Bulls

Bulls notes: Frustration leads to technicals in loss

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Bulls notes: Frustration leads to technicals in loss

Known for their composure in past seasons, the Bulls have become an increasingly testy bunch.

Saturday was an example of that, as they accrued four technical fouls Carlos Boozer, Nate Robinson, Luol Deng and head coach Tom Thibodeau were the offenders seemingly due to perceived non-calls by the officiating crew.

Probably so, from the standpoint of frustration, Thibodeau said. If you think youre getting fouled and they miss it, it takes your concentration away from what youre supposed to be doing, so we have to handle that part better and I think just understanding how quickly things can change. You go from winning a game on the road to coming home the next night and youve got to get ready all over again, and youve got to bring that intensity to the game from the start.

Deng joked: People have been thinking Im a superhero, so I had to show them Im human and I get frustrated, too. Seriously, Im disappointed that I let my frustration get the best of me. It happens. Some calls go your way, some dont go your wayIve definitely got to keep my composure. Ive got to do a better job of that. I thought I got fouled a few times, refs didnt see it and Ive got to do a better job of handling it. Just emotion.

Joakim Noah, the teams leader in technicals on the season, added: We lost our composure tonight, but its not just one person. Its all of us as a team. We have to do a better job of that, no question.

Suns' defense shines bright

Thibodeau credited the Suns, specifically hard-nosed forward P.J. Tucker the former NBA draft bust, who played overseas before returning to the league on a non-guaranteed deal this season, helped forced Deng, coming off a season-high 33-point outing in New York, into 5-for-16 shooting night for Phoenixs rugged defense. However, he also criticized his team for a lack of toughness, a rarity with the Bulls.

Tucker was tough. I want to give them credit because I thought they played really hard. They were into us, they were into the ball, so Ill leave it at that and I think the challenge in this league is you have to own your space, and you cant allow somebody to get you back on your heels, the coach explained. When we attack, not only on offense everyone thinks when we say, weve got to attack, its only on offense; its on defense, too when we have that mindset, were tough and when we allow people to get into us, were not as effective and sometimes, if youre looking for the officials to bail you out, thats not going to work. Youve got to take care of that yourself. Its a competition; its not a show. The teams that understand that get ahead and youve got to go after people, and thats the mindset that you have to have.

If you have a good win, you cant think you have it all figured out. Youve got to come back the next day, ask yourself what you can do better, how you can improve and thats got to be our mindset.

'Discount Double-Check'

Nate Robinson started a mild controversy when he celebrated a pair of baskets with the discount double check gesture, first popularized by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, during the Bulls win Friday.

Knicks sharpshooter Steve Novak, a Wisconsin native and Packers fan, also uses the move after draining three-pointers, and when asked about Robinsons on-court antics, he wasnt too pleased in his postgame remarks to the local media.

Robinson apparently responded to Novak via Twitter, but he also spoke about the drama after the Bulls loss.

Weve got to do our research on that and see who came up with that, he quipped. I just did it jokingly just because he does it, so why not?

ESPN ranks Derrick Rose No. 36 in its World Fame 100 list

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AP

ESPN ranks Derrick Rose No. 36 in its World Fame 100 list

Yes, Derrick Rose Stans. Your boy still has plenty of relevance in the sports world.

ESPN released its third annual ranking of "the biggest names in sports," and the Timberwolves point guard ranked No. 36 on the list. ESPN formed the list based on a formula that took three factors into account:

1. Search score, "which measures how often a name is searched"

2. Endorsement dollars, with sources using ranging from Forbes to ESPN contributors

3. Social media followers, with ESPN taking only the platform in which the player had his or her most followers into account.

Rose's search score wasn't all that impressive, ranking 15 - the average on the top 100 list had a score of 35. But with Bulls fans, NBA fans and now of course Timberwolves fans chiming in on his game, Rose's name came across plenty of timelines and search engines.

Rose's $14 million in endorsements - primarily from that massive Adidas deal - was better than the average $12.6 million of the top 100 athletes.

Rose's top social media page is on Facebook, where he currently has more than 10.7 million likes. This, as ESPN notes, is largely due to the international following Rose and so many other NBA athletes have built up over the years.

In 2016, Rose ranked No. 30 on the list. In 2017 he was No. 33 on the list, so while he isn't trending in the right direction there's no denying his presence in the sports landscape. Love him or hate him, Derrick Rose still matters.

The only NBA players above Rose on the list were LeBron James (No. 2), Kevin Durant (No. 7), Stephen Curry (No. 9), James Harden (No. 24), Kyrie Irving (No. 27), Dwyane Wade (No. 31) and Russell Westbrook (No. 34). NBA players below Rose included Carmelo Anthony, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Isaiah Thomas, and Cameron Payne.

OK, not Cameron Payne. He must have been No. 101.

Why the Bulls should bet on potential and draft Jaren Jackson Jr.

Why the Bulls should bet on potential and draft Jaren Jackson Jr.

Previous making the case for: Deandre Ayton | Luka Doncic | Mo Bamba | Marvin Bagley | Michael Porter Jr.

