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.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will the Bulls make the postseason?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will the Bulls make the postseason?

Ben Finfer (ESPN 1000), Brian Hedger (nhl.com) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) join Kap on the panel.  The Bulls beat the Pistons in a game with huge playoff implication.  So could they actually make the postseason?

The Blackhawks are closing in one division title but what’s their biggest weakness?

Plus Theo Epstein’s a really great leader, Kyle Hendricks is going to have to wait a while to pitch plus DeShone Kizer loves the band “Chicago” but will he play here?

NBA Buzz: 2017 Draft could be the best in more than a decade

NBA Buzz: 2017 Draft could be the best in more than a decade

If you've been watching the NCAA Tournament closely, it's apparent this June's draft will include a number of elite prospects, maybe the best top 10 talent since the LeBron, Melo, Bosh, Wade draft in 2003. 

Washington didn't qualify for the tournament, but NBA scouts seem to be in agreement that Washington point guard Markelle Fultz will be the No. 1 pick. The 6-foot-4 freshman has the size and ball-handling ability to play either guard spot, and word out of Boston is Fultz will be the pick if the Celtics get the first choice in the draft lottery.

UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball put on quite a show in the Bruins' win over Cincinnati on Sunday, finishing with 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. The 6-foot-6 Ball reminds scouts of a young Jason Kidd, showing amazing court vision and passing skills with the size to see over the top of smaller defenders. And don't caught up in his unusual shooting form. Ball can knock down shots, hitting almost 56 percent from the field this season and 42 percent beyond the 3-point line.

The other consensus top-3 prospect is Kansas small forward Josh Jackson. The 6-foot-8 Jackson is an Andrew Wiggins clone who has amazing quickness and finishing ability. Jackson improved his draft stock with a sensational performance in the first two games of the tournament. If the Bulls decide to trade Jimmy Butler in a deal for one of the top picks this June, the rangy 20-year-old Jackson would be an ideal replacement. If he ever gets a consistent jump shot, look out. We could be talking about a 25 points per game scorer.

Since Fultz, Ball and Jackson appear to be the kind of players NBA teams build around, the Bulls could potentially negotiate with the teams holding the top 3 picks for the best possible Butler deal. Right now, the Nets (pick will be swapped with Boston), Lakers and Suns own the worst records, and if the order isn't changed by the lottery, the Bulls could obtain a quality package centered around this year's first-round pick and a quality young player from any of the three teams.

Here's a look at how the lottery selections could fall based on the draft order as of March 23.

1. CELTICS (from Brooklyn)  Markelle Fultz  PG   Washington
2. LAKERS                              Lonzo Ball        PG    UCLA
3. SUNS                                  Josh Jackson   SF    Kansas
4. MAGIC                                Jayson Tatum   SF     Duke
5. 76'ers                                  De'Aaron Fox     PG    Kentucky
6. KINGS                                  Malik Monk         SG    Kentucky
7. KNICKS                               Dennis Smith      PG   N. Carolina St.
8. TIMBERWOLVES              Lauri Markkanen  PF    Arizona
9. KINGS (from Pelicans)       Frank Ntilikina      PG    France
10. MAVS                                 Miles Bridges    SF    Michigan St.
11. HORNETS                         Jonathan Isaac   SF    Florida St.
12. BLAZERS                          Justin Jackson   SF    N. Carolina
13. PISTONS                           John Collins      PF     Wake Forest       
14. BULLS                                OG Anunoby     SG-SF   Indiana  

Alright Bulls fans, I'm sure you're asking, why would the Bulls want to draft a player coming off a serious knee injury? Well, the Bulls haven't done all that well drafting productive older players from major programs, so why not roll the dice on a 19-year-old who could develop into the next Butler?

Scouts raved about Anunoby's potential heading into his sophomore season at Indiana. At 6-foot-8, Anunoby has good positional size to play both the small forward and shooting guard spots and figures to be a plus-defender from Day 1 in the NBA. Right now, his rehab from right knee surgery and lack of a consistent jump shot are the biggest concerns, but looking at mock drafts in the 13-20 range, do the Bulls really want to take a project big man or a mystery international player? 

