Tag:Ben Gordon
Posted on: October 6, 2010 10:46 am
Edited on: October 6, 2010 11:17 am

I Know It's Just One Preseason Game But...

...I do have a few opinions and I shall lay them out as likes and dislikes. So here we go.

Like. Kyle Korver Looked really good and a great fit for the Bulls with all the screens we run. I knew he was a great shooter but I did not know he was so good of a shooter off a pick. He has a very quick release. I think the Bulls need to strongly consider starting him at the 2 guard as much as possible. His defense looked above average as well. I really like tis kid and it finally looks like we have a solid scorer to replace Ben Gordon.

Dislike. James Johnson still looks lost. He looks like he is in great shape, but He makes bad choices with the ball in is hand. He seems to think he is a point guard, but he lacks the skills to be a playmaker. His drives to the rim remind me of Andres Nocioni in his rookie season. Out of control!

Like. Keith Bogans looked pretty good as well. He did not produce a great statline but he was playing smart ball and looks like a savvy vet. Once Ronnie Brewer is back I am sure Bogans may not see many minutes, but at least the Bulls have good depth in a position that was in bad shape last season. I am sorry Flip Murry but we have 3 2 guards much better then you.

Dislike. Omer Asik needs to spend some time in a tanning bed. It was hard to look at the screen when he was on the floor, not just because he looked completly lost, but because he is so white he looks like a 150 watt lightbulb. Besides giving up the ball every time he got it in the post, his defense was way bad as players just drove past him. He is a project for sure. The one thing I did like was is slam dunk, because he never lowered the ball, he just went up and dunked it. Too many bigman lower the ball and get it stripped or allow defenses to adjust and he just went right back at the rim. I was taken off guard by that to be honest.

Like. Brian Scalabrine looked pretty good. I really thought this guy was a joke and he may still prove me wrong but he looks as if he could be useful in small stretches like perhaps 8 minutes a game. He has range and he plays hard and his defense looks perfect for the Bulls new system. On the flip side he is very slow, cannot finish around the rim, and to be honest just looks silly with his little red afro. 

Dislike. Taj Gibson looks like he lost weight over the summer. I was hoping he added at least 10 pounds but he looks skinny and he tweeked his back. His conditioning looked off and if he does not spend more time with the strength coach he may see another season on the bench in street clothes or playing hurt.

Like. I love what I saw from Luol Deng. The guy was driving and slashing and moving great without the ball. He looks like the Deng of old and had his way whenever he wanted it. He really did a nice job of using his length to shut off passing lanes and his defense in general was good. His jumper also was solid and he added a little range to his jumper as he looks in control while shooting threes.

Dislike. I thought that C.J. Watson would be a bit more agressive with the ball in his hands and he seems to be giving it up to Korver all night long. It is always wise to get the ball in the hands of the hot shooter, but sometimes he forced the pass when he could have just rotated the ball or drove himself. He had little Earl guarding him so he should have backed him down or shot over him. I expected a little bit mor from him.

Overall. It was a good game. I like the Bulls depth but they do have some bugs to work out. I think the preseason will give the Bulls the time they need to do just that. Derrick Rose looked great. He was in control whenever he had the ball and made smart plays. He should have a superstar season. My concern is with post scoring without Boozer. Noah looks better in that department but not great. He needs to use his size and strength and just slam over some of these guys instead of tossing up a flip shot. Gibson has the fundamentals to be a solid post scorer but like a stated above the guy needs to add weight, like 20-25 pounds worth. Other then that I think the Bulls have a nice balanced team that just needs time to gel and should be able to win 50+ games this season.

A note on the Bucks. I understand it was just 1 preseason game but the Bucks are scary. Jenings did not look great but the rest of the team that played played hard dispite 25+ turnovers. They were without Slamons, Bogut, Maggette, and Redd. When those four are back and somewhat healthy this team is going to be very very good. I will go so far as to say that they could easly win the Central and snag a playoff seeding as high as the 2nd. No I am not sniffing glue. This ina veteran team with a very good head coach. They just need to get healthy. I predict them to be 2nd in the central behind the Bulls and land the 5th seed, but I would not be shocked if they moved up from there ahead of the Magic, Celtics, and Bulls 
Posted on: July 16, 2010 9:31 pm

The Chicago Jazz.

          Well most people understand that the city of Chicago is world renowned for it's love of Jazz music and the city is still a jazz hot spot in America, but this is not the jazz I am referring to. I am pointing to the fact that the Bulls three free agent signings this offseason have all come from the Utah Jazz. The more I think about it the more I like the idea of a team name swap between the Bulls and Jazz. I mean there has to be far more cows in Utah then in the city of Chicago right? I digress. The real point of this thread is to look at the moves the Bulls have made and determine their place in the east.

