Tag:Derrick Rose
Posted on: January 29, 2012 6:48 pm
 

Five big takeaways from Bulls-Heat

Posted by Royce Young

Round one went to the Heat, but not much separates Miami and Chicago. (Getty Images)

For the first time since Game 5 of the Eastern Confernce Finals where the Heat put together a massive comeback -- or the Bulls choked away a big lead, depending on perspective -- the Bulls and Heat matched up Sunday in Miami. It went as expected, down to the wire, with a couple key possessions decided it as Miami slid by, 97-93.

It was a game that will be played three more times during the regular season and likely one we'll see four, five, six or maybe seven more times in the postseason. It's one of what will be many more, but here are five big things to take away from the first matchup.

1. The final minute was pretty much perfect. Why? Because it was a total mess. Or as Kevin Garnett might say, a bar fight. The Bulls clawed back to finally have a shot at their first lead of the game as Derrick Rose stepped to the line with Chicago down 94-93 with 22 seconds left. Of note: Rose was 12-12 from the line to that point and had made all 28 free throws he'd attempted in the fourth quarter this season. He missed the first short. He missed the second long. The Heat gained possession and Joakim Noah was forced to foul LeBron James.

So it was LeBron's turn to finish the game at the line. He missed the first short. He missed the second long.

And that's when things started to get weird.

Off the second miss, there was an inadvertant whistle as Dwyane Wade saved the ball and Miami appeared to regain possession. The officials decided to jump it up at mid-court, but Monty McCutchen's toss was incredibly lopsided as LeBron easily won it against Taj Gibson. The Bulls fouled, Mario Chalmers stepped to the line with 13 seconds left. He made the first, missed the second and the ball somehow squirted through Carlos Boozer's arms as he called timeout. Rose grabbed it, got the timeout called and the Bulls, after all of that, had the ball with nine seconds left and a chance to tie it or win.

Rose got free and had a decent look for 2 as Richard Hamilton stood wide open in the corner. Rose came up short, the Heat grabbed the ball and finished off the Bulls in a completely fitting finish to a wild, entertaining game between the East's top two teams.

2. LeBron v. Rose. Both were absolutely spectacular. Rose finished with 34, LeBron 35. It was a show of two of the most electric players with the ball in their hands. Everything you'd want from a Heat-Bulls game.

The Heat didn't use LeBron on Rose much in the game like they did in the Eastern Finals, but LeBron did switch to Rose one time -- the Bulls final possession. Rose was terrific despite missing the free throws and 17 of his 28 shots, but he did it abusing Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. With the Bulls in a position to win or tie, LeBron switched to Rose.

Chicago ran a quick little set that got the ball to Rose isolated at the top of the key on LeBron. Rose got an on-ball screen, slipped past LeBron and jumpstopped at an elbow. Two Heat defenders stepped up, Udonis Haslem flopped to try and draw a charge and Rose was left with an open 15-footer. Which of course he missed.

But for the first 47:51 of the game, the Heat resisted having LeBron guard Rose, like he did so much of in the Eastern Finals. I couldn't help but wonder if it was an intentional switch to try and keep LeBron off of Rose and let the Heat defend the reiging MVP collectively, but it's almost like Erik Spoelstra was saving it as his secret weapon, just in case. As the two teams go forward against each other, it's definitely something to watch for.

3. Rose still has to do too much. There's a key difference between the Bulls and Heat: Rose defers to Richard Hamilton, Kyle Korver, Carlos Boozer and Ronnie Brewer. LeBron defers to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. A crucial distinction.

The Bulls are mostly in a position where either they have to kill the offensive glass and create multiple shot possessions or play incredible defense and win an ugly 80-78 game. Or hope that Rose plays an entirely flawless game.

The good news for Chicago is that all three of those things are entirely possible. The Bulls did a great job creating second opportunities, played solid defense and Rose was really good. But still, they didn't get enough of all three. I'm not so sure the Heat are all that much better than the Bulls, but I do think Chicago's margin for error is much smaller.

4. Luol Deng matters, a lot. Forgotten in all of this is Chicago's second best player didn't play. Luol Deng, a guy that gives the Bulls almost 16 points and 7.5 rebounds a game was out with a wrist and hand injury. Not only did the Bulls miss the extra offensive punch Deng gives, but they missed most his defensive ability.

