Bulls

Rose's stellar defense on stars quiets criticism

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Rose's stellar defense on stars quiets criticism

Monday, Feb. 14, 2011
9:20 a.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

NEW ORLEANSWith the defense of Bulls All-Star point guard Derrick Rose receiving increased scrutiny last week following the disparaging comments of Portland small forward Nicolas Batumafter the Trail Blazers beat Chicago, Batum told reporters Rose doesnt play defense; he later recanted his remarksRose responded with stellar defensive performances against Western Conference All-Star counterparts Deron Williams of Utah and New Orleans Chris Paul. Rose typically wouldnt admit to being rankled by Batums allegations, but after making life difficult for Paul, he shed some light into both his individual and the teams defensive philosophies.

I was playing D. I think that I contested all his shots, just trying to make him work for it, said Rose. Im not even paying attention to what Batum said. Our defense, the way weve been playing, Im not worried about that.

READ: Rose outplays Paul, Bulls end trip with victory

Our defense, we over-help on everything, so if one guy outplays our whole defense, he outplays us. Weve just been getting on the right page right now, getting on the right rhythm, where if a guy is driving, were stepping in front and taking charges or trying to go for the block, he continued. In the Portland game and the Golden State game that we lost, we werent doing that.

No less than Hornets head coach Monty Williamswho coached Batum as a Portland assistant coach prior to this seasonwas a staunch defender of Roses defense.

Nicolas is running his mouth and getting Derrick mad at the rest of the league. He defends. I dont know what theyre talking about, said Williams. I watched that game. I didnt think it was that bad. He went for Trail Blazers point guard Andre Millers pump fakes a couple times, but everybody goes for Andres pump fakes.

Williams went on to further compliment Roses game, specifically the improvement hes shown this season.

WATCH: Rose says he wanted to make Chris Paul work for his shots

I couldnt foresee him shooting the ball the way he does now and I didnt see the explosion. Now, its like hes gotten quicker in one summer. Hes got better command of the ball than a lot of point guardscrossover, the hesitation; which I think is a palm, but theyre not calling ithe just dominates games with his penetration, praised Williams. I thought he was good, but I didnt think he was that good. Ive watched him, all these games on him. Hes an amazing player. Some of that stuff, you cant coach. Its like Chris. Id like to tell you I coach all that stuff with Chris, but you cant coach some of that stuff that he brings to the table.

Williams, who accepted the Hornets job after Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau turned down the opportunity, also lauded his peers sideline performance.

Thibodeau is changing that organization, as far as being a stingy defensive team. I dont know if they were known for that. Former Bulls and current Milwaukee Bucks head coach Scott Skiles had them playing a certain style, but theyve certainly brought that Boston defense to Chicago, said Williams, like Thibodeau, a first-year NBA head coach. Thibs is a guy who lives and breathes basketball. Hes probably at the Berto Center 24-seven, probably doesnt let anybody go home. He knows the game, he knows how to coach and you can tell the guys are paying attention to his message.

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.

Season in Review: Otto Porter shoots the lights out in small sample size

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USA TODAY

Season in Review: Otto Porter shoots the lights out in small sample size

Over the next month we'll be recapping each of the Bulls' individual 2018-19 regular seasons.

Previous reviews: Lauri Markkanen | Shaq Harrison | Ryan Arcidiacono

Midseason expectations: Otto Porter Jr. arrived in Chicago the same night the Bulls posted a 126.3 offensive rating in a 125-120 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Maybe that was foreshadowing for how the offense would look two days later when Porter made his Bulls debut. That was the expectation, at least, that Porter would infuse life into a stagnant Bulls offense, space the floor and give the Bulls some versatility on the defensive end. Given the Bulls were 12-42 when Porter arrived, the expectation was that he’d gain some chemistry with Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen heading into the 2019-2020 season when he’d have an entire offseason to figure out a defined role.

What went right: How about 49 percent from beyond the arc? Again, it was a small sample size, but Porter connected on 39 of his 80 3-point attempts in 15 games with the Bulls. Perhaps a change of scenery and leaving that nightmare of a John Wall-less Wizards offense, was exactly what he needed. Past his lights-out shooting, Porter showed a knack for distributing that he rarely showed in Washington.