Carlos Boozer. It seems pretty clear to most fans and experts alike that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh planned on playing with eachother from the get go. The only real question was were it was going to happen and in the end that place was the Miami Heat. That being the case the Bulls' management has made all the right moves with what was left. I am on record for liking David Lee for the Bulls over Carlos Boozer mainly because I felt that Lee would come cheaper. I was wrong. Boozer ended up being the cheaper option and in many ways the better fit. The Bulls have been lacking a back to the basket scorer since Elton Brand was traded away ten years ago. To be a contender a team must have an inside out game. Just about every championship team in history had a playmaker/outside scorer coupled with a scoring bigman. You will be hard pressed to find a historic team that lacked one of those two. The Chicago Bulls of the 90's are clearly the only dynasty to lack a star bigman. Boozer gives the Bulls one of the best offensive bigman in the game today and when I say offensive I do not just mean scoring. Boozer is one of the best passing bigman in the game and he is also one of the best at running the pick and roll and the pick and pop. He also knows were to be to grab offensive rebounds and he is also good for setting a solid pick. His defense is average but is better then Amar'e Stoudemire's or Chris Bosh's. He is a hustler and a perfect fit to play alongside Joakim Noah.
          The real deal with Boozer however is his back to the basket game and his ability to draw the double team. The Bulls have never really had a post player on the level of Boozer that can draw the double team. Now imagine the decisions defenders will have to make. Rose demanded the double team on the perimeter just about everytime he touched the ball last season. Infact, in the playoffs the Cavaliers ended up putting LeBron on Rose but he still averaged 27 points per game. Now teams will have to worry about throwing the double on Rose because Boozer is so good at finishing around the basket they will risk getting scored on in the paint with a simple bounce pass from Rose. Last season the Bulls did not have this. Defenders could rotate off their man to slow down Rose. What happens if Rose drives? Nothing good for other teams for sure. Again boozer gives Rose that inside scorer to pass to when team colapse on him. Lastly, with regards to the Rose/Boozer paring, the PnR and PnP game between Rose and Boozer will be one of the best in the league. Rose shoots a high level jumper from inside 18 and word is he has worked on his three point shooting all summer and is said to have gotton it nailed down. Boozer is also a very good jump shooter as well. This will be the bread and butter for the Bulls this season and should be a nightmare for opposing teams.
          The pairing of Joakim Noah and Boozer is also one of the better combos in the paint in the NBA. In some ways they are like oil and water in regards to the style of play but together they are a perfect match. The Bulls led the league last season in rebounding and now have added Boozer so it is likely they will reclaim mark this season as well. Noah is the ultimate team hustle player and while his jump shot and scoring in general is below average he excels at everything else. He is a top rebounder and shot blocker and is one of the nastiest post defenders in the game. Boozer may be a good rebounder but he is not a shot blocker of a great defender. Noah will be right there to put back Boozer's missed shots or take the pass from Boozer if he gets the double team. Both Noah and Boozer have high basketball IQs and both can handle the ball and make the pass. In my eyes they are a great match.
         Boozer's effect will be felt beyond just Rose and Noah. Luol Deng and the other shooters will benefit from Boozer drawing defenders into the paint and they will surly be on the receiving end of many passes from Boozer for open looks.
           Kyle Korver
. I understand that this is not a sexy signing. Nothing really looks that sexy after the moves that the Heat made but it filled another big need for the Bulls. Last season the Bulls lacked a player that could hit from beyond the arc. With Ben Gordon gone so was the threat from downtown. Teams were able to colapse on Rose when he drove the lane and they were able to play loose defense in general on the perimeter. Korver will come off the bench but should still see big mintutes. About 25 minutes a game. He will play behind Deng and Brewer and will give the Bulls instant offense off the bench. Korver is a bit one dimensional and is known mainly for his great shooting ability but he is a solid passer and can grad a few rebounds. His defense is a bit below average but is not bad. He was not signed to defend he was signed to hit big shots in close games and he will do just that.

