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Tag:Luol Deng
Posted on: November 2, 2010 10:57 am
 

Game Changer 11.2.10

Deng does work with his mid-range, the Raptors do no work on the glass in the fourth, and Gordon does demolition work on the rim. All that and more in this edition of the Game Changer .
Posted by Matt Moore


Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer .

THE BIG ONE: DENG DOIN' WORK


In general, Nicolas Batum is a good defensive player. So is Wesley Matthews. Unfortunately, last night, they were completely overwhelmed by the rarest of finds: a fully functional Luol Deng. Not hampered by injury, a poor offensive system, or mental distractions, last night is a perfect example of what can happen when Deng is feeling it. Particularly, Deng's game is focused on the mid-range J. It's a highly inefficient shot, which is why he so rarely has nights like this. But when it's falling? Good night, nurse. Deng dropped 40 on the Bulls in a game that wasn't close right from the start. The Blazers just looked overwhelmed defensively. They couldn't protect the rim, and nothing was going to work on Deng. He kept nailing pull-up jumpers off the dribble, forcing them to close. Then he pump faked and got to the line. Take a look at his shot chart from CBSSports.com's Game Tracker .



That's a pretty good night from the field. When you're hot, you're hot.

Other than that? Not much to report. The Bulls' defense wasn't really all that stout, allowing a 110.1 efficiency for Portland, despite the Blazers shooting 41% from the field and 0.00% from the arc. 0-14 from the stripe for the Blazers. It was that kind of night. But 41 free throws helped them avoid getting wiped off the map while still being down too much to climb back from. The Blazers just looked a step behind on all their rotations, and the Bulls' offense was functioning at an extremely high level. Derrick Rose finishe with 16, 13, and 5, with 6 turnovers, and made a few absolutely gorgeous cross-court skip passes to Deng for open threes behind the baseline off-ball screen. Stuff you did not see out of the Bulls last year. Thibs has the offense going well, and with Deng hitting the jumper, that was all she wrote.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

Luol Deng: 40 points on 14-19 shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, +19

Tyreke Evans: 23 points on 9-16 shooting, 7 rebound, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 block

Gary Neal: 16 points, 4-8 from 3-point land, 6 rebounds, 2 assists

Eric Gordon: 23 points, 4 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, only Clippers starter with postiive plus/minus


DON'T MISS:

Ken Berger posts on how the league needs to take note of what happened in the NHL Lockout. Check out Ken's Post-Ups with news from around the league on several subjects, including Derrick Favors, Nicolas Batum, and how the league is approaching the Knicks investigation. Be sure to check out the horror, the horror of the Mike Conley extension, and Royce Young covers what we learned in week one .


RAPTORS BOARD OUT OF THEIR MINDS:


The Raptors held a 34-25 advantage on the glass headed into last night's fourth quarter against the Kings. In related news, they held an eight point advantage. In the fourth quarter alone, they lost the rebounding battle by double (14-7, advantage Kings), and were outscored by 11. That was your ballgame. Andrea Bargnani was, for some weird reason, matched up with the bulkier, meaner DeMarcus Cousins, while Reggie Evans was forced to try and hold off the wiry, quicker Carl Landry. It made absolutely no sense and the results bore out. The Raptors had this game on lockdown and just let the Kings take it away from them. This despite Evans finishing with 19 rebounds, 10 offensive. That would make them Never Be Closing, I suppose.

VIDEO-A-GO-GO


In case you missed it last night:




BENCH MOBBED:


The Clippers bench was outscored 32-7 last night in a nine point loss. For those of you keeping track, that means that the starters managed to outscore San Antonio's, but they couldn't handle Gary Neal and James Anderson. It at once says that the Clippers are far too woefully thin to be considered anything close to a playoff team this year, and that the Spurs have once again added young, versatile pieces which will help them this season. One game does not a season make, but the success the Spurs are having is a product of the system, and solid player acquisition. The smart get smarter, the Clips get Clipper.

AND FINALLY:

Loud noises!



Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer .
Posted on: October 8, 2010 10:10 am
 

Shootaround 10.8.10: Denver scouting Favors?

