While Joakim Noah appears to be picking up momentum for defensive player of the year, Indiana coach Frank Vogel made a pitch for his guy, center Roy Hibbert. A media panel votes for that award.
"Hands down. He's the best rim protector on the best defense in the league. I think that's who the award should go to," Vogel said before Monday's game. "If you look at all the advanced metrics -- what are those stats called, the proximity stats? -- it's not even close who the best rim protector in the game is.
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"I would be very disappointed if he doesn't get the award this year."
A check of nba.com opponent shooting stats backs up Vogel's case. In fact, Hibbert and teammate David West rank 1-2 in opponent field-goal percentage on shots within 5 feet, with both in the 49 percent range.
Taj Gibson leads the Bulls in that category at 52.7 percent allowed, while Noah is down on the list at 55.4 percent within 5 feet.
At the morning shootaround, Pacers center Roy Hibbert talked about Taj Gibson's flopping accusations. After the Bulls lost Friday at Indiana, Gibson said, "I thought there was a lot of flopping going on out there."
"I mean, I haven't taken a charge in probably four years," Hibbert said, according to csnchicago.com. "He's entitled to his opinion.
"I'm just going to go out there and play hard. I think that he just got a couple fouls so he probably was a little frustrated. But I expect him not to be in foul trouble (Monday night) and playing well."
Gibson did foul out of Friday's game in just 22 minutes, which might help explain his reaction.
"I don't think we flop," Hibbert added. "There are teams out there that we know flop. But I think (Gibson) knows in his heart that we're not floppers."
Same schedule for Rose:
Both Tom Thibodeau and general manager Gar Forman reemphasized that they do not expect Derrick Rose to play again this season.
Rose had surgery to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee Nov. 25 and was immediately declared out for the year. There has been speculation, though, that Rose could return for the playoffs.
"We're still on the same schedule that we talked about earlier in the year," Forman said on ESPN Radio. "Derrick's making good progress. There have been no setbacks at all in his rehabilitation. We're still looking at it that he won't be able to play this year. We're hoping at some point he'll be able to practice with us, and looking more toward the summer and into next year."
Asked if plans could change if Rose is cleared by doctors, Forman didn't have a concrete answer.
"We don't want to see him back until he's 100 percent and he's ready to go," Forman added. "I don't see that happening this year, and that's why we've said he's going to miss the year.
"I know there's been some talk the last few weeks about USA Basketball (in the World Championships). The timeline we're looking at, it looks like he should be ready to participate in that fully this summer.
"If he is, I think that would be a great opportunity to get his legs under him and start preparing for next season."