Deng would've been the primary defender on LeBron, but instead Chicago was forced to rotate guys like Ronnie Brewer, Rip Hamilton and big guys like Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah on him. Not ideal for the Bulls and it's a big reason LeBron exploded for 35 points. You can't take something away from this game without remembering that the Bulls were minus Deng. He means way too much to them, especially for the reason he's their guy to stick on No. 6.

5. A seven-game series between these two would be terrific. I'm not entirely sure who the favorite would be, but if this game is any indication, it will likely come down to either Derrick Rose carrying his Bulls, or a combination of LeBron and Wade doing the same for Miami. It's a wonderful contrast between a top heavy squad with three amazing players against a deep roster headed by one incredible player.

Sunday, Wade wasn't great scoring 15 points on 4-16 shooting, but that's the design of the Heat. One guy didn't get it done, so another stepped up. In this case, it was LeBron and Chris Bosh (24 points, 12 rebounds). Bosh is a linchpin in that when Deng is healthy, the Bulls really can defend the Heat well. There likely will be games where Wade and LeBron are struggling and Bosh has to outclass Boozer inside to give Miami easy points.

There's a lot of stuff going on between these two teams. A lot of matchup issues, adjustments and big players making big plays. They're on a crash course to see each other again in the Eastern Finals and as Sunday showed, it'll likely be a beautiful mess.
Posted on: January 27, 2012 1:37 pm
 

3-on-2 Fast Break: Bulls vs. Heat

Posted by EOB

LeBron matched against Rose could be the most interesting matchup in Bulls-Heat. (Getty Images)

3-on-2 Fast Break is a weekly feature here on Eye on Basketball where our intrepid bloggers tackle two questions, comparing two elements. This week, we focus on Sunday's showdown between the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat. Follow Eye on Basketball on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

1. Heat-Bulls on Sunday, and Luol Deng wants to try and play. Considering the long-term goals of the Bulls, shouldn't they at least not rush him back into a game versus, you know, LeBron James?

Ben Golliver: I'm not going to play doctor, but I'm in the "better safe than sorry" crowd this season, especially as we've seen other coaches use extra caution in sitting their players and/or extending the timelines until they return. The Bulls are in a position, given their record and their talent base, where this isn't anything approaching a must-win. Follow the trainer's advice, don't push it and exercise an extra measure of caution. There are no statement games in late-January this season. This should be a relatively simply risk/reward calculation.

Royce Young: If you're healthy and CAN play, I say you play. It's one game and it really doesn't mean a lot in the grand scheme, but as long as you're not risking long-term damage or something, go for it. It's the type of thing where if Deng re-injures it playing 46 minutes against the Heat, everyone will blame Thibodeau for rushing things back. But these guys want to play, especially in marquee games like that. How are you really going to tell Deng to take it easy if he's ready and willing to go?

Matt Moore: Deng's toughness is admirable. But the Bulls have a goal of a championship and there's no reason to throw out Deng against one of the most physical covers in the league just to try and win a regular season game. It may make them feel better to get a win against the Heat after the kick in the pants Miami gave them in the Conference Finals, but not if it winds up keeping Deng out longer. The shortened schedule is already forcing them to play Derrick Rose with that toe injury which sounds like it hurts like all get out, and they may or may not be short Taj Gibson. Finally the Heat aren't the team with injury issues.

2. What's the matchup to keep an eye on?

Golliver: Eddy Curry continuing his revenge tour against his old teams, of course. I'm expecting double-doubles against both New York on Friday and Chicago on Sunday and I'm not talking about In-and-Out Burgers. But, really, Rose versus the Heat's defense is the match-up. He left the Eastern Conference Finals with a taste in his mouth and he made it clear this week after the Pacers game that he's taking names and making a mental list of those who slight him. How that plays out after LeBron James decided the East Finals by locking him up will be must-see TV.

