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Not the Bulls we use to know…


  • Teams: Chicago Bulls (6-7) at Detroit Pistons (6-8)
  • Date: November 27, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FS Detroit Plus

What to look for

The reign of the Chicago Bulls has seemingly come to an end in one night. Derrick Rose tore his meniscus in a contest against the Portland Trail Blazers and had surgery on the injured knee.

The tear has resulted in Rose being on the shelf for the remainder of the 2013-14 season. This may very well be the end of these rising Bulls. It’s a harsh reality for the franchise to come to grips with when we look at where they were previously.

This may seem like it was a while ago, but Rose was the starting point guard for Chicago during the 2009 playoffs. That year, the Bulls stretched out the Boston Celtics to a wild seven-game series that entertained the masses.

Rose showed enough promise and talent during that postseason and the ensuing campaign that Chicago became one of the destinations with a great chance at securing the services of LeBron James during the 2010 offseason.

The Bulls struck out and instead signed Carlos Boozer to a mammoth contract. In addition, the front office put some terrific young pieces around Rose that also fit the philosophy of head coach Tom Thibodeau.

Armed with the best defense in the league, a combination of bruising interior players and a top-10 player, Chicago took the league by storm. They won a league-high 62 games in 2010-11 and made it all the way to the Eastern Conference finals.

James’ Miami Heat eliminated them in five games but the future seemed incredibly bright. It appeared as though Chicago and Miami were destined to do this for a few more years with Rose and James playing central figures in the rivalry.

Both seemed headed on a collision course once more in the 2012 playoffs, but Rose tore his ACL in the first round against the Philadelphia 76ers and was lost for the remainder of that run.

Furthermore, the injury was severe enough that the former Memphis Tiger sat out the entire 2012-13 campaign. Mind you, Rose was going to come back better than ever in the minds of many.

He would be armed again with a core of incredibly mentally and physically tough players. That elite defense coupled with Rose’s talents had a chance to not only to contend for the title, but win it outright.

Indeed, news of the superstar’s return as well as his preseason play prompted Grantland’s Bill Simmons to pick Chicago to win the 2013-14 title. However, that goal has all but turned into dust.

The Bulls have lost their leader not one, not two, but three times at this point. In turn, whether the players on the team see the writing on the wall or not, it’s there.

Luol Deng becomes a free agent at the end of this season and Boozer has long been discussed in the media and fan boards as an amnesty candidate. In addition, the Bulls are projected to be over the cap both this season and next according to Hoopworld.

Is it worth nearing the luxury tax line (they are currently a tax team) with a roster that simply is not good enough to contend for a championship? That question will be answered in the coming months.

In the meantime, this uncertainty may very well have a ripple effect on how the current season unfolds. Make no mistake, these Bulls always play hard. They will enter tonight’s contest as a top-five defense because that’s what they have always done under Thibodeau.

But at some point, the reality is simply too hard to ignore. This team is will not compete for a championship and consequently, their mental makeup might change. That’s not to say it will, but it’s not exactly difficult to fathom.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports shared his insights on this very topic:

“Several players, including Rose, have fully lined up with coach Tom Thibodeau in his never-ending battle with the front office. Rose and Luol Deng carry resentments with management, too. Thibodeau doesn’t want to lose Deng to free agency, but management seems determined to choose the younger Jimmy Butler’s contract extension over Deng for the future.”

Oddly enough, we have already seen this situation unfold before: Brandon Roy’s Trail Blazers. A team that was on the rise essentially fell apart when their star perimeter player kept getting injured.

Tonight’s matchup at the Palace of Auburn Hills is one of the first looks we will get at this Chicago team in the midst of this tumultuous time. If there are cracks in the foundation, they will begin to show.

Their six-game road trip has been a disaster so far as evidenced by their four straight defeats. They have a matchup on the road with the Detroit Pistons tonight and then will play at the Cleveland Cavaliers on November 30.

Can they stem the tide and regain their footing? Maurice Cheeks group will play a part in that tonight.

Read about the Bulls

Bulls by the Horns.


  • Nov 27, 20137:59 pm
    by frankie d


    Gee…that tony snell guy looks pretty good.  Course…the pistons would have never had an interest in the guy…

    • Nov 27, 20138:12 pm
      by oats


      It’s one quarter against a team that struggles to defend the perimeter. It’s a little early to say that Snell should have been the 8th pick in the draft, which he would have had to be for Detroit to get him since Snell didn’t hang around until the second round.

