Bulls defense does them in again, Derrick won't commit to return

Bulls defense does them in again, Derrick won't commit to return

After playing the Grizzlies tough for 44 minutes, the Bulls failed on both ends of the floor in the critical moments of last night's game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Tony Snell gave the Bulls a huge lift in the fourth quarter when Chicago looked on the verge of falling apart. He had three triples, the final of which actually gave Chicago a brief three point lead 88-85.

Tom Thibodeau decided to give him a rest at that point, though for just a minute, but the Bulls only had a Nikola Mirotic three the rest of the way. After that point, Chicago was just 1/8 from the field with three turnovers. Memphis was considerably better.

Did the Bulls lose momentum at that switch and with the Noah sub a minute later? Did they just run out of gas after closing the gap on a 13 point lead? It's hard to say.

The interesting news for Bulls fans is that up until that last stretch the Bulls were shooting 50% from the three point line and 47% from the field. It was their second night in a row of pretty tremendous offense even without Butler/Rose.

This gets down to the larger problem that the Bulls still aren't anywhere near where they need to be defensively and Jimmy Butler doesn't figure to make that big a difference in the defense.

Nikola Mirotic continues his strong play for Chicago

One thing you can feel great about recently as a Bulls fan is the play of Nikola Mirotic. If you combine that with the play of Jimmy Butler, then the Bulls still have a couple of pretty young assets that you can put together to rebuild this franchise around.

The Bulls have plenty of rebuilding to do if they tear this thing down, but they aren't without some pretty promising assets. I could trivially see Mirotic becoming a consistent all-star caliber player with a few adjustments in his game.

The great thing about what Mirotic has shown lately is all of the inside play. With a little more seasoning about when to use the pump fake and when to just go, Mirotic will become an even more dominant force.

However, even now, he regularly gets into the paint to draw fouls. His finishing is improving as well. His three point shooting actually hasn't been much of a strength yet which is nice because I think with another year of adjusting to the NBA three point line it will come along just fine.

The Bulls have a very faint shot at a title in the next two years, but they also have some pieces to keep around and help them after that window closes to help them open a new one.

Derrick Rose setting the table for disappointment

We'll see what happens with Derrick's injury. He sounded relatively upbeat, but he wasn't going to guarantee he'll be back despite the fact the season ends a week after the long estimate for his recovery time.

There's a part of me that wants to be mad at Rose and say "how can you not be back?", but as I've said before, I think Derrick has proven to be a very slow healer. After taking longer to return than a normal person (let alone an elite athlete) from his past two surgeries why would anyone expect him to hit the standard time table this time?

It's easy to blame Rose and say he's not motivated or not trying or doesn't care, and there are times I wonder if those things are true, but it strikes me as very clear that he's also a guy who has a fragile body which doesn't heal quickly.

In that sense, when Rose refuses to promise a return, it isn't because he doesn't want to return. It isn't because he doesn't think his team is good enough to have a shot so why bother. I think Derrick realizes the importance of being back on the court right now.

When he doesn't promise to return now, it's because he knows he can't make that promise. I'm sure he hopes to return, and I'm sure he knows what's at stake. However, I don't think it's a matter of choice with him.

I think his body has really simply may not be up to the task, and he knows it.

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  • I was a bit disappointed with Rose's non-committal to come back this season. But, hopefully this is just a way to manage the fans expectations in case he doesn't come back.

    The Bulls defense and turnover issues may be a result of lack of chemistry from this new line ups. This is very noticeable and that's why the team has spurs of great possessions with bad defenses and turnovers. I am hoping that with more play they might be able to correct these issues.

    The championship window for the Bulls is nearly closed, but the future looks bright with the cores of Niko, Butler, Snell and McD. If the Bulls can get a solid PG and big man either from draft or FA, this team will still be in playoffs conversation for the foreseeable future.

  • When I listened to Derrick's comments about using his time off to "become a better business man" I just thought, "Why did I even bother?" Do I think Derrick Rose is somebody who doesn't know what path to tread in life and listens to other people on how he should present himself and handle himself? Sadly, the answer is yes. Oh well, hopefully he regains his health and gets back to less threes and less turnovers good starting point guard Derrick Rose.. 4.0??

    As for the Bulls, it's hard to win games when your defense lets the other team shoot .500. It really is. Good news is that Nikola and Tony Snell look like legit offensive adds. I wonder if E'Twaun Moore could be one also? With Butler resigned Bulls will have to be ultra smart and crafty staffing team, but it's not impossible. This could be a fun team to watch for years, but Thibs like him or not is likely gone after the season, and finding even a decent coach is very hard let alone getting the defense back to not sucking which way too often it does.

