Bulls

Derrick Rose sits vs. Blazers, but Jimmy Butler improving

butler-rose-0227.png

Derrick Rose sits vs. Blazers, but Jimmy Butler improving

It was a case of somewhat bad news and then encouraging news for the Bulls on the injury front with their backcourt.

Derrick Rose will miss Saturday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, as he still hasn’t recovered from the soreness in his right hamstring, but the MRI on Jimmy Butler showed significant progress from his left knee strain and he’ll start ramping up basketball activities in short order.

Rose was listed as questionable and Fred Hoiberg revealed Rose would miss his third straight game, but said he’s feeling better and looking better physically than he did since the soreness appeared early this week.

“Still sore, still sore,” Hoiberg said. “He looks better, better than he’s looked the last couple days. He’ll sit tonight.”

It’ll be Rose’s 10th missed game of the season and his longest stretch of missed time since missing three straight in late December and early January. Saturday morning, Hoiberg worked Rose out to gauge his progress.

“He wasn’t moving around great, better than last couple days but he still had a pretty good limp,” Hoiberg said. “We wanted to push him and test it, so we did full-court conditioning. A lot of shooting drills. He got through a lot of it, but he got pretty sore he still wasn’t able to explode off that leg.”

[SHOP BULLS: Get your Bulls gear right here]

Hoiberg defended Rose before Friday night’s game in Atlanta, when he was questioned about Rose being cautious considering his overall health and perhaps not pushing through injuries in the regular season.

“Look, I trust Derrick. I had a one-on-one talk with him before he came into my office before the last game, before we played Washington, and he talked about the pain that he had,” Hoiberg said Friday night. “He talked about, you know, not being able to play his game, being cautious out there, and that’s when I think when you’re not going full speed and you’re thinking, is when major, serious injuries happen. So I trust Derrick. I know he wants to play, I know he wants to be out there. His teammates want him out there. But at this time with his leg feeling the way it is, we all feel it’s best that he doesn’t play.’’

With Butler, the Bulls can at least be optimistic about him returning to full form at some point in the near future, and now it’s about working himself back into basketball shape and exploding off his left leg — which gave out in Denver on their West Coast swing early in February.

“Looked good, looked good,” Hoiberg said. “The swelling is significantly down, so now it’s a matter of Jimmy getting out there, getting his timing, getting his conditioning and getting comfortable. He still hasn’t exploded off that leg.”

Calling it a knee strain was a pretty wide-ranging term, as the multiple MRIs made it seem more like a tear than a strain — though both terms would technically be correct.

Whatever the Bulls wanted to see as far as recovery, they liked and now they can begin planning on bringing their All-Star guard back into the fold.

“The big thing is making sure the swelling was down, looking at the hamstring tendon, looking at the overall structure of the knee,” Hoiberg said. “It was consistent with what they were looking for, what they wanted to see. Now it’s about getting his timing back.”

Would Wendell Carter Jr. be picked higher if the NBA Draft was today?

Would Wendell Carter Jr. be picked higher if the NBA Draft was today?

According to Bleacher Report, Wendell Carter Jr. would be taken fourth overall by the Memphis Grizzlies if the NBA were to redraft this year’s class based off of Summer League performances.

It may sound like a crazy concept (and it is), but Carter Jr. averaged the second most points, 14.6, through five July games in Las Vegas. He also averaged 9.4 rebounds and shot 55 percent from the field while averaging 28.8 minutes in his glamorous first-stint with Chicago. Those numbers are even more striking if you consider Carter Jr.’s 42.9 percent shooting from behind the three-point line.

Carter Jr., the real seventh overall pick of this year’s NBA Draft, looked like the all-around player the Bulls were hoping to get this offseason. He made his blocking abilities as a center known from the moment he stepped on the court in Summer League.

In their re-draft, Bleacher Report had Chicago using the No. 7 pick on the New York Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson, who was actually taken 36th overall in last month’s Draft.

Robinson, a center, averaged 13 points and 24.8 minutes per game over five Summer League contests. He was the best rebounder on his team with an average of 10.2 in the five games that the Knicks played.

The 20-year-old took the second most shots on the Knicks and had the highest field goal percentage at 67 percent, but Robinson did not have any three-point attempts.  What made his recent production seem even more surprising was the fact that the 7'1'' big man did not play a single minute of college basketball.

But would Robinson fit in the Bulls’ system?

Chicago has taken on an offense-first mentality, so Robinson would not be as great of a fit in the Bulls lineup as Carter Jr., but he would still be an impact player. He can be compared to the Bulls’ current center Robin Lopez, who averaged a similar amount of points per game (11.8 points in 26.4 minutes) last season as Robinson’s Summer League average (13 points in 24.8 minutes). And like Lopez, Robinson will likely be most effective around the basket and in the pick-and-roll.

Robinson would also have to learn the defensive concepts that a veteran like Lopez has mastered over his 10-year career.

Next season, the Bulls will have an exciting scoring trio of Jabari Parker, Lauri Markkanen and Carter Jr. in the frontcourt. And the fact that Carter Jr. is getting so much love in the national spotlight is yet another reason for Bulls fans to be excited about this upcoming season.

Jabari Parker channels his inner Uncle Drew: This game is about getting buckets

jabariparkerdefense.png
USA TODAY

Jabari Parker channels his inner Uncle Drew: This game is about getting buckets

The Bulls gave Jabari Parker a two-year, $40 million deal for good reason.

One, the Bulls had the salary cap space to get the deal done and had just about filled out their roster. The money wasn't going to be used elsewhere. Also, the second year of the deal is a team option which gives the Bulls some security should Parker not be able to stay healthy or play up to the standards such a salary commands.

Parker was given that money for multiple reasons. One of those reasons was not for his defense.

But, according to Parker, no one gets paid for their defense.

Speaking on 670 The Score on Wednesday, Parker was asked about whether he felt he had the ability and effort to defend in the NBA, something he hasn't done particularly well in four seasons.

"I just stick to my strengths. Look at everybody in the league. They don’t pay players to play defense," Parker said. "There’s only two people historically that play defense. I’m not going to say I won’t, but to say that’s a weakness is like saying that’s everybody’s weakness. Because I’ve scored 30 and 20 on a lot of guys that say they play defense.

"If you know the game, you also know that everyone’s a pro, right? And you know that certain guys have an average. No matter what you do, they still get that average. They pay people to score the ball, and I would hope that somebody scores the ball on me if they pay them that much. So, I’m not saying that to cop out or nothing. It’s the NBA. We’re professionals. Everybody scores. It’s just about limiting them as much as you can, trying to contain them."

Parker's right in one sense, that players are usually paid for their offensive output. There are also more tangible, easily read statistics on the offensive end than there are defensively. Heck, the Bulls gave $80 million to Zach LaVine and he was the team's worst defender last season.

But then again, defense matters. A whole lot, especially at a time when offenses are better than ever (thus making defenders more valuable). The final four teams in last year's playoffs were ranked 1st, 6th, 9th and LeBron James (29th) in defensive efficiency.

A day after Parker's comments the Celtics gave Marcus Smart a four-year, $52 million contract. He's a career 37 percent shooter and has made 29 percenet of his 3-pointers in four seasons.

So while Parker, a below-average defender, might not be entirely accurate, at least he's owning who he is. And if he scores like he did in Year 3, averaging 20 points before re-tearing his ACL, no one will care how he defends.