One topic at Tuesday's Bulls practice was whether Derrick Rose should continue to get the ball in last-second shot situations.
The Bulls have had several in the past three weeks. Rose helped win games against Toronto and Cleveland, but couldn't finish off drives to the basket late in losses to Minnesota, New York, San Antonio or Oklahoma City.
I'd say the answer is no. Keep giving it to Rose every time.
The rookie point guard is an amazing talent and without a doubt represents the future of the franchise. The more on-the-job training he gets, the better off the Bulls will be.
There was a famous sequence about 12 years ago when the Lakers put the ball in the hands of a rookie named Kobe Bryant late in a playoff game against Utah. Bryant had two or three chances to win or tie and overtime game and shot airballs.
The Lakers had no chance to win the series against a powerful Jazz team from the Stockton-Malone era, so it made sense to go ahead and see what Bryant could do. The Bulls aren't even in playoff position right now, so they have little to lose by sticking with Rose in clutch situations.
They just need to keep varying the strategy to see what makes the most sense. With few exceptions, NBA teams use two plays at the end of games – Clear out for the star player or run a two-man screen-and-roll with the star player. Usually, teams pick out a defender they'd like to exploit and use a screen to try and isolate that player on the ball.
The Bulls have switched Rose onto big men and sometimes it worked. But in recent losses, Rose has simply met some quality defense at the basket.
They could try switching him onto smaller defenders, hoping to decrease the chances of a shot block. They could mix up the screen-setter.
One thing Rose hasn't done very much is drive into the lane late in a game and find someone else for an open shot. That's a tough one to solve. Is the problem play calls, a lack of movement by the other players, Rose's inability to see the court?
Rose's best stretch of setting up teammates came during overtime of the Cleveland game, when he found Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng and Deng again for 3-point baskets on three straight possessions.
Ben Gordon expressed a willingness Tuesday to take the ball in late-game situations. He excelled in that role as a rookie, then flattened out as teams focused all their attention on him.
I'd be all for Gordon taking some late shots, as long as it's Rose passing him the ball.