          Ronnie Brewer
. Well the Bulls did not get their first choice which was the Magic's J.J. Reddick, but in many ways Brewer might be the better longterm choice and he came quite a bit cheaper at nearly 8 million less over three years. The Bulls really wanted to add a shooting guard that could shoot from beyond the arc and Brewer is clearly not the player, but he is still a great fit. Two years ago many thought Brewer was going to become a star in this league. Maybe not a superstar but many felt he could average near 20 points a game. However he got injured last season but is back in shape and he offers the Bulls an athletic and big shooting guard that can both drive and finish and control the ball. He is able to run the offense as well as play off the ball and he could be an intersting fit with Rose if Rose's three point shooting is as good as people are saying it is now. Brewer can at times run the offense and in turn make Rose the off guard. Brewer's drive to the hoop will draw defenders and he can simple kick it to Rose who could either shoot the jumper of take teams off guard by driving himself. The bottomline is that Brewer may indeed offer the Bulls more options on offense then Reddick would have and Brewer is a better defender then Reddick to boot. It has been quite some time since the Bulls had a shooting guard that could dunk the ball with little effort. Gordon rarely did and I am not sure if I ever saw Kirk Hinrich do it so that should be fun to watch for a change.

          More signings to come. The Bulls are not done making moves. They are talking with Brad Miller right now about him resigning and they are saif to be looking at both Matt Barnes and a backup Point Guard. The Bulls will certainly add two more solid roleplayers to this team making them one of the deepest teams in the league. I unterstand that depth can often be over-rated and that teams need superstars to be elite, but Boozer is clearly a star and Rose is on pace to have a breakout season and become a superstar. Last season he ranked 14th overall in points per game and I only see his scoring and assist numbers going up this year with a complete team around him. The Bulls also signed Turkish center Omer Asik. If the Bulls resign Brad Miller I am sure we will see very little of him on the floor, but I have watched a bit of tape on this guy and he looks like he could be useful for a few solid minutes each game. He has length and is a good shot blocker and has some solid post moves but he is really just a project and I do not have high hopes that he will ever be a true contributor to this team.

          So were do these moves put the Bulls in the east
? Not really an easy question. Most have the Heat going to the Finals as they seem to be adding solid roleplayers around the big three. I would not count out the Celtics or the Magic either. I think the Bulls fall in place with those 2. I think they could compete with any of them in the playoffs but the Heat seem to be the team to beat. The Celtics are aging and may fall down a few notches this season but I thought the same thing last summer so I will hold my tongue on that one. The Magic have not made any real moves so I am not so sure they will make it out of the east. The bottomline is that the Bulls have a shot and are a true contender for the first time since MJ left town.

Here is how I see the playoff seedings looking like next season in the east.

1. Heat (62 wins)
2. Magic (56 wins)
3. Bulls (51 wins)
4. Celtics (49 wins)
5. Bucks (48 wins)
6. Hawks (46 wins)
7. Bobcats (43 wins)
8. Knicks (41 wins)
Posted on: June 3, 2010 5:22 pm

If I Were GM of the Bulls I Would...