    Lastly,Joakim as I've said many times has been a very good player for the Bulls, but despite some recent good outings he's still shooting .437 as a big which is.. not good. As was last night's 30 minutes of prime court time going 1 for 4 with 3 points(Click, clack... walking away as to not hear my GACCCCCCKKKKKKK profuse vomiting noises).

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I'm curious as to what particular skill set Rose believes he possesses, that would make him a successful business professional. Then again, he did manage to get $100 million from the Bulls FO, in exchange for nothing but false hope and bad PR.

    Speaking of hope, the team has a good foundation in Mirotic, Snell, Butler and McD (he will begin to pan out next season) to open a new championship window the next few years. If Rose can figure out how to play effectively at a non-elite level, and the FO can bring in a young quality big man, Chicago can be in the contender conversation for the rest of this decade.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    All these athlete's think that having 10's or 100's of millions and making themselves into a "brand" makes them some kind of business man. For most it is a delusional joke, at best they are just figure heads who let really smart guys maximize their earning potential.

    There was a recent article in the WSJ about this topic and focusing on the posturing that Carmelo Anthony has done

    While Rose is clearly not a world class point guard any longer, he is a world class dummy, who would be a lot better off if he just shut up and played. He needs to stop parroting everything that those around him are telling him and just recognize that he is nothing more than a guy who was gifted with great athleticism and the ability to play basketball. Enjoy that and make the most of that, worry about keeping up with the Jones(or should I say Lebrones) later.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I'm almost getting to the point where I agree with you about Noah's offensive production. It is actually embarrassing watching him on that end of the court, a good part of the time he looks like he's both physically and mentally retarded.

    However, it is still obvious that we need him defensively at the center position as on that end Gasoline is an absolute trainwreck, although last night he was the Krispy Kreme Pansey on both ends of the court, and whiney little bitch to boot.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I love the term "Noah/Hangdog circle jerk" it is downright unbearable to watch them two on the court together. The reality is when those the two are on the floor at the same time, it's 3 against 5. I have to turn my channel and look for something better on TV.

  • I'm not necessarily upset at Rose as i am with Bulls management. I understand the expectations people had about the Bulls coming into this season with the whole "win now mode" thing and all, but the minute Carmelo Anthony chose to stay in New York that changed everything in my opinion. Don't get me wrong Gasol has been great for us but he's more or less an upgraded Carlos Boozer and that barely moves the needle in terms of how good the team was last season. Now add that Noah was recovering from a knee surgery of his own, the uncertain state of Derrick Roses health, Taj Gibson's constant ankle problems, choosing to bring back the abysmal Hinrich who's actually gotten worse over a stable Augustine, giving up two picks for one rookie who couldn't possibly live up to the immense expectations in his 1st season as a pro, a supporting cast of bench warmers and MLE players, all of that doesn't equate to a contender.

    The bright spots have been the improvement of Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic, and to a smaller extent Tony Snell and Etwaun Moore. The point I'm getting at is after we didn't get Melo I think the Bulls should have start rebuilding. They should have kept their two picks and drafted on potential, Gibson should have been traded, Hinrich shouldn't be here, and while I feel we did get Gasol for a bargain I would trade him in the off season while his stock is still high. The core of this team is just too old and injured to count on and it really is time to stop building around Rose. It just isn't wise to gamble the fate of the franchise on his knees and that doesn't make it his fault, but still there is a business aspect to all this that I feel gets ignored on the Bulls. I still think they have a chance albeit a slime one, but it's a long way from the 1st round of the playoffs to the finals. And for a team that hasn't been able to stay healthy all year and every year, leaves little confidence to think they'll make it all the way to the finals healthy. Sorry for the rant but that's just how I see it.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    Actually, not a rant at all, unfortunately an almost perfect description of where this team is at.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    I think you make some valid points but I do think it's a rant. I don't think anyone has any right to be upset with the FO. Be upset because they haven't been able to beat LeBron so far? Be upset because they haven't delivered the championship that we deserve as TV viewers? Be upset because they signed the youngest MVP in league history to a huge contract, forcing them to try to build a championship team around a 6'2" athletic PG? Rose's injuries aside, which is the last team that did that?

    Rebuilding always sounds better than it really is. We get visions of young, athletic, exciting players joining our team. The reality is, the draft is such a crapshoot, now more than ever with all these one-and-done players, that a lot of teams never get out of rebuilding mode. With a little bad luck, we become the Knicks. With a ton of good luck, we become the Thunder, not a championship team themselves.

    With 20/20 hindsight, I think they should have rebuilt but I'm certainly not upset with them for taking one last shot with this group. At least they've given Rose as good a shot as they could have offered. Careful what you wish for, because after one more year of this, they probably do go into rebuild mode.