Young: Derrick Rose vs. LeBron James. That defensive switch really made all the difference in the playoff series last year. LeBron completely shut down Rose's ability to penetrate and because of his size, Rose couldn't even settle for a clean jumper over him. The addition of Richard Hamilton is supposed to help with taking a little of the stress off Rose in those circumstances, but this game will come down to the stars making plays. Will it be LeBron or Rose? Unfortunately for Rose, he's going to have to do it with big No. 6 in front of him.

Moore: Carlos Boozer vs. Chris Bosh. Bosh shocked some people by coming through huge for the Heat in this series, and he's off to an even better start this year. He's figured out where to fit in the Miami offense and he's been more aggressive for once. Boozer's Boozer. He's going to get his but how he plays defensively will be a bit more important. The Bulls can't afford for two of the Big 3 to get going. Wade may be shaky coming back from injury, and who knows how LeBron James will respond in a big game like this after the last six months. But if Bosh gets it going, that's going to create havoc for Chicago, especially with Taj Gibson possibly out or not at 100 percent.
Posted on: January 26, 2012 8:14 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 8:42 pm
 

Derrick Rose ticked at Pacers for celebration

Posted by Ben Golliver  

Derrick Rose is peeved at the Indiana Pacers(Getty Images)
Watch your back, Indiana Pacers. You're officially on Chicago Bullls point guard Derrick Rose's hit list.

The reigning NBA MVP broke from his usually humble, soft-spoken demeanor to let reporters know that he's holding a grudge against the Pacers for how they celebrated a Wednesday night victory at the United Center.

ESPNChicago.com reports that Rose said he can't wait to get his revenge.
"I'll never forget how they celebrated just from winning this game," Rose told reporters. "I can't wait to play them again."
Pacers coach Frank Vogel, meanwhile, explained that his team's post-game celebration was simply a product of their pent-up frustration at losing to the Bulls in the 2011 playoffs.
"They are just thrilled to get the win here," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "They were crushed that we didn't beat them last year in the playoffs."
This isn't any sort of reckless trash talk from Rose, but it is an instructive episode because it represents a full step of evolution. Not only are Rose and the Bulls playing like the league's best team, they have been playing like that long enough so that the target on their back is fully formed and their past vanquished victims are out for revenge night after night.

The next step, of course, is to have the rings that elevate that dynamic to the next level, but this is clearly progress from when the Bulls were still developing around Rose in 2009-2010 and then surprising people with the consistency of greatness in their play in 2010-2011.

A little more than a week ago, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant told the world that only two NBA players have the competitive edge that he has: Chris Paul and Rose. Over the last 24 hours, we've gotten a great glimpse at what Bryant meant. Paul got into a battle of respect with Lakers big man Pau Gasol while Rose takes a Jordanesque turn here, using a perceived slight as fuel for the next competition.

It took a long, long time for NBA players to finally realize that they should do whatever it takes not to anger Jordan and Bryant, lest they feel wrath in return. Given that history, this won't be the last time we see comments like this from Rose. Until then, we all countdown until the fun part: March 5, the next time Indiana visits the Windy City.
Posted on: January 26, 2012 4:18 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 12:27 am
 

2008 Draft contract extensions: Winners & Losers

Posted by Ben Golliver

The deadline for teams to sign extensions with 2008 NBA Draft picks passed at midnight on Wednesday. Only a handful of deals were reached, with a number of fairly big names left to head towards restricted free agency next summer. Let's take a look at the major deals and non-deals one-by-one.

Derrick Rose signs 5-year, $94 million extension with Chicago Bulls

This year’s largest deal was handed out to the class’s No. 1 overall pick and it was an absolute no-brainer, a long-term commitment that binds hometown star and league MVP Derrick Rose to the Bulls for the next half-decade. With the Eastern Conference-leading Bulls clearly in the middle of what should be a lengthy championship window and with Rose more than comfortable both on and off the court in Chi-town, this deal amounted to calculating the highest legal financial offer and delivering it as quickly as possible. That Rose elected not to demand a player option on the deal’s final year is a nice bonus for Chicago, who will be paying a premium to their 2-time All-Star under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement. Rose will almost certainly be a Bull for the next decade but it’s comforting to know that there won’t be any distracting sideshows and rumors for years to come.