Even if it takes a couple years for Anunoby to reach his ultimate potential, he seems like a good choice in today's position-less NBA. Plus, in the Bulls' current position, they need to take some chances and try to get lucky in landing a future star.

Two other athletic possibilities who are projected as late 1st round picks right now are SMU junior swingman Semi Ojeleye, a 6-foot-7 bundle of energy and muscle who should be able to contribute right away, and Oklahoma St. point guard Jawun Evans, one of the fastest players in the college game who could ignite the Bulls' fast break after Rajon Rondo moves on.

AROUND THE ASSOCIATION

If the Bulls are going to make a late season run to the playoffs, they'll have to find a way to pass two of the league's hottest teams. Milwaukee has won eight of its last 10 games to pull into a 6th place tie with the Pacers, while Miami has been one of the league's biggest surprises over the last two months, going from an 11-30 record on January 13 to 35-36, and a game and a half lead over the Bulls and Pistons for the final playoff spot.

Both late surges are surprising, especially the job Erik Spoelstra has done in Miami. After the controversial departure of Dwyane Wade, Pat Riley decided to hedge his bets for the future and signed a number of journeyman veteran types like Dion Waiters, Wayne Ellington, James Johnson, Derrick Williams and Willie Reed to short-term contracts.

Williams was released and signed on with Cleveland, but Spoelstra and his staff have done a masterful job in piecing together a roster with a lot of duplication into a consistent winning team. Hassan Whiteside has continued to improve, averaging 17 points and 14 rebounds, while the guard rotation of Waiters, Goran Dragic, Ellington and Tyler Johnson has been especially effective.

Bulls fans will remember James Johnson as a guy who arrived from Wake Forest with a lot of potential, but went on to bounce around the league with little success. Now that he's finally in optimal physical shape, Johnson is averaging 12 points, 5 rebounds and 3.5 assists off the bench while doing a strong job on the defensive end.

Spoelstra probably won't win the Coach of the Year award, but it might be his best job yet after losing Wade and Chris Bosh, then seeing promising second-year forward Justise Winslow go out with a season-ending shoulder injury.

It's been a different story in Milwaukee, where the Bucks got off to a fast start behind the amazing rise of Giannis Antetokounmpo to All-Star status. A mid-season slump dropped the Bucks out of the top 8 in the East, and when Chicago native Jabari Parker suffered another devastating ACL injury, it appeared Milwaukee was heading towards another trip to the lottery.

But Bucks' coach Jason Kidd got Khris Middleton back from a hamstring injury, and inserted rookies Thon Maker and Malcolm Brogdon into the starting lineup. All of a sudden, the Bucks took off with Antetokounmpo getting back to his early season production, and the bench unit of Greg Monroe, John Henson, Michael Beasley, Mirza Teletovic, Matthew Dellavedova and Jason Terry becoming a real strength.

It's unlikely either Milwaukee or Miami will be a threat to Cleveland and Boston in the opening round of the playoffs, but the hard work and persistence of those coaching staffs should not be overlooked.

STAT OF THE WEEK

Yet another example of the Bulls' maddening inconsistency under Fred Hoiberg over the last 2 seasons is the number of impressive wins offset by blowout losses.

These numbers courtesy of CSN's stats cruncher, Chris Kamka.

Bulls 20+ point wins and 20+ point losses

(with Fred Hoiberg as Head Coach)

                 20+ point wins             20+ point losses

2016-17              6                           7
2015-16              3                           7

total                      9                          14
========================================
(With Tom Thibodeau as Head Coach)

2014-15              7                           1
2013-14              7                           4
2012-13              5                           5
2011-12             14                          0
2010-11              8                          1

total                     41                         11

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

I'm pretty sure Hoiberg was being sarcastic when asked early in the week if battling for one of the final playoff spots in the East is "fun".

The coach's response? "It's miserable." 

Hoiberg won't get a lot of argument from Bulls fans who see their team stuck in the middle among the 30 NBA franchises right now. That's the worst place to be in professional sports, with no hope of contending for championships and little chance of getting a franchise-changing talent in the draft.