Posted by Royce Young
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: "I watched in open-mouth amazement after Thursday's practice as Howard drained bank-shot after bank-shot, then made some turnaround jumpers. He worked for about 20 minutes with assistant coach Patrick Ewing and center Daniel Orton, catching and shooting. I'm not crazy about his turnaround J. But anything that doesn't make him as predictable as he has been in the crowded paint and draws in defenders can't be all bad."
  • Jeff Pendergraph had a pretty nasty injury last night and today he tweets: "Thanks for the well wishes everyone. Gonna b heading back to Portland tomorrow to get checked out by doc but so far word is nothing major... Keep praying y'all. We will get through this. God doesn't put you through anything he knows you can't handle."
  • Blazersedge looks at Portland's options: "Another option would be to grant Rudy Fernandez's release request, which Cho has repeatedly said he will not do.  He could also release another player. Rookie Armon Johnson, picked in the second round and earning just $473,604 this season, would be the cheapest player to release, but this would be extremely unlikely to happen given how high the team's brass is on Johnson's future and how well he has looked during training camp."
  • Larry Brown on OKC: "I look at him and some of our young guys in the NBA and I think our league's in pretty good shape," Brown started. "And this team (the Thunder) probably is a testimony to that. Look at their young kids. Their not only terrific talents, they're better kids. They've done the greatest job of bringing in good kids that represent the league well. When they're talking about respect for the game, that team's a poster child for that. So the West better watch out."
  • Brian Robb of CelticsHub: "Luke Harangody has yet to show me something besides hustle. We should have just kept Scal if we needed that." Ah, missing Brian Scalabrine. What are the chances you thought you'd see someone say that?
  • What will the Hornets rotation look like? Ryan Schwan of Hornets24/7 says Willie Green has the edge to back up CP3: "It appears Willie Green has locked up the backup position at the point.  Color me surprised.  Every statement out of training camp has indicated he is leading the charge as the backup point guard and relegated DJ Strawberry and Mustafa Shakur to purely end-of-the-bench roles.  I won’t lie.  I worry about Green being able to pull this off.  He’s been a swingman for 95% of his career."
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: September 9, 2010 1:56 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2010 2:22 pm
 

Joakim Noah involved in Carmelo trade talks?

Posted by Royce Young

Fresh off the report that the Bulls are on the top of Carmelo Anthony's list, a story from ESPN Chicago is out including a player the Bulls are discussing trading to get the Denver star.

Brace yourself Bulls fans, because you might be a little torn. But according to the report, in order to get Anthony, Joakim Noah could possibly be included as part of that package. The Nuggets are also reportedly hesitant to take back Luol Deng as part of the deal because of his long-term contract.

For the Bulls, it comes down to how bad do you want Carmelo? If it's that bad, then you deal Noah, no question. You aren't going to get Anthony for peanuts and this is precisely the kind of trade package that would be enticing enough for the Nuggets to pull the trigger on. But at the same time, what Bulls fan wasn't pumped at the twin tower combo of Noah and Carlos Boozer? I don't care about the Bulls one bit and that duo had me excited. Plus, without Noah, Boozer's defensive deficiencies become highlighted, especially if Anthony is playing small forward in that lineup.

Noah has emerged as one of the East's best big men, averaging a double-double last season while also finishing in the top 10 in rebounding. He's a high energy player that blocked 1.6 shots a game last season.

Now the Bulls are just discussing including Noah internally. No offer has been made (that we know of). If Denver is hesitant to take back Deng, Chicago will be forced to up the ante. A deal sending James Johnson and Taj Gibson isn't going to get it done. But adding Noah into some kind of package is something that Masai Ujiri will have to stop and think about.

The issue is though, working out the numbers. The Nuggets would pretty much be forced to take back Deng in order to line up the salary exchange. A deal sending Noah, Johnson and Gibson isn't near enough salary to match Anthony's $17 million. But adding Deng plus Noah plus Johnson or Noah works.

Noah only has one year left on his current contract, so who knows if the Nuggets want a player they aren't guaranteed to keep. So in order to alleviate some of Denver's concerns about Deng's contract, Noah might be added as the trump card. At least, that's what the Bulls are discussing amongst themselves right now.
Posted on: September 9, 2010 12:15 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2010 12:16 pm
 

Report: Carmelo prefers Bulls and Knicks

Posted by Royce Young

A few weeks ago, Ken Berger clued the basketball world in to the fact that Carmelo Anthony wants to play in New York. We've heard a bunch of teams mentioned, but Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports that there's a top two on Anthony's wishlist: the aforementioned Knicks and the Chicago Bulls.

Those are just Anthony's preferences, and in the end, it really just comes down to where Denver sends him. So really, he could be traded to the Toronto Raptors if that's who the Nuggets negotiate a deal with. But the Bulls certainly have attractive trade pieces.

There's Luol Deng who could replace Anthony at small forward, plus young players like Taj Gibson, James Johnson and Omer Asik. We mentioned a few weeks ago that the Bulls reportedly have already offered a package that included Deng and Gibson, but obviously nothing has come of that yet.

Spears mentioned in his story that the Knicks would prefer Anthony wait until next summer to make his move. Anthony could opt out and with Eddy Curry's contract coming off the books, the Knicks could sign Carmelo outright.

Anthony has not yet met with new general manager Masai Ujiri about staying with Denver, but once that meeting is done, a decision shouldn't take long as to what to do with Carmelo. If Denver isn't going to be able to keep Carmelo, it would likely prefer to move him before training camp, or at least the beginning of the season.

And while Anthony is supposedly making his preferences clear, in the end it doesn't mean much to the Nuggets. They are in a position where they can negotiate with who they want and try and get what they want. But if they start waiting, those options and that leverage starts to deteriorate .
Posted on: September 2, 2010 10:46 am
Edited on: September 2, 2010 10:48 am
 

Boozer thinks Bulls are championship caliber

Bulls new forward thinks they can compete for a championship, this season.
Posted by Matt Moore


The NBA is extremely elitist in terms of contenders for its championship. Versus the NFL, where 20 fanbases or so are going into next Thursday night's opener thinking if everything goes right for them, their team can bring back the Lombardi, and fifteen of those are actually being reasonable, in the NBA that list is about four teams.

The Lakers, obviously.

The Celtics, naturally.

The Heat, you'd have to say.

And if you're feeling generous, the Magic. They did make the Finals two years ago after all.

But is there a fifth team? Is there another team that could challenge the mountain, overcome it, and achieve what Ninja Warrior describes as "total victory?" What about the Bulls?

Carlos Boozer is here to tell you they are right in the mix for the NBA championship. When asked about the Bulls' goals for the upcoming season, Boozer told ESPN Chicago:


"A championship," he told ESPNChicago.com on Wednesday night after a Nike House of Hoops event. "I think a realistic goal for us is a championship. I think anything shorter than that we're setting ourselves up to be shorter than what we can reach. I think [we have] potential to be a championship-level team."

Well, then, Carlos. Don't hold yourself back. Really put yourself out there. There's no question that the Bulls have improved significantly from the team that was one-and-done'd by the Cavs and Celtics the past two seasons. But to be a championship contender in the East among all the powerhouses that now exist? Most striking is that essentially Boozer's attributing the team that the Bulls had last year, plus himself, along with Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer, to be the difference in the 8th seed and a championship.

If Boozer's going to have that kind of impact, it's probably important to compare this team to the Utah Jazz team that Boozer's been playing for when uninjured for the past few seasons. The Jazz have been a great team, well coached, disciplined, versatile, and effective. They even made the Western Conference Finals in 2007. Of course, that was primarily on account of them landing Golden State in the second round following one of the most shocking upsets in NBA history. How does this Bulls team stack up with the Utah team that's been plugging away (and getting swept out to the sea by LA) the last few years?

Derrick Rose is a phenomenal talent on the rise, one of the best point guards already. In Team USA play, he's shown off an improved jumper to go along with his superb quickness and touch. But is he better than Deron Williams? Hard to argue at this point. Rose's ceiling is certainly equal with, or possibly superior to Williams, but Williams is considered by many to be the best point guard in the NBA (with apologies to co-owner of that title, Chris Paul). Williams' defense is phenomenal, using his size and reach to harass opponents, and his all-around offensive game is nearly unstoppable when he's healthy.

Joakim Noah is probably the biggest upgrade for the Bulls over Boozer's Jazz. Versus Mehmet Okur, who is primarily a perimeter shooter, Noah is a workhorse down low, plowing whatever needs plowing on both sides of the ball. He's emerged as a top center in the league, though he's far from the top of the class just yet. Luol Deng may be an improvement over Andre Kirileko, depending on what you're looking for, but Deng's inconsistency is just as maddening as Kirilenko's injury problems. And new additions Brewer and Korver were members of that same Jazz team. Hard to argue they're significant upgrades now.

Which brings us to Boozer. The resume is certainly there on paper. 19.5 ppg, 11.2 rbg, 56% from the floor, PER of 21.3, which is up there with Brandon Roy and Steve Nash. His playoff stats are even higher. So why is it then that he's never been considered among the elite in the NBA? There are those that say that his stats can often be empty, and that he is unable to make the same impact on the game as his peers in that regard. But the numbers don't lie. However, there is something about Boozer that seems to indicate there's a piece missing. That's partially why he was brought into Chicago to be the secondary option behind Rose. It's simply hard to see how this cast of characters will dramatically alter things in a top-heavy East just because of his acquisition.

