Bulls

Down but not out, Pacers look to corral Rose

Down but not out, Pacers look to corral Rose

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Posted: 12:32 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

Indiana wouldnt reveal what adjustments theyd make as far as defending Derrick Rose heading into Game 2 of their first-round series against the Bulls. Maybe thats because it would be all too familiar to Chicago.

Im not going to be a guy that tries to get all in him and pressure him full court, but we had a talk with Coach Frank Pacers interim head coach Frank Vogel before the game and he wanted me to be a Scottie Pippen type of player against him, said Pacers rookie Paul George, referring to the Bulls legendswho happens to have joined Comcast SportsNets broadcast team for the seriesdefensive versatility, which allowed him to guard point guards. I try to angle him, send him to my teammates. They did a great job helping. All I could really do was try to stay in front of him.

I got film of the game Game 1, went back and really studied him, really figured out what his tendencies are and really stayed true to my abilities. I knew I had the length and the foot speed to stay in front of him and gap him, as well, continued the 6-foot-8 rookie starting shooting guard out of Fresno State, who worked out for the Bulls prior to last years NBA Draft. He kind of took over last game later in quarters, so we tried to get the ball out of his hands. Thats where the trap came in. We wanted the Bulls to beat us with their other players, but hes a great player, so he made plays.

READ: Bulls know they must improve as series shifts to Indy

I knew I had to step up this time and really try to get the ball out of his hands or try to make him hit tough shots and thats what he did, hit tough shots.

Based on Roses scoring alonehe dropped in 36 pointsit would appear that the Pacers strategy of assigning a swingman on the lightning-quick point guard was none too effective, but George hounded the Bulls superstar into 10-for-25 shooting and six turnovers, as well as finishing with four blocks, three steals and what Vogel said was a team-record 18 deflections.

Hes a gifted defender, said Vogel. Very, very proud of his effort tonight.

Were just trying to give him some different looks. Give him a steady diet, he picks you apart, he continued. We tried to trap Rose out at halfcourt, as opposed to him drawing our whole team and then finding him.

While Rose wasnt exactly befuddled by Georges defense, his opponents combination of size, length and agility, as well as Indianas trapping defense, did appear to give him pause at certain junctures of the contest.

Ive got to use more ball fakes. Hes definitely a tall guy. He was playing almost the whole game. But ball fakes and making sure I play smart the whole game, even through fatigue, said Rose. Ive just got to get used to it, make smarter decisions, look at film tonight, go over it tomorrow and we should be ready for how their bigs step up a little bit more, and it should be easy basketball after that.

WATCH: Relive Bulls' Game 2 win over the Pacers

Praised Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, somewhat of a defensive connosieur: Paul George is a terrific player, good defender.

George guarding Rosealthough Vogel surprisingly assigned leading scorer Danny Granger to him on critical late possessionswas part of the Pacers game plan and although Darren Collison struggled with Roses size advantage and powerfully compact frame, Vogel didnt even have the option to deploy his diminutive starting point guard after he suffered a sprained left ankle, following a first-half fast-break layup and subsequent tumble into baseline photographers.

Right now, I think its day-to-day. Most likely, Im going to try to be back for Game 3, said Collison, who tried to test the injury at halftime. It an X-ray was negative. Right now, its just real sore and swelled up pretty bad, but well see.

Ninety percent of the time, if I have an injury like that, Id go right back out there and play on it, but its just frustrating because I cant even jog on it, he continued. Im definitely going to be treating it as much as I can. I definitely need to be out there for myself. Its disappointing, unfortunate that it happened.

While also disappointed in the loss, Collison was positive of his teams effort, singling out Georges defensive play and the job his backupsA.J. Price and veteran T.J. Forddid in his absence.

WATCH: Rose knows Indy will be a tough place to play

A.J. played well. T.J.s an experienced point guard. Hes been in the playoffs before. Im definitely very confident in those guys, said Collison. Its frustrating, but for the most part, our effort was there. Paul George did a good job defensively, made some shots tough for him. hes going to make shots, hes going to shoot the ball the majority of the time, so I thought we did a good job, solid, on defense. It came down to us and as a basketball team, if it comes down to you, then you have a legitimate shot to win the game.

Im proud of everybodys effort. Weve battled the last two games. I think everybody questioned whether we were going to come back in Game 2 and do the same thing, but all along, we kept telling people thats how weve been playing. Weve been playing like that throughout the whole season; thats how we play, so respect or not, I think people are going to start noticing our effort.

His 37-year-old rookie coachthe youngest in the leagueechoed his sentiments. When asked about his teams resiliency, Vogel, who prefaces postgame press conferences with an impromptu opening statement, took on an air of defiance.

Do you guys have any questions about that? I dont, he queried reporters. Were standing toe to toe with this team. Im very proud of our guys. Well take it back to Indy, see what happens.

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.

Report: Bulls looking to trade up for Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland

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USA TODAY

Report: Bulls looking to trade up for Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland

NBA Draft week is filled with rumors that never come to fruition, so take this with a grain of salt.

The Bulls are reportedly interested in trading up to draft Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland.

That report from ESPN's Jonathan Givony comes in the wake of him also reporting that Garland has scheduled a last-minute workout with the New York Knicks, owners of the No. 3 pick.

Other reports mention that the Knicks are bringing Garland in for the private workout just in case they move out of the No. 3 slot on draft night. They're still expected to take Duke's R.J. Barrett after the New Orleans Pelicans select Zion Williamson first overall and the Memphis Grizzlies nab Murray State point guard with the second pick.

