Tag:Tom Thibodeau
Posted on: March 16, 2011 12:59 am
Edited on: March 16, 2011 1:14 am

Derrick Rose's perimeter kingdom

Derrick Rose has been an MVP candidate this season, and has been credited with a great jump in his perimeter shooting. But after a hot start, how much has he cooled off?
Posted by Matt Moore

Derrick Rose has been brilliant this season. We could, and will, take pages to talk about the ways he's grown to improve his game this season, to take the Bulls to the next level and have them legitimately talking about the Finals. He is not only a MVP candidate, but a MIP candidate, for the ways he's jumped in nearly every aspect of the game. Every NBA fan is waiting with baited breath to see what he shows us in the playoffs this spring, with a loaded team backed by a brilliant defensive tactician... and Brian Scalabrine. But there's an underlying trend developing in an area that has been one of the most-vaunted new strengths of Rose: his 3-point shooting

Rose worked extensively with Rob McClanaghan on his shooting over the summer. He's referenced it several times as people have lauded his perimeter shooting. While his mid-range game has stayed at a subpar level, his 3-point shooting exploded early on in the season. He shot 34 percent in November, then 44 percent in December, the best month of his career. His ability to stretch the defense forced them to respect it, drawing them out to the perimeter, which gave him more space on the drive, opening up attacks at the rim and the drive and kick. It continues to be something referenced by analysts when they talk about Rose's improved game. But a funny thing's happened since the lofty shooting by Rose in the first two months of the season. He's  shooting just 29% since January 1st, still an increase over his 2010 mark of 26%, but not good enough to justify gameplanning against it. 

Here's a look at Rose's progression by month this season in terms of makes, attempts, and percentage from the arc. 

Basically after that huge month of December, Rose dropped back to a reasonably improved 3-point shooter (34 percent in January), then reverted fully back to a sub-30-percent perimeter shooter. But because his November and December run was so huge, his percentage held (he's still at 34 percent for the season entering Tuesday night). So in reality, Rose hasn't actually been an improved 3-point shooter for most of the season, but the effect has been the same in the scouting report. Additionally, Rose was actually a better perimeter shooter when he posted more attempts. Part of this is explained in his February injury which had him partially exhausted before the All-Star break. But the trend for decreased attempts and percentage has held and the pattern continued as the season winds to a close. It becomes more interesting when you look at the relationship between Rose's 3-point percentage and total production. 

So Rose posts his lowest point per game mark in the month he takes the most threes of the year and hits the highest percentage. His assists don't fluctuate much month to month, but he does post his highest per-game assist mark that same month. The result is that a part of Rose's game which has been used as a huge part of his MVP candidacy hasn't actually held as much water as it seems like on the surface. It'll be interesting to see how teams defend Rose on the perimeter in the playoffs if he doesn't tick things back up in a major way to close the year. 

This development does nothing to lessen his overall MVP candidacy, which in truth is not vested in stats, but in the apparent way he takes over the game as you watch it live. He's a brilliant playmaker and an elite finisher among elite finishers. But it does show some interesting patterns taking hold in terms of his range and perimeter effectiveness. 
Posted on: March 9, 2011 12:46 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 12:50 pm

Thibodeau got Bulls job with help of White House

Posted by Royce Young

An interesting tale was told to the Chicago Sun-Times by Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. It was the story how he hired supercoach, Tom Thibodeau.
‘‘Tom Thibodeau was first recommended to me by [U.S. Secretary of Education] Arne Duncan,’’ Reinsdorf said during an exclusive interview with the Sun-Times on Tuesday. ‘‘And that was two years earlier. The Celtics didn’t give us a chance to talk with him until after the playoffs, when they won the championship."


‘When the job was open again, I talked to Duncan several times on the subject, and he still strongly recommended Thibodeau,’’ Reinsdorf recalled. ‘‘So we hired him. Then in July 2010, the White Sox were playing in Washington, and we invited President Obama to come to the game.

‘‘First, David Axelrod [then Obama’s senior adviser] arrived and said, ‘Thanks for hiring Thibodeau.’ Then a little while later, President Obama came in and the first thing he said to me was, ‘Great hire.’

(Of course the job "opened again" because they had just fired Vinny Del Negro.)

Off the top of my head I can't really remember who other candidates were for the job that summer, but I can bet that they didn't have cabinet members backing them. That's a pretty good letter of recommendation Thibodeau had attached to his resume. Let's see, you were the defensive architect for one of the best defenses ever, won an NBA championship because of it and our entire government recommends you? You're hired!

