Rose's 'stupid mistakes' hurt in skills competition

Rose's 'stupid mistakes' hurt in skills competition

Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011
Posted 10:10 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

LOS ANGELES If competitions at exhibitions games were the true measure of ability, then the Bulls would be a lottery-bound squad, at least based on the All-Star Saturday Night performances of Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson.

That might be an overstatement, but neither of the Bulls fared particularly well in their respective events.

Rose participated in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, an event he won in 2009. This time, his 35.7-second first-round time wasnt enough for him to advance to the events second and final round. The eventual winner of the competition was Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.

WATCH: Rose in skills competition

It was fun. I was a little rusty out there. The crowd was great. The best man won. He went out there did everything right, made the right passes. Thats why he won, said Rose afterwards. Steph, he had a great first round performance and that led to him winning.

Rose told reporters that the bounce pass competitors had to dribble around obstacles, make various passes and shots in the fastest time possible gave him the most trouble.

Thats huge out there. You really have to focus or youre going to be stuck on one spot for a long time, he explained. its usually that bounce pass. That always gets people. Hopefully if they take that out one year, Ill win again.

Rose also appeared to get confused at one point in the event, briefly going the wrong way.

Stupid mistakes like that are going to count, led to me losing, he quipped. I was making sure that I knew what was going on, where we were at on the court. I wasnt too familiar with the court. I hesitated going one way when I should have went the other way.

Rose even said his performance could earn the wrath of Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau upon his return to Chicago.

Hes definitely going to be on me, probably crack a couple of jokes and then, go back to being serious.

Feigning seriousness himself, Rose joked: It would really hurt if I got all the way to the end and lost, but since I got out in the first round, its not that bad.

As for Gibson, the performance of Team Chicago also consisting of former Bulls sharpshooter Steve Kerr and Chicago Sky markswoman Catherine Kraayveld of the WNBA couldnt be placed solely on his shoulders, as the entire group struggled to make the mix of shots from various ranges.

WATCH: Gibson, Kerr in shooting stars

Unfortunately for me, I was going over the rim. It was just bad, but it was fun. The experience was nerve-wracking. The crowd was just on your heels My heart was like 100 miles an hour, but it was all fun, said Gibson. After practice, I always tend to shoot a bunch of halfcourt shots, but for some reason, I couldnt hit one today.

I made one in Dallas, but I dont know, he continued. It just didnt want to go down for me for the last month and its just oh, man a downer.

Gibson also showed support for Kerr, despite the legendary shooters surprisingly disappointing performance.

When I looked at his form, it still looked good, Gibson critiqued. It is unfortunate they couldnt drop. The half court shot killed us.

Team Atlanta won the competition.

In the evenings other events, Miami Heat forward James Jones won the Foot Locker Three Point Contest and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers won the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.

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.

Fred Hoiberg wants a more aggressive Bulls defense

Fred Hoiberg wants a more aggressive Bulls defense

Being a better defensive team was a prime objective for Fred Hoiberg coming into camp, as the Bulls hope to reclaim some of their defensive identity that disappeared last season.

Reciting a not-so-true stat routinely to reporters in the first few days, that the Bulls were last in forcing turnovers in 2015-16, means he’s likely barking it to the team in practices (they were actually second-to-last behind the New York Knicks).

“Absolutely,” said Hoiberg when asked if being more aggressive defensively is a goal. “We are turning the ball over way too much. After watching film, our defense is responsible for some of that. We have a guy in (Rajon) Rondo that's a high steals guy, got great hands, great instincts, great wingspan. Jimmy (Butler) is always had great anticipation and one of the top steals guy.”

Butler is one of the best two-way players, along with San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and Indiana’s Paul George, but even he admitted his defense slipped last year as the Bulls fell to a middle-of-the-pack team in terms of advanced defensive rankings (15th).

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Rondo was once one of the league’s best defensive point guards before tearing up his knee his last full season in Boston, and averaged two steals last year in Sacramento, but gave up a career-high 107 points per 100 possessions, according to basketball-reference.com.

Whether Rondo was a function of a bad defense overall for the Kings or a player who no longer fully commits himself to that end remains to be seen, but it’s clear Hoiberg wants a more hands-y defense. Too many times last year, the Bulls defense had leaks from the top down, resulting in compromised drives to the basket and breakdowns all around.

