The Starting Five: Bulls vs. Magic

The Starting Five: Bulls vs. Magic

Friday, Jan. 28, 2011
1:24 p.m.
By Aggrey

1. Derrick Rose talked about facing the Magic, who throttled the Bulls in both the preseason and their first regular-season matchup, in which Carlos Boozer made his Bulls debut. Oh, this is huge. Theyve been beating us bad every time we played them, so this is our chance to go out there and let them know were ready to play, said Rose. Theyve been playing well, shooting the ball great. At first, they had to get used to each other, but they jelled very quickly. Theyve got Turkoglu; hes playing very well for them. Everybodys shooting the ball good and Ryan Andersons playing great. He also discussed how Orlandos midseason blockbuster trade improved their roster. Orlando is more of a threat now. The way theyre shooting the ball right now is unbelievable. Theyre averaging nine three-pointers a game and nine can easily change a game, so if a team like that has the green light to just shoot whatever shot they wantespecially threesit can get ugly out there.

2. Thibodeau also talked about the threat Orlando poses. Magic All-Star center Dwight Howards dominance and athleticism, strength and ability to get deep into the paint. If they throw the ball anywhere near him, hes got great hands. It pulls you in. It requires you to have more than one person on him, said Thibodeau. Because of the way they shoot, you have to pull in, but you also have to react out. If they hit a couple threes, now they really set up his post-up and its probably the best way to set up a post-up in todays game, is through the pick-and-roll. It allows him to get deep position and if he gets two feet in the paint when he catches, its either a score or foul. The guy, hes dominant and their shooting really spreads you out. He continued: Magic power forward Brandon Bass has really played well for them, but when backup power forward Ryan Anderson comes in, now its another three-point shooter theyre putting on the floor, so they spread you out pretty good. Ive said this before: Magic point guard Jameer Nelson doesnt get enough credit. The guys a terrific player I think each game tests you in different ways. Certainly when you look at the make-up of their team, it puts a lot of pressure on you. Were concerned with whoever is front of us, but theyre a well-balanced team and a team to be reckoned with.

3. Thibodeau also talked about how the Bulls three-day break between games could benefit the team. We had an opportunity to get some practices in and well see tonight. Itll reveal how the practices were, said Thibodeau. I think it did give us a chance to get our legs under us and there were a number of things we wanted to clean up that you could only really do in practice. He also shed some light into whether injured center Joakim Noah would travel with the Bulls on their upcoming, five-day, West Coast road trip. Depending on what the doctors say and Fred, what they have in store for him Noah, in terms of getting his cast off, said Thibodeau. At some point, Im hopeful that hell be on the trip.

4. Rose talked about playing with fellow Chicago native Dwyane Wadethe Miami Heat star was voted the Eastern Conferences other starting guardin the All-Star Game. Ive never played with himexcept for the All-Star Game last year and that was only for a little bit, because I was injuredso its going to be exciting, said Rose. When asked about whether anybody big contacted him in the wake of selection as an All-Star starter, Rose quipped, I dont have Obama on speed dial or anything. I dont hang out with a whole bunch of celebrities. Rose is also a nominee for the All-Star weekend Skills Challenge. Four finalists--Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, Baron Davis of the Los Angeles Clippers, Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings, John Wall of the Washington Wizards, Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder are the other candidateswill compete against New Orleans Hornets All-Star point guard Chris Paul in the com

5. Dont forget to follow me on Twitter at @CSNBullsInsider.

Aggrey Sam is'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, Jimmy Butler rave about Rajon Rondo's voice, basketball IQ

Fred Hoiberg, Jimmy Butler rave about Rajon Rondo's voice, basketball IQ

With one Bulls practice in the books and one more to go in the night session, it was evident from the primary parties that Rajon Rondo has earned instant trust and credibility with his play.

Or more pointedly, his brain and his mouth.

“He’s got the best voice on the team,” head coach Fred Hoiberg said. “When you have point guard out there who can get you into something and talk the way he does, that sets the tone for everybody.”

Apparently the ultra-intelligent point guard has been a galvanizing force since the team starting convening last month for informal workouts, as Hoiberg believes Rondo has grasped his system instantly and brought some of the younger teammates along.

“The biggest thing that I’ve been most impressed with with Rajon is the minute he stepped on this floor when he got back here in August is he pulled everybody together,” Hoiberg said. “If you have a guy not only offensively getting you into something but defensively making sure guys are pointing and talking and making sure guys are pointing and talking and getting back and matched up in transition, that’s where it starts. He’s been here. He’s been great. He’s a guy who you can watch film with in September before we got rolling here in camp. He got us off to a great start.”

Needing Rondo to be vocal will be a plus for Hoiberg considering the coach’s soft-spoken approach, and those two being on one accord will be a key considering Rondo’s history with coaches over time.

Rondo’s intelligence, which most consider to be genius-like, has already come in handy and will help with the perimeter adjustment of fitting himself, Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade together.

“Like I always say, when you put good basketball players out there on the floor you just go,” Butler said. “Everything just falls into place, falls into line. You don’t have to worry about too much of anything. And with him he’s an incredible leader. He just wants everybody to be successful. He’s going to put you in position to be just that.”

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Rondo has led the league in assists three times and his career 8.7 assists-per-game average is third among active players behind Chris Paul (L.A. Clippers) and John Wall (Washington Wizards).

“He has been around the league a long time,” Hoiberg said. “He studies the league. If he sees a small guy guarding Jimmy, he’s going to find a way to get him the ball on the block. The more you can have those guys recognizing things on the floor---if Robin Lopez is coming down and I have to yell, ‘Get the ball to Robin’ then we have issues -- and Rondo obviously will be a big help with that.”

So yeah, he’ll have the ball in his hands plenty.

“He’s super-smart. He really sees things before they even develop out there on the basketball floor, so it makes everybody’s job a lot easier," Butler said. "And not only is he leading the team on offense, but he’s constantly talking on defense, so he’s letting everybody know where they have to be. Wade’s the same way, so he makes everybody’s job easier as well, and you learn from that, so you just follow suit for the most part.’’

Butler joked that there will often be times where a Rondo pass zigs while he’ll be zagging early in camp while chemistry is developing, saying “I’m sorry, Rajon, because you’re going to definitely get a turnover from me one game,” and that he won’t be opposed to Rondo getting on him or anybody else in the meantime.

“I’m good with that,” Butler said. “I’ll challenge him right back if I see something that he’s not doing correctly. I want him to hold me accountable, me hold him accountable, everybody holding everybody accountable, because then everybody is going to learn from their mistakes and not to it again.”

Stan Bowman mum on Artemi Panarin contract talks

Stan Bowman mum on Artemi Panarin contract talks

In July, when asked how contract talks were going with star forward Artemi Panarin, general manager Stan Bowman said he wouldn’t negotiate through the media.

He reiterated that on Tuesday.

“Obviously Artemi's a big part of our team. We're excited for the season he had. We're looking forward to him building on that as well. Then the negotiations will be what they are between his agent and myself,” I respect Tom [Lynn, Panarin’s agent]. He's a very knowledgeable guy, and Artemi put a lot of faith in him. And Tom and I will work to get something done.”

Panarin is entering the final year of his current contract and is coming off a monster rookie season in which he recorded 77 points and took home the Calder Trophy. Panarin took home plenty of bonus money thanks to that season, too.

The 24-year-old could certainly command a hefty price, which would once again be a major concern to the cash-strapped Blackhawks. The salary cap is at $73 million for this season, a small increase from 2015-16 ($71.4 million). Factor in another likely small increase next season and the large contracts the Blackhawks are already doling out – Brent Seabrook’s eight-year deal with a cap hit of $6.875 kicks in this season – and could Panarin be another one that gets away?

But Bowman remains optimistic.

“We're always confident,” he said. “You go into a negotiation expecting to get a deal done. That's the way I've been in the past and that's the way I am now.”