      • Nov 27, 201311:05 pm
        by frankie d


        of course it is just one game and the value of the game, as far as evaluating snell and kcp is somewhat limited.  it is, however, another indication of what i’ve been arguing even before the draft – and been called crazy for arguing this – that there certainly was not a huge difference in talent between the two players, certainly not enough to justify taking kcp as a lottery pick while snell was drafted in the 20′s.
        i argued before the draft that it would be smart to get another draft choice and try to grab a guy like snell  somewhere later in the draft, after detroit had picked up a point guard.  my view was that point guards were much more valuable and worth gambling a lottery pick on – i liked burke, mccollum, schroeder and MCW – and figured that the 3 and d type shooter kcp was, was a a fairly common commodity in this year’s draft.  and that there were several guys you could have picked up late first round, after picking up your point guard with a lottery pick.
        after the workouts, it was obvious that snell was not going to slide to the second round, but detroit could have been more active in this year’s draft and used its assets to get that second first rounder.  and once you have that second first rounder, moving up or down one or two places to get the guy you want is not that tough.  happens all of the time.
        and in fact, exactly that scenario would have been possible, as minnesota proved when they parlayed their #9 pick into two first rounders.
        you must forgive me for rubbing it in, but i’ve taken plenty of flack from people on this site because i advocated that detroit should draft snell.  after i saw him play in his conference tourney, i thought he was the guy they should draft, if they wanted a wing shooter.  imho, he is simply a better, more versatile player than kcp will ever be.  i guess we shall see over the next few years.  but today i am going to rub it into the faces of the fools who have been accusing me of having some weird attachment to snell.
        i just think he’s a pretty good player, exactly the type of player detroit could use right now, and i hate that the pistons botched the chance to not only pick him up, but to have also picked up another good young player with a second first round choice.  and while i think kcp is going to be a good player, his limitations are becoming more painfully obvious as the season wears on.  any guard with as limited a handle as kcp is always going to have big problems moving beyond being a niche player.  a guy like rip hamilton is the exception that proves the rule.

        • Nov 28, 20133:09 am
          by Otis


          Well it’s too bad we have a GM whose idea of rebuilding is giving away draft picks (possibly in the lottery) rather than acquiring them. But he’s a genius, so don’t worry. It’s all part of the plan.

        • Nov 28, 201310:14 am
          by oats


          I still feel like your getting too excited about one so so game against a really bad defensive team. 13 points in 37 minutes isn’t exactly lighting it up. I feel like I also need to point out that his defense looked pretty bad last night. Stuckey beat him repeatedly by moving by him like he wasn’t there. Admittedly it’s tough to grade Snell when lined up against someone playing as well as Stuckey has been playing this year, but Stuckey treated him like he wasn’t even on the court.
          Snell has had a whopping 3 games where he has gotten to double digit minutes played, and in only 2 other games did he play more than a single minute. In those games he had 2 duds and one solid game. It’s hard to say that he is doing any better than Pope due to that. Especially when you consider that he has also been terrible at getting boards. So from what we know they are reasonably similar players right now. The thing is, Pope is 2 years younger than Snell and thus has quite a bit more room to grow. That simply is enough to be the difference between the 8th pick and pick 20 in this past draft.
          The general consensus was that there was a lack of top end talent in the draft but there was also a lot of depth. Simply put, everyone after what turned out to be pick 7 (McLemore) through about 31 (Crabbe) had pretty much the same grade. Actually, I’d probably extend that out to pick 35 (Rice Jr.) as the end of that group. I actually preferred Burke with that pick, but I’ll leave him out of the discussion since it seems likely that the team wasn’t actually interested in him. That would mean that Pope, Adams, McCollum, and MCW were the high upside guys left in my mind. Adams has a skill set that makes exactly no sense in Detroit, and MCW’s broken jumper made him especially risky for a Detroit team that can’t shoot. To me that made KCP and McCollum largely a coin flip, but I probably would have gone with the better defender.It’s hard to be excited about a relatively pedestrian prospect like KCP, but the logic behind the pick makes some sense.
          To be honest, I actually felt that the talent was similar enough amongst the guys that Detroit was looking at that I would have preferred the Minnesota trade down strategy. That way the team could get 2 players from that tier of guys. NBA history says that is almost always the wrong call though. Simply put, it is almost always better to just take a stab in the dark at whoever you feel is the best of that large group than to move down. I felt like the lack of separation was exceptionally pronounced and would have done it anyways, but I would have seen it as a huge gamble. I also agree that the team should have done something to move their assets to get back up into the first round, but I don’t know if that was actually possible. It’s hard to fault Dumars for not making a move that may not have been a possibility.

