Too Soon to Think FA? Paul George Praises DRose, Playoff Memories, and Other Bulls Bullets
I went with my significant other to Heat-Bucks Game 2 last night.
Not only did I sport neutral colors to avoid embracing the enemy, but I also left the game sporting an overwhelming sense of relief. Would my heart have enjoyed the Chicago Bulls becoming the first 10 seed to make it out of the Play-In Tournament? Absolutely. But my head knew what was best.
As much as I want to believe this year’s first-round series would have been a lot different, I highly doubt it. The Milwaukee Bucks are simply on a whole other level, and they reminded me of that as they dropped 81 points on the Heat in the first half and ended the game by tying an NBA playoff record with 25 3-pointers.
I sat in the United Center last year as the Bulls got their teeth kicked in during a 111-81 loss. I don’t need to experience that again.
- It’s really hard to approach the topic of free agency with this current Bulls team. Part of the reason for that is the number of free agents they have on their roster, but the other part is simply not knowing which direction the organization will choose. Even with Arturas Karnisovas seemingly taking a full-blown rebuild off the table (which … is it really?), there are several different paths the Bulls could go. Will they deal DeMar DeRozan? Would they let Nikola Vucevic walk? Will they listen to Zach LaVine offers? What about free agents like Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu?? Do they want to try to create space or will they just have the MLE and BAE available?
- There are so many questions that need to be answered before we know what kind of talent the organization might actually try to pursue this summer. With that said, I guess it doesn’t hurt to still familiarize ourselves with the upcoming market, which is why I couldn’t help but click on an early free agent targets article by Bleacher Report. To say I was disappointed by the names would be an understatement.
- Guys like Tre Jones and Josh Richardson aren’t moving the needle in Chicago. However, I would have a genuine interest in adding a big man like Naz Reid. He’s just 23 years old and averaged 11.3 points with 4.9 rebounds in his third season with the Timberwolves this year. He also shot a stellar 53.7 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from downtown. Now, this excellent production has come primarily off the bench, so we’re unsure if Reid has what it takes to become a reliable starter. But I’m sure a handful of teams are ready to give him a try. Could the Bulls be one of those squads if they lose Vucevic?
- To be clear, I’d also be perfectly happy with Reid taking a role off the Bulls’ bench, but I’m not sure I see a world where that happens. Landing him is going to be hard enough when we consider he’s a restricted free agent. Not to mention, the Bulls likely shouldn’t drop the entirety of their MLE just for a backup big. There are too many other holes to fill.
- Since the Bulls aren’t in the playoffs, we might as well live in the past! Paul George recently spoke about guarding Derrick Rose in his first-ever playoff series, and he couldn’t have been more complimentary of the former MVP.
“It was crazy matching up with him and seeing him in front of me, because I’m not going to lie, that year, bro, he was untouchable,” George said on Podcast P. “He was untouchable. He looked bigger than what he was, he looked taller than what he was, he just had a stature that was bigger than what he was.
- George raved about Rose’s career and athleticism for over 5 minutes. He used the term “elegant force” to describe Rose’s game and reiterated how much respect the current Knick has around the NBA.
“What made him so special was his finishing. Similar type is Ja Morant, but I think what made DRose so special is that he had that bully in him,” George said. “He was bigger body, he was quick, he was fast, his first step was like he’s going to blow by you. And his ability to contort his body … He just had so much sh*t that he could do in the air that he was just dodging people.”
- You can listen to George gush about Rose in full here.
- FWIW: I did go back to look at Rose’s stats in that series against George. To PG13’s credit, he appeared to guard the Bulls’ guard quite well. Rose only shot 37.1 percent during that first round… but he did still average 27.6 points, 6.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 steals, and 1.6 blocks per game. He also went to the free throw line 12.0 times a night, including an absurd 21 times in Game 1 when he dropped 39 points. So, yeah, George may have put up a decent fight, but Rose still dominated and led the Bulls to a win in just five games.
- Speaking of first-round series … I was happy to see some highlights from the best one ever pop up on my feed:
- One last playoff memory. It was on this date in 1985 that Michael Jordan dropped his 63 points against the Celtics. The Bulls would go on to lose the game, but doesn’t it just say that much more about Jordan’s greatness that he was able to gain this much respect in a loss? What an absurd performance, especially when we remember he shot ZERO 3s!
- Do players around the league respect the Bulls?
- “Why not? Why can’t I be the MVP of the league? Why can’t I be the best player in the league? I don’t see why. Why?”
- You love to hear it!
- If you need a playoff team to follow …