         Okay, here we go. The offseason is almost here and if you are not the Celtics or the Lakers then you have been busy at work trying to figure out your moves for the offseason. Every fan of the game likes to play GM for their favorite team and I have a nice long history of doing just that on these boards for the Chicago Bulls. Of all the teams going into this summer some could say that the Bulls have the most on their plate. They have to hire a new Head Coach for their playoff caliber team. They have to spend 24+ million in cap money on free agents. They have the 17th pick in the draft to consider. The Bulls have a ton of options and this makes this offseason a wet dream for a fan playing the part of a GM. So what moves would I make? Let us take a look.
          You will quickly find that my idea of a great offseason is not that sexy in most eyes. I have a certain love for smaller moves that adds chemistry and depth. I favor a strong 7 man rotation over 1 or 2 superstars and a bunch of crap. It is a balancing act. You want to have a couple of go to guys. You want energy players and strong defenders. You want that guy that can light it up for 40 points. I think the Bulls are a solid team as it stands. They were in the 5th seed this season before the Noah injury and were playing their best basketball of the season right then. I truly believe the Bulls had a real shot at 48-50 wins this season had they not got hit with injuries to Hinrich, Noah, Gibson, and Deng down the stretch. But injuries are part of the game and they can dash any teams dreams.
          Building a contender can be done in two ways. The easy way is to get lucky and sign a megastar like LeBron James or the hard way by making multiple smaller moves that builds a more balanced team with depth and rotation options. However, before we attack which players to target we need to sign a Head Coach.
          In a perfect world the Bulls would lure Phil Jackson back to Chicago but that is not happening. Byron Scott and Avery Johnson seem like good choices on the surface but both have had issues with the players they coach and in my eyes are not the best options. Besides Scott is looking to take over the Lakers and Avery might sign with the Nets. Jeff Van Gundy would be a great fit, but I do not think he is leaving the broadcast booth anytime soon. The Bulls said they are looking for a Head Coach with Head Coaching experience and that leaves them with a short list of below .500 head coaches that I think we should stay away from. Maurice Cheeks is from Chicago but I am not sold on him being a longterm solution for any team. This leaves one option in my mind. Tom Thibodeau.
          Thibodeau is the defensive mastermind behind the Boston Celtics and is said to be very interested in the Chicago job. If Paxson has an ounce of brains in his skull he would go out and lock him up now. Thibodeau is not just a great basketball mind but his players love him and respect him. he would demend the respect of the Bulls players not just because he has a Championship ring but because he is one of those rare minds in basketball that can outcoach another teams coach. he is younger and has a long future ahead of him. The Bulls also have the players on their roster right now that would feed into his system. Kirk Hinrich, a favorite of once Bulls head Coach Scott Skiles, quickly comes to mind, as does Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and Taj Gibson. He might also be just the coach that pushes Derrick Rose's defensive game from average to good. Speaking of Scott Skiles, I think that is good comparison to Tom Thibodeau except Thibodeau might be even a better defensive coach and still have the ability to relate to players. Scott Skiles gets the nod for his play calling which I still feel he is stellar at. So there we have it, a new Head Coach. Was that too hard?
          Now we move to building a roster. Sure I could simply say the Bulls should just sign LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, or Chris Bosh and call it a day, but to be honest the odds are against Chicago landing any of those three. There is still a chance LeBron stays in Cleveland with the Cavaliers. There also is an equal chance that he signs with the Knicks and still yet an outside chance he goes to the Nets, Clippers, or Heat. I say the Bulls have a 20% chance to land him and I am not liking those odds. Wade will likely resign in Miami. Bosh will either sign with Wade in Miami or follow leBron to the Knicks. This is just how a see the summer going. If Lebron goes to New York with Bosh then I see Amar'e moving to Miami with Wade. BAM! The four biggest free agents are off the table. that leaves Joe Johnson, Carlos Boozer, and Dirk Nowitzki. I think the Bulls will then have to fight for one of those three and perhaps even offer a max contract which none diserve except for Dirk and I think he will head to the Suns if Amar'e is gone. Johnson is a nice player and would work well with Derrick Rose but why pay him a max contract. Let another team make that mistake like the Clippers or Nets. The same goes for the often injured Carlos Boozer. Let him sign elsewhere. You must now be in shock. Who is ChiTownCliff angling for. A cheaper option, David Lee. If I were John Paxson I would of course try for LeBron, Bosh, and Wade but if that does not pan out quickly then I would target David Lee with a 5 year contract for 13-14 million per.
          David Lee give the Bulls a cheaper version of Chris Bosh. Not bad if you ask me. Lee is a gritty player that cannot only grab rebounds, but can nail the open jumper and this gives the Bulls the perfect scoring bigman. He may not have a great back to the basket game but I think his scoring abilities fit perectly with the Bulls. The Bulls would surely lead the league in rebounds again but the real deal with signing Lee is pairing him with Rose. I think this is a great 1-2 punch. Imagine the PnP and PnR game these two could put on. Also, Lee's ability to hit long jumpers would draw defenders out of the paint and allow Derrick Rose to drive to the bucket and create. This signing also gives the Bulls room to sign yet another player that can have an impact. Enter Ray Allen.
          Say what you want I think this could happen. With Tom Thibodeau as the Head Coach Allen would at least consider it and there is a chance that the Celtics will let Ray go anyways even if they win another Championship. I understand that Ray is getting older, but he is one of those few athletes in the NBA that keeps himself in great shape. I bet he has 3+ good effective years left in him. He is a savvy veteran that fills one of the Bulls biggest needs, a deadly three point shooter. The Bulls lost Ben Gordon last season and his shooting was missed dearly. I think the Bulls could offer a 3 year deal at 8 million per and snag Allen as their new starting shooting guard. Now when Rose drives he will have a player out there that he can kick the ball to for 3. This makes the Bulls offense more complex and difficult to defend against.
          This leaves the Bulls with about 2 million in cap and I say they either resign Brad Miller to a one or two year deal or look for a backup point guard like perhaps Rafer Alston. I would rather resign Miller as he has stated he is very happy in Chicago and has made good friends with players on the team like Joakim Noah.
          When it come to the idea of making a trade I just do not see it happening unless it happens in a sign and trade for a superstar like Bosh or LeBron. I just do not see the Bulls being able t move Hinrich and his contract or Luol Deng and his massive contract. i think both remain Bulls for at least another season. The Bulls have no other players to trade aftre those two. they are not moving Rose and Noah and Gibson are cheap and quite good so you know they are staying.
          In the draft the Bulls will have only one position to fill. Either a backup center or a backup point guard depending on if they resign Miller or sign a veteran point guard. If they resign Miller then I think they should draft Eric Bledsoe. He is explosive and a solid shooter and could step right in and play a solid 10+ minutes behind Rose. If they sign a PG then they should draft Daniel Orton or Hassan Whiteside. I think Orton is the better fit of the two. The Bulls could also go the route of picking up another wing player to back up Deng. I understand the Bulls have James Johnson but they could use another option as Johnson can also play the PF role so perhaps a rookie that can play a little shooting guard and a little small forward would be wise. Xavier Henry would be perfect if he drops but James Anderson would be okay as well. I expect little from this draft pick but you never know. 
          By making these moves the Bulls have a strong starting five with a mix of defense, explosive scoring, veteran leadership, and chemistry. They also have a solid bench and depth at each and every position. The long NBA season is bound to bring injuries. I love the idea of Lee and Noah in the paint together with Deng slashing and Ray hitting jumpers off screens and Derrick doing his thing. Rose would have the firepower around him to get his assist numbers up around the 8pg mark. Ray Allen could rest and play only 30 minute per night or less with Kirk sitting on the bench.

