Bulls

Rose's 'stupid mistakes' hurt in skills competition

Rose's 'stupid mistakes' hurt in skills competition

Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011
Posted 10:10 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

LOS ANGELES If competitions at exhibitions games were the true measure of ability, then the Bulls would be a lottery-bound squad, at least based on the All-Star Saturday Night performances of Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson.

That might be an overstatement, but neither of the Bulls fared particularly well in their respective events.

Rose participated in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, an event he won in 2009. This time, his 35.7-second first-round time wasnt enough for him to advance to the events second and final round. The eventual winner of the competition was Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.

WATCH: Rose in skills competition

It was fun. I was a little rusty out there. The crowd was great. The best man won. He went out there did everything right, made the right passes. Thats why he won, said Rose afterwards. Steph, he had a great first round performance and that led to him winning.

Rose told reporters that the bounce pass competitors had to dribble around obstacles, make various passes and shots in the fastest time possible gave him the most trouble.

Thats huge out there. You really have to focus or youre going to be stuck on one spot for a long time, he explained. its usually that bounce pass. That always gets people. Hopefully if they take that out one year, Ill win again.

Rose also appeared to get confused at one point in the event, briefly going the wrong way.

Stupid mistakes like that are going to count, led to me losing, he quipped. I was making sure that I knew what was going on, where we were at on the court. I wasnt too familiar with the court. I hesitated going one way when I should have went the other way.

Rose even said his performance could earn the wrath of Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau upon his return to Chicago.

Hes definitely going to be on me, probably crack a couple of jokes and then, go back to being serious.

Feigning seriousness himself, Rose joked: It would really hurt if I got all the way to the end and lost, but since I got out in the first round, its not that bad.

As for Gibson, the performance of Team Chicago also consisting of former Bulls sharpshooter Steve Kerr and Chicago Sky markswoman Catherine Kraayveld of the WNBA couldnt be placed solely on his shoulders, as the entire group struggled to make the mix of shots from various ranges.

WATCH: Gibson, Kerr in shooting stars

Unfortunately for me, I was going over the rim. It was just bad, but it was fun. The experience was nerve-wracking. The crowd was just on your heels My heart was like 100 miles an hour, but it was all fun, said Gibson. After practice, I always tend to shoot a bunch of halfcourt shots, but for some reason, I couldnt hit one today.

I made one in Dallas, but I dont know, he continued. It just didnt want to go down for me for the last month and its just oh, man a downer.

Gibson also showed support for Kerr, despite the legendary shooters surprisingly disappointing performance.

When I looked at his form, it still looked good, Gibson critiqued. It is unfortunate they couldnt drop. The half court shot killed us.

Team Atlanta won the competition.

In the evenings other events, Miami Heat forward James Jones won the Foot Locker Three Point Contest and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers won the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.

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.

Zach LaVine vows to help Lauri Markkanen's offense get back on track

Zach LaVine vows to help Lauri Markkanen's offense get back on track

Lauri Markkanen has a wicked sense of humor. Trust us. He does.

It’s when the camera lights turn on and the tape recorders start rolling that he slips into a more guarded phase, content to trade in the currency of cliché. Combine that dynamic with his mentality, which is to put the team before himself and never to rock the boat, and you’re not going to get much from the stoic Finn on his current struggles.

That’s where Zach LaVine steps in. LaVine and Markkanen, forever bonded by the Jimmy Butler trade, shoot straight with each other. And according to LaVine, Markkanen remains in a good place mentally, if not statistically.

“He just doesn’t seem in rhythm right now man. It’s a new offense. And I think it has a part to do with it,” LaVine said. “We just gotta help him find it. We’ve all gone through some struggles. I feel like everybody has been off rhythm in the beginning part of the year. I think everybody is shooting a lower field goal percentage than their (career) average.

“His spirits are still high. I know he’s worried about it but he’s not pressing yet. And I think that’s good to see. He hasn’t done anything out of character. He hasn’t lashed out or blamed anybody. He just wants to win. And that’s the type of player he is.”

Markkanen showed the world the type of player he can be last February with dominant double-double after dominant double-double. The organization publicly placed LaVine and Markkanen on a pedestal this offseason, declaring all offseason moves were made to clear the runway for their next steps.