  • Rose cannot come back until the FO appoves it. Maybe Pax and Gar are smarter this year by intentionally keeping Butler, Gipson, and Rose out longer than necessary allowing Thibs to learn and gain confidence in his bench. Could this be a possibility?

  • Bulls missing 3 of 6 starters (Taj would start for many teams). This has to impact the wins and it has.

    The big question is, Will the 3 injured players get healthy? And how healthy?

    Rose, Snell, Pau, Jo, and Jimmy is a strong starting 5, and the bench might be the best in the NBA. But we will see. Rose's salary and injuries continue to hamper the Bulls big time.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    You're right, that right now it is hard to quibble with losses, especially to leagues best teams, we are simply too undermanned, especially at the PG position. Still not sure that I see Sleepy as a starter, nevermind a legitimate one, but you could probably survive if all the other guys were healthy.

    However, this time period does highlight some of the ill conceived(at least in the opinion of most Bulls fans) off season moves.

    The 17-3 run that Memphis closed the game with, also seems to highlight Thibs questionable rotation management. The collapse might have happened anyway with the return of all of Memphis starters, but it sure seemed to be precipitated by thibs removing Snell when as even Stacey King noted, he had just awakened from a multiple game slumber and then replacing him with a 3 midget lineup of Brooks, the dog and Moore at SF. Followed by the usual replacement of Noah with Gasoline around the 4 minute mark and the totally predictable resultant inability to get any stops.

    The Bulls are now 14-16 over their past 30 games, not much to hang your hat on going into the playoffs, is it 3-6 weeks yet.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    That's the second time I'm reading about Snell as a starter or "core" player. I know I'm preaching to choir here but Snell will be a nice rotational player AT BEST. He's neither a ball handler nor shot creator nor ace defender, and he's unlikely to ever be any of those things. At best he can be a good defender and good shooter and stick as a rotation guy, I'd be happy with that, but forget this "core" or strong starter stuff.

  • Hinrich may be the sacrifical lamb, not allowed to fully heal from injury. Keeping 3 guys on the DL may mean the Bulls won't be burned out before the playoffs for a change.
    If Thibs increases Nazr's playing time significantly the Bigs possibly won't be burn't out as well and our team will be a significant force to be reconned with.

  • Since you've highlighted the defensive deficiencies the past couple of games, if not the whole season, here is an article from one of the stats guys at ESPN that talks about the reasons for the decline.

    For the most part, when push comes to shove they blame the presence of Gasoline and Noah's move to PF and his slow recovery from knee surgery. One of the interesting findings is that despite his 12+ rebound per night average, the Bulls rebound better with him off the floor on both ends, kind of surprising at first blush, but not really if you think about it for a minute.

    As for Rose, I still think that he will come back, but he did sound subdued in not outright mopey to me. Even he has to realize that time is running out on this teams shot a championship, if this year isn't the peak window, then next year is, before the wheels start to come off.

  • Jeff Green may not be the most dynamic player, kind of a taller awake version of Snell, but he did manage a sneaky 19&7 last night. It wouldn't totally suck having that as our starting SF.

    As you might expect the Bulls "starters" got their asses kicked by the Memphis starters, as their Gasol, Randolph and Conley were plus 63, while our Gasoline and Brooks were minus 37 but no one else in double digits with Snell and Dunleavy at a combined minus15.

    Unfortunately, it is clear that Brooks despite some scoring is killing us as the starting PG. Would DJ have been better with this lineup, or would it have been more like the playoffs against the Wiz? Other than being injured how would Dragic have faired or Elfrid Payton?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Or Mo Williams who is killing it for Charlotte after they got him right before the trade deadline to replace Kemba Walker. Maybe if Rose had gone down right before the deadline we might have made a move, who knows, probably not.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Without making a move, I feel like the FO is really neither in the win-now nor the rebuild mode, they're in just sort of a wait-and-see mode, and that's probably not going to work out. You see some teams going for it, or to switch sports for a moment, I applaud the Bears for getting an asset for Brandon Marshall and going more of a rebuild route for this next year, instead of kidding anyone into thinking they're trying to win.

  • Oh yea, why does too many men on the court result in a change of possession, I get the tech, but giving up the ball makes no sense what so ever. If Memphis had possession, are they taking the ball away from them because we had too many men on the court, stupid rule.

  • Has anybody in Chicago seen this Shrine/Memorial to Rose under the Kennedy, first I ever heard of it, kind of sad, kind of funny.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Here's another better/bigger version of the picture.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I saw it and honestly don't know how I feel about it. The people that did it may have had good intentions but it also could come across as an insult. What threw me off was the crutches. I could be wrong but i think the city is just getting tired of waiting on Derrick Rose.

  • Should have changed this title just ever so slightly to...

    "Bulls defense does them in again, Derrick won't commit to return........ again"

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