          • Nov 29, 20131:02 pm
            by frankie d

            i am not getting excited about anything regarding snell’s recent play.  i’m just noting that what is happening on the court confirms what i tried to argue before last year’s draft: that snell would be a better option than KCP if the pistons were going to draft a wing shooter and that reaching for KCP in the lottery made no sense when there were other, possibly better options to be had further down the draft board.
            tom thibedeau obviously agrees.  i checked and it looks iike snell is the first rookie to start for thibbs, ever.  jimmy butler never started.  asik never started.  those are pretty good players who were pretty good as rookies, but thibbs is notoriously stingy as far as giving rookies PT.  the fact that he trusts snell so much -and defense if always most important to thibbs – says volumes about snell’s defensive potential.
            did stuckey torch him a few times? sure, but stuckey can do that to just about any wing defender.  he has been one of the toughest covers in the league because of his strength, quickness and handle, which is one of the best in the league as far as non-elite PGs are concerned.  he’s not steve nash or CP3, but he has an extremely tight handle. so getting burned by stuckey is not that unusual, especially this year.  i will say that on that one drive where stuckey dunked, it appeared to me that snell was simply doing what the team defensive scheme called for.  he denied stuckey the shot and steered him to the middle where help is supposed to shut him off.  boozer was late on the rotation, which is why he got posterized.  what happened on that play is exactly what chicago does all game.  play tight man defense and funnel everything to the paint,which they clog up with bodies, hands and shot blocking. boozer screwed up and stuckey got his flush.
            it usually doesn’t take an entire season to see whether a player’s skill set will transfer to the nab.  you can usually tell right away if a guy has a skill or a talent or a set of skills that he can use in the nab.  i’m not sure what is going on with KCP’s shot – he may be getting more pressure than he has ever been accustomed to – but it is clearly a matter of concern.  his handle is bad.  he is obviously never going to be a guy who can do more than dribble a couple of times and get space for his shot.  he may become competent as a straight-line driver, but he is never going to be a guy who can help as a second ball handler in the backcourt.  KCPs saving grace is going to be his rebounding and his defense. he has the ability to be an elite defender and he’s apparently going to be a good rebounder.  i think those are really the only two areas he is going to make progress in.  
            that is not the profile of a number 8 lottery pick especially in last year’s draft.  it’s a guy who should have been taken sometime from 18 or so on down.  which is, interestingly, where he was slated to go before stat heads fell in love with him and he shot up the board.
            snell just has more tools.  he obviously has excellent defensive potential, or else he would not be starting for thibbs’ bulls.  plain and simple. thibbs does not start rookies who don’t provide something defensively.  his handle is good enough to be a part-time ball handler, and if he moves up to the 3 spot, if chicago moves deng, he’ll be extremely valuable as a SF who can act as a facilitator.  that skill is one reason tayshaun had such a long run here. (that one play where he stole the ball, brought the ball up court with behind the back dribbles and dropped a sweet dime to boozer for an easy lay in is something we will never ever see from KCP.)  he’s always been a good outside shooter – in fact, i think his college numbers were better than KCP’s, and his TS and Efg numbers are .570 and .520 respectively, while KCP’s are .424 and .386, small samples, of course, but consistent with what the eye  has seen -and he looks like he is rounding into shooting form in the nba with more PT.  he’ll probably never rebound like KCP but that is a relatively small matter considering everything else.  i just think snell is a better player and because of his versatility, he will be a better player long term.  the fact that he is a couple of inches taller with a much longer reach – 3.5 inches more! – is a huge plus also.
            i guess we really don’t disagree on the basic point, however, all of the foregoing notwithstanding.  this was a draft that begged for dumars to be active and aggressive and actually do some work on draft day.  i’ve been spoiled in portland the decade or so.  if the GM is not active, he is heavily criticized in the local media.  because the owner has been willing to spend money – i think he bought the draft choice that netted nick batum, though i may be wrong on that – and his long list of gm’s have always moved up and down the board to get extra picks and/or players they want.  that is how they picked up aldridge, who was initially a chicago pick.  i also thought there were 7 top tier talents and after that, it was all a big muddle of talent.  i just saw snell as the guy who could have come in and start to fill the whole on the wing and at SF and i hated that detroit passed on him.  the last game was the first indication that i may have been right.  