Through 12 games, Markkanen is averaging a career low 14.4 points on career low 37.6 percent shooting and career low 27.8 percent 3-point shooting. His 11.8 shots per game also mark a career low and are well down from last season’s 15.3 per game.

“You can’t blame it all on the offense,” LaVine said. “Sometimes you have to go out there as a player and do what you do as well. That’s at least what I think.”

But what specifically about the offense does LaVine think is limiting Markkanen?

“It’s just different. We’re not getting as many postups. Like we’ve been showing, we’re trying to shoot 3s and get to the basket more,” LaVine said. “For somebody who I think is 7 foot, we just gotta get him some easy ones. Maybe him sometimes standing on the wing waiting for it isn’t the best for him.

“I think in the beginning I was trying to find my way with (the offense). I think it’s a little bit easier for me because I have the ball in my hand and I feel I can create a little better off the dribble and find my own shot. I think we have to help him find his easy shots. I told him, ‘If we’re in transition and you find a small, post up, man. Do what you do. Get in that rhythm. Get to the free throw line.’ I’m still out there trying to help him.

“We just have to do a better job of helping him get to his rhythm and find him. It sucks because you don’t want to see your guy out there struggling, especially you know how good he is and what he can do. He had that great first game. We haven’t been able to get back to it. We gotta find him some easy baskets to help him get in a rhythm. Without him, it’s going to be tough to play.”

Indeed, when Markkanen put up 35 points and 17 rebounds in the opener at Charlotte, flashbacks to February happened. Instead, Markkanen has posted three single-digit scoring games since and has attempted 10 or fewer shots in seven of 12 games.

“I think in general, the league is more prepared for him. I think in general, he's A-1 or A-2 on the scouting report and they're bringing physicality at him every night,” coach Jim Boylen said. “I also think we've demanded that he play better defense and more consistent defense. So being a two-way player at this level is very difficult.

“If you look at some of the matchup he's had, there are some tough matchups in our division, from (Kevin) Love to Giannis (Antetokounmpo) to Blake Griffin and these are all learning things for him. Yeah, we want him to be the Lauri Markkanen he was in February. We believe he can do that. Is he frustrated with that and does he want it? Of course.

“I show him the things he needs to do better. He understands what he needs to do. He's not a dummy. And he cares about the team. When he will break through, how he will break through---I can't tell you that. All I can tell you is he's trying to control the things he can control.”

Boylen has downplayed questions about Markkanen’s shot attempts, saying he’s playing the right way and taking what the game and defense dictate. But is that always a good thing? If Markkanen is a primary scoring option, should Coby White be attempting more shots in less playing time?

“He’s a young developing player. I think he’s had some moments where he can do better. I think he understands that. I think consistency for our group – not only him – has been a problem, and our growth plate for all of us,” Boylen said. “The thing I look at is does he continue to work and communicate and take ownership? I feel no delusional tendencies from him. He’s not making excuses, and as long as I see a guy working and caring, I believe he will play better and get back to who we think he can be.”

Maybe this will all blow over. Perhaps another dominant stretch is imminent. Until then, the questions will remain.

“He hasn’t been frustrated or pressing. He’s like, ‘I gotta get it going,’” LaVine said. “We’ve all missed some easy ones. When you’re in rhythm, those easy ones are automatic. We gotta make that hoop look big to him again. I think he’ll get back on track. He’s in the gym shooting. It’s 12 games in. Luckily, it’s not a 12-game season. But obviously we want to help him get on track faster than anything else.”

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Bulls Talk Podcast: Concern over Lauri Markkanen

lauri_back_pod.jpg
USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Concern over Lauri Markkanen

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Jason Goff, Kendall Gill, and Dave Watson react to the Bulls loss in Milwaukee and where the team is after 12 games.

1:10 - On Coby White and becoming a major scoring threat off the bench

2:30 - Should Coby start?

4:00 - On Lauri Markkanen’s inconsistent play

10:10 - Do the Bulls need more 2-man game with Lauri and Zach?

14:00 - Do we need to change our expectations for this team and the players?

20:30 - Kendall on how the cavalry isn’t coming to help the Bulls

21:45 - Is Wendell Carter the ‘future’ of the Bulls and impact on team veterans?

25:30 - On the Bulls’ evolving rotations

30:15 - On Daniel Gafford’s lack of playing time

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: 

Bulls Talk Podcast

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