Bulls getting healthy

Bulls getting healthy

Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson fully practiced on Tuesday while Derrick Rose participated in the non contact portion of practice and might be "a little ahead of schedule". That's good news for a floundering Bulls team.

Here's Jimmy on his injury.

My body feels great in the morning. My first practice back, I had a few bumps. But I think it’s possible,” Butler said of returning late this week. “But I can’t rush it. I don’t want it to get any worse. It’s never going to have full range while I’m playing, but I think it will feel better in a few days.

“My teammates, coaches and management are all in my corner, telling me to be careful. Obviously, I know that. But it’s hard when I want to play so bad. You want to get back, but you know you shouldn’t come back too early.”

What about Rose?

Rose might be a bit ahead of schedule? The schedule was 4-6 weeks which would put the four week mark at 3/27 if I'm not mistaken.

To me, ahead of schedule would mean beating that date. In what I assume is completely subconscious, the Bulls are so pessimistic about Derrick's return times that they used the phrase slightly ahead of schedule to describe a scenario where he likely returns within the expected time frame.

This isn't ripping on Derrick or his present effort. It's great to see he's likely going to be back. However, it's telling that the front office/coaching staff literally heard 4-6 weeks and immediately changed it to 6-8 weeks in their heads.

Semantics aside, the good news is that Derrick is on the path to return, and it doesn't look likely that he'll miss the playoffs (at least due to this injury).

Meanwhile, Thibodeau commented about the minute restrictions

His comments could be taken innocuously as a response to a simple question, or as a shot across the bow at management.

This is the issue that will ultimately run Thibodeau out of town. The reason is no matter how insane his view is, he doesn't want to change or recognize the problem. We're at the end of another season and half the roster is injured. Again.

The issues are clearly not all of Thibodeau's fault. There have been freak injuries and weird illnesses. However, there has also been a constant over use and unnecessary wear and tear as well. Would it surprise anyone if Pau Gasol breaks down sometime between now and the end of the season?

No matter how great Thibodeau is with so many other things, it's really hard to side with him on this issue, particularly when we've seen the next guy step up pretty frequently when given a consistent run of minutes and not a four minute spurt once a game.

14 games left, how do the playoffs look?

The Bulls are limping towards the end of the regular season and the seeding chase doesn't look good for Chicago. They're presently in 4th, a half game behind Toronto and a half game ahead of Washington. However, they're playing so badly that it's easy to see them falling to fifth.

The return of Butler/Gibson will help steady the ship, but the Bulls will have to find continuity again after their return still.

It looks like 5th is as far as they can drop, but it's somewhat irrelevant whether they are 5th or 6th since Washington/Toronto are similar caliber first round opponents.

If they could climb to 3rd then they'd be in a much better spot in the first round with a likely creampuff matchup against the Bucks.

The Indiana game tonight is actually a fairly meaningful game for Chicago to win. They'd probably prefer Indiana plays Cleveland in round one (tougher match up than Milwaukee) and they'd like to climb to 3rd to play the Bucks.

Knocking of Indiana would help keep them in seventh as well as help them climb towards third. The one thing Chicago has going for it in the race for 3-6 is that none of the other teams are playing particularly well either. That might change, but over the past month no one has gone on much of a run outside of Cleveland.

If Chicago gets healthy, they could easily be the team that closes out the season strong and finishes in third. It ultimately still doesn't matter so much, and I think in my favorite (reasonable) scenario that Washington finishes 3rd, the Bulls finish 4th, and the Raptors finish 5th with Milwaukee 6th and Indiana 7th.

(Even better if you could swap Milwaukee and Toronto, but that doesn't pass the reasonable test)

In the above scneario the Bulls play Toronto, Atlanta, and likely Cleveland, but the Cavs have to go through Indiana and Washington first which would be the two opponents outside of Atlanta (which they can't play until the ECF) that have any shot at all of knocking off the Cavs.

In the end, the Bull seem far more likely to get the nightmare bracket of Washington, Atlanta and then Cleveland which would be the three teams best equipped to defeat them even if they're healthy (and if not healthy, the Bulls aren't a favorite against anyone).

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  • from a far, it's the same old song and dance with the bulls as an organization. Lets can't get along with one of the top coaches in the league, fans are complaining about Thibs coaching and players minutes, and players continuing to get injured every year throughout most of every season for the past few seasons. I'm sorry but all of this comes from poor management and the owner is doing nothing about it. The bulls letting Thibs go would be the biggest mistake made by this organization since breaking up Phil Jackson and the Jordan era. Just my opinion. The Bulls looks like a first round elimination team this year.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    You seem to be a bit contradictory there. You don't want the Bulls to let Thibs go, but Thibodeau explicitly is pissed off and causing problems over the minutes/injury issues that he's causing and management is attempting to stop.

    I don't see how you keep Thibs long term and force him to change. He appears to refuse to change.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    In absolutely no way should Thibs ever be mentioned in the same breath as Phil Jackson. Thibs is a good coach with fatal flaws, not a great coach.

  • It's a shame about the Thibs-FO rift, it really is, and you'd have to be an idiot or blindly biased to put all the blame on one side or the other.

    Thibs is a great coach, a top-5 coach. Not only that, but he and GarPax are actually a good match for each other basketball-wise. GarPax favors defense and favors players who can take tough coaching. Thibs' great regular season record is evidence of his great coaching, but GarPax also deserves credit for putting the right kind of team together for Thibs.

    The unfortunate fact is that with all Thibs' great coaching comes with his running his favorite players into the ground every year. EVERY YEAR! So management adjusted by this year setting up some policies to counter Thibs' tendencies, essentially to protect the players from Thibs and protect Thibs from himself. Thibs is clearly really annoyed by the whole thing and doesn't understand why guys like Noah need to be on minutes restrictions.

    And that's that. They're going to part ways after the season. The Bulls will probably get worse and though everyone knows Thibs will get another job right away, my guess is he'll be less successful with a different group of players.

  • I much rather see the Bulls healthy finish at 5th than limping into the playoff at 3rd seed. A healthy Bulls is favorite to go to the ECF with the Cavs showdown and it appears that we are heading for that. Reason is that I think the Bulls can handle Washington and Atlanta with a healthy Rose and team. But the team to beat is Cavs, since they have Lebron, and I don't think any team can beat them, including the west teams.
    Regarding Thibs, if the Bulls don't make it to ECF with a healthy squad, he is likely gone, and I would agree, since this will prove that Thibs is not a playoff coach. Otherwise, I think Thibs would stay for another year, since no team, including the Bulls, has the Cavs talents and can be considered underdogs.

  • Will be a fun playoff season in the east and the west. still hoping we avoid the wizards because they are a tough matchup. the pacers would be no walk in the park either. hopefully we are full strength for 10 games before the playoffs start. probably not our year, but could be a dangerous team in the playoffs

  • off topic, but i wonder if the bulls would be good trading partners for the knicks or lakers #1 pick. The bulls have quality depth at almost every position. There are 4 legit potential superstars in this draft (Okafor, Towns, Mudiay, Russell). The Bulls could trade two of Noah, Gibson, Mirotic or Gasol and 2 #1 picks for one of them, and then rebuild around Towns/Okafor, Butler and whoever sticks around. The Knicks/Lakers could get instantly good (Noah, Gibson and then add some top free agents over the next couple of years. Noah and Gibson are NYC kids as well.

  • In reply to piggy7:

    I could see the Lakers going for it if Mirotic is in the deal. Kobe, Mirotic, Noah, and two firsts could be a nice team. The Knicks though are in for an rebuild, not quick fix patch work.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    I would not include Mirotic in any such deal. Mirotic is also a potential superstar but has a lower floor than all of those guys since we've already seen what he can do at a NBA level.

    The NBA is so fucking backwards, sorry to curse but it fucking annoys me. In most sports, you trade prospects for established players. In the NBA, you trade established players for unknown prospects in the hopes that you have the next MJ or Lebron because it's so easy to win with those guys and so hard to beat them if you don't have one. Teams would rather have a high draft pick than a really good player, which is fucking backwards.

  • In reply to piggy7:

    Nobody is giving up the number one pick for any combination of anything that we have at this point, and that likely includes Rose, nevermind, Noah the KKP or Taj. Mirotic might well be our #1 trade asset and I highly doubt that anyone is giving up the # 1 pick for him.

    I guess that the Knicks would be more open to moving the #1 pick given what Phil,has said, however, if they are, they will certainly get a better offer than anything the Bulls could put together.

    As long as we're offering hypothetical trades, who says no first

    Gasoline and Gibson to OKC for Adams and Kanter?

    I say OKC would say no, and the Bulls would never consider offering that in the first place.

  • It seems to me that you want to avoid Cleveland in the second round. Since they are virtually assured the second or third seed(without any major injuries, i.e. Lebron or Irving) then we want to be in the 4-5 hole, against either the Wiz or Raps. I'd prefer the Raps, who seem to have righted their ship a bit, but so have the Wiz. At this point, I'm not sure how much home court in round one matters to us. If you get by the 4-5 matchup, then it's on to the ATL, and Cleveland in the ECF. You really can't avoid either Cleveland or the ATL assuming no upsets, so the only "choice" that we have is who do we play in the first round, the Wiz or the Raps, or when do we play ATL and Cleveland. I'd prefer that Indy stays in the 7 hole to play Lebron in the first round.

    Finally, if you could guarantee me that Noah, Gibson, and Niko would be 100% for the playoffs, along with Rose and Butler, I wouldn't really care all that much if Gasoline got knocked up a bit before the playoffs, maybe that would be just the excuse that Thibs needs to boozerize him.

  • Here's an interesting question that occured to me while watching Niko more or less lead us to victory in the 4rth against Indy.

    Who is the better offensive player, Niko or Gasoline?

    Who is the better defensive player, Niko or Gasoline?

    Just imagine what the answer will be next year after Niko gets an entire summer to work on his strength and conditioning in addition to working with his Bulls teammates on his game.

  • As has been the case lately(since Taj went down)

    First and Third quarters, Bulls 49, Pacers 49
    The Gasoline quarters, when he does most if not all of his "damage"

    Second and Fourth Quarters, Bulls 54, Pacers 37
    The Noah and Mirotic quarters

    It sure is starting to look like we are better offensively and defensively with Noah at center and Mirotic at PF than we are with Gasoline at center no matter who plays PF.

    I know, Gasoline has been an indispensable Godsend, the best value in free agency anywhere. Where would we be without him. Who knows maybe we'd have a better record than we did last year at this point when Noah was carrying the bozoholes ass around for 24 minutes a night and Rose didn't play but 10 games.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Agree completely that closing with Noah at C and Niko at PF is essential.

  • When GarPax signed Pau they weren't sure that Mirotic would come over and no one knew how quickly he would
    adapt to the NBA. Factor in Thibs not wanting to give rookies any court time and we are only seeing how ROY Mirotic can play because of injuries.
    So Pau was best available at the time and it has only been because of Thibs biggest flaw (minutes leads to injuries) that Mirotic has got the time to show what he can do and improve.
    Saying all the above, going forward into the playoffs with
    a full roster we only stand a chance of winning if Thibs plays best match ups, forget seniority and previous promises to Pau. We want to win so if Noah/Mirotic and Taj/Pau is what it takes who cares. Thibs got the Booz to sit in the 4th for the betterment of the team so he does have form.

    Here's hoping!!!!

  • Question

    Is there any other rookie who is benefitting a winning team as much as Mirotic?


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