Tag:Chicago Bulls
Posted on: November 5, 2010 9:37 am
Edited on: November 5, 2010 9:38 am
 

Shootaround 11.5.10: Like That

Posted by Matt Moore

  • The Sonics mascot showed up with a sign that said "Homeless" last night. Which is adorable. I do wonder where the sign is that reads "Homeless because people didn't think it was a good idea to build me a new home" but I'm a stickler for accuracy like that.
  • Mikael Pietrus and Stan Van Gundy got into a shouting match over Pietrus being yanked in the third quarter against the Wolves. One would think in a 40 point annihilation that everyone would be happy. It's also bizarre that SVG continues to have trouble with Pietrus considering that he's been a big part of the team's success and I don't see any yelling or screaming at Vince Carter, but I'm a stickler for fairness like that.
  • Twitter has not been kind to the Celtics. Twitter is a remarkably easy interface to control, you just have to be sure to think about what you're posting before you post it. Then, if you do post something that isn't great, you need to be prepared to take responsibility for it. Or blame it on hackers. You know, either one.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 9:01 pm
 

Derrick Rose is a good dunker

Posted by Royce Young

Some players just seem to have a certain flash to their dunks. They are in principle, normal dunks. Two hands, throwing the ball through the hoop. But take Derrick Rose for example. He just adds something to his. They are a little flashier, a little louder and a little more fun to watch. For instance, this massive two-handed stuff against the Knicks Thursday night.



Watching Derrick Rose dunk is like watching Ken Griffey Jr. hit home runs in 1995. It produces the same result as others, but it's just so smooth and cool. My mom says that's what it's like to watch me write too. I'm not sure that's the best analogy though.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 1:46 am
Edited on: November 4, 2010 1:52 am
 

Horford vs. Noah: Tale of the Tape

Posted by Matt Moore

When Al Horford received his 5-year, $60 million extension last week , there wasn't a whole lot of dissent. After all, Horford's a hard-working, versatile center who was an All-Star last season and has very much become a respected NBA player. Horford's been a huge part of the Hawks' success, and his extension is well-worth his production. But of course, whenever an NBA player is given money, there's someone to come along and doubt if he's worth it. This week's winner? Andrew Sharp from SBNation.com ! Sharp's not saying Horford's not worth it, just that Joakim Noah is the player he wants his team instead. This doesn't reflect any choice either the Bulls or Hawks have had recently, just that the money spent on Noah's extension is better spent. From Sharp:

 

By contrast, Noah is a weapon for the Bulls regardless of whether Derrick Rose feeds him on the low block. He operates out of the high post, uses his passing to break down defense while teammates cut off him, and then he crashes the boards. Where maximizing a good post player involves a complex balance within an offense, Noah's impact is simple.

If Horford can become a dominant scorer on the low block, then he's worth the investment it takes for Atlanta to get him involved. But if he's going to score 16 to 18 points-per-game for his career, wouldn't it make more sense to have someone like Noah, who makes an impact without his team making an effort to get him involved, has proven a terror in the playoffs, rebounds better, and changes more shots on the other end?

Again, it comes down to what you want from a big man in 2010.

Well, I suppose that's true. It does come down to what you want in a big man. And if you want a guy that rebounds? Sure! That's who you want. But if you're looking for a guy who can help you defend in the paint, and the overall best player? It's Horford. And it's not really close. Let's go to the tape!

Here's a look at the relatively basic stats, some advanced stats, and some numbers via Synergy Sports. Basic stats via Basketball-Reference . Opposing PER via 82games.com . Points per possession via Synergy Sports , with number of possessions in parentheses. Stats from 09-10, since we have such a small sample size this season.

Category Noah Horford Advantage
Points Per Game 10.7 14.2 Noah
Rebounds Per Game 11 9.9 Noah
Blocks Per Game 1.6 1.1 Noah
Points Per 36 12.8 14.5 Horford
Rebounds Per 36 13.2 10.1 Noah
Blocks Per 36 1.9 1.2 Noah
FG% 50% 55% Horford
PER 17.9 19.4 Horford
Defensive Rating 98 101 Noah
PPP Offense (Overall) .94 (703) 1.067 (1073) Horford
PPP Off-Post: .80 (104) .92 (379) Horford
PPP Off-P'N'R: 1.09 (88) 1.12 (112) Horford
PPP Defense (Overall) 0.85 (752) 0.78 (1074) Horford
PPP D-Post: 88 (176) .69 (283) Horford
PPP D-P'N'R: .86 (253) .92 (318) Noah
Opp. PER 17.5 16.5 Horford
Playoff wins against Celtics 0 0 Draw
Rebound Rate 20% 16% Noah