Reinsdorf makes it sound like Arne Duncan's recommendation was the sole reason the Bulls hired Thibodeau though. And I guess that could be true. Just like Reinsdorf to completely stumble in to a good thing. Give him 15 years and a couple championships and he'll run him out of town.


Category: NBA
Posted on: February 4, 2011 2:18 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2011 2:26 pm

Friday 5 with KB: Nuts and bolts

Posted by Matt Moore

In today's Friday 5 with KB: All-Star snubs, the upcoming CBA talks, and the league's policy on, ahem ... man-parts.

1. Interesting note from Donnie Walsh yesterday, mentioning that he's more concerned about the trade deadline, among other things, rather than his contract future. Your Post-Ups today cover Walsh's situation in detail, but it still begs the question: Do you think the Knicks are making a move before the deadline? (Shotout to Antonio on Twitter for the question.)

I think the chances are fairly high -- great than 90 percent -- that the Knicks make some sort of trade before the deadline. Not necessarily a Carmelo trade, although that's still possible, but some kind of trade to either give Amar'e some help in the front court, upgrade backup point guard, or replenish future draft picks that were lost in Walsh's monumental effort to get the Knicks under the cap and with roster and cap flexibility for the next two years. Walsh totally deserved the two-year contract extension Jim Dolan just gave him. Wait, what? Dolan hasn't even decided whether to exercise Walsh's option, which comes due April 30? Oh. Oh, that is really bad. Please refer to Post-Ups later in the day Friday for an explanation of Walsh's limbo and where the 'Bockers stand in trade talks.

2. Well, Ken, the coaches didn't heed your words. They took Tim Duncan over LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love. Was that the most egregious selection or was there another that bugged you more?

I felt really good about the rest of the picks -- both mine and the coaches', since other than Duncan they were the same. At the end of the day, it's hard to get too bent out of shape over an immortal player getting a lifetime achievement vote to the All-Star team. So I won't be mad about Love getting snubbed until the commissioner snubs him as Yao's injury replacement. Then I'll be mad at the commissioner. It would've been nice to find a spot for Aldridge, too, as well as Josh Smith. Those were the most deserving guys who didn't make it, in my estimation.

3. So the CBA talk is in two weeks at All-Star weekend. Some are predicting the apocalypse. Some are predicting a peaceful, productive meeting. We had a phalanx of All-Stars blow off the day of service to make a statement at the bargaining table last year. What do you think we're going to get this year?

Probably a lot of rhetoric, and a lame/tame bargaining session that will mostly be symbolic. Not a whole lot of actual negotiating and work will get done due to the nature of the weekend. It seems like time is running out, but actually there is still plenty of time left for the lawyers and number-crunchers to figure all of this out. So in terms of developments, I'd like to see a small concession or baby step forward by each side. For example, if David Stern says the owners won't lock the players out immediately on July 1 if there is reasonable expectation of an agreement, and if Billy Hunter says the players are willing to give up the mid-level exception, those would be small but important signs of good faith on both sides. If both sides remain absolutely entrenched in their positions, the All-Star bargaining session and accompanying news conferences will be a waste of time.

4. Tom Thibodeau's defense has been so superb this year. And he hasn't been at full strength outside of more than a few weeks. Are we overlooking Chicago penciling in Miami or Orlando for the Eastern Finals? 

Given Orlando's defensive struggles and identity crisis at the moment, I think it's fair to say that the Bulls shouldn't be overlooked as a candidate to upset Miami and meet the Celtics in the conference finals. Chicago has the two ingredients that could pull that off -- outstanding team defense, as you mentioned, and an outlandish talent in Derrick Rose, who is good enough to win a playoff series by himself. Having said that, I plan to be in Boston next Sunday for the Heat-Celtics, and I fully expect that to be a preview of the conference finals.

5. Kevin Garnett tapped a guy in the man parts. Eddie House intimated that he has sizable man parts. Kevin Garnett was neither fined, nor suspended. Eddie House was fined. Does the NBA need to re-examine its junk policy or am I completely nuts? 

I have not queried Stu Jackson about the, um, nuts and bolts of these decisions. But knowing how the league office views such things, I believe the distinction was that Garnett's actions came during the course of a basketball play -- defending a 3-point shot, however dirty those defensive tactics were. Garnett got ejected, and that punishment fit the crime. (Easy for me to say.) House's actions fell under the category of excessive celebration and unsportsmanlike conduct -- similar to barking at the opposing bench or standing over a fallen opponent and talking about his mama. So that's the difference.

