Scottie Pippen on Rose’s comeback (via Comcast SportsNet Chicago):
“He’s going to be a bigger, better, stronger player. I think it’s great to have something like this happen if it’s going to happen at a young age (23). He’s going to heal fast, and he’s going to push himself now to be better than he probably would have ever been.”
This sort of keeps with Dr. Brian Cole’s assessment that Rose can potentially get back to 125% of where he was before. I have no doubt Rose will push himself. But the truth is: Nobody really knows how for sure well Rose will recover from his ACL tear. Not doctors. Not Pippen. Not Rose himself. Only time will tell.
And so Bulls fans watch. And wait. And wait some more.
“You just feel bad for [Rose]. We all deal with injuries and every time you deal with an injury, you hope it’s not the big one. You hope it won’t end your season. So to see a guy like D-Rose, who was battling injuries all year, minor injuries, and then it took its toll. And it was sad to see.
“We didn’t want to see it and we want to play the Bulls. We want to play the best teams. We want him and his family to be fine, so to hear he was in high spirits and doing well, outside looking in, as a fan of the game, I’m excited for him.”
Wade — who recently admitted his free agent visit to Chicago “messed me up” — also told ESPNChicago that Rose might eventually change his mind over his refusal to recruit other great players to join him on the Bulls:
“Derrick’s still young (23). When I came into the league (in 2003), when all of us came into the league, you never can tell me that this day would come where I play with guys like LeBron (James) and Chris (Bosh) because I wanted to be the young gun. I wanted to be the one who leads my team to a championship, I had that mentality.
“And then you get to a point where you understand, even with me winning a championship in my third year, it took Shaquille O’Neal, it took Gary Payton, Antoine Walker, James Posey, all these guys to make it possible. This league is very good and you’re not going to win it alone. So when you’ve had a very good team like Derrick has had, you don’t need to recruit, but when you’ve hit rough stages and injuries hit and all these things, and you have a year like we had where we won 15 games (in 2007-08), and now we’ve got to rebuild back, it becomes a little different. Hopefully, he doesn’t have to experience that, but things change.”
The whole “recruitment” thing hasn’t hurt the Heat or the Lakers. As much as I love Derrick’s humility, I wouldn’t mind him working a little more to bring some more star power to the Windy City. Management could probably use the help.
One last bonus quote from Wade, this time on the LeBron versus M.J. debate-that-shouldn’t-be-a-debate-yet, from the Chicago Sun-Times:
“Michael is the greatest player I’ve ever seen play. I think LeBron is in that conversation of one day becoming. It’s all speculation, in a sense. He has a long way to go. He knows that. He has one championship. Michael has six! There’s a lot to say about that. LeBron is a dominant player. .?.?.But Michael Jordan is the greatest of all time.”
Agreed. And that’s exactly where this “debate” should remain. For now.
Derrick Rose and Adidas are publishing a six-part video series on YouTube called #thereturn. In essence, it’s the story of Rose’s rehab…his mental and physical battle to return from the ACL tear that ended his season and the Bulls’ hopes of contending for a title. And not simply to return. To return better and stronger than ever.
What makes this video fascinating is the narration by Rose.
As anybody who follows D-Rose already knows, the kid is humble to a fault and tends to shy away from the public eye. He doesn’t talk trash, rarely says boo to official, and refuses to dance at the All-Star Game. Zach Christman of NBC Chicago once described Rose as “boring as hell” and said “listening to the man talk is like taking Ambien.”
Now he’s talking. Oh boy is he talking.
Rose recently revealed that finding out about his torn ACL was “the closest thing to death” he’s ever experienced. In “Belief,” he describes his post-injury angst thusly: “think of your most downest day and times it by 100…that ain’t enough to describe how I felt at that time.”
I have to admit that statement made me fidget a little. The world can be a pretty dark place. Every day, someone finds out they have terminal cancer or loses a loved one. Both of those situations could be considered 100 times worse than a torn ACL, not vice versa.