Rose wins; Bulls win 

Russell Westbrook signs 5-year, $80 million extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder

Westbrook, the No. 4 overall pick, was really just Rose-light. The 2011 All-Star and All-NBA second team performer commanded every penny available to him under a standard max extension, and the fact that he reportedly passed on the potential for some extra dollars under the new CBA while also passing on requesting a player option means this deal couldn’t be sweeter for the Thunder. Their second All-Star piece is now cast in long-term, locked-in stone next to Kevin Durant, and the deal left OKC with as much flexibility as possible going forward even if the books are now necessarily tight with two max players in place. Even Westbrook’s biggest critics – those who question his personality, turnovers, mentality and shot selection – realize that he still represents an extraordinary value, even at $16 million a year. Need convincing? Imagine how different the NBA would be if Miami or Memphis had selected him at No. 2 or No. 3. Or, imagine if the Thunder had opted for one of the Draft’s other top point guard prospects, D.J. Augustin or Jerryd Bayless.

Westbrook wins; Thunder win 

Kevin Love signs 4-year, $62 million extension with early termination option with the Minnesota Timberwolves

This is a classic case of a good idea in theory being far, far less valuable than a good idea in practice. Love, the No. 5 overall pick,  has been leaps and bounds better than every other big man in this class and is already in the "power forward in basketball" discussion. A ridiculously productive and consistent rebounder, Love has improved his offensive game, extended his range, overhauled his body and stuck with a team that went through a toxic stretch under former coach Kurt Rambis. He’s a franchise guy, period. He’s in the same “no-brainer” category as Rose and Westbrook.

The problem facing Minnesota, that differentiates them from Chicago and Oklahoma City, is that they face multiple potential top-tier future stars in Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams who could request a 5-year extension after they complete their rookie deals. The idea here was to avoid offering a 5-year deal to Love using the new "designated player" tag so that it could be saved for later use. That flexibility would have some value to the Timberwolves, assuming Love was on board with the concept. It’s a good idea in theory: superstar sacrifices one year of a contract to help his franchise keep his future star teammates happy.

In practice, it didn’t work out quite like that. In exchange for agreeing to a deal shorter than five years, Love requested and received an early termination option on the last year of his 4-year agreement. That will create endless speculation and questions about his future and every franchise misstep over the next two to three years will be looked at under the prism of, “Will that make Love want to leave?” LeBron James and Chris Bosh both left their original teams after signing similar deals.

There was value to be had in flexibility and it could have been a coup if Love had jumped on board with the idea. But he simply didn't see it that way. Instead, he stressed Wednesday that he was ready to commit for five years and the team wasn't, making it clear where the responsibility lies in the future if the player/team relationship goes south, or, in a worst case scenario, if the relationship ends in a trade demand or a departure to a different market in free agency. Sure, he can always make up the money on the next deal. But star players, like everyone else in the world, prefer up-front certainty to future promises. They certainly prefer to be valued rather than leveraged.

Weighing all the available risks should have led to a simple conclusion: securing Love for as long as possible as quickly as possible, to ensure good will and a rock-solid future, was the best way to continue the team's recent positive momentum and the most expedient method for reducing outside noise. Maxing out Love would also have sent a message to Rubio and Williams that this was an organization that properly valued and rewarded its stars. Future flexibility is a great idea; two extra locked in years of Love would have been a much, much better reality.

Love loses; Timberwolves lose 

Danilo Gallinari signs 4-year, $42 extension with the Denver Nuggets

This deal will go under the radar because it seems like the Nuggets, currently the West’s No. 2 seed, always go under the radar and because Gallinari, the No. 6 pick in his class, is somehow still his class’s most underrated player.  Denver gets a well-rounded, good-natured player, who produces at an elite efficiency level and is putting up career-highs across the board. Gallinari pairs nicely with Denver’s point guard of the present and future, Ty Lawson, and will deliver value on his salary as long as he is able to keep his back problems in the rearview mirror. Denver is the only team ranked in the top-4 in either conference without a sure-fire All-Star but his salary number isn’t so large that it boxes the Nuggets into a corner down the road. The Nene/Gallinari/Afflalo/Lawson quartet should be the solid base of an above-average team for the life of Gallinari’s deal. Why not get this done with now?

Gallinari wins; Nuggets win 

Kosta Koufos signs 3-year, $9 million extension with a team option with the Denver Nuggets

Another piece to Denver’s puzzle, albeit a minor one, is Koufos, the No. 23 pick originally taken by the Utah Jazz. Koufos is Denver’s fifth big man and his career ceiling is probably as a fourth big man, at best. Finding reserve bigs can be a chore and the churn involved in locating and holding the right skillset to complement the frontline players isn’t as easy as it seems. Denver locks up Koufos at a small cap number and holds flexibility in the last year if they end up wanting to go a different direction. The 7-footer, meanwhile, knows he’s getting at least 6 million no matter what over the next two years, not bad for someone who has never played more than 50 games in a season or more than 11 minutes per game. This is really just a footnote deal, but it’s another sign of effective, well-intentioned management by Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri, who pro-actively resolved multiples questions for his club at thisextension deadline and can now focus his energy elsewhere at the trade deadline and next summer.

Koufos wins; Nuggets win 

New Orleans Hornets do not sign Eric Gordon to an extension

Conventional wisdom dictated that a league-owned team that technically didn’t need to agree to an 8-figure per year extension to Gordon, the No. 7 pick who is currently out for an extended period of time with a knee injury, wouldn’t get it done. That's exactly what happened. An offer was reportedly made to Gordon and rejected, leaving his future up in the air until next summer, when he will become a restricted free agent. Gordon’s value as a second-tier player in his class is clear. He’s likely headed for the type of deal given to Al Horford and Joakim Noah, and there’s a possibility someone reaches in free agency to throw him something even closer to a max, which his injury history and overall production levels don’t quite warrant. Regardless of where the numbers eventually come in, as the only star on an endlessly sinking ship, Gordon will be a scorching hot commodity. It’s well past time the Hornets got sold to a new owner so they can get on with the business of being a real basketball franchise.

Gordon wins; Hornets lose 

Portland Trail Blazers do not sign Nicolas Batum to an extension

The up and down Blazers don’t know whether they are coming or going. Are they a fringe contender or is it time for a rebuild? The team’s front office readily admits that, in lieu of making that determination, they will procrastinate until next summer when contracts will be up for Raymond Felton and Marcus Camby, player options could be exercised by Jamal Crawford and Gerald Wallace, and a decision on the future of Greg Oden will need to be made. A casualty of all of this uncertainty is Batum, the No. 25 pick in 2008, who has seen his playing time cut this year in favor of Wallace this season despite hearing for months how the team considers him an important piece of its future.

A promising two-way player who can shoot the three well and defend multiple positions, a strong argument could be made that the Blazers should have went all out to reach an extension. His price will likely go up in the summer, the Blazers only have two definitive pieces locked in for the future (LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews) and Batum’s price should have been fairly clearly set by comparable players like Trevor Ariza and Marvin Williams. It’s difficult to imagine that Batum, who has expressed his desire repeatedly to stay in Portland, was looking to break the bank.  His play in limited minutes this season has been uneven and he's admitted the contract situation has been a distraction. Had there been a fair offer it seems more than reasonable to assume that he would have taken it. Instead, he waits, and watches Wallace play the starter's minutes. That's got to be excruciating and frustrating.

Failing to reach an extension isn’t a crisis for the Blazers, who continue to say they want to retain him long-term, but it extends the uncertainty when a little stability is needed. Portland remains stuck in the mud, spinning its wheels and still without a full-time GM. How much extra money will the "We can always handle this later" mentality cost them come summer time? How many other roster decisions will be impacted? It’s those difficult-to-quantify questions that the Nuggets avoided in inking Gallinari.

Batum loses; Blazers lose 

Orlando Magic do not sign Ryan Anderson to an extension

Anderson, the No. 21 pick, was far and away this class’s steal. He’s putting up 16.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game now that he’s starting full-time for the Magic and he’s pumping in threes at a 42.2 percent clip. Catching him with an extension just as he is making the upswing would have been an ideal situation, outside any external forces. His is a rising stock. The ground floor was two years ago, when Orlando first acquired him, but the ascent could be quite rapid and expensive from here going forward. Of course, removing external forces is impossible given Orlando’s cap situation and center Dwight Howard’s expressed desire to be traded. The Magic appear to be in “Hold on tight, let’s gun for a championship and see what happens” mode right now, and given how well they’ve played for stretches this season, you can’t really fault them.

From a dollars standpoint, Anderson can’t be too broken up about not getting a deal now. Given his big minutes role on a playoff team, he’s in the situation Batum wishes he could be in: the spotlight. This will end with a massive pay day, one way or another. After getting picked away from the New Jersey Nets via trade, it’s difficult to imagine his future is with anyone but Orlando. The only unknown is how many other moves -- including Howard, most of all -- it takes to make that happen.

Anderson wins; Magic lose

Posted on: January 26, 2012 11:30 am
 

Luol Deng wants to return Sunday

Deng with no regard for Luol's life. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

Luol Deng may be a little insane. We may need to check to see if Tom Thibodeau has done something bad to his wiring during practice. Because what Deng's talking about is just beyond crazy. 

Deng's torn ligament in his left wrist is in all likelihood different and more severe than the one Kobe Bryant suffered and is playing through. It's a testament to Bryant's intensity that he's gunning his way through it. And Deng wants to join him on the floor, despite doctor's orders. Form the Chicago Tribune:  
Hardened by past questions about his toughness and buoyed by the Bulls' championship potential, an upbeat Luol Deng will try to play through a torn ligament in his left wrist that sources say doctors suggested he have surgery to repair.

"I know it sounds terrible, but I really think I'll be fine," Deng said.

Deng even is telling teammates he hasn't ruled out playing in Sunday's game against the Heat, though that seems unlikely after coach Tom Thibodeau conceded Deng is "going to be out awhile."
via Chicago Bulls: Luol Deng determined to play - Chicago Tribune.

So the doctors say you really need to get surgery, and you say you'll play Sunday. We may need to stage an intervention for Lue.

The biggest differential is that Deng still has several years left on his career arc. The Lakers' window is closing, and Bryant is desperate to obtain that sixth ring. Deng is searching for his first, but the Bulls' window is propped open for the foreseeable future with Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, and even a few more years of Carlos Boozer. Deng risking permanent damage to his wrist, kind of an important joint, is admirable but also exceptionally risky. If nothing else, the Bulls medical staff should make sure they keep him out as long as will at least get the wrist stabilized a bit more. 

Deng is gritty, tough, relentless, an All-Star caliber player. But the Bulls' need for Deng go far beyond the next four months.  

(HT: PBT)
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:35 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 7:54 pm
 

NBA players: Rose, Crawford have best crossovers

Posted by Ben Golliver



The crossover dribble is arguably basketball's most hallowed dribble move, the easiest and most direct way to embarrass a defender and look smoothly cool while doing it. 

The title "Best Crossover" isn't to be given out lightly, and the NBA asked some of its players to nominate their peers in a recent video feature. Two candidates emerged: Portland Trail Blazers guard Jamal Crawford and Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose.

"Jamal Crawford, my homeboy from Seattle, has the best crossover in the league," said Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry, who has a solid crossover himself. "Jamal's crossover is so tough because he's so long and he stretches it out. There's no way you're going to get to it."

"His nickname is J. Crossover and you look at his highlights it's a lot of mixing players," Houston Rockets guard Courtney Lee added.

Two members of the Philadelphia 76ers elected to go with Rose, the 2011 NBA MVP. 

"Gotta go with Derrick Rose," said Lou Williams. "Derrick Rose is very quick with his crossover. He's never really gotten me with his crossover but I've seen him hit some other guys." 

Jrue Holiday agreed: "That's why he got MVP. Fast, agile, crossover is crazy. He's pretty much unstoppable."

Here are a few other candidates who weren't mentioned in the video, but should have been. 

Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers: Paul might not be as quick as he was a year or two ago, but his latest signature Nike shoes feature brakes on the toes to help him change directions as quickly as possible.

Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder:
Westbrook does everything at warp speed so his crossovers often turn into catapulting attacks at the rim. His leaping ability makes his dribble moves all the more deadly, especially in transition.

Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
: Wade can put people in the blender off the dribble and then really embarrass bigger defenders with his Eurostep combinations once he's attacking the paint. Just ask Kevin Garnett (video here).

Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors:
 Explosive and low to the ground, Ellis has no problem creating space to launch jumpers or getting into the paint. 

Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets:
 Williams might not be as quick as some of the others on this list, but his upper body strength makes his crossovers punishing, as he's able to get his shoulders by people and finish plays while absorbing contact.
Posted on: January 24, 2012 3:00 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 3:06 pm
 

Luol Deng has torn ligament in left hand

Luol  Deng will miss "a couple of weeks" with a torn ligament in his hand. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

The signs were ominous on Monday and on Tuesday word from the Bulls came out that it was as bad as feared. The Chicago Tribune reports the Bulls announced Tuesday that Deng has a torn ligament in his left hand. At this point, Deng is planning on not having surgery, resting the injury in the short-term, then trying to play through it. The Bulls announced that he is "week to week" and that he would be out a "couple weeks." If that sounds vague, that's because it is. There's no way to tell how the injury will heal without surgery. 

The Bulls will miss Deng most out of all their injured players (including MVP Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson who have both missed time in the past week). He's been an anchor for the team on both sides of the ball. He's one of the premier wing defenders in the league, and has been actually scoring at a ridiculously high clip especially from mid-range this season. 

Kobe Bryant suffered a similar injury, at least in description, and has managed to play through it. He has at times struggled with his shot but also rattled off a string of 40-point game, so it is something that can be treated before games to allow players to play through it. For the short term, however, Deng is out and the Bulls will have to rally. In his absence, Ronnie Brewer has stepped up and is shooting 45 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. The Bulls have rallied past all their other injuries, but you have to wonder if an long-term injury to Deng will slow them down, at least somewhat.  Their depth at point guard without Derrick Rose was considerably better than it is at the small forward spot behind Brewer and Deng.
Posted on: January 23, 2012 2:53 am
Edited on: January 24, 2012 5:49 am
 

Rose plays Monday, says injury long-term

By Matt Moore

Update Monday 9:11 p.m.: Derrick Rose did in fact suit up for the Bulls Monday night against the Nets and was his usual dominant self, scoring 14 points and four assists in the first half. Before the game, Rose told the AP that he thought the turf toe injury could bother him for the rest of the season. Not optimal for the Bulls who need Rose as close to full strength as possible. Expect Rose to pepper the season with absences and to shut it down as soon as the Bulls lock up whatever playoff seed they're comfortable with. 

*****


Derrick Rose has missed several games this season due to a painful turf toe injury. There had been discussions of him missing further time, but it turns out the MVP is planning on making a return to the floor on Monday. 
As for Rose, he told teammates on Friday in Cleveland he planned to play and didn't. So the morning shootaround could determine if he can play on his sprained big left toe.
via Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose vows to return Monday, while Luol Deng may miss game - chicagotribune.com.

Rose recently said the injury is more painful than a similar injury in his second season, and there continues to be discussion of whether it is turf toe or a sprained toe, or both that is bothering Rose. It's also strange that Rose plans to play if the toe isn't 100 percent. The Bulls have been fine without Rose, tearing off three straight wins without the reigning MVP since a Monday loss in Memphis. C.J. Watson and John Lucas III have filled in admirably. 

But Rose's determination tends to get ahead of his self-preservation. The Bulls should remain cautious with Rose to make sure he's in top condition for the playoffs. The injury may take longer than Rose has to heal, but extra time off won't hurt. Don't be surprised if Rose winds up taking off another day, but for right now, he's planning on giving it a go.

Meanwhile, Luol Deng is likely to miss the game in Chicago Monday with a sprained wrist, Taj Gibson is out with a sprained ankle, and John Lucas III is a game-time decision with a groin injury. In short, the Bulls are banged up. Tom Thibodeau has a deep bench but has been known to play starters long minutes. Perhaps with as well as his team has played when missing its players and with the injuries racking up, he'll be more receptive to easing up on players' minutes to help them get healthy while still contributing. An MRI for Deng was held over the weekend. Results weren't available, but the Chicago Tribune reported Deng said after that he didn't think he'd miss significant time.
Category: NBA
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com