High-flying Rose elevates in All-Star voting

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High-flying Rose elevates in All-Star voting

Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011
Posted 1:02 PM Updated 5:58 PM

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

Despite his claims that he'd be satisfied with just being on the team, period -- he's repeatedly joked that even he'd be a water boy or run the scorer's clock -- Derrick Rose is now in position to be voted in as one of the starting guards on the Eastern Conference All-Star team.

Rose now ranks second among East guards in All-Star voting, surpassing fellow point guard Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics.

In an effort to maintain the Bulls superstar's current placement, the Bulls and adidas -- for whom Rose is a pitchman -- will distribute Rose All-Star campaign placards to every fan at Saturday's highly-anticipated home game against the Miami Heat. Fans who sit courtside for the much-ballyhooed matchup will also receive red roses.

Chicago native Dwyane Wade currently ranks first of all East guards, while his Miami Heat teammate LeBron James paces the conference and league's forwards, followed by Amar'e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks. Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard leads all players at his position throughout the NBA.

Injured Bulls center Joakim Noah is third among East centers, while Bulls forwards Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng currently rank sixth and 10th, respectively.

In the Western Conference, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is the league's overall leading vote-getter. Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets is second among West guards, with Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Denver's Carmelo Anthony presently first and second, respectively, among forwards. Injured Houston Rockets center Yao Ming is currently first among West centers, with Lakers center Andrew Bynum second.

Voting for the All-Star Game, to be held Feb. 20 at Los Angeles' Staples Center, concludes Jan. 23 (paper balloting at NBA arenas ends next Monday, but fans can continue to vote online and via text message), with starters for the annual game to be announced Jan. 27.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott wasn’t exactly hunting for his first shot, but the first time he touched the ball in an NBA game in nearly a month wasn’t the optimal situation for him to let one fly.

It wasn’t in transition where he runs to an opening behind the 3-point line, nor was it a drive-and-kick situation where the help defense collapsed and left him open. It was a regular, simple, pass to the perimeter and McDermott’s defender was in reasonable proximity with 3:23 left in the first quarter.

He launched and the crowd soon roared its approval as his sweet jumper was sorely missed by the Bulls bench brigade—and moments later when he ran the floor for a fearless layup that caused Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to call a timeout, McDermott showed he missed the United Center crowd too, calling for more noise on his way to the bench.

“Anytime you have a guy like Doug, he comes back and makes his first 3, that’s hard to do,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He stepped up with confidence on that first shot. I’m sure he had a lot of nerves getting back out there.”

Missing 12 games and suffering two concussions, McDermott looked right at home in 25 minutes of run Thursday as the Bulls were able to rely on their reserves in some form in their 95-91 win over the previously perfect road warriors known as the Spurs.

“We defended and kept them off the foul line,” McDermott said. “Coach (Jim) Boylen was with them, so we feel we know them and I think all this time they were missing my defense.”

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The last statement was certainly tongue-in-cheek, but the Bulls’ bench production was certainly missing in action while he was out with the concussion protocol. So much so that his return prompted the Bulls’ coaching staff to call out the reserves in the morning shootaround, demanding more.

“It’s definitely Dwyane (Wade) and Jimmy (Butler) and (Rajon) Rondo (but) the coaching staff kinda called out our bench like, we gotta have you tonight, bench,” McDermott said. “We took that to heart, we were really locked in.”

Seemingly his presence aided the Bulls’ spirits and production, as the Bulls’ bench had the least effective scoring bench in the NBA since Nov. 13, the day after McDermott hit the unforgiving floor against the Wizards for his second concussion this season.

Their net rating ranks ahead of only the Wizards, Mavericks and Nets, who are a combined 17-45 this season. Their effective field goal percentage, which takes into account 3-pointers, is worst in the league in that span (42.3 percent).

When McDermott was healthy for that smaller sample size, the Bulls’ bench ranked fifth in offensive efficiency, seventh in net rating, and fifth in efficient field goal percentage. Whether McDermott – and his absence – was directly related to those numbers, it’s clear the Bulls are better when they have their best reserve – and only true floor spacers on the second unit – on the court.

“We’re all professionals and we want to help the guys who are busting their butts in the first unit to get us the leads,” McDermott said. “Tonight we did a great job of sustaining it. We take it personal when teams come back on us.”

[MORE: Pau Gasol relishes consistency with Spurs he couldn't find with Bulls]

Nikola Mirotic was four of eight from the field, and Cristiano Felicio seems to be back in Fred Hoiberg’s good graces as he’s carved out a rotation spot for himself with nine points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes.

It seems as if Hoiberg will stick with this rotation of players, at least for a little while until Michael Carter-Williams returns from his injuries. If McDermott is the mark of the Bulls’ bench going from bottom feeder to adequate, it should show this month.

“When he’s out there on the floor and we get him coming off screens, it forces the defense to shift as another person they need to be aware of,” Hoiberg said. “It opens up driving lanes for our guys. It was great to have Doug back with us.”

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

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