But Rose’s somewhat skewed perspective aside, what’s telling here is that Rose was obviously moved by this injury in a way that nothing else has ever moved him. For perhaps the first time ever, he had to face down his own mortality. That’s never an easy thing to do. It makes me wonder how the injury will affect his outlook going forward. Will Rose now hear that ticking clock in the back of his brain? Every professional athlete is on borrowed time. It’s a painful lesson that Rose has learned younger than most.
The big upside of this video is it reinforces what Rose said in an earlier interview, that he is working on core strength and flexibility in ways that he never did before, and Dr. Brian Cole states that his belief is that Rose can not only regain his athleticism but potentially get to “125%” of where he was.
During a recent interview on AM-740′s “The Game” in Orlando, Van Gundy had the following to say:
“I think the interesting one coming up in the future is going to be Derrick Rose. I think Derrick Rose is a great, great representative of our league, and he’s a great player. And he’s got good players around him, very good players around him, but if (the Bulls) can’t get another star there for him is he eventually going to look around and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got to work this out on my own and I’ve got to find somehow to get somewhere else so that I will have a chance to play with another star.’
“The league has changed. It used to be the stars wanted to sort of have their own team, they certainly wanted good players around them, but now everything’s changed. I think it started with the Celtics, bringing (Kevin) Garnett, (Paul) Pierce and (Ray) Allen together and everybody saw that and decided, ‘Look, this is the only way we’re going to win.’
“I think sometimes the players get sort of chastised for that, but if you’re a LeBron James and you’re looking at (the situation) you might want to win it in Cleveland, you might want to lead your own franchise, same with Dwight Howard, but you’re looking around.
“Chris Paul I think went through the same thing. You’re looking around and you see Boston and you’re saying, ‘I’m not going to be able to do this alone. I got to find a way, somehow, where I can get with a couple of other true stars. Not just good players, but true stars.’
“And so then LeBron goes to Miami and Chris Paul takes off and goes to the Clippers, which isn’t going to be enough for him, I don’t think. And so if you’re Dwight, you’re looking around and saying, ‘I got to get somewhere where there’s more people somehow.’ Either they’ve got to come here, which if you don’t have a way to do that then you’ve got to go somewhere else.”
They are solid points. But even though Rose has often expressed an ardent “I’m a Bull for life” attitude, he’s still young, and hasn’t had to deal with major hardship and heartbreak on the court.
Make that hadn’t had to.
Rose recently revealed that tearing his ACL was “the closest thing to death, the closest to death I’ve got to right there.”
The former MVP also received a harsh reminder this off-season that basketball is a business when Bulls management dismantled the valued Bench Mob (C.J. Watson, John Lucas III, Kyle Korver, Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer) and replaced them with Kirk Hinrich and several other low-cost alternatives (Marco Bellineli, Nate Robinson, Nazr Mohammed, Vladimir Radmanovic).
And look for the Bulls to find some way to get rid of Rip Hamilton during the season to avoid the luxury tax.
If the front office doesn’t acquire another star or stars to play alongside Rose, will he — like LeBron, Nash, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, et al. — demand a trade or start planning a free agent escape?
Maybe. Maybe not.
But it sure provides some incentive for the Bulls to make some major personnel moves in the coming seasons.
The Chicago Bulls today announced their television broadcast schedule for the 2012-13 season. All 82 regular season games will be televised, as well as all seven preseason games. On the year, Chicago is scheduled to appear on national television a combined 43 times.
Comcast SportsNet will televise 42 regular season games, with five of those games being televised on Comcast SportsNet Plus. WGN-TV will broadcast 25 games, with 20 of those contests set to air nationally on WGN America, including one preseason game. WCIU-TV rounds out the Bulls’ local television schedule with eight regular season games.
In addition to Chicago’s 20 nationally-televised games on WGN America, the Bulls will also appear on ESPN 10 times, TNT seven times, NBA-TV seven times and ABC two times.
America wanted more Marco Bellinelli and Vladimir Radmanovic…and now they’re going to get it.
I’m kidding. Kind of.