For the Bulls, it makes sense. They have an obvious need at point guard - though that shouldn't be their main focus on draft night - and have been enamored with Garland for quite some time. Though Garland played only five games as a freshman before tearing his meniscus, the former 5-star recruit has drawn comparisons to Damian Lillard and Kemba Walker for his outside prowess at the point and his playmaking ability.

Givony also reported that Garland had a private workout with the Bulls - among other teams - and turned heads in it, He's 100 percent recovered after knee surgery in November, too, which is important.

It's unclear what the Bulls would have to give up in a potential deal, but it would be a lot. Of the teams listed as potentially trying to trade up to No. 4, the Hawks (three first-round picks) and the Celtics (three first-round picks) have more assets to offer than the Bulls.

It's difficult to see a scenario where the Bulls part with any of Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine or Wendell Carter Jr. in a package for No. 4. In theory, the Bulls could offer up a protected first-round pick in next year's draft, similar to what the Dallas Mavericks did last season in moving up for Luka Doncic. Dallas traded the No. 5 pick and a top-5 protected pick for the No. 3 pick. That pick wound up being No. 10 this season.

For now, it's a rumor and we'll keep an eye on it over the next 48 hours.

Forget needs: The Bulls need to draft the best basketball player on Thursday night

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USA TODAY

Forget needs: The Bulls need to draft the best basketball player on Thursday night

The Bulls want to upgrade at point guard. In fact, they need to upgrade at point guard. John Paxson made that known in February when discussing the Bulls trading for Otto Porter. He made that known in April at the team’s end-of-the-year press conference. He made it known again in May after the Bulls slipped to 7 on Lottery night.

This hasn’t been just motivation through the media to light a fire under Kris Dunn or posturing from the front office to make a point guard-needy team jump the Bulls on draft night. Paxson has been clear for months that, one year after saying he felt “really good” about Dunn and Cam Payne on the depth chart, the point guard position needs upgrading.

He's not wrong. And it also shouldn’t matter on Thursday night when the Bulls go on the clock.

Filling perceived positional needs should be the least of the their concerns heading into the draft. The Bulls need an upgrade at point guard. That much is true. Here’s what else is true: The Bulls won 22 games last season, had the second worst home net rating in the last 20 years and at one point in late March, played six former G-League players a total of 133 minutes in an NBA regular season game. The Bulls, by the way, lost that game by 23 points. It was only their eighth worst home loss, looking decent compared to the losses of 25, 25, 28, 29, 31, 39 and 56 they suffered at different points in the season.

Do you know what the Bulls need? Good basketball players.

Wayne Selden averaged 22.9 minutes. Ryan Arcidiacono averaged 24.2 minutes. Walt Lemon Jr. finished his season with the Windy City Bulls on March 27 and led the Chicago Bulls in scoring three days later. They’re all great stories of persistence. They’re also all part of a recipe that resulted in 22 wins and a lost season.

There’s no doubt injuries played a part. Only the Cavaliers lost more games to injury than the Bulls last season, and the post-Otto Porter trade Bulls were trending in the right direction with a promising stretch in February. But this team has so far to go until they’re in contention even for a playoff spot in a weak East that “team needs” can’t be part of the discussion.

To Paxson’s and Gar Forman’s credit, it hasn’t come into play the last two drafts. The Bulls selected Lauri Markkanen in 2017 despite having Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis entrenched at power forward. In 2018, they opted for Wendell Carter Jr. despite having Robin Lopez under contract and Cris Felicio committed for three more seasons. Neither of those picks were needs at the time. Had the Bulls drafted for need, they’d probably have Dennis Smith Jr. and Mikal Bridges right now.

Now isn’t the time to change course.

The Bulls need to stay true to their draft board and, in a class where picks 4 through 10 are pretty much on an even playing field, draft for upside. Remember, the Bulls are still playing for 2021. It’s not what fans want to hear about 49 combined wins the last two seasons, but it’s the reality of where they are. Drafting a player they believe will help them most down the line – and not necessarily in October 2019 – has to be not only a priority, but the only line of thinking.

Perhaps Paxson and Forman have North Carolina guard Coby White high on their draft board. Maybe Darius Garland, who they’ve been enamored with for quite some time, is worth moving up and sacrificing future assets. But if not, there’s no use in a short-term fix to sacrifice long-term gains.

It’s OK if the Bulls’ point guard situation isn’t resolved when the sun rises Friday morning.

This is also the deepest free agency class at point guard in some time. If the Bulls want to upgrade there for a short-term fix in free agency, go for it. Just don’t sacrifice the 7th pick to round out your starting lineup. It may seem counter-productive to draft a reserve in the top half of the Lottery, but it’s actually a good problem for the Bulls to have considering the strength of their 2 through 5 positions.

Maybe it really is Texas center Jaxson Hayes. Perhaps Cam Reddish's woeful freshman season at Duke hasn't scared off the Bulls. Maybe Sekou Doumbouya looks like a player who can improve the Bulls' defense and maybe contribute on the other end.

Outside of Zion Williamson, no player in this year’s Lottery is going to move the needle in Year 1. You’re drafting for 5-6 years down the line, not 5-6 months down the line.

Find the most talented prospect on your board at No. 7, consider how he’ll fit in to the structure, dynamic and schemes of the Bulls and figure out where his upside lies based on those factors. It’s all that should matter on draft night.