Some things to note here:

  • Noah was hampered by plantar fasciitis last season among a few other injuries. That's an injury that's going to hamper you, though by all accounts he was much better by the end of the year.
  • The Synergy numbers do bear out across earlier seasons.
  • For Defense on PPP, remember lower is better, because it's points allowed per possession.
  • If you're unfamiliar with Synergy, it actually tracks possession by possession with video. So these aren't estimated stats. You can actually go through and watch each possession the two spent defending the post last season.
  • The wins against the Celtics are due to Sharp's rather random comparison of the two players against the Celtics among other teams. If we're going to dramatically oversimplify matters then I thought we'd take it to the fullest extent.
  • It should also be noted Tom Ziller took down the assertion that Noah was superior in his post at NBA FanHouse's The Works Wednesday Morning.
So what do we see from these numbers? If you want someone to grab that loose ball after the miss? You want Noah. With those long arms, big frame, and Joakim-ness, Noah is your guy. But if you want a player who will force that miss? Particularly in the post? It's Horford, by a healthy margin.

Sharp makes the argument that Horford's scoring is somehow disruptive to the offense (which is a lot like saying bullets are disruptive in a gunfight). But as we see from the play breakdowns, Horford only used 4.3% of his possessions in ISO situations. Everything else came off of a set play. This on a team that too often was plagued by too much ISO play. Horford wasn't disruptive, if anything, he was part of the solution, not the problem.

So really, what we're left with is rebounding. On a team with Josh Smith, Zaza Pachulia, and a fleet of wings, Horford was 4% behind Noah, who was flanked by... Taj Gibson and Luol Deng. This isn't to say Noah's overrated as a rebounder. He's not. But the gap between he and Horford's work on the glass is not great enough to amke up for Horford's advantages on both offense and defense.

Joakim Noah is a terrific young player that is sure to be a central part of the Bulls' success, especially now that his low-post offense is not needed next to Carlos Boozer (once he returns from injury). But Al Horford, despite not grabbing headlines for his hair, expressions, or penchant for the green stuff is the more complete player. He's the underrated All-Star, but an All-Star for a reason.


Posted on: November 3, 2010 1:35 pm
 

Boozer has cast removed, ready to start rehab

Posted by Royce Young

According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld , Carlos Boozer has his cast and pins removed from his fractured right hand Wednesday morning. And now he can start rehab today as well. 

Aftr the initial injury, Boozer's timetable to return was for late November and potentially December. And everything seems to be right on that pace.

In his steed, Taj Gibson has been starting and has played well, averaging 13 points per game and almost five rebounds a game. So far, the Bulls are 2-1 and coming off a nice win against the Blazers Monday. And with Boozer set to return in a few weeks, it looks like Chicago will be able to weather the storm.

A lot of that was helped Tuesday by Luol Deng's 40 points against Portland, but maybe that's a taste of how Boozer's injury could be a good thing. With him out, players have been forced to step up. Deng is becoming a legit scoring threat on the wing, Derrick Rose has been fairly fantastic and now the Bulls' bench is deeper than previously thought because of Gibson's strong showing.

Barring any setbacks for Boozer or any other ninja gymbags that sneak up and take out his legs, he'll be back in a few weeks. And once he's there, Chicago will have a stout front line to go with a developing backcourt. Joakim Noah has been outstanding in the early going and once he gets his new tag-team partner, the Bulls might be ready to make a little noise.

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: 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 28, 2010 12:03 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 12:28 pm
 

Young, smart and hungry: Westbrook leads Thunder

The Thunder are young, but don't overlook the smart, efficient way they play and how that helped them to a big opening night win over the Bulls on Wednesday.
Posted by Matt Moore


Kids these days. One minute they're struggling to win games against bottom-feeders and the next they're rolling out a huge win in front of a raucous crowd with a combination of stout defense and efficient offense. If there was any question about whether the Oklahoma City Thunder were really grown up; last night they answered that question with finality in their 106-95 win over the Bulls. It wasn't just the win over a tough, gritty, talented Bulls team that even without Carlos Boozer is loaded with talent and expected to contend in the East, it was the way they did it. And that started with Russell Westbrook.

While Kevin Durant led the team with 30 points, as he will nearly every single night, he did it on just 9-of-24 shooting. On the other side of the aisle, the Bulls' leading superstar, Derrick Rose, was even less efficient, launching 31 shots with only 12 makes. That's 39% for a player who was expected to have a much-improved jumper. For Westbrook? Try 28 points on 8-of-15 shooting and 12 of 13 from the stripe. Throw in 10 rebounds, six assists, three steals, and a block (and an acceptable three turnovers considering his usage)? You've got a masterful performance that should put Westbrook in the talks of the elite point guards in the league.

Westbrook wasn't just blinding with his speed, he was patient and deliberate when the situation called for it. It's been this progression since his rookie season two years ago that has brought him to stardom. Well, that and his insane athleticism and uncanny ability to both see the floor and attack opportunities to get his own buckets. It's the complete nature of his game, including his spacing defensively and intensity that makes him so dangerous ... and at such a young age (Westbrook turns 22 next month).

Coach Scott Brooks spoke strongly about Westbrook's performance after the game (as told to CBSSports.com's Royce Young): “I hoped we would start making some shots and we did, but I thought Russell did a great job of leading us, controlling the game, picking his spots and figuring out where they needed the ball. He filled up the stat sheet and that’s what we like about Russell. He’s not a one-dimensional player.”

But of course, Westbrook, forever the second fiddle to Durant, will be looked over. Just as some will continue to look over the Thunder, even as conversely the hype continues to grow and they thrive as one of the most fun teams in the league. Don't believe me? Watch the Thunder in transition. According to Synergy Sports, the Thunder were 10 of 13 in transition last night, getting points 78% of the time. It's a high efficiency opportunity but the Thunder took it to its furthest extent. And they were just as good on the other side of the ball.

While Westbrook and company were harassing Rose into a 12-of-31 shooting night, Oklahoma City poured it on defensively across the Bulls. While an 11-point win doesn't look overwhelming, the Thunder held the Bulls to a 96 efficiency (96 points scored per 100 estimated possessions; need to be above 100 to be "good" in this category) while logging a 107 themselves. The Thunder got to the stripe by forcing the issue (47 free throws to only 22 for the Bulls: thanks home-court advantage!), and held the Bulls to 14% shooting from the perimeter.

Those are numbers. In execution, the Thunder were always attacking and then pulsing back on defense. With the Bulls missing Carlos Boozer, there was no need for the frontcourt depth of OKC to rear its head. Coach Scott Brooks only went to a nine-man rotation, and Serge Ibaka was the only real "big" off the bench. Then again, with Ibaka bringing 8 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks in 31 minutes, Brooks didn't really need to turn to Cole Aldrich or Byron Mullens (Nick Collison is out with an injury).

For the Bulls, things looked eerily similar to last season. Unable to spread the floor with shooters, Rose was harassed by multiple defenders, Noah a beast but the bench a no-show. Each team shot exactly 45 jumpers, and the Bulls actually had a higher effective field goal percentage (eFG%, weighing 3-point attempts), and were better on the offensive glass. But the Thunder turned transition opportunities into layups and got to the line at will. With the Bulls aiming for long jumpers and a silent 3-point attack, this is the result.

The Thunder are exciting. They've got highlights (like this one , good night, nurse). But they're also very smart, and that starts with Russell Westbrook. They play with emotion but they play with control. And if the Thunder are looking to take the next step in their rise to NBA championship contention, this was a solid first step. Teacher's pets, I suppose.

Posted on: October 26, 2010 5:38 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:05 pm
 

Bucks keep brain trust: Hammond, Skiles extended

The Milwaukee Bucks have reportedly extended the contracts of general manager John Hammond and coach Scott Skiles. Posted by Ben Golliverjohn-hammond

Marc Stein of Yahoo! Sports reports on Twitter that the Milwaukee Bucks have "exercised the option on the contract of GM John Hammond and extended the contract of coach Scott Skiles through 2012-2013 season." The moves are of the no-brainer variety, as the Bucks have been a team on the rise ever since April 2008, when Hammond was hired away from the Detroit Pistons, where he had served as Vice President of Basketball Operations under Joe Dumars. At the time of his hire, the Bucks were in the midst of a 26 win season.  The following year, they improved to 34 wins and, after Hammond boldly drafted point guard Brandon Jennings in the 2009 lottery, the team won 46 games last season to make the playoffs for the first time since 2005-2006. Hammond was named NBA Executive of the Year in 2010, reflecting the team's progress. Skiles is credited with an intense work ethic, defensive approach and has earned all sorts of praise for his ability to guide Jennings's development. A former NBA guard himself, Skiles has an 80-84 coaching record in two seasons with the Bucks. Prior to signing on in Milwaukee, he coached both the Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns. Last year, Skiles finished second to Oklahoma City's Scott Brooks for the NBA Coach of the Year award. The contract extensions are signs of stability and progress for the Bucks, a team that should compete for the Central Division title this season.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com