Have a burning NBA question you need answered? Email us at cbssportsnba@gmail.com, or drop Ken a question for the Friday 5 on Twitter at@cbssportsnba . 
Posted on: October 3, 2010 5:43 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2010 6:01 pm

With Boozer out eight weeks, Bulls start behind

Boozer forward not just out, but out at a bad time. Bulls may start in a hole to begin the season. Posted by Matt Moore

Carlos Boozer is out eight weeks with a broken hand , and while missing Boozer for any extended time is bad news for the Bulls, the timing is less ideal than some alternatives, even. Not only will Boozer miss the remainder of training camp while the team tries to integrate its schemes on both sides of the ball, but the schedule ensures that the Bulls will most likely be staring up at their Eastern Conference competitors when Boozer returns.

With an unofficial return date of November 28th, Boozer could miss up to fifteen games in that window if he's out the full eight weeks. Of those fifteen, nine of those games are against playoff teams from last season . Among the six non-playoff teams? They've got an improved Kings squad, and a much-improved Knicks team that may challenge for the playoffs. Detroit, Golden State, Washington, and Houston make up the remainder, and it's not like Houston's looking far behind this year. They've got four back-to-backs in that span, but the real problem? The real problem is the circus.

The Bulls are gone for a long stretch each November thanks to the circus occupying the United Center. It's a rough road stretch, and one that pretty much sprung the Bulls like a bad spring wound too tight last season. You're looking at Boozer missing the entire two weeks of that trip. If he were to try and come back six weeks in, he'd be coming in right at the start of that trip, including this murderer's row: at Houston, at San Antonio(back-to-back), at Dallas, at the Lakers, at Phoenix (back-to-back). Yikes.

While Boozer's out, the Bulls essentially become last season's team with better shooting guard play. Taj Gibson will take the majority of the time at power-forward, which he played admirably at last season. But the offensive gap in the post between him and Boozer is so high, that almost slices the Bulls in half. Then you've got to factor in time for Boozer to get back into rhythm with the offense and for the team to adjust.

The Bulls wanted to contend immediately in the East, with Boozer talking about winning a championship with this team. If they're going to get where they want to be, they're either going to need an absolutely hellacious run by Boozer's backup, or a stunning streak when he gets back. From where we're at on the eve of his injury, the Bulls look like they'll be climbing out of a hole immediately to start what was supposed to be their emerging season.

Them's the breaks, unfortunately. Tom Thibodeau's got his work cut out for him, right off the bat. Derrick Rose, you want to win the MVP ? Now would be a great time to hit that level. Like, now.

Update: K.C. Johnson of Chicago Breaking Sports reports that Boozer will need surgery and will defintely not return until after the circus trip.
Posted on: September 24, 2010 9:41 am

Preseason Primer: Chicago Bulls

Posted by Matt Moore
The Bulls needed upgrades, they've got upgrades. Carlos Boozer is the low-post presence they've been dreaming of. Kyle Korver is the perimeter shooter they've been amiming for. Ronnie Brewer is the shutdown perimeter man they've been needing. The Bulls upgraded at all the spots they needed to. Now it's just a matter of making things work together. And that's where we begin our Preseason Primer on the Bulls.

Training camp site: Chicago, IL

Training camp starts: September 28th

Key additions: Carlos Boozer (free agency), Kyle Korver (free agency), Ronnie Brewer (free agency)

Key subtractions: Brad Miller (free agency), Kirk Hinrich (trade), Hakim Warrick (free agency)

Likely starting lineup:
Derrick Rose, Kyle Korver, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah

Player to watch: Taj Gibson. Gibson played well last season with extremely limited expectations. The questions in camp will surround his ability to develop under what is considered to be a very low ceiling. Gibson needs to expand his offensive repertoire and improve on the glass.

Chemistry quiz: Derrick Rose lead by example last season; he'll have to be vocal in that leadership this season. Seeing if Carlos Boozer can defer to a player as young as Rose is also a question. Then there's the looming question of the impact of the prospective trade for Carmelo Anthony. The last time the Bulls were discussing trading for a superstar, that player went on to win two (and possibly more) titles and the Bulls imploded. Should be fun to watch.

Camp battles: Backup shooting guard is going to be one to sort out, with Ronnie Brewer the defensive stopper and C.J. Watson the scoring type. Seeing who's going to be the primary rebounder between Noah and Boozer should be a good one to watch as well.

Injury issues:
The Bulls seem awfully healthy going into camp.

Biggest strength: Defense. They have a defensive whiz in Tom Thibodeau taking over. Boozer can defend, in certain situations. Rose is improving. Brewer is a lockdown guy. Noah is a stopper. They have all the ability in the world to get stops, if they can communicate with one another.

