Rose's stellar defense on stars quiets criticism

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Rose's stellar defense on stars quiets criticism

Monday, Feb. 14, 2011
9:20 a.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

NEW ORLEANSWith the defense of Bulls All-Star point guard Derrick Rose receiving increased scrutiny last week following the disparaging comments of Portland small forward Nicolas Batumafter the Trail Blazers beat Chicago, Batum told reporters Rose doesnt play defense; he later recanted his remarksRose responded with stellar defensive performances against Western Conference All-Star counterparts Deron Williams of Utah and New Orleans Chris Paul. Rose typically wouldnt admit to being rankled by Batums allegations, but after making life difficult for Paul, he shed some light into both his individual and the teams defensive philosophies.

I was playing D. I think that I contested all his shots, just trying to make him work for it, said Rose. Im not even paying attention to what Batum said. Our defense, the way weve been playing, Im not worried about that.

READ: Rose outplays Paul, Bulls end trip with victory

Our defense, we over-help on everything, so if one guy outplays our whole defense, he outplays us. Weve just been getting on the right page right now, getting on the right rhythm, where if a guy is driving, were stepping in front and taking charges or trying to go for the block, he continued. In the Portland game and the Golden State game that we lost, we werent doing that.

No less than Hornets head coach Monty Williamswho coached Batum as a Portland assistant coach prior to this seasonwas a staunch defender of Roses defense.

Nicolas is running his mouth and getting Derrick mad at the rest of the league. He defends. I dont know what theyre talking about, said Williams. I watched that game. I didnt think it was that bad. He went for Trail Blazers point guard Andre Millers pump fakes a couple times, but everybody goes for Andres pump fakes.

Williams went on to further compliment Roses game, specifically the improvement hes shown this season.

WATCH: Rose says he wanted to make Chris Paul work for his shots

I couldnt foresee him shooting the ball the way he does now and I didnt see the explosion. Now, its like hes gotten quicker in one summer. Hes got better command of the ball than a lot of point guardscrossover, the hesitation; which I think is a palm, but theyre not calling ithe just dominates games with his penetration, praised Williams. I thought he was good, but I didnt think he was that good. Ive watched him, all these games on him. Hes an amazing player. Some of that stuff, you cant coach. Its like Chris. Id like to tell you I coach all that stuff with Chris, but you cant coach some of that stuff that he brings to the table.

Williams, who accepted the Hornets job after Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau turned down the opportunity, also lauded his peers sideline performance.

Thibodeau is changing that organization, as far as being a stingy defensive team. I dont know if they were known for that. Former Bulls and current Milwaukee Bucks head coach Scott Skiles had them playing a certain style, but theyve certainly brought that Boston defense to Chicago, said Williams, like Thibodeau, a first-year NBA head coach. Thibs is a guy who lives and breathes basketball. Hes probably at the Berto Center 24-seven, probably doesnt let anybody go home. He knows the game, he knows how to coach and you can tell the guys are paying attention to his message.

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.

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.

Watch some of new Bull Zach LaVine's best dunks

Watch some of new Bull Zach LaVine's best dunks

Zach LaVine quickly made a name for himself as a prolific, epic dunker.

The recently acquired Bull won both the 2015 and 2016 Slam Dunk Contests and has plenty of awe-inspiring in-game dunks as well.

The video above has a few of LaVine's best efforts.

His signature dunks in the dunk contests were the 2015 dazzler when he caught the ball from behind the backboard and went through his legs before slamming it and the through the legs from just inside the free throw line dunk in 2016.

For in-game dunks, the time he posterized Alex Len in November was an instant-classic. It's not everyday a 7-footer gets dismissed with such authority.

Of course, LaVine's ability to dunk at this prodigious level is in question after he tore his ACL this past season. If LaVine can come back to anywhere near full strength, look for some impressive highlights from the former dunk champ in a Bulls uniform.