    • Nov 27, 20138:15 pm
      by oats


      Oh, and the team is far more likely to regret not taking Michael Carter-Williams. I don’t know how anyone could have thought he would be this good this soon, but right now he seems like the safe bet for the steal of the draft.

      • Nov 27, 201311:08 pm
        by frankie d


        you may be right about MCW.  to me, he is the reincarnation of michael ray richardson.  he plays so much like him it is eerie.
        i would have drafted MCW, thinking that he was either going to be very, very good, or a total bust, because of his lack of a jumper.  
        and i would have needed a huge shot of scotch before i did it, to calm my nerves as he was as big a gamble as there was in this year’s draft.

        • Nov 28, 201310:27 am
          by oats


          I’d have passed on MCW. He was an awful shooter from everywhere on the court, he turned it over a lot, his defense was tough to evaluate due to the Syracuse zone. I would have been very wrong, but I wouldn’t have the guts to take him. I don’t see how anyone could predict that his shooting would be this much better than it was in college, that apparently Syracuse prevented him from looking for his shot because he wasn’t this adept at it in college, and that his defense might actually be better when out of that zone. I would much rather have MCW and kept Knight at SG than have Jennings and Pope, and it’s not because I think Knight is any good. His turnovers are a bit high, and he seems to be settling for too many long 2s in the games I’ve seen him play, but the kid looks like a stud. Yeah, I was way off on that guy.
          It’s also not just a hind sight is 20-20 thing either, he was the guy that Ford had Detroit taking with the draft board looking the way it did on draft night. Give it a a few months for it to really sink in, and eventually there will be people complaining about that decision after every time Jennings does one of his 4-18 with 5 assists in a loss type of games. Especially if Pope continues to struggle with his shot, which seems to be increasingly likely to be the story for him this year.

          • Nov 28, 201312:12 pm
            by frankie d

            I think joe d can be forgiven for passing on MCW, tho i would have taken a chance on him if i’d been able to choose, after doing the kind of deal minnesota did.  Hard to say what the board would have looked like if detroit does that deal and minnesota is faced with a choice of shabazz and KCP.  They probably take KCP but who knows how things may have played out.  If they take shabazz the rest of the first round could have ended up very differently.
            Joe’s bigger sin, imho, is his annual failure to maximize the value of his assets in the draft.  He always just sits there and basically takes what comes his way when there have often been chances to move up or down and gain assets and value and still get the kind of talent you want.  This year’s draft was the perfect example of his bump-on-log approach.
            Getting that second first rounder could have had hfely positive benefits.  The deal was there to be made.  He passed on it in order to reach for a guy who was nothing special, a guy i think will easily be eclipsed by several players taken much later in the draft.
            As i noted, i would have had MCW 3rd or 4th on my PG list and would have chosen between him and schroeder as it probably turns out.  I was not as afraid if his horrid shooting, but i was more concerned abiut his tendency to choke at the end of games.  I may have taken him simply because he is 4-5 inches taller than schroeder.  But i have to admit i am not sure…

  • Nov 27, 20138:17 pm
    by haydzzz


    what the hell was with that singler bynum and harellson line up? bynum jacking up shots and layups and singler doing his usual nothing 

  • Nov 27, 20138:20 pm
    by gmehl


    Taj Gibson having a massive ‘Jordan Hill’ like night. I mean seriously wtf is it with the opposition big men having monster games against us.

    • Nov 27, 20138:21 pm
      by haydzzz


      coz hes going against greg 

      • Nov 27, 20138:26 pm
        by oats


        Wasn’t a lot of that against Harrelson and Smith? I thought Gibson came in right around when Greg hit the bench. Maybe I’m wrong on that though.

        • Nov 27, 20138:34 pm
          by haydzzz


          Well all i remember was Gibson triple threating Greg and he was way too slow and gave away an and 1

        • Nov 27, 20138:35 pm
          by haydzzz


          He also hit a mid ranger on him, Gregs too slow to guard athletic fours like gibson

          • Nov 27, 20138:51 pm
            by oats

            I thought I remembered him blowing by Harrelson a couple times too. He got switched onto him a few times with the Harrelson and Smith front line, and then Detroit pulled Smith for Drummond and just lined up Harrelson directly on him. He did beat Greg a few times too and there is a lot of blame to go around, but I seem to remember it not just being Greg’s lousy defense this time. No one defended him well that first half.

  • Nov 27, 20138:24 pm
    by haydzzz


    I know its his contract year but Rodney has gone to a different level this year

  • Nov 27, 20138:40 pm
    by Gordbrown


    Re Stuckey’s dunk on Boozer
    All you Stuckey haters fuck off
    A charter Stuckey Slappy

  • Nov 27, 20138:57 pm
    by haydzzz


    Greg is having a terrible game

  • Nov 27, 20139:52 pm
    by WishuWould


    Wow too different piston teams showed up.  Credit to chi town d fense but still Will has to shake off the rust.  Josh needs to step up his offense when teams try to make runs like they did.  
    I dont know why they didnt put drummond on gibson when he started to get hot.  Coach could of made better adjustments.
    Stuckey continues to be the motor of the team.  And Greg is just something so AWEFULLL on d fense!

  • Nov 27, 20139:54 pm
    by Christian


    This trade makes sense:  Aaron Afflalo and Moe Harkless for Rodney Stuckey and Greg Monroe.  It works on the money level and for both teams.  Some would say that Detroit gets the worse of the deal and would need at least a 2nd Round pick and I agree.  However, when looking at both rosters it clearly makes sense.

    • Nov 27, 201311:20 pm
      by Max


      Why not Harris and Afflalo since Harris is another shooter?  I think they might want to unload Nelson too?  While I’ve never been a fan of his as a starter, I could see him as a great backup who can legitimately run the team when Jennings is jacking too much.  He is also by reports an alpha who takes on the leadership duties.  He could yield what was needed from Billups for this team to hit its upside. 
      Monroe would be looked at as the best player in the trade and I could see such a deal including a lot of players.  

    • Nov 28, 201312:18 am
      by Otis


      I am 100% in favor of trading both those guys. I actually think it would be complete and total insanity to trade neither, and I don’t think there is any way I could be convinced that either one shouldn’t be traded. But that’s selling awfully low. To be honest, I’d do it if it was the only trade available, but we can get a lot more for those two. And we’d probably be wise to trade them separately; Stuckey to a team that wants to win now, and Moose to a team that wants to build around him.

    • Nov 28, 201310:38 am
      by oats


      I don’t think it’s a feasible trade. Have you seen Afflalo’s numbers this year? As of now he is playing as well as any SG in the league. This trade is just too much of a gamble for both teams. If it turns out that Afflalo has just made a relatively improbable leap then Orlando would be moving a star player for way too little, but if it turns out this is just a 12 game hot streak then Detroit would really need a pretty middling prospect in Harkless to really develop for it not to be a trade that favors Orlando. Not only that, but a Vucevic and Monroe front court would be one of the least athletic and worst defensive front courts in recent years. I kind of like both of them, but they aren’t nearly as good as that Love and Jefferson front court that would be their chief competition for that title. So not only are both teams taking a huge risk, Monroe only makes sense for Orlando if they are in asset acquisition and tanking mode right now. He doesn’t fit at all with the Vucevic, Harris, and Oladipo group that looks like is going to be involved in that team’s young core. Then again, I don’t really know if Vucevic and Harris really work together, but adding Monroe just confuses the issue even further. Given all that, I have to assume that someone blinks before pulling the trigger on a deal like that.

  • Nov 27, 201310:08 pm
    by Hook Shot


    This team needs to deal Monroe. We need perimeter players badly. 

    • Nov 28, 201312:20 am
      by Otis


      Amen. At this point, it seems clear to me that trading Moose and Stuckey is objectively what’s best for the team. Moose is not the answer, and Stuckey is unrestricted. If you don’t think the Pistons are winning a championship this year, I defy you to explain to me how they could possibly justify standing pat at the trade deadline. They will have no means of adding talent this summer without losing one or both of those guys for basically nothing.

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  • Nov 28, 20139:50 am
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    It is clear this team should only trade monroe.  He makes no one around him better.

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