Still, it is a lot of national exposure for a team that will be missing its star player for most (or possibly all) of the season. The TV execs may be hoping for an early return by Derrick Rose even more than Bulls fans.
To me, this was one of the most telling quotes from the whole video:
“I’m actually learning how to work parts of my body that I’ve never used before. Naturally, I’m just gifted. My balance wasn’t that good. I remember coming in my rookie year and the trainers and everybody on staff were like, ‘How do you play the way you play and you can’t even balance on one foot for that long? How do you move that way?’ Or not being flexible with the way that I play. One of the tightest guys muscle-wise, just super-tight; they never saw that and me playing the way that I play, it’s just weird. But it’s the beginning and I’m not looking back.”
If Rose is now correcting his balance and flexibility issues — and there’s every indication that he is — it’s possible that this injury could have a long-term benefit of making his body stronger and sounder.
Here they are from a recent Comcast SportsNet Chicago interview (via ESPNChicago):
“I remember (the injury). I remember everything. I remember jumping in the air and coming back down, and just that popping sound. I felt it actually tear when I laid all the way out and it just let go.
“I didn’t have that that much pain after that. In the beginning I did, but I didn’t want to yell or anything. When that happened, all I could think about was people just talking. You could hear the whole arena, people just whispering all around — one of the things, like ‘Not again. Come on, man. First game back. We had the win’ — and I was just hoping [it was] nothing serious.
“Then we got to the hospital, got in the MRI machine, the whole time praying. Dr. Cole, the Bulls’ doctor, came up to me and told me it was torn. I couldn’t believe it. That’s the closest thing to death, the closest to death I’ve got to right there, where it just seemed like the wind and everything was taken out [of me].
“[I'm just] taking my time. I’m definitely two or three weeks ahead of where I’m supposed to be, but that still (doesn’t) help the part healing-wise. I’ve still got to take that time off for my leg to heal.
“Of course, strength-wise it’s getting better every day, but scar tissue still has to heal, getting used to me just laying on my knees. Knee’s still numb in some areas. Hopefully I’ll get over that, but the doctor says I’ll forget about it when the season goes on, so I should be all right.
“I’m good, man. I definitely haven’t been out like that, but I’m doing fine, just trying to stay positive, keep everything normal. The injury could have been way worse. You’ve got some people that probably feel worse than I am, but I know I’m going to be all right. I believe in God, my spirits are up and I believe in myself, and I know I’m going to be back even stronger.”
It’s great to hear that Derrick is two or three weeks ahead of schedule.
On Derrick Rose’s recovery:
“I’m not going to let him back until the doctors tell me that it’s absolutely safe for him to come back. I made that mistake with Michael Jordan years ago where I think we let him come back too soon. It worked out OK, but it might not have. This time I’m not going to make that mistake. Until the doctors say he’s 100 percent and they put their reputations on the line, he’s not coming back.
“The doctors told us that it would be eight to 12 months from the time of the surgery. Surgery was the middle of May. That means the earliest possible time he’ll be back would be the middle of January. If it’s 12 months, then he’ll miss the whole season. We just don’t know. The reports are very good. They say he’s ahead of schedule. He’s doing all the rehabbing he’s got to do. We’ll see. In the meantime, I think we’re going to have a pretty decent club.”
My take: When Michael Jordan was rehabbing from a broken foot back in 1986, Reinsdorf wanted to protect his investment. Jordan wanted to play. This led to a pretty public feud. In the end, MJ returned to action sooner than Reinsdorf wanted, and that has apparently always bugged Reinsdorf. It seems he wants to take more control in Rose’s case. So no matter how well Rose’s rehab is going, Bulls fans shouldn’t bother hoping for an early return. If anything, it’s more likely he’ll return later than the most optimistic predictions.
On rebuilding the bench:
“(General manager) Gar Forman has done a great job of turning over the bench. We lost most of our so-called ‘Bench Mob.’ But if you look at the numbers, the bench actually has the potential to be more productive than the old guys.
“We still have Joakim (Noah) and Luol (Deng) and Taj (Gibson) and Carlos (Boozer). I think we’re going to be a pretty decent team without Derrick. Will we win a championship? I doubt that very seriously, but if we can hang in there and get to the playoffs and if Derrick comes back, who knows? We might be there at the end.”
My take: I take exception to the word “lost” considering the players in question were either traded away or allowed to walk. Okay, not matching Omer Asik’s $25 million offer sheet with the Rockets was the right move, but discarding C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer (who accepted minimum contracts to play elsewhere) seemed a little rough.
I also don’t like the way he referred to the Bench Mob as “so-called.” It just feels…demeaning somehow. The contributions from those reserves were a big reason the Bulls were able to compile the league’s best record two seasons in a row. Perhaps Reinsdorf is feeling a bit defiant about all the criticism he’s taken for not putting a higher value on what those guys did for the team (and, indeed, many bloggers and experts have repeatedly used the term “cheap” when describing Reinsdorf’s stewardship of the Bulls).
As for “the numbers,” this isn’t the first I’ve heard about how the team used various advanced metrics to select “efficient and cost effective” alternatives to the bench players who are now gone. That’s all good and well. But we’ll see if they new guys fit, and whether they can match the chemistry and enthusiasm of the old Bench Mob.
So far, there are on only two tweets: one wishing the USA Men’s Basketball Team good luck in their gold medal game against Spain and another congratulating them for winning.
D-Rose is a quiet guy who shies away (and one could even say hides) from the spotlight. In fact, we’ve barely heard from him since he was injured in Game 1 of the Bulls’ first round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
It’ll be interesting to see how active he’ll become in the Twitterverse.
Luol Deng fulfilled his role as ambassador for basketball in Great Britain, which won its first Olympic game since 1948 in its final attempt with a 90-58 victory over China on Monday.
Then, he offered good news for Bulls fans, strongly implying he will either forgo surgery on the torn ligament in his left wrist altogether or postpone it until after the 2012-13 season.
Really, Lu? No surgery?
Said Deng: ”Did I look like I needed (surgery)? I’m fine right now. I feel great. There are a lot of things I want to improve in my game that I want to focus on. I want to be a better player than I was last year. I have time to make decisions and be healthy by the time we start (training camp).”
Let’s focus on the first sentence of Deng’s quote:
Did I look like I needed (surgery)?
Well…here’s a look at what Luol did in five Olympic games:
26 points, 8-for-27 shooting (2-for-11 on threes), 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 turnovers
12 points, 3-for-13 shooting (2-for-6 on threes), 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 turnovers
26 points, 10-for-20 shooting (2-for-7 on threes), 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 turnovers
9 points, 3-for-15 shooting (1-for-7 on threes), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers
6 points, 3-for-11 shooting (0-for-4 on threes), 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 0 turnovers
His Olympic averages:
15.8 PPG on 31 percent shooting (20 percent on threes), 6.6 RPG, 4.6 APG, 2.8 TO
That may be part of it. But it’s not the whole story.
It is my belief that the decline in Deng’s shooting ability is directly linked to his wrist injury. Yes, I know it’s not his shooting wrist, but as this instructional Web site points out: “the non-shooting hand should be used to help guide (a player’s) shots (and) adds balance to the shooting motion.”
Now, there are only eight weeks until the Bulls’ training camp begins, and surgery would likely sideline Deng for 2-4 months. I get that. Would Lu’s absence hurt the team? Sure. But no more than the absence of Derrick Rose…not to mention the valued bench contributors (C.J. Watson, Kyle Korver, Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer) that management let walk or traded away.
At the time, Deng said: ”Much as I wanted to please Chicago and Chicago Bulls fans, I just hope they understand if I don’t play in these Olympics, it will haunt me for the rest of my life. Giving something back is something that comes from my family.”
Now Deng is claiming his wrist is fine. I call shenanigans.
Either Deng’s pride is making him avoid or forgo surgery, or the team is pressuring him to be available for the start of the season as a form of punishment for participating in the Olympics against their wishes. Or maybe it’s a little of Column A and a little of Column B.
