(Chicago 97, Cleveland 95)
Shortly after his first preseason game, Derrick Rose was effusive in his commentary about the new Bulls offense instituted by rookie head coach Fred Hoiberg who, like the rest of us, was bored to tears by the offense under defensive guru Tom Thibodeau. Specifically, Rose felt stifled by the deliberate sets of Tom Thibodeau’s system so playing for Hoiberg is like someone left all the windows and doors wide open. Rose can do just about whatever he wanst on offense. It’s not Mike D’antoni’s freedom offense but it’s pretty close. It has Triangle principles of read and react but unlike the Triangle the post isn’t a priority as evidence by the few touches of Pau Gasol who, on offense, looked like a man without country (he took 7 shots). What exactly was Gasol’s purpose out there. Setting screens? Looking dazed and confused? Or, just blocking shots?
Derrick Rose took the most shots of anyone on the Bulls. He took 11 more shots than Nikola Mirotic. He took 8 more shots that Jimmy Butler. Often, numbers are deceiving. Rose wasn’t a ball stopper, but he was very deliberate about scoring when he got the ball after it swung around the perimeter. Squint and you thought that dude with the mask was the new Bulls shooting guard. Instead of controlling the pace for others and being a playmaker, Rose made plays for himself but he had 5 assists. His biggest assist was to Jimmy Butler in the corner with less than a minute left.
It was Mirotic who brought the ball up, not Rose, freeing Rose to move around screens and get to his spots on the floor and just wait for the ball to get to him. In Hoiberg’s offense the ball flows quick and crisp, particularly around the perimeter giving Rose the ultimate decision on what to do next, catch and shoot or drive.
It’s hard to judge how this system is going to play over time because new wrinkles will be added as the season progresses. But it’s clear the Bulls this year are going to be an offensive team.
The Bulls have scorers everywhere. On their second unit they have Doug McDermott who made three out of four shots. Tony Snell is filling in for injured Mike Dunleavy and he put in 11 points. But back to Derrick Rose.
The wisdom surrounding his game is that it needed to change. He couldn’t depend on the drive and floater in the lane or the change in direction. He could no longer bank on his explosion to the rim. That was his great asset and it became his physical downfall. But this sort of change, scoring at will, a Kobe-like volume shooter wasn’t the idea either. Last season he shot 37%. In this game he shot 36%.
Rose’s defense against Mo Williams was mediocre with Williams beating Rose around screens and off the dribble to get open looks. Rose was a step slow which may have been due to his inactivity during the preseason or his lack of explosiveness. Williams finished the game with 19 points and 46% shooting and an awful inbound pass with three seconds left.
With a dozen seconds left Rose took a wide open jumper that missed. It was his 22nd shot of the night. Pau Gasol bailed him out by blocking a LeBron James layup with three seconds left. Who says the Bulls aren’t a defensive team?
photo via llananba