The modern NBA center is transforming. Last season 12 centers (as listed by Basketball Reference) made 50 or more 3-pointers, up from 10 players in 2016-17. The year before that, in 2015-16, five players accomplished that feat. Four players did it in 2014-15, three did it in 2013-14, and from 1990 to 2012 only Mehmet Okur (five times), Channing Frye (three times) and Byron Mullens (once) accomplished it.

Many of the names on that list, however, don’t exactly cut it on the other end. Sure, players like Joel Embiid, Al Horford and Marc Gasol are elite defenders. But repeat 50+ club members also include Karl-Anthony Towns, Marreese Speights, Kelly Olynyk, DeMarcus Cousins and Pero Antic. In other words, players Rudy Gobert won’t have to worry about contending with for Defensive Player of the Year.

But that former list – the Embiid, Horford, Gasol one – could add another member to it in the coming years. Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. was a rarity in college basketball this past season. He became the fifth player since 1992 to compile 35 or more 3-pointers and 100 or more blocks in a single season. Jackson had 38 and 106, respectively, and he accomplished those numbers in 764 minutes; the other four players on the list averaged 1,082 minutes, and the next fewest was Eddie Griffin’s 979 minutes in 2000-01.

Staying on those minutes, Jackson averaged 21.8 per game. That was decidedly fewer per game than Carter (26.9), Bamba (30.2), Ayton (33.5) and Bagley (33.9). We’ll get to why those minutes might be an issue, but for now it’s a reason to not be scared off by his lack of raw numbers (10.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 blocks).

Jackson’s block percentage (14.2%) ranked fourth in the country. That was higher than Bamba’s 12.9%, despite Bamba tallying 3.7 blocks per game. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that Jackson was elite as a rim protector. He ranked in the 99th percentile in defensive possessions around the rim, allowing a mere 0.405 PPP. To put that number in context, freshmen Joel Embiid (0.844), Karl-Anthony Towns (0.8) and Myles Turner (0.667) weren’t even close. This past season Bamba allowed a whopping 1.088 PPP in that area, ranking in the 33rd percentile nationally.

Jackson plays bigger than the 236 pounds he weighed in at last week’s NBA Draft Combine. Here’s where we tell you he’ll need to add muscle like all 18-year-olds entering the NBA (oh, he’s also the youngest first-round prospect in the class). But defending the interior shouldn’t be a problem; his defensive rebounding rate wasn’t spectacular (19.8%), but the Spartans were a solid rebounding team as a whole – 76th nationally – so Jackson didn’t need to be great for the Spartans to succeed.

Jackson is going to defend at a high level, and in five years he’ll likely be known more for his defense than his offense. But that’s not to say he doesn’t have potential on that end of the floor. He ranked in the 91st percentile in points per possession (shooting 51 percent from the floor and 40 percent from deep helps), doing his most damage in the post (1.22 PPP, 98th percentile) and on jumpers, which were almost exclusively 3-point attempts (1.09 PPP, 81st). He was even a plus on pick-and-rolls, averaging 1.11 on a limited 27-possession sample size.

But not all 3-pointers are created equally. Consider that Jackson did almost all of his damage beyond the arc from the top of the key. He went 21-for-42 from straightaway, according to Synergy Sports, an absurd percentage on that many attempts. From all other areas he went 17-for-54. But in the pick-and-roll era, Jackson’s ability to pop out to the top of the key after setting a screen, and his confidence to take and make those shots, is priceless.

He needs polish on both ends. That seems like the easy way out, and a generic statement that could be made for all these prospects. But so much of his game is still raw; again, there’s a reason he played just 54 percent of all available minutes, and tallied 15 minutes in the Spartan’s NCAA Tournament loss to Syracuse.

He committed 5.9 fouls per 40 minutes (Bamba committed 4.3, for reference) and he shot just 48 percent on non-dunks inside 6 feet. His post numbers were good because he is nearly 7 feet tall and was always one of the most talented players on the floor. It’ll get tougher at the next level, and he’ll need to improve his feel around the rim as well as his post moves.

It doesn’t appear likely at this point, but there’s still a chance Jackson could fall to the Bulls at 7. We’ll safely assume Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic will be off the board. If Michael Porter’s medicals check out he should go in the top 5, and the other three selections could be Marvin Bagley, Mo Bamba and Trae Young. Young is certainly the least likely of the bunch, but it only takes one team to fall in love with his potential. Orlando at No. 6 is a natural fit.

If he is there at No. 7, he needs to be the Bulls pick. Admittedly this would be less of a decision than some of the other picks we’ll get to in the coming weeks. Allowing Lauri Markkanen to roam the wings while Jackson set picks for Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine would improve the offense drastically. And putting an elite rim protector next to Markkanen only covers up the latter’s weaknesses and, thus, makes him a better player.

If teams fall in love with Bamba’s length, Young’s shooting and Porter’s health, Jackson could be waiting when the Bulls pick at No. 7. He isn’t the wing the front office covets, but he is a two-way player with immense upside.