team defense mentality Thibs instills, we can hide that pretty easily. Where he is most valuable is with the mismatch created with slow 4s (see Zach Randolph - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH51XkaWNT0) that don't really want to get more than 5-10 feet from the hoop.
    I'm more concerned with Dougy Fresh. I'm remaining cautiously optimistic that he will gain some confidence after this scope and be able to contribute meaningfully, but he has been a flat disappointment to this point. He has shown flashes of the dangerous shooting and deceptive driving ability off the bounce, but has also allowed opponents to straight up punk him at times (See James Johnson). Get big, Dougie! Every night this kid has to take on the challenge of getting the better of his opponent. Often he looks like he is a bit lost on the court and his focus and intensity just aren't there yet.

  • In reply to James Will:

    You hit on a very good point, Niko has to avoid falling back on his 3 point shots. If you look at the great 3 point shooters their body momentum is forward, and they usually land inside the 3 point line after they shoot. This is also why they draw some fouls on 3 point shots. I hope that somebody on the Bulls staff has noticed this and talked to him about it, or better yet worked with him on it.

  • The only team in the east I'm a little worried about is the Hawks. The Raptors would be a tough series but I feel confident we can beat them. The cavs are still in the convo as long as they have Lebron ( hype machine ) James, but he is only one player and it takes a team effort. I think as a team the Bulls are a lot better than Cleveland even if they ever "get it together." And any team that comes out west is going to be difficult. So I give the Bulls a 60% chance of coming out of the East, and a 40% chance to win it all.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    The Atlanta Hawks are the Spurs of the East.
    Their coach was an assistant under Popovich for 17 seasons.
    This is just his second season as Hawks head coach, and first with Al Horford healthy. These are not the same old Hawks.

  • In reply to Edward:

    With a healthy Horford I expected them to at least return to last seasons form, when they were 3rd in the east. But what they've done so far is astounding given their talent level. Clearly there is something to the Spurs system, even if your big 3 is Horford, Milsap and Teague, instead of Duncan, Parker and Ginobli.

    I don't see the Bulls having an easy time against any of those 3 teams, and the Cav's are likely to remain a season long conundrum, so I expect that the Bulls will be challenged in the second round of the playoffs and the ECF if they make it. Even 50/50 to make the finals would seem generous. I'd say they would be underdogs to any Western conference champion.

    I really don't feel any sense of destiny with this team like I did with the 90-91 team. Besides having Jordan at the peak of his powers you had an ascendent Pippen and Grant. This team has a broken down Rose in place of Jordan and a bunch of guys in decline other than Butler, who great as he has been still isn't Pippen, and an NBA rookie in Mirotic.

  • Rose has definitely been playing poorly the last five games, but lets give him a change to get out of his funk. The five games before this slump his per 36 were:

    25.9 ppg on 47% shooting (even with an awful 25% from 3) and 4.7 ast.

    And to that point for the whole season his per 36 were actually fairly close to his MVP season except for two things - Turnovers and Three point percentage. I happen to have these stats because I had sent them to a friend right before this last five game stretch.

    I totally agree on the way his form has been and on taking too many threes, but I think he's still got MVP in him. I guess time will tell.

  • Thibs has shown that he is willing to mix it up by having Mirotic closing at the 3 the past two games. Remember Thibs said at the beginning of the season that he did not see Mirotic playing the 3. You can state Dunleavy being hurt, but Thibs has made an adjustment due to Mirotic's abillity to shoot, drive and create or post up on offense while provide effort and length on defense.

    Usually it's been Butler at the 3 with either Kirk or Aaron playing with Rose. Even when the team returns to full health, Dunleavy and Kirk's minutes will probably go down as Thibs starts seeing how all these different combinations work. At the beginning of the season, he did what most coaches do, rely on players he knew. Mirotic and Brooks probably have practiced great and then made key plays and contributions in games, which has of course earned more trust and ability to be called upon to close.

    But those two guys do things that don't always show up in the box score as Thibs and the other players mention. It could be taking a charge that swings momentum. Setting a good screen or diving for a loose ball.

    Either way, the Bulls have enough depth, offensive and defensive talent. There is plenty of season left it and it will be fun to see how it all develops.

  • Oh man, the Cav's just got Mozgov from Denver (for 2 late firsts), who didn't need him anyway because they got that kid Nurkic with the 16th pick that we traded to them for McPillsbury. Heck, as a starter, Nurkic might now end up as the rookie of the year. So far he has averaged 17.4 points and 13.6 rebounds per 36. I knew that I liked that guy the minute that I saw him in the preseason. Thats a big(huge)move for the Cav's. They got a legitimate tough guy in the middle now, who isn't completely useless on the offensive end like Asik.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    The more amusing aspect of that trade from a Knicks anti-fan perspective is that Mozgov was a throw in the the Melo trade, and just got traded for two firsts. Would Melo even get two firsts right now given his declining production, contract and current injury status?

  • In reply to Shakes:

    I'm stunned by how much GM LeBron and the Cavs gave away for Mozgov. I don't even think of the guy as a league average starting center. He's never been some great rim protector either. Gasol feasts on a guy like Mozgov. The Cavs were thin in the frontcourt with Varejao still healthy and I think he's better than Mozgov. He doesn't move the meter all that much for Cleveland, does he? Dallas gave up less for Rondo.

    This could certainly repeat a problem the Heat had. They giddily gave up a bunch of firsts they didn't really have to in clearing up space and sign-and-trading for Bosh/LeBron and thus had no infusion of young talent, relied solely on vet free agents and got real old real quick. Interesting.

  • Okay, so the loss tonight to Utah is a game where we do need to focus some criticism on some key folks. First, Thibs started Hinrich again and moved Butler to small forward. Not good. Rose was 0 for 9 and Hinrich 0 for 4 in the first half and eventually together 3 for 20 for the entire game for our starting guards . Rose was 3 for 15 overall and Hinrich 0 for 5. Also, Noah was 0 for 3 but had 3 blocks. So Bulls shot 33.3% tonight.

    Hinrich guarding Gordon Hayward was not good either. Too big for him creating the kind of mismatch that Butler creates against smaller two guards. Hayward had 18 points and led Utah with 5 assists.

    Butler cannot be expected to do everything. He led them in points, assists, and rebounds. At least he didn't have to play 40 minutes. But he still played 34 minutes in a game that was out of hand.

    Others such as Mirotic who was 0 for 4 on three point shots and Brooks who was 3 for 11 did not shoot well either. Maybe you just chalk this one up to a bad game by all. Gasol and Butler were both just under 50% at 5 for 13, too. So that left only two players to be at 50% shooting: Taj at 6 for 11 and Snell at 2 for 3.

    Butler, Snell and Gasol were the only ones who shot three pointers at a 50% clip or better going a combined 4 for 6. I'm not going to rush to judgment and say start Snell with Butler and see what happens and let Taj and Mirotic work in more until Noah gets well. But I definitely don't think Hinrich should be starting with Rose as the response to Dunleavy's injury. Rose may need to focus more on trying to get assists and rebounds until he starts hitting a couple of shots and be more like Rondo who can shoot as badly but at least has a lot of assists, rebounds, and steals. Still I'm hoping this was just a bad game they will quickly forget when they play Washington next on Friday.

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