PG. Derrick Rose/Eric Bledsoe
SG. Ray Allen/Kirk Hinrich
SF. Luol Deng/James Johnson
PF. David Lee/Taj Gibson
C. Joakim Noah/Brad Miller

          Maybe not the sexiest looking group of players or roster that you could imagine the Bulls having, but I think it would be very very effective on both ends and would contend for a top 3 spot in the east. Longterm the Bulls would have to move Kirk or Deng to make room to resign Rose or move both to sign future additions, but moving into next season this would be an ideal team. That is saying if we cannot sign LBJ, Wade, or Bosh. To be honest I might rather have Lee over Bosh.
          So what are your thoughts? What would you do as the GM for the Bulls this offseason or for your team for that matter? Thanks for taking the time to read this and i hope you enjoyed it.
Posted on: December 26, 2009 11:25 am

Breaking Down the Bulls: Solution #2

     First of all I would like to say that I wanted to add pretty pictures to these threads but for some reason this site will no longer allow me to do so. With that being said I will now actually have to write something interesting as I will not be able to fool you with flashy images. Well, on to the subject of this thread. A week or so ago a laid out a plan for the Bulls involving a trade for Chris Bosh and the signing of Joe Johnson. Most Bulls fans loved the idea, but thanks to S&H and his realistic mindset I have been haunted with pessimism. This is a good thing. I was forced to try and find a more realistic plan for the Bulls. So let us take a look.

     Why Boozer?
OK, for the big trade I think we could shift our focus away from Chris Bosh and towards Carlos Boozer. Boozer is a perfect sized power forward in the mold of Karl Malone. He has has a high level of back to the basket skill. Infact, he is much more of an interior scorer then Bosh. In many ways Boozer is a better fit for the Bulls. He is a brute and not afraid to get dirty in the paint. A combo of Joakim Noah and Boozer would leave other teams at a 10+ rebound deficit everynight. Second chance points would be crazy. They one glaring downside to Boozer is his injury history. He has missed a ton of games. That would be a risk but a solid gamble if you ask me.
     Now what would be a good trade for Boozer? Well the Jazz have a point guard in Deron Williams, but the rest of the team is just OK outside of Boozer. Boozer will leave Utah this summer so the Bulls still have a bit of leverage in that the Jazz will loose Boozer for nothing. If the Jazz want cap space they may not bother to make a trade however. I think Jerry Sloan has a man crush on Kirk Hinrich and Kirk's contract is an asset because it gets smaller every season. I wonder if the Jazz would move Boozer for Hinrich and rookie Taj Gibson, who has shown he is really smart and can start even on some teams. Hinrich would give the Jazz a solid 6th man or he could even start alongside Williams. That would be a scary guard combo. Now we would have to give up a pick in this senario or maybe we could swap Gibson with Tyrus Thomas and make a straight up swap of Kirk and Thomas for Boozer. We could throw in a 2nd rounder as well. Another option is to package Deng for Boozer but the Jazz already have Kirilenko and that would tie up about 27 million dollors in small forwards between Deng and Kirilenko.
     The bottomline is Boozer might be had for less then Bosh and in the long run he may be a better option if he can stay healthy. We could also wait until the summer and just try to sign Boozer straight up. If we can make the trades I layout below then Boozer may want to come play in the Windy City. Now we need a shooter to pair with Derrick Rose and Boozer.

The Bluelight Special. Yes, I am talking about Kevin Martin. