Game Thread: Bulls @ Sixers (6:00 pm)

After Saturday's disappointing, but almost expected, loss to Minnesota, the Bulls are off to Philly to play the 0-6 76ers, which, if we've learned anything from these Bulls means this could very well be a dogfight.

Rumors are swirling of a line-up change, suggesting Joakim Noah takes over for Nikola Mirotic, who's struggled recently. Inserting Noah into the starting line-up would have him line up next to Pau Gasol which, to put it mildly, wasn't a huge success last year. However, the Bulls are currently giving up over 50 rebounds a game, so Noah's presence could help out on the glass, which will be a necessity against Nerlens Noel.

Let's look at the keys:

- Effort. I hate typing that word, because it should be a given. But with this team, it hasn't been over the past two years. For years the Bulls won by playing ugly and getting ahead through intensity, collectively crashing the glass, and outright hustle. These new Bulls are hoping the bottom of the net will suffice, and it's not the case.

- Nikola Mirotic bouncing back. Over his past three, the power forward has averaged 3.7 points a game in 19 minutes and shot a measly 16.7% from the floor, including 7.7% from behind the arc. Even if he doesn't start, there's no way this group can afford that lack of production with a player on the court for near a half a game.

- Jimmy Butler Takeover. With Robert Covington sidelined due a knee issue, Philly doesn't have anyone outside of Jerami Grant who can defend on the perimeter, and while Grant is solid, he's no Butler-stopper. There is no player on the 76ers roster who should have any chance at stopping Jimmy from doing basically whatever the hell he wants to do tonight, and this needs taken advantage of.

This game should be a no-nonsense win for the Bulls, and yet, somehow, their inconsistency issues prevents me from going all in on expecting a W.

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    You point out Niko's stats as if he's the lone culprit to a failing offense, but how about Joakim's scoring averages for 7 games. He's avg'ng a measly 2.4 ppg, so Niko still has him beat in that category.

    It's easy for Coach to replace Niko. Mirotic doesn't pose a threat in his 2nd yr in the league, but what's not easy is for Coach to tell Joakim, Taj, Jimmy, Derrick and Pau that they're playing like crap and would help the team more if they sat on the bench while Doug, Tony, Niko Bobby, and Moore played against the 76rs.

  • So what is this talk about Rose & Gibson going to the Lakers ?

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    All for it but probably nonsense.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Where?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Just f-ing google it! :) You'll see the rumors but I don't think there's much to it.

    We've agreed for a while on trading Taj, that part is a no-brainer, but I would trade Rose too if the Lakers would do it, just to free the Bulls from him. Let Rose be somebody else's problem. Bulls can build around Jimmy, Niko and Bobby and get more of a true ball distributor PG in the next year or two, to get the ball to them. I realize that may not be good enough but that's the best path forward, then add someone to that group who puts you over the top. For now, you trade Taj and Rose to the Lakers, then find takers for Gasol and Dunleavy. Somewhere in there you need to get back some young players with upside or more likely, first round picks, probably protected. Still you get a bunch of them and parlay them into a higher pick to get that PG or perhaps another wing to grow with the group, like what they tried to do with McDoug only they missed at least in terms of getting a legit starting wing, I don't think he will ever be that even though he can really shoot.

    Obviously that plan means we're giving up on this season and on Rose in general and ending the Rose era once and for all.

  • As I recall, Butler has had 3 garbage games this season and Rose has had more! It looks like Butler got his big payout and decided to party this summer. These two players carry close to half of the Bulls salary! Just intolerable production at those prices.

    I think it is contagious. Last year with Kirk getting 2 pts in 25 minutes many nights, Thibs lost the team and the team lost focus.

    This is beginning to look similar. Players are not stupid. If the two starting Gs are drawing huge salaries and not producing, why should the rest of the guys knock themselves out?

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Butler didn't have a good game last night but as the team won easily, I wouldn't worry too much about it and I doubt his teammates are either. I'm not sure I get where you say he took the summer off, Butler has been their most consistent player this year.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Most fans expected 20pts a game from both Butler and Rose, a twin turbo engine that would get the Bulls playing faster and opening up shots for Mirotic and Mcdermott. I just haven seen this potential great backcourt playing that well together. I think what is most frustrating is that neither is really getting to the line and getting star calls and we┬┤ve seen both settling for long jumpers which is not their strength. Butler is doing better than Rose though, he at least plays two ways.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    "I think what is most frustrating is that neither is really getting to the line "

    Jimmy is 10th in the entire NBA in FTA, so he is certainly getting to the line. He is shooting 4 three's per game, and hitting 41.9% of them

    That being said, this team has played EIGHT games in Hoiberg's office, I wouldn't expect them to master it in a week.