More than anything, the Bulls defense was one of indifference, especially after the first 30 games or so.

“Like all staffs we watched a ton of film and tried to figure out with this group how to create more turnovers, how to impact the ball better,” Hoiberg said. “Every day it's been a big emphasis in our defense and we get out and force turnovers and make sure the help is there behind the trap and being aggressive on the ball.”

Denzel Valentine a candidate for minutes at the point for Bulls

Denzel Valentine a candidate for minutes at the point for Bulls

The common refrain among coaches in the first days of training camp is “this guy had an incredible summer”, a phrase Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg has said so much that even he had to laugh when asked who didn’t have a banner summer period.

Of course, that’s before fans and media get to see anyone play, so we can only speculate who’ll win certain position battles, like the starting power forward spot or how deep Hoiberg’s rotation will go.

So in the spirit of speculation, Bulls rookie Denzel Valentine’s versatility makes him a candidate for the backup point guard position, a spot that is filled with different options for Hoiberg to choose from.

“He’s such an instinctive player. He does a great job,” Hoiberg said. “We talk about making simple plays. You’ve done your job when you beat your man, draw the second defender and make the easy, simple play. Denzel is great at that. That’s not a gift that everybody has. That’s not an instinct that all players have. But Denzel certainly has it.”

One wonders if Valentine could find himself on the outside looking in at the start of the season, like Bobby Portis did last year before all the injuries hit the Bulls and forced him into action.

It’s a different vision than when Valentine was drafted as a late lottery pick after a seasoned career at Michigan State. The Bulls hadn’t signed Dwyane Wade or Rajon Rondo in free agency, and had traded Derrick Rose 24 hours before the draft, so the thought was Valentine could be an instant contributor.

Even still, Valentine can likely play anything from point guard to small forward, but hasn’t gotten extensive reps at the point, yet.

“I’ve played on the wing so far. A little bit of point,” Valentine said. “I got a couple reps on the point, but like 70-30. Seventy on the wing, 30 on the point.”

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He got an early jump on the Hoiberg terminology at summer league, so the language isn’t a big adjustment, but having to learn multiple positions along with the tendencies of new teammates can mean a steeper learning curve.

“Yeah, I just got to continue learning sets and learning guys’ strengths so that I can use that to their best advantage,” Valentine said. “Play-make as best I can when I’m at the point guard spot. Just learning the system, learning guys’ strengths, and then I’ll be better at it.”

The presence of Wade and Jimmy Butler, one of whom will likely anchor the second unit as Hoiberg will probably stagger minutes so each can have the requisite time and space, means even if Valentine were on the floor, he wouldn’t have to be a natural point guard.

Hoiberg does, however, crave having multiple playmakers who can initiate offense or create shots off penetration or pick and roll action, meaning Valentine can work it to his advantage.

“I think he can. Jimmy played with the ball in his hands a lot last year,” Hoiberg said. “Jimmy rebounds the ball and if Dwyane rebounds the ball, they’re bringing it. Rajon if he’s out there knows to fill one of the lanes. Denzel is an excellent passer. He’s got such good basketball instincts. So if you can get guys out there who can make plays, that’s what it’s all about. I think you’re very difficult to guard in this league when you have multiple ballmakers.”

Other notes:

Dwyane Wade won’t be taking walk-up triples for the Bulls, despite his call that Hoiberg wants him being more comfortable from behind the long line. Hoiberg does want him being willing and able to take corner threes, likely off guard penetration from Rondo or Jimmy Butler.

When Wade played with LeBron James in Miami, cutting from the corners became a staple, so putting him there could be an old wrinkle Hoiberg is adding to his scheme.

Wade took seven of his 44 3-pointers from the corner last season, hitting two from the right side, according to vorped.com.

“When he’s open, especially in the corners, that’s a shot we want him taking. It’s a thing we worked on yesterday, making sure he stays on balance,” Hoiberg said. “He’s got a natural lean on his shot, which has been very effective, being on the elite mid range shooters in our game. That’s allowed him to get shots over bigger defenders. When you get out further from the basket, especially by the line, you need to get momentum going in, work on your body position and work on finishing that shot. He’s got good mechanics, it’s a matter of finishing the shot.”