Glaring weakness: Elitism. Derrick Rose is a divisive figure in terms of where he ranks among the top point guards. Carlos Boozer is a divisive figure in terms of where he ranks among the top power forwards. Joakim Noah is a divisive figure in terms of where he ranks among the top centers. If they want to compete with the Celtics and Heat, they have to be at the top of those lists.
Posted on: June 28, 2010 1:53 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2010 1:58 pm

The coaching factor in Lebron James' free agency

Our own Ken Berger outlined for you the totality of what LeBron James is condering in his free agency courtship ritual that starts Thursday. But lost among the discussions of weather, teammates, finance, marketing, wine, women, and song is that somewhere in there, he's got to play actual basketball. And while the roster certainly plays a part in that, what about the potential head coaches he'll be leveraging a system with? Let's be clear on this, his new coach's system will be molded to fit James' game, not the other way around (ironic, since James is the one free agent with the most versatility of this monstrous class of 2010). So what exactly is he going to be examining starting Thursday at 12:01AM EST (yes, yes, we know, he's already looking at those things. Play along, will you?).

Chicago: Tom Thibodeau. Thibodeau is coming in as a blank offensive book. He's been focused on defense for the past ten years, and there's been scare discussion of what exactly Thibodeau has in mind. One thing we do know is he wants to initate the offense with Derrick Rose , capitalizing on his speed and strength. The question for James is if he's prepared to play off-ball and be set up to use his incredible array of talents, or if he wants to run the LeISO sets, as they were called in Cleveland, where he single-handedly orchestrated the offense. Certainly in crunch time those are the possessions you want, with your best player with the ball in his hand. But if James recognizes that Rose's dribble penetration and mid-range game can open up more opportunities while saving his energy, Chicago could become a lot more attractive.

New York: Mike D'Antoni. If James has visions of wanting to challenge for averaging a triple double, New York is where he needs to be. Seven Seconds or Less will boost anyone's stats, and when you examine what Shawn Marion was able to do (21.8 points, 11.8 rebounds) with a lesser skillset under the 'stache, James' numbers could be through the roof. It's the defensive side of the ball where James is likely to be hesitant. If there's one thing his playoff failures have taught him, from Detroit to San Antonio to Boston to Orlando and then Boston again, it's that defense wins championships. He's had that mantra pounded into him from the day the Cavs made the playoffs, and all his most succesful teams have been built around defense. It would take a dramatic departure for James to embrace D'Antoni's style, which would defensively result in more highlight breakaways off of turnovers, but would also make life much harder for him against the Eastern elite. Numbers aren't everything, and the team defensive numbers are likely to matter more.

Miami Heat:
Pat Riley's pitch is going to be simple. Talent matters, and if you play with Dwyane Wade, everything else is irrelevant. The problem is that while Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has made the playoffs with the Heat and won consistently, the offense has been a bit of a disaster. Too often Spoelstra has surrendered command to Wade and not induced enough off-ball movement and against playoff schemes designed to converge on ISO players (like, say, Boston), the Heat's strategy has wilted considerably. Spoelstra's defensive components should be sound, and he's well liked by the players and organization. Miami could be an attractive option if James decides he wants more control over the offense, since a simpler system will have fewer principles for him to crack.

New Jersey Nets:
Avery Johnson has experience with creating offense. His Mavericks teams were good on both sides of the ball, but under Johnson they were versatile behemoths, slayed primarily because of a series of bad matchups in the playoffs. Johnson had success using Devin Harris as a drive and create guard, and circling the offense through Dirk Nowitzki in the high post. We heven't seen James operate much in the high post, curiously, as he usually either attacks from the perimeter or sets up in the low block. Using James as a Josh Howard/Dirk Nowitzki hybrid could yield some explosive results under Avery, and his commitment to man-defensive principles could appeal to James' simplistic concept of defense without as many of the help systems he adhered to under Mike Brown.

The Clippers and Cavs currently don't have a coach. The question is if that's a good thing or a bad thing for them as they attempt to lure James. It could be good from the perspective of giving James the option of selecting his own coach from a series of candidates. But it could also look like the organization doesn't have their house in order. Both candidates the Clippers are exploring do have head coaching experience, but aren't considered top rung. And the longer the Cavs get jerked around by Byron Scott waiting on the Lakers, the worse it looks for them, especially with Danny Ferry out.

As Berger said, there's a world of things James will be considering, and he'll be the final one making the decision. Coaching in the NBA isn't the most important thing, but it's certainly a factor. And in a competition where you're judged down to the minute detail, because James simply has the luxury of examining you to that degree, things like coaching will matter. What James decides to go with will say a lot about what he thinks of his game, and where he thinks his future is best invested, system-wise.

-Matt Moore

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com