Bogans, Deng and Noah garner defensive respect


Apr 18

It came as no surprise that Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the year for the third consecutive season on Monday.

But what did raise a few eyebrows was that Bulls guard Keith Bogans received one of the six first-place votes that Howard didn’t capture. Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau, though, said the credit is due.

“I don’t know why anyone would be surprised,” Thibodeau said of Bogans. “To me, you study the guy’s career and this is who he’s been. This guy has done it for a long time and that’s how he’s made his mark in this league. He’s a tough competitor and a fierce defender. He’s played under some great coaches. You can count on Keith to play defense.”

Chicago’s Joakim Noah also received a first-place vote and Luol Deng finished 10th overall in the voting. Prior to Monday’s Game 2, Thibodeau stated his belief that Deng belongs on the NBA’s All-Defensive team.

“The way he’s played defense all year—not only individual defense, but team defense—and his ability to guard multiple positions, you can’t say enough about what he does for our team,” said Thibodeau of Deng.

Derrick Rose was also quick to applaud his teammates’ efforts when asked specifically about the presence of Bogans and Noah.

“They’ve been playing well and that’s why we’re a defensive team,” said Rose. “Those guys have tough coverages every night. Joakim has to guard Dwight and all the other great centers in the league. Joakim brings a lot of energy to our team.

“Keith has to guard the shooting guards and he’s been doing a good job at it,” Rose continued. “He’s tough and one of the reasons we play so aggressive, because of his attitude. He’s great for our team. I’m fortunate to be playing on this team with all these great guys.”

As for Carlos Boozer, who has been the target of criticism for his defense on Indiana’s Tyler Hansbrough in Game 1, Thibodeau defended his player, saying the Bulls on whole needed to improve.

“He’s a lightning rod,” Thibodeau said of Boozer. “The guy played 26 minutes and gets blamed for everything. Carlos is a terrific player. He started off the game very aggressively, he got into some foul trouble, and then he was limited after that. So he’s got to stay aggressive when he has fouls. But he wasn’t responsible for all our defense, I can assure you of that. Our team has to do a much better job.”

Rose: Iverson’s speed, Kidd’s vision, Billups’ touch and Jordan’s athleticism

Teammates, opponents and coaches have showered Derrick Rose with praise throughout a season which is likely to include the NBA MVP award for the third year guard.

But following his Game 1 performance in which he recorded 39 points, six assists and six rebounds, Rose’s highest complement to date may have come from Pacers coach Frank Vogel.

“I look at the 39 points and I’m shocked,” said Vogel after the game in which his Pacers led by 10 with three and a half minutes remaining. “I thought we did a very good job most of the night on him. The kid is out of this world. He’s got Allen Iverson’s speed, Jason Kidd’s vision, Chauncey Billups’ shooting touch and Michael Jordan’s athleticism. How do you guard that?”

The ever-humble Rose became uneasy when asked about Vogel’s comments.

“I don’t know why he did that,” said Rose, shaking his head. “I really didn’t like it. I didn’t do anything in this league yet to be compared to those players. I’m not there yet.”

When asked how he’d try to stop a player like himself, Rose was equally uncomfortable.

“I’m an OK player… I don’t think I’m this superhero or anything,” said Rose. “I’m just a player that loves playing and never gives up.”

Though he wasn’t exactly sympathizing with Vogel, Thibodeau acknowledged that defending the league’s great players isn’t easy and takes a multiple player effort.

“Sometimes you can play great defense and they’re going to score anyway,” Thibodeau said. “What you have to do is try to make a great scorer work for his points. Sometimes you have to tip your hat, but if you’re making him work, it’s very difficult to guard guys one on one in this league. It’s not only your individual defense, it’s your team defense and how it’s tied together. Great players in this league have the ability to make tough shots even when they’re guarded well.”

Audio—Bulls guard Derrick Rose’s pregame comments (04.18.2011):

Audio—Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau’s pregame comments (04.18.2011):

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