Anybody who has followed Deng’s career only to watch his shooting ability drop off so severely will tell you his wrist is not doing well and he needs to address it.
Look: The Bulls aren’t going anywhere without Rose. The bench has been rebuilt and it’s going to take time to get everybody on the same page. There is no sense in making Deng start the season. None.
Consistency is something the Bulls have had over the past two seasons. They kept most of the same players, signed just a few new guys, and kept winning games.
But that consistency will be gone this upcoming year, with many of the wins possibly going with it. The Bulls got rid of almost their entire Bench Mob, save for Taj Gibson. C.J Watson, Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver and John Lucas are all gone. All of the starters will be back, with the exception of Derrick Rose who will miss much of the season recovering from his ACL injury (Luol Deng could also miss time).
Let’s take a look at who is going and who is staying on this Bulls team, and what that could mean.
Who’s gone? Omer Asik: Omer Asik is probably the toughest bench player to say goodbye to, at least for me. His defense was game-changing, even if his stamina was nonexistent. Asik’s 92 defensive rating was best on the team and his ability to alter shots while not fouling was better than most centers in the league. But with that great defense also came terrible offense and even worse hands. Asik posted the worst offensive rating on the team (97), lower than even Brian Scalabrine. The poison pill contract from Houston made it so that the Bulls would really have to invest in Asik, and the worst hands in the NBA. For a guy who played just 14.7 minutes per game, that $15 million in year three was too much. But Chicago is definitely going to miss his defense off the bench, and will miss him even more so if Joakim Noah goes down with an injury. They will also surely miss his eerie similarity to Linguini from Ratatouille.
Ronnie Brewer: Ronnie Brewer’s second year with Chicago was worse than his first, but Brewer still brought defense and intensity whenever he was on the floor.Much like Asik, Brewer was a great defensive player that didn’t have much offensive talent. He started the season shooting really well (64 percent from the field, perfect from deep in four games in December), only to quickly regress to the mean. Ronnie’s end of the year numbers were as ugly as his jumper looks. Brewer finished the year shooting just 42.7 percent from the field, and 27.5 from three (both worse than 2010-2011). His offensive rating and defensive rating also fell this season compared to last one. His defense rating was only slightly worse, going from a 98 to a 99, while his offensive rating fell seven points, to 103. Brewer’s true shooting percentage fell from 51.8 in 2010-2011 to 46.5 this season. He was a great slasher on offense, but he didn’t have a good jumper and was also really great at missing open dunks. He was let go because the Bulls think they have a replacement in second-year player Jimmy Butler. With Asik and Brewer, the Bulls were often looking to play to a 0-0 tie while these guys were in. Brewer’s defense will be missed, but Butler could fill in the role quite well (we will get to him in the next section).
Kyle Korver: The women of Chicago are taking this one incredibly hard. Kyle made the ladies swoon with his looks. And made Stacey King freak out every time he hit a three pointer. Korver was never anything much more than a shooter though, and for a few stretches last season, he wasn’t even that. His 101 defensive rating was one of the worst on the Bulls (he did beat Rip Hamilton’s 104, though; so there’s that). But his offensive rating (120) was tied for best on the team, with Joakim Noah. He shot 43.5 percent from deep, and his 57.5 effective field goal percentage was best on the squad. Unlike the first two guys, Korver didn’t excel at defense, but with the other bench players, this deficiency was often covered up. Korver was the perfect player to pair with Rose: a deadly spot up shooter that you never wanted to leave to help in the lane. But Rose wasn’t healthy much, and John Lucas III just doesn’t strike the same fear into opponents when he is driving down the lane. Speaking of which…
John Lucas III: JL3 was an enigma to me. Going into the year, he wasn’t expected to play many minutes, but things changed with injuries to Rose and Watson. He wasn’t terrible for a third string point guard that’s under six feet tall, but he had his problems. One of those issues was that his X button seemed to be stuck, rendering it nearly impossible for him to pass. And his small frame also didn’t do him any favors on defense, except when he became a hurdle for LeBron James (tune into the Olympics, as Lucas is rumored to be the second hurdle in lane four of the 200 meter hurdles!). Basically you never knew what you were getting from Lucas. He might shoot 28 times and score just 25 points against the Wizards, go 3-11 in a losing effort against the Blazers, or he may go 9-12 with 24 points in 26 minutes in a win over the Heat. Lucas had the utmost confidence in himself and was hustling at all times. He did more than most people expected out of a guy who played just ten minutes in the entire 2010-2011 season. Of point guards that played more than 25 games, Lucas had the ninth highest usage percentage, a little much for a third string guard. JL3 dribbled and shot too much, which was extremely frustrating, but brought a lot of excitement because of those two things as well. And it wasn’t always his fault that he shot so much, considering he wasn’t playing with the most adept offensive guys in the league. I hope JL3 gets minutes in Toronto, because he’s always fun to watch.
C.J. Watson: Watson started 25 games last season because of injuries to Derrick Rose averaging 9.7 points and 4.1 assists. Those are solid numbers, but Watson’s decision making was always iffy. Taking bad jumpers and making questionable passes were all part of the C.J. Experience. He was a good back-up point guard overall, and did a solid job trying to be a starting point guard for 25 games and fighting through injuries. In the end Watson was still a point guard that shot just 36.9 percent during his two years in Chicago (JL3 shot 39.9 percent, for comparison). He was a big reason the Bulls finished the season with the best record, but the Bulls didn’t want to pick up his $3.2 million option. That was an interesting decision, because Rose will be out most of this season, and Watson has experience leading this team. I guess someone had to leave to make room for the return of Kirk Hinrich.
Who’s staying? Carlos Boozer: I will be holding a “Carlos Boozer was amnestied!” party when it happens. All are invited. You have to draw on your hair. From the “I Would Have Bet All My Monies Against This” department: Boozer was the healthiest Bull last season, starting all 66 games. He averaged 15.0 points on 53.2 percent shooting and 8.5 rebounds on the year. Solid numbers, but with Boozer there always seemed to be something missing. He almost exclusively shoots his jumper/fadeaway now, rarely going to the basket. According to HoopData, Boozer had 4.2 attempts at the rim per game last year, down from 6.0 attempts in 2010-2011. His attempts from 3-9 feet fell as well, while his attempts from 16-23 feet rose from 3.0 attempts per game in 2010-2011 to 4.6 last season. Boozer gets lot of criticism (a lot of that from me), but 15 and eight is solid, even if he can’t play defense.
Jimmy Butler: Butler is the reason Brewer was expendable. He did his best Brewer impression, shooting 40.5 percent from the field, but did average 10.9 points per 36 minutes, which is solid. And after his great summer league, expect him to build on his rookie year, with his expanded minutes.
Luol Deng: Deng had his first All-Star season last year, even though his scoring dipped (15.3 last season, down from 17.4 in 2010-2011) as well as his field goal percentage (41.2 percent, down from 46 percent). Pre-All Star Break, Deng was averaging 15.9 points per game on 42 percent shooting, and 40.6 percent from three. Those numbers fell to 14.8 points per game on 40.2 percent shooting, and 33.6 percent from deep. Maybe that was fatigue from the scrunched schedule (and Thibs’ refusal to let Deng rest more than three minutes per game), or more likely, Lu battling through the wrist injury. Deng’s numbers may have been down slightly, but Thibs still leaned on Deng heavily. Lu played 39.4 minutes per game, by far the most of anyone on the team (Rose played 35.3 minutes per game, and the next closest was Joakim Noah at 30.4 minutes per game). His three point percentage did rise, from 34.5 percent to 36.7. He’s also been playing well for Great Britain during the Olympics, while playing almost all of those games as well. Lots of trade rumors surrounded Deng near the trade deadline, but he is still on the team, and will probably play heavy minutes once again this season. He may still need surgery on his wrist, which could spell an ugly start to the season for the Bulls.
Taj Gibson: The lone Bench Mob member that will be with the Bulls, is also the best Bench Mob member. The frontcourt of Gibson and Asik was scary good, protecting the rim and changing shots better than most starting frontcourts. Asik will be missed, but Gibson will continue, and now will be paired with Nazr Mohammed. Gibson’s 96 defensive rating was third best on the team, and his 109 offensive rating was top five as well. He shot 49.5 percent from the field last season, better than 2010-2011. Gibson’s percentage from 10-15 feet rose from 28.8 percent in 2010-2011 to 37.2 percent last season. His shooting at the rim and from 3-9 feet also rose slightly. Gibson is in a contract year, and will be getting a big contract soon, so hopefully he put in one of those great contract years that many guys do. The problem with Gibson, is that, going into his fourth season in the NBA, he will be 27 years old already. He may not have much room for growth, but if he improves his midrange jumper, he will soon be the starter at power forward for a team (hopefully for the Bulls, when they re-sign him and amnesty Boozer).
Rip Hamilton: Rip was supposed to be the answer at shooting guard, but was very much not. The 34 year-old Hamilton was rarely healthy, playing in just 28 games. When Rip was healthy, he shot 45.2 percent, his best percentage since 2007-2008. His passing was impressive, and his motor on offense added an interesting wrinkle in the Bulls’ offense. Ultimately though, Rip’s defensive rating of 104 was worse than his offensive rating (101), so the Bulls were losing when he was on the floor. His 13.2 PER also means he was a below average player. And if you weren’t sure if he had a poor season, you can look to earlier this summer when no one wanted to trade for him. Maybe if he is healthy he can get some sort of rhythm this season, but it’s safe to say Hamilton will be gone after his contract expires next season.
Joakim Noah: Not only were Jo’s defensive numbers good (96 defensive rating), but his offensive rating was tied for best on the team (120, with Korver). Although his points, shooting and rebounding numbers fell slightly, he recorded the highest PER of his career (19.6). He’s currently still recovering from an ankle injury that forced him out of the playoffs, and scarily, was still bothering him enough to keep him from participating for France in the Olympics. Noah missed just two games this regular season though, a big jump from missing 24 in 2010-2011. Jo’s defense and hustle helps the Bulls a ton and they’re going to need him to be healthy more than ever this year. Boozer and Noah, who played together a lot in 2011-2012, actually started to mesh, which was a good sign after a shaky (and injury plagued) first season together. Noah shot just 21.7 percent from 10-15 feet, but Finger Gunz shot 43 percent from 16-23 feet (up from 33 percent in 2010-2011).
Derrick Rose: The only guy that’s untouchable on the roster had a tough season last year. He couldn’t get healthy, and then…well we all know what happened. Rose is going to be out for most of the next season, and won’t be 100 percent for a while after that. He is a hard worker, so he should come back just as strong, but it’s scary to think his career may have been altered by one awkward landing. Rose will be just 24 when this season starts and 25 when he (should) return to full health. He’s still approaching the prime of his career, and has time to reach that potential he was destined for.
What it means:
The Bulls’ bench helped them get a lot of wins in the regular season. They didn’t help as much in the playoffs, but were integral filling in for injuries and outplaying the opponents’ bench to stretch a lead or claw back into the game. There is no doubt Chicago will miss these guys. The injury to Rose only makes the outlook for this season more grim.
All of these moves are, apparently, part of a grand plan that the Bulls have decided upon. That plan is to hit free agency in 2014 with lots of cash and hope to land a big name free agent. That doesn’t make a ton of sense for two reasons. First, the Bulls haven’t had great luck in free agency, and banking on a free agent to sign with you, over the other 29 teams, isn’t a safe bet. Secondly, the 2014 free agent class isn’t really great. Oh, and a bonus reason: basically throwing away two full seasons for a possible free agent doesn’t seem like the best basketball plan. But it sure is a great financial plan!
Chicago had the type of team that was supposed to contend for titles for years to come. But Rose’s ACL injury changed all that. Now it seems the Bulls will struggle during 2012-2013, and are planning on conceding the 2013-2014 season as well. They may never reach that podium that they seemed so primed for just one year ago.