After all your emails and facbooks, I decided to keep the podcast alive.
Bulls Beat #365 - The return
Can't keep the blog going, there's just no way, but I figured the podcast is only 45 minutes to an hour per episode, so I can keep that going for you guys.
Welcome back Doug!! I have been reading this blog religiously for six years now and this is my first post! Glad to have you back. Don't do this to us again.. ;)
Welcome back, Doug. Great and conservatively optimistic view of the Bulls future. I would have to say, Thib's stubbornness of not playing McD, playing Kirk over E'Twaun Moore and keeping Pau and Noah playing together may have resulted in this team's underachieving.
I think Rose is the silver line for the Bulls next year. His last knee surgery was a result of not have removed the teared meniscus a year before, where they tried to repair instead. Going an entire offseason healthy will do wonders for Rose and I think he will be back next year at an All Star level. McD and Niko can only do better than this year and I think Noah will have a much better season next year with rested knees.
Now, as far as Thibs is concerned, I would agree with you and I think the team gave up on him, but more importantly, he proved to the league that is very predictable and non-creative offensive coach. Just look the way the better teams flow offensively (Warriors and Cavs) and it is obvious that Thibs is running a 1990's offense that doesn't work anymore. The Bulls are the Memphis of the East and both teams are running outdated systems. Fred Holberg can turn the Bulls into a Warriors of the East. Let's hope for the best.
Welcome back Doug! Keep hope alive!lol
Doug, instead of looking at Pau's 2nd team All-NBA as an achievement you call him "massively overrated" and a "first season Carlos Boozer."
How about providing your listeners with some facts for a change:
Carlos Boozer 2010-11:
5.8 total Win Shares
Pau Gasol 2014-15:
11.8 rpg (4th best in NBA)
1.9 bpg (6th best in NBA)
22.73 PER (13th best in NBA)
10.4 total Win Shares ((9th best in NBA)
Moreover, Gasol had a Defensive Rating of 100.6 (19th best in NBA).
Basically, you are claiming that the entire NBA media world is delusional for selecting a "massively overrated" Gasol on one of its All-NBA teams. Who is really delusional?
I agree with you, bell. I confess I am surprised at how high Gasol's DR was - 19th best in the league? That was a surprise.
The FO messed up this season.
1) They never got the wing player the Bulls needed, tho Dunleavy did have some excellent games - but not enough of them.
2) They botched not resigning Augustine;
3) They resigned Kirk instead;
4) They overpaid in draft picks for McD - unless he winds up better than Korver, which he might.
However, Thibs messed up even more, as we have repeatedly pointed out here. The HC HAS to be changed. Too bad.
It's hard to argue those numbers, bell, other than the eye test. Do any of those stats take into account missed or ignored rotations? How about not stepping up on pick and roll defense only to allow open jump shots? Gasol seemed to have great help defense when he was standing in the lane and the guard drove to the basket baseline. He definitely did not extend his defense very far from the lane (which did not fit Thibs system of our guards following the ball over the screen every single time). Pau would not stop the ball and the big setting the screen had our guard in no man's land. Don't get me wrong, I would take Gasol over Boozer every time. Plus, Gasol's salary is great for what he gives the Bulls. To say Boozer was overpaid is a massive understatement. But let's not get carried away.
Defensive rating is a meaningless individual defensive stat that Pau excels in because he gives up on any desire to defend a play at the point of attack and just hope to get blocks by the basket, and is on the floor with other good team defenders.
The Bulls were worse with Gasol on the floor defensively than their other big men. They rebounded worse with Gasol on the floor than their other big men. Gasol's stats didn't translate into quality team rebounding or defense.
1. Of all the 5-man units the Bulls had on the floor this year Gasol was the only Bulls player on all five units that had the best plus/minus.
2. Of all the 5-man units the Bulls had on the floor this year Gasol was the only Bulls player on all five units that had the best rebounding percentage.
Yeah! Welcome back man!
Doug, this is great news. I was home for Christmas for about 10 days of vacation, just spending time with family and friends, completely out of my routine, but I still caught both episodes of the Bulls Beat and realized it had become part of my life. So while I think the blog will be in fine shape with Mort, I was still really disappointed that the podcast would end. Well no more! I hope this is a good decision for you as well -- unless you're no longer an avid bulls or NBA fan, you probably have 30 minutes of basketball topics on your mind every week or at least every other.
Some thoughts on Bulls and NBA in no particular order:
1. Agree that Gasol is first-year Boozer but for 7 mil that's pretty darn good. For all his warts and lackluster play, especially after that first year, 2010-11 Boozer was a good and important player for the Bulls. They need a big man who can score in volume.
2. Did you hear about LeBron's ankle? My god this diva has milked a typical late-season owie for all the drama and hero-worship he can get. I respect him as a player but as a person, not so much. Be really good at basketball and let the media do it's job, stop trying to be more than just really good at basketball. The drama isn't exciting the fans, it's turning them off. They think it's fake and they're probably right.
3. It's true: Bulls-Cavs was the real ECF.
4. I don't see this huge chasm between the East and West, not among the top teams. I think the Bulls would have given the Rockets a tough series, maybe even win it. While I think GS will win, it will be 6-7 tough games over the Cavs.
5. Thibs is so polarizing, it's like he's either the best coach in the NBA or the worst ever (VDN doesn't count). The truth surely lies in the middle. Bulls will get something for him only if there are multiple teams interested. If Thibs is your guy and there are 3+ teams interested, you part with an asset to secure getting him. If not, you know you can likely get him for free.
6. Blaming Thibs for losing to the Cavs is folly. Playing McDoug and Moore more during the regular season was not the difference for a team that battled inconsistency all season long. How about Rose needs to play better, let's start there.
7. Not as optimistic about the Bulls' future as Doug. Gasol is probably worse -- think year 2 Boozer -- and any year could be Taj's last productive year, including the latest one. Noah might be better but he also might be worse. Dunleavy probably leaves, and the Bulls probably miss him, if only a little.
8. There's little hope for this team outside of Rose returning to All-Star level play or his leaving the team (or a new contract, but I don't think he'll accept that he's not really that great anymore).
I agree that I have no complaints about Gasol's value for 7 million, it was a great signing. He's just no where near as good (not even in the same stratosphere) as many people around the league seem to think.
You mean like all the expert professionals on the panel that selects the All-NBA teams or all the HOF coaches (Jackson, Popovich, Riley) who wanted Gasol on their team. You're right- compared to a blogger what do they know?
What do Jackson and Popovich and Riley know, they are all just lucky that they had great players, those 21 championships between them are all flukes...
Next season is going to be so great, I cannot wait to have a coach who doesn't need a dictionary to know what "adjustment" means. A coach who might actually try to take advantage of his players' strengths, instead of just doing everything the exact same way he's done it for 20+ years.
Pau, first year Boozer? Consider this from 82games.com.
Net production by position. That is to say the difference in PER between the player at a certain position and the opponent he is playing against at that position over a season.
Rose, PG 1.3
Butler, SG 7.7
Dunleavy, SF 2.8
Noah, PF .7
Gasol, C 7.2 (8.3 at PF)
Mirotic, PF 3.8
Brooks, PG -3.0
Hinrich, PG -10.2 (-8.0 at SG)
Boozer, PF -.9
does not seem to matter what metric is used Hinrich stunk
probably why they quit in the last game
knew with hinrich playing that much they had no chance
Thanks for coming back Doug, especially given the content of today's podcast.
I figured that sooner or later we would have to debate the validity of Gasol making second team all nba. I couldn't agree more with Doug's entire take on the Gasol issue.
By the way first year Boozer on a per 36 basis, 19.7ppg, 10.8rpg, that from a guy who is 4-5 inches shorter and plays PF, not center.
As for Gasol's individual defensive rating, I'd imagine that boozer had a pretty darn good individual defensive rating that year, due entirely to the fact that the Bulls were the #1 defense that year. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if boozers rating was even better than Gasol's this past season since the Bulls team rating was much better that year. In fact since that stat was omitted here, I'd venture that it almost certainly was.
Perhaps, this is where somebody might want to lecture us on the difference between correlation and causation, which of course only true geniuses are even aware of, nevermind have the ability to comprehend since it is such an advanced concept that mere mortals have never even heard of it.
With Aldridge(PF) and Cousins(C) on the second team, apparently the SOL.ors made the team as a small forward despite the fact that he played every minute at center even though the Bulls announced him as a PF. I'll take Kwahi Leonard(or Jimmy Butler for that matter) over Gasol without even thinking about it. Come to think of it so would most if not all the guys who voted for all nba team if they had to make a head to head choice. Which only illustrates the ludicrous, if not delusional nature of this vote. Nevermind all 3 guys on the third team, Griffin, Duncan and Jordan.
I'm actually shocked that the SOL.ors didn't make the first team since his 18.5ppg and 11.8rpg are bigger numbers than his brother Marc's 17.4ppg and a 7.8rpg. Clearly Pau is a better defender than the former DPOY since he averaged 1.8 bpg to Marc's 1.6bpg or Noah's 1.5bpg in his DPOY year. Oh thats right Pau was competing against Lebron for that slot not his brother Marc for the center position.
Apparently, the all nba voting has turned into a media version of the all star team, as only one small forward was selected among the 15 players, while 8 PF's and/or centers made the team. It appears that the centers were Marc Gasol, Cousins and Jordan, while the PF's were Davis, Aldridge and Griffin, leaving Lebron, Gasol and Duncan as the small forwards. again, illustrating the ludicrous if not outright delusional nature of the voting.
Obviously, anyone who thinks that Gasol is/was one of the ten best players in the league(or 15, or even 20 for that matter) is completely delusional. Just like Noah wasn't one of the five best players last season, or Luol Deng was never one of the 24 best players. But if you do believe in the absolute sanctity of all nba voting, then it certainly is obvious that we really suffered a huge drop off at the center position from last year to this, going from DPOY and first team all nba, to no team DPOY and second team all nba small forward.
Welcome back Doug, hopefully, this way more people will respond to your podcasts
Boozer was 29 his first year with the Bulls and averaged 31.9 minutes per game. At age 34, Gasol averaged 12.3 rebounds per 36 minutes. You imply strongly that Pau may be a better rebounder only because he is taller.
Consider this: Shawn Bradley was 7'6" and played 14 seasons in the NBA. The most rebounds he had in any season was 8.8 rpg.
Yao Ming was also 7'6" and in 8 seasons in the NBA the most rebounds he had was 10.8 rpg.
Manute Bol was 7'7" and in 12 seasons in the NBA the most rebounds he ever pulled down in a season was 6.0 rpg.
Pau, of course, had 11.8 rpg last year at age 34. Better than any of the above players in their prime. The inference that his excellent rebounding is primarily due to his height is therefore false.
Ditto what others posted... Welcome Back Doug!
Pau Gasol overrated?! Hellz Naw! We all have our opinions, but I thought he was a Godsend for the Bulls and their offensively challenged front court players. Maybe he didn't play great defense, but he blocked more shots than Noah and Taj did and at 35 yrs old you can't expect him to be a lockdown defender on a bunch of pry young 20 something yr olds. I also felt that Thibs played him too much during the regular season but that's Thibs for ya.
I disagree with Butler and Rose not being able to play off of one another. The way Thibs 5 man offense is set up, with all of that passing til the shot clock reaches 5 secs and forces the last man with the ball to either attack the basket from the weakside or hoist up a 3 pt shot made them look like out of whack on offense. Neither are great shooters, and both must look to improve in the off season on their efficiency from the 3 pt area, but they are well suited to play off of one another, and if Jimmy stays a Bull look for those two to be one of the better backcourt tandems in the league.
Maybe I was premature, or maybe it was simply foresight but I felt that last season's success would come down to how well the two rookies performed during the reg season and throughout the playoffs, and that Derrick Rose needed to decrease his isso scoring output and increase his assist numbers. Well, looking back on the season I thought Rose did improve on getting his teammates involved offensively, and Niko did have flashes of greatness offensively, but McDermott was the rookie who looked like a mistake for drafting him and his outside shooting. He was not that good shooting it from the NBA 3, and often looked lost on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Doug looked like a player who was used to getting the ball frequently in college, but couldn't adjust to not being a volume shooter in the pros. I have my doubts that he'll ever be that good, and could be a trade chip in obtaining an experienced wing player to go alongside Rose and Butler next season.
It's time for Noah and or Taj to move on imo. After watching them get thoroughly outplayed in the playoffs by the Wiz's frontcourt last season and the Cavs frontcourt this season, I am convinced that the Bulls should begin to groom younger, athletic, injury-free players for next yr's playoff run. Since the Timberwolves are likely to draft a center with the 1st pick in the draft, maybe the Bulls could pursue center Gorgui Dieng in a trade scenario. Maybe they can draft a PF/C in the draft since there will be some bigs with potential available at @ #22 ala Robert Upshaw, Christian Wood, or Montrezl Harrell. All could add fresh energy and fresh legs to the Bulls bench, and could be great additions for the team in the future.
I guess it's time for the Bulls to find themselves a new coach, one who is willing to allow all of his players to contribute, and not ride a select few as Thibs has for all of these yrs. I'd hate to see it happen, because the wrong coach could set this franchise back for years, and the Bulls would become another LA Lakers, paying 3 coaches and looking for a 4th yr after yr. I still have have some hope that The Bulls front office and Thibs can come to an agreement. I still believe that Thibs has room to grow as a Head Coach and if he is willing to allow his players to have more control and input of the offense, the team and the franchise would be better off for it in the long run.
PS: Here's a salute to the Veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can maintain our freedom. Happy Memorial Day!
I agree, Michael, about much of your post - about Gasol, Taj, and Noah. Tho I think the team will have to keep Noah and hope he is better next season. No team will give anything for him. Probably not a lot for Taj either.
Thibs is done here. He has proved too stubborn to change, and he just does not get that he HAS to develop his talent. Look at what Shumpert and Smith are doing for the Cavs. Dellavedova too. If Thibs had used Snell, Mirotic, and Moore regularly in the regular season, the Bulls could have taken the Cavs.
In fact, the refs helped the Cavs big time in that series. But that is for another post.
I wonder why nobody here is calling LaMarcus Aldridge "massively overrated?" Consider this:
1. Aldridge got 390 voting "points" to get on the All-NBA Second Team. Gasol got only 242 points.
2. Aldridge scored 23.4 ppg but he took 19.9 field goal attempts per game. His fg% was .466 and his eFG% was .479. Pau averaged 18.5 ppg but took only 15.5 field goal attempts per game. His fg% was .494 and his eFG% was .502.
3. Aldridge had 10.2 rpg and Gasol had 11.8 rpg.
4. Aldridge had 1.7 assists per game and Gasol had 2.7 assists per game.
5. Aldridge had 1.0 blocks per game while Gasol had 1.9 blocks per game.
Bottom line: Pau had significantly more rebounds, assists and blocked shots than Aldridge and had a better effective fg%. Now tell me again how Gasol is "massively overrated."
I will never, ever understand why so many Bulls fans are so quick to try and downplay any recognition any of our players get. Is the hatred for GarPax THAT strong? Is it that people really think that it's all Thibs and these players will immediately go into suck mode once he's gone?
Luol Deng "was never a real All-Star, he only made it because of the team's record".
Joakim Noah "was never really a 1st-Team All-NBA level player".
Now it's Gasol who apparently wasn't deserving of being named 2nd-Team All-NBA.
Does Pau have flaws? Of course he does. So does his brother. So do Jordan and Griffin and Cousins and Aldridge.
Really, a lot of Bulls fans should become a fan of some other team for a year. Follow that team daily, watch each and every game with a critical eye, and read the national media's take on the team.
You'd be surprised to find out that we have it pretty damn good as Bulls fans. Yes, I know the world was coming to an end and the team needed to be broken up because "if we couldn't beat LeBron this year, with Love out and Irving hurt, it's never, ever ever going to happen".
What's going to happen if the Cavs take out the Warriors in 6? Jeez, the lowly, flawed Bulls lasted 6. Or God forbid the Cavs win it in 5, meaning the Bulls gave them a better series than any other team.
"Really, a lot of Bulls fans should become a fan of some other team for a year. Follow that team daily, watch each and every game with a critical eye, and read the national media's take on the team."
This is true of fans of any sports team. We put our own team under the microscope, tend to downplay successes and point out the luck that led to those, but magnify failures and connect the dots of multiple mistakes to try to create a pattern of failure and apply it to unlikable coaches and/or management. The Chicago Blackhawks have gone to the conference finals in 5 of 7 years -- think about that feat for a moment -- and won 2 Cups, yet fans complain that they lack depth because 1 out of 12 starting forwards is not very high quality. There isn't a team in the NHL that couldn't use an upgrade at 3-4 forward positions but Hawks fans aren't putting those other teams under the microscope, only their own.
Also, everyone wants to be unique and for some reason, there's this assumption that most fans are homers and fans think, "I'm needed to bring a dose of reality to these homers" when IMO, most fans are pessimistic and overly critical and homers are in the minority.
So I completely agree that the Bulls are a great team to follow and fans who whine about GarPax as if we got the short end of the management stick frankly don't know what the fuck they're talking about. They cherry pick the few bad moves they made as if that's some kind of pattern when the overall pattern is a series of very good moves that led to a very strong team. I write this even though at this time, I'd advocate making a change since GarPax can't seem to get along with the coaches they hire, I think 3 strikes and you're out on that.
First Doug, thanks for keeping the podcast alive. I always look forward to these. Now, as far as Thibs is concerned I don't think his value is as high as people think. I'm pretty sure that if even the fans can see his flaws, surely other front offices noticed it as well. I'm not a fan of the Bulls front office and I know that Paxson has a history of having a mean streak with coaches, but in this particular case I tend to side more with the front office. I don't think we're gonna get any compensation for him as he's a very stubborn guy and doesn't appear to be willing to help the Bulls in any way.
I think the Bulls was overall overrated all season. Even if we had MVP Rose I don't think we would have went anywhere. Our team has too many pieces that doesn't fit and too many one dimensional players. We never did have a solid starting lineup starting 2 centers and we still don't have a starting caliber small forward which in my opinion is our greatest need which was evident in the playoffs.
I think a coaching change would make a huge difference. The team itself isn't bad it just hasn't been managed good enough. Simple things like rotations, managing minutes, letting guys play when their hot, and sitting guys on the bench when their cold has been this teams Achilles heel all season. So heck yeah I'm ready for Thibs to go.
Great news! Your "return" was much more gratifying than some other returns that we may have experienced. Good to hear that you will keep doing the podcast. I really appreciate your insight on the Bulls.
I'm glad that the podcast will continue and with you as the host, Doug. I think it'll work having Morten run the blog with the articles and you still delivering the podcasts. A lot of people are going to be happy with that. I've got this week's podcast geared up to listen to it during my commute today.
Welcome back Doug. Your continuing presence with the Bulls Confidential blog via your podcasts is a nice way to stay connected. Very much appreciated. Also nice to see Kevin back doing the draft profiles. Though he makes no bones about his distaste of my 'won't let it die' two top choices of last year's draft in Early and Young. All I have to say is, 'We'll see.' Yes, I'm going down with the ship.
As for the Bull's future, honestly I'm not all that encouraged. Rose I see as a so-so point guard at best, and scoring wise his shooting beyond 3-6 feet I don't have a lot of hope for. And Butler is a very good player, but I don't know if max money is going to translate into the Robin we need. At least he might come close though as their is no Batman in sight.
As for Nikola and MCDNP I wonder if their vaunted three point shooting would be so underwhelming with a different NBA coaching staff and some adjustments as they clearly were beyond sub-par with the current Bulls coaches.