  • Passing is a one fundamental of basketball. Sharing the ball and setting up plays is not one of the fundamentals the Bulls are exhibiting--very few assists and one on one basketball by players who cannot create their own shots. They are not putting themselves in position to score with high percentage shots. Passing the ball is essential to putting players in place for shots with a higher percentage.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    "Very few assists", that's just not accurate.

    After the PHI game, the Bulls are 16th in the league in assists per game.

    11th in 3pt attempts per game

    4th in 3pt made per game, and 4th in 3pt%.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I agree with Penwit1. Watch the passing by GS. It's a clinic!

    Bulls are 16th in assists. That is in the bottom half, correct? Lots of room to improve. Plus who should be getting the assists? The Gs who are carrying half of the teams salary.

    The biggest factor IMO - Focus! Same as last year. Too many guys taking too many plays off. Take your plays off from the bench, not from the court!

  • In reply to rustyw:

    GS passing is beautiful, so is SA. No doubt about it.

    And there is certainly room for the Bulls to improve.

    I only made one simple point, that being "very few assists" isn't accurate. I stand by it 100%, 16th out of 30 teams is just not "very few assists".

    But it's just semantics, really.

  • Where is the love for McDermott? Folks bitched for 3 years about letting Korver go, but now Doug is outshooting him by a mile

    3rd eFG%
    3rd 3pt%
    2nd TS%

    I see everyone in here judging the negative, are you all too embarrassed to admit that Doug is tearing it up?

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Plus McD is still basically a rookie. He was hurt last year and Thibs did not play him. I expect him to get better. (Maybe not on D tho.)

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Fans just like complaining. They like to minimize successes (how many times did I read on this site that we only had a 1.7% chance to get Rose?) but maximize failures and suggest they could do a better job than stupid/greedy/lazy management. So when McDoug is bad, fans moan but when he's basically what he's supposed to be... crickets.

    To be fair, watching McDoug play can be hard on the eyes. He doesn't look like he's good at basketball even though he's clearly a heckuva shooter. I don't expect any of this to change much. McDoug will improve for sure and I'd be shocked if he doesn't remain a great shooter, but I don't think he'll ever have a complete enough game to be a NBA starter.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    One thing people have to understand about McD. He was a complete star and go to guy in college. Playing off the ball with limited touches is a completely different game. I can't tell you how many times I watch the Bulls bring the ball up the court and not give him touches. Rose and Brooks are really not very good distributing PGs and it shows. McD had two solid summer leagues and although the competition is way lower one other thing was different, he got the damn ball. Those that think of him as only a spot up shooter haven't been paying attention.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    Paying attention to what, summer league? I know McDoug had a variety of ways to score in college and summer league, but I don't know that McDoug can score from the post with any consistency against NBA players. We'll see but I'd bet playing off the ball is what he's going to have to learn to do to be successful in the NBA. I also don't think he'll ever be even average in terms of ball handling or defense, hopefully he can at least become an average passer.

    I'm not ripping McDoug. If he becomes nothing more than a deadly off-the-bench shooter, I'd take that. I just wouldn't expect more.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I'm not suggesting he should be posting up much but his ability to upfake and one dribble pull up and even occasionally take it to the whole and finish with either hand should not be ignored. Some players are only spot up shooters, I think he has more ability to do find other ways as well.

    Agree he may never be even an average defender.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Absolutely agree with the entirety of your second paragraph. That also, perfectly explains why it is easier to criticize the flaws in his game than it is too appreciate that he has started to shoot the ball the way that we all expected he woulda/coulda/shoulda, especially the 3 ball.

    Most of the time, if not all of the time he simply does not look like an NBA level athlete, but he is a great natural shooter, and maybe even a good if not great scorer against lesser athletes. He's clearly a much better shooter than Niko, who also has issues with lack of athleticism, but can better get away with that problem at PF.

    Maybe the game will continue to slow down for McNoD as he gains more experience and hopefully bring an end to the spastic chicken with his head cut off routine.

  • Player Efficiency Ratings (after 8 games)

    Noah 8.48
    Snell 9.54
    Rose 9.70
    Gibson 12.59
    Mirotic 14.01
    McDermott 16.94
    Brooks 18.27
    Gasol 19.27
    Butler 20.51

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    As reported by Dan Cahill, Rose has the lowest PER in the league of any player averaging more than 32 minutes per game. MVP! MVP!

  • You missed 2 of our 3 "best" players,

    Portis 20.3
    Jose Feliciano 35.1

  • Seeing the Warriors get to 10-0 behind Steph's 46 just drives home how really far away these Bulls are from a championship. A solid, veteran starting SF is not going to get them there. It's time to pick a lane and it's an easy choice.

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