Of course, this is all based around individual assessments. For a more accurate picture, we need to look at the system as a whole. And that leads us to a more promising look. Boozer provides Rose with a capable pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop partner, as well as a low-post scorer he can turn to. While Boozer's interior defense is nothing to write home about (he allowed a 46% FG% in the post last season), Noah can help with that due to his size. His passing ability should help the offense funnel the ball to its new shooter, Kyle Korver, and his leadership should not be discounted. The Bulls as a team look incredibly strong.

But are they a championship team? With the Celtics, Magic, and Heat all in their conference, meaning they'll have to get through at least two of them most likely in the playoffs, the Bulls have to measure themselves against those teams. And while it's certainly reasonable to be excited about this season, the firepower of those other teams has to lead you to believe Boozer may want to scale it back a bit. Only way up is through, though, I suppose.


Posted on: August 31, 2010 5:40 pm
 

Offers starting to pop up for Carmelo

Posted by Royce Young

There's no telling how many times Masai Ujiri's phone has already rang. Some were probably congratulatory calls on his new position with the Nuggets, but I'm guessing 95 percent of them have included the words "Carmelo Anthony," "trade" and "we'll offer."

And according to John Rothstein of the MSG Network, the Bulls have already inquired offering up a package that includes Taj Gibson and Luol Deng. That doesn't mean that is the offer, but it means that the Bulls are reportedly offering a deal that includes those two players. Rothstein also reported that the Nets have made a few calls, but any trade discussions with Denver aren't including Brook Lopez. Smart move there by the Nets.

Those are just two of the teams reportedly interested in Anthony though. We've heard the Kings, the Warriors, the Hornets, the Timberwolves, the Knicks, the Magic and the Rockets all pop up as well along with the Nets and Bulls.

What's interesting about any offer that comes in to the Denver front office is figuring out what the Nuggets are aftet? Is it talent? Is it assets? Is it picks? It's pretyy well agreed upon that Denver won't get equal return on Anthony, but just because you trade a star doesn't mean you can't come out sunny on the other side.

Jeremy Wagner of Roundball Mining Company put together an interest list of offers from fellow team bloggers. He ranked them and interestingly, both offers from the Nets' bloggers didn't include Lopez and Wagner didn't like the offers. Devin Harris, Terrence Williams and some picks isn't doing much for a Nuggets fan and it's likely not doing much for Ujiri either.

Ujiri reportedly will meet with Anthony soon and told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! that he wants Anthony to be a Nugget. But Ujiri also said that the door hasn't closed on the possibility of trading. Of course Ujiri would prefer not to trade Carmelo because replacing the face of your franchise is almost impossible to do in a trade, but sometimes your hand is forced. And in this situation, that appears to be the case. The phone calls are going to keep coming for Ujiri, and not very many will involve much congratulations.
Posted on: June 29, 2010 8:06 am
Edited on: June 29, 2010 9:38 am
 

Colangelo waves the white Bosh flag

You have to appreciate someone being honest. You really have to appreciate someone being honest in sports. And you have to appreciate Bryan Colangelo not spoon feeding us the same tripe about how the Raptors are "very confident" they'll be able to re-sign Chris Bosh.

The Score reports of an interview on a Toronto radio station with Colangelo, where the Raps GM said "I think it's likely that he will leave. "

The Raptors will look to accomplish a sign-and-trade for Bosh in order to recoup some level of value for his departing contract. Their best bet is probably Chicago, would would be able to offer Luol Deng's contract if they feel they can nab LeBron James as the jewel in the crown, making Deng expendable.

The Raptors' roster will remain kind of a mess, however. Jose Calderon has not lived up to the promise of his best season in 2009, Hedo Turkoglu is a cancerous fungus demanding a trade, and their best player without Bosh will be a seven foot Italian who doesn't excel at rebounding (though he can shoot the lights out). They'll look to add pieces and try and figure out some alternative approach. But the tide around Colangelo is definitely turning into a whirlpool from which he may not escape.

Raptors fans have been through a lot, and this is just the latest in a series of disappointments for what is ultimately a terrific fanbase. But the reality of the situation is that Bosh is gone, and rebuilding begins again in Toronto, only with a much larger payroll than usual. But hey, at least they're being honest.

-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