Speaking of coaching I'm not sure about signing another one of Gar's old Iowa State cronies in Fred Hoiberg. A vet coach like Scott Brooks with a solid assistant coaching staff would be more to my liking. Ron Adams flourishing with Golden State probably was the wrong firing as in Gar/Pax aside from the Butler snatch and grab(Nikola is still a wait and see in my book though I'm optimistic), but with the hanging on with Deng, Noah, Kirk etc. and the disgruntled relationships with coaches and players I think new blood in the front office is in order. Though probably wouldn't make any difference as Jerry and Son will likely hire another company man anyway.
Side Note: While I realize there's no chance the Bulls are going to buy or trade for an early second round pick, somebody is going to pick up an entertaining and quality prolific scorer per minutes played rotation player in Joseph Young.
People may have reservations due to his size and cold streak he had shooting threes for a good portion of his senior season, but IMO this kid is can't miss if there ever was one. Son of former NBA player Michael Young, Joe averaged 26 ppg in four NCAA tourney games this year. Three years of prolific scoring at Oregon with outstanding two and three point percentages on excellent volume. His ultra high free throw pedigree can not be over looked. He is a cannologist from three plain and simple.
And though 6'2 and wingspan of 6'5, this guy is an underated athlete who can flat out get by people. This guy is going to be a rich man's Aaron Brooks and he's got charisma and a very likable young man. If ever I was going to place my money on an outside the lottery NBA prospect Joseph Young would be that guy. His ability to defend and get around picks will improve. This kid will without question be one of the steals of this draft. Too bad it won't be for the Bulls. And as for character questions some have raised upon leaving Houston or whatever else will be pointed to I watched this guy all year and he is beyond OK. Somebody is getting a huge steal with Joseph Young in Round 2. He's now up to 42 with a full analysis on NBADraft.net. A site I personally greatly respect. Notice the comments in the Notes section.
And by the way sorry for the preemptive report ahead of Kevin. He is the man on draft prospect reviews. This is just one guy I had to say something about.
I don't view this team as being close to sniffing a championship as their currently constituted. Shake up the roster, if only to make this team interesting again. LeBron's beat this core roster in the playoffs too many times. Just plain too many times. They're scared dogs instead of junkyard dogs when the real season rolls around. Then you've got this disastrous bench. We had to be the only team in the playoffs where not one bench guy had a single signature game. This team looked old/unathletic and ineffectual in the playoffs. Again. And with the best shot at LeBron they'll likely ever get in his prime.
One might argue a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush when it comes to risking roster changes, but the Bulls' hand is empty. Holding on to this roster is holding on to nothing year after year.
Sad to say but there really is some truth to what you say.
It's hard to beat the best player when he'll only play for teams that have stars and are already close to winning, and he leaves the teams that aren't. Cowardly, but hard to beat.
This was the year. No Love and a hobbled Kyrie for most of the games. Dellavedova, Thompson, Shumpert, Smith, Mozgov, and even James Jones, beat the Bulls. LeBron, even with bad numbers on paper, made that possible, but ultimately this team needs to close its doors today if they have to throw their hands up and say Dellavedova is too hard to beat in the playoffs.
I'd say that talent also follows the best player around. While bagging on Lebron for leaving Cleveland and going to Miami was pretty easy, it's really much harder to rag on him for going back to Cleveland, after all it still is cleveland. I really do think that he feels some greater responsibility to his hometown, to be honest with you much more so than Rose does.
Talent follows the best player? What talent? Bench players? Lebron deserted Cleveland because of lack of talent. He went to Miami to join D-Wade and Chris Bosh. When that "super team" failed to win another championship he ditched them just as he had previously ditched Cleveland. Going back to Cleveland was only due to the fact that Cleveland had gotten much better with Kyrie Irving and two other number one picks (that were leveraged to get Kevin Love). No way he returns to Cleveland if they were not significantly better now than when he fled. His history, and therefore his legacy, is to run from bad teams and join promising ones. How is that being more responsible to his hometown than Rose staying in Chicago?
Great to have you back Doug, the podcasts were always my favites
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