Reading the box score
from last night, you might think Drew Gooden had a good game: 14 pts. on an efficient 7/11 shooting, nine rebounds and four assists in 32 min. And yet---aside from the ref who whistled Rose for that horrible phantom foul on Augustin's three---I'd say Gooden had more to do with the Bulls' loss last night than any other person (with the possible exception of Vinny Del Negro, who I'll get to in a minute.)
First, let's look at the 4th quarter play-by-play.
Even here, Gooden appears to have played pretty well. His line: 2/2 from the field, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 0 rebounds, and 2 fouls in 11+ minutes. His plus/minus for the quarter was +2.
Right away, you notice that he had a hand in six points, almost one-fifth of the Bulls' total in the quarter, which is decent. And while the two shots he took were pretty horrible (two long jumpers; one highly contested, one super
early in the shot clock), he did make them both, so let's give him a pat on the head for that.
But look at the rest of that statline, particularly within the context of the game, and the small negatives really, really
add up. His two fouls both came early in the quarter (in the first four min.), and both were shooting fouls, leading directly to three FTAs. (They made two, and missed an "and one.") It's true, Nocioni's terrible D on Carroll put Gooden in a tough spot on one of those fouls, but even granting the perils of being hung out to dry by Noce, Gooden's own defensive positioning on that play was still pathetic. Indirectly, you can add two more Charlotte FTs to Gooden's early fouls, b/c Deng's non-shooting foul on Augustin to stop a fast break with 3 min. left to play was the Bulls' fifth, putting the Bobcats in the bonus. (Augustin sunk them both.)
Meanwhile, Gooden's turnover at the 5:20 mark was jaw-droppingly stupid, a lazy pass to Rose in the backcourt that Augustin easily picked off. What's more, it came immediately after the Bobcats had cut the Bulls' 4 pt. lead to two. So instead of playing in control of a 1-2 possession game, the Bulls were suddenly on their heels, facing a potential tie. And in the extra Bobcats' possession directly following that bone-headed TO, Gooden's zero rebounds came into play. At 5:03, Diaw missed a jump shot, but Gooden didn't box out Okafor, who tipped it in over him. In 25 seconds, the Bulls' four-point lead was evaporated, due in no small part to Gooden.
Then there's the stuff that doesn't show up in the box score or play-by-play, or at least only shows up under "Rose: Turnover." I am talking, of course, about what seems to be one of VDN's favorite plays, the two-man game at the top of the key with Rose and Gooden. This is utterly infuriating; stupidity of Blagojevichian proportions. If I have to watch it for much more this season, I'm either going to end up electrocuting myself by taking a golf club to the television, or wandering mindlessly through the wintry streets of Chicago, garments rent and raving madly like Lear.
If Gooden actually played the pick-and-roll (instead of his much preferred pick-and-pop), that might be one thing. Perhaps Rose could then find him cutting to the hoop for an easy bucket. But Gooden being who he is (and he's a multi-year vet at this point; he is who he is), this play-call late in games is tailor-made to result in Rose being double-teamed and forced to give up the rock to Gooden for an open 20-foot jumper. If our power forward was, say, Tim Duncan, or Kevin Garnett, or Rasheed Wallace, or Amare Stoudemire, I might happily cheer such devious play-calling, cackling in delight at such crafty forcing-upon-the-defense to "pick its poison." But our power forward is Drew Fucking Gooden, and there isn't a defense in the league that wouldn't love to have him shooting 20-footers all night, particularly when the other option is Derrick Rose wreaking havoc in the lane and taking it to you like some goddamn monster.
You've gotta feel sorry for Derrick. He forced some things last night, but Vinny was repeatedly putting him in a position to fail (or, at any rate, in a position to repeatedly pass to Drew Gooden for open 20-foot jumpers, which is pretty much the same thing). Surely what added to Derrick's frustration is that he remembers what I remember: Him, last March, during the NCAA Tournament, playing against Texas, being guarded by Augustin, and absolutely ABUSING him
by going one-on-one in open space, starting at the top of the key and then using his combination of quickness, hops, and upper-body strength to muscle his way to layup after layup after layup.
It was while watching Rose simply obliterate Augustin (who many had previously been touting as Rose's equal) during that game that I first realized for certain he was going to be something else in the NBA, sui generis
. A lot of people are surprised by how well he's playing; I can honestly say that I'm not, because my eyes were opened
during that game. It would be nice if Vinny could track down a tape of it and watch it, and maybe get a sense of how to effectively use Rose. But then again, who'd want to watch Rose's athleticism and creativity in full, unfettered blossom late in the fourth quarter, when you can gaze in love and affection instead at the beauty that is Drew Gooden, jacking up 20-footers?
UPDATE: Henry appears to agree