In the post: Bulls frustrated by turnovers

In the post: Bulls frustrated by turnovers

Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010
12:04 AM

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

--Thibodeau played Noah, Rose and Deng approximately 35 minutes apiece in the game, with the latter pair participating in the contest down the stretch, but was less concerned about their usage (I just wanted to see him at the end of the game was his explanation for Roses playing time) than he was about the teams 21 turnovers.

Its a big problem. If we dont correct it, its going to cost usWeve been high turnover three games in a row and its a close game, so its costly, said Thibodeau, who also expressed dismay at Chicagos 31 three-point attempts. Theres certain turnovers that you can live with, but wed like to have less than 14 in every game. The ones I dont like is when were holding on to the ball, dancing with the ball, the defense gets set and we try to thread the needle or go one-on-one. Youre just asking for trouble. As for his minutes, Rose only commented, After the game, of course youre going to feel all right because you just got done playing, but tomorrow when I wake up, I know Im going to feel sore a little bit.

--One byproduct of the right-heel injury that sidelined power forward Taj Gibson hes a game-time decision for Saturday nights game in Orlando was Thibodeau getting his desired extended look at Noah playing the position.

Noahs done fine. Defensively, I thought he did okay. He helped shut the lane down, his reboundings terrific. Im concerned with the turnovers; weve got to get that down. But overall now how much we do it, I dont know but hes shown hes capable of playing there some, and like I said before, there are certain situations and times during the game when you like to have that size out there. When you have two seven-footers, its hard to get the ball into the paint, evaluated Thibodeau. "Playing without Gibson and Boozer will be different because youre primary low-post scorers wont be there, but we still have to get the ball into the paintprobably more off dribble penetration and well try to get some duck-ins off pick-and-rolls and things like thatbut we still want to play inside-out.

Rose chimed in: It hurt us, especially for pick-and-pop players. It opens up the floor a little, especially with those two missing.

--Roses reasoning for the Bulls turnover issues was a combination of players making the extra pass and being flummoxed by the Mavericks zone defense.

People playing unselfish just trying to make the right play but sometimes youre wide open and you dont realize it, especially in the zonein practice, were moving the ball well, but were overthinking when were out there in the game and making little turnovers, but we can easily fix that. When people look at video tomorrow or whenever, we can easily go ahead and get that out of our game, said Rose. "That was our first time facing it zone defense. It was kind of weird at first. People that were shooting the ball that were supposed to be hitting werent in their groove tonight, but thats just one night. Weve got great shooters on this team, so if somebody does play zone again, I feel bad for them.

Added Thibodeau about Dallas defensive tactics: They played zone most of the game, so it was a chance for us to work on some zone things. Were playing two centers, so there were some good things about it. The good things were that our rebounding was much better, so that was a plus, but the negative is when they go zone, theres one less shooter on the floor.

--Although Deng who also saw minutes at power forward toward the end of the game; Thibodeau was pleased (I thought that was very effective in the fourth quarter for us) with his play was aware of the challenge of matching up with Nowitzki, its something hes used to and therefore willing to deal with until Gibson (and eventually Boozer) return, if necessary.

Every night, its someone else. Nowitzkis a great player, but Im not really going into the game expecting to have an easy task. If it happens, it happens, but the NBA especially the three and the four it seems like every team has a guy at that position, said Deng. Hes hard to guard. Hes seven feet and can shoot, and if youre up on him, he knows how to get to the basket and get to the free-throw line.

--Deng, whose improved range and accuracy from deep was one of the more underrated storylines of the offseason check his Great Britain national team box scores for proof w asnt at all surprised at his success (5-for-7 from behind the arc) on the evening.

Ive been shooting it well in practice and with the zone defense, I had a lot of good looks, he stated. We take what we get in the game. I think Coach is very smart and just seeing whats going on out there and just using us the right way. Some nights, if my shot is not falling, Ill probably look to drive more and be more aggressive towards the rim. Deng, too, had an opinion about Chicagos ballhandling miscues. Its just something weve got to work on. A lot of different lineups out there, a lot of guys getting used to each other, but its something weve got to improve on, he said. The last couple games, were not happy with our turnovers and its something weve got to focus on.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms 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.

It sure sounds like Jimmy Butler regrets being labeled as the face of the Bulls franchise

It sure sounds like Jimmy Butler regrets being labeled as the face of the Bulls franchise

Jimmy Butler didn't come close to following in his trainer's footsteps, but Mr. G. Buckets Unplugged still proved enlightening.

Following a wild Thursday, Butler hopped on the phone Friday afternoon from Paris to chat with Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times about the deal that sent the former face of the Bulls to rejoin Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota.

Butler wanted to be labeled as the face of the franchise, but his comments seem to reflect the old adage "be careful what you wish for."

"It doesn't mean a damn thing. I guess being called the face of an organization isn't as good as I thought. We all see where being the so-called face of the Chicago Bulls got me. So let me be just a player for the Timberwolves, man. That's all I want to do. I just want to be winning games, do what I can for my respective organization and let them realize what I'm trying to do.

"Whatever they want to call me... face... I don't even want to get into that anymore. Whose team is it? All that means nothing. You know what I've learned? Face of the team, eventually, you're going to see the back of his head as he's leaving town, so no thanks."

Whoa.

Butler also spoke about trying to block out all the trade rumors while on vacation in France:

"I mean, I had so many people telling me what could possibly happen, but I just got to the point where I stopped paying attention to it. 

"It's crazy because it reminds you of what a business this is. You can't get mad at anybody. I'm not mad - I'm not. I just don't like the way some things were handled, but it's OK."

Butler doesn't have to be the sole face of the franchise in Minnesota on a team that has two of the top homegrown young stars in the game in Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins.