Consider that Porter had 40 assists in 15 games with the Bulls, half of the 80 assists he had with the Wizards in 41 games. He had a career-high eight assists for the Bulls in a March game against the Pistons, three more than his high in Washington last season. Porter is never going to initiate offense but playing well in pick-and-roll action and keeping the ball moving around the perimeter only adds to his value.

What went wrong: Pegged as two-way player when he arrived in Chicago, Porter didn’t do all that much on the defensive end. The Bulls were 1.1 points per 100 possessions better defensively when Porter sat than when he played. It’s a small sample size, and the Bulls defense was a mess regardless of who was or wasn’t on the floor, but it’s hard to pick out any real significant defensive plays that Porter made in his 15 games.

The Stat: 111.5

We’ll disclaim here that it was just a 17-game sample size, but that’s still more than 20 percent of the season. In the 17 games between Porter’s acquisition and when he was shut down for the remainder of the season, the Bulls’ 111.5 offensive rating was ninth best in the NBA, better than teams such as the Warriors, Hawks, Sixers and Nuggets.

What’s more, their turnover percentage (13.3%, 13th), effective field goal percentage (53.0%, 11th) and offensive rebound percentage (26.1%, 15th) were all top half of the league. It was their best stretch of the season, and it was no coincidence that it came while Porter was in the lineup and healthy. Small-ish sample size? Yes. Still promising? Yes.

2019-20 Expectations: A lot. No, the Bulls didn’t give Porter that massive contract. But it’s going to stick with him as long as the Bulls are paying him. Expectations are clear: Continue to be an elite 3-point shooter and move the ball – whether it be around the perimeter or in pick-and-roll action – once the defense shifts.

Speaking of defense, Porter will be tasked with changing the narrative in Chicago. The Bulls need to improve their defense if they’re going to have any change of competing for a playoff spot and much of that responsibility will fall on Porter. He’ll routinely be guarding the opponent’s best wing and will need to hide Zach LaVine at times. It’s a tall order, but it comes with the territory while making $27 million per year.

Report: Bulls possibly interested in adding Jrue Holiday?

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USA TODAY

Report: Bulls possibly interested in adding Jrue Holiday?

According to a story by Sporting News NBA writer Sean Deveney, the Bulls may be looking for help in the form of one of the NBA’s better two-way players.

In the post, Deveney goes over the most salient points made by brand new New Orleans Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin. This included the fact that Griffin stated that Pels head coach Alvin Gentry will be back and that Jrue Holiday is considered “a franchise building block”.

This could be a bit of gamesmanship from Griffin, hoping to drive up the asking price for an All-Star caliber player such as Holiday.

But Deveney suggests that New Orleans may indeed be serious about their efforts to keep building with Holiday on the roster. Deveney stated, “if the Pelicans don't trade Holiday, it will set up the team for an attempt at a fast turnaround rather than a long, slogging rebuild......It will also frustrate teams looking for a versatile point guard in his prime, hoping that Holiday would be on the block.”

Phoenix was mentioned as the “top contender” for Holiday’s services should he be made available, as the Suns are one of the few teams with an obvious hole at PG. Along with the Suns, Chicago and Orlando were the other teams listed as having interest in Holiday. The Magic completed a low-risk trade during the 2018-19 season that landed them 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, so they may not be inclined to give up solid assets in a deal.

As far as the Bulls are concerned, any serious inquires on Holiday are likely to come after the May 14 NBA Draft lottery.

Depending on where the Bulls lottery pick ends up, the Pelicans could be much more inclined to make a deal with the Chicago front office. The Pelicans ended the season tied with Memphis and Dallas for the 7th spot in the draft lottery odds, and their specific organizational goals could make moving up in the draft order worth losing a valuable player like Jrue Holiday. And for the Bulls, nabbing a player like Holiday helps build onto the positive team culture that Jim Boylen wants to establish and gives the Bulls a perfect guard to pair in the backcourt with Zach LaVine.