Bulls have emerged from a ball of confusion to parts unknown

Bulls have emerged from a ball of confusion to parts unknown

The big red button was pressed and Jimmy Butler was ejected from the Chicago Bulls’ present and future as they finally made the decision to rebuild after two years of resisting.

Trading Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the ability to draft Lauri Markkanen represents the Bulls committing to the draft lottery and fully going in on the Fred Hoiberg experience for the foreseeable future, as the prospect of trying to improve through shrewd moves in the East while also facing the likelihood of Butler commanding a $200 million contract wasn’t palatable to their pocketbook or their sensibilities.

On one hand, making a decision — any decision — can be applauded on some levels after years of their relationship with Butler being complicated at best. But the idea of rebuilding and the application of it are often two separate ideals, because the evaluation of a rebuild can often be as murky as the land the Bulls just left.

“What we’ve done tonight is set a direction,” Bulls Executive Vice President John Paxson said. “We’ve gone to the past where we make the playoffs, but not at the level we wanted to. You know in this league, success is not determined that way. We’ve decided to make the change and rebuild this roster.”

“We’re gonna remain patient and disciplined. The development of our young players is important. The coaching staff has done a phenomenal job. We’re gonna continue down that path. We’re not gonna throw huge money at people.”

The Bulls aren’t exclusive to this territory, the land in which they’ve inhibited for the last couple seasons, which makes the Butler trade about more than one thing.

Not equal parts but part basketball, part fiscal, part narrative and finally, masking some mistakes that have been made over the years but are not as easily rectified. Trading Butler seemed to be the easiest vessel used as an elixir to wash away missteps. Trading a star in Butler is also the easiest way to get heat off a coach or front office in today’s NBA, because few franchises like to make wholesale changes midstream or early in it.

Trading Butler — along with shipping their second-round pick in a box marked for the Bay Area — was also financial, considering many felt if he made it through the tumultuous evening that he would finish his career as a Bull, raking in a hefty sum of cash on the back end.

It’s because of these factors that the evaluation of this trade and subsequently, a painful rebuild, cannot be in a vacuum. (Note: No rebuild is painless, it’s the size of the migraine a team can endure that determines the type of aspirin necessary).

Just taking a look at the players the Bulls got back in the Butler trade illustrates the gray area they’ve now immersed themselves into. The Bulls fell in love with Dunn before he came to the NBA, and aren’t as bothered by him being a 23-year old second-year player who struggled mightily in his rookie year.

Zach LaVine is an explosive athlete who can put up 20 every night — when he’s on the floor. Recovering from an ACL injury is no given, as evidenced by a young phenom who once graced the United Center hardwood before his body betrayed him.

And Lauri Markkanen is a rookie with promise, but nobody can make any promises on what type of career he’ll have, or if he’ll fulfill that promise with this franchise in the requisite time.

“There’s always risk in anything,” Paxson said. “But here’s a guy that’s 22 years old and averages 20 a game (LaVine). He can score the basketball, he can run. He can shoot the basketball. He shot over 40 percent from three. That’s an area we’re deficient in. Markkanen shot over 40 from three in college. Again, it’s an area where we’re deficient. It’s trying to find the type of player that fits the way that we want to play going forward.”

[RELATED: Jimmy Butler bids emotional farewell to Chicago]

General Manager Gar Forman stated after the announcement of the trade that the Bulls would have to hit on their next few draft picks to stop this rebuild from being elongated, but even then there’s no guarantee.

The Sacramento Kings drafted a rookie of the year, then two future max contract players in the same year, followed by another player who’ll command close to max money very soon. But nobody remembers Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, Hassan Whiteside and Isaiah Thomas leading the Kings from the wilderness and into glory, unless recent memory has been scrubbed away from everyone.

Inconsistencies in organizational structure combined with multiple coaching changes and an inability to develop the right young players kept the Kings on the dais of the draft lottery every April.

The Timberwolves, heck, nobody could say they missed when selecting LaVine, Karl-Anthony Towns and getting Andrew Wiggins in a trade for Kevin Love. It’s because it takes more than the right draft picks, or in the Sacramento Kings’ case, the right infrastructure and environment, to foster an atmosphere of winning.

The Bulls were ready, despite their claims that this was a decision that came across their table right before the draft, because common sense has to be applied. No team makes knee-jerk, franchise-altering decisions that will have reverberations for years to come on the whim of a trade offer from Tom Thibodeau. This was likely decided when the Bulls went out with a whimper in the first-round after shocking the NBA world in the first two games against the Boston Celtics, when their fortunes changed on the trifle of Rajon Rondo’s broken wrist.

It was decided that Hoiberg, the man who endured chants calling for his firing in the second half of the decisive Game 6 loss, needed to have the right type of roster to be accurately judged as a successful hire or failure, and Butler couldn’t be part of those plans.

And just as Hoiberg has been dealt an uneven hand, Butler wasn’t given the type of roster that would accurately judge how he could flourish as a leader, max player and face of the franchise — and probably had less time to show one way or the other relative to his coach.

The longer Butler stayed, the more empowered he would become as his individual accomplishments would rack up because of the dedication he applied to game, the drive he had to place himself in the upper echelon of NBA players.

The better Butler got, the more pressure Hoiberg would be under to mix and match his roster and to foster a relationship with Butler he might’ve been ill-suited to fix. The better Butler got, the more pressure the front office would be under to maximize a prime it didn’t see coming, a prime they can’t truly figure when there’s an expiration date on given Butler’s unlikely rise to stardom.

So getting rid of Butler was the solution and the Bulls have now chosen their path, definitively and with confidence. Emerging from a ball of confusion to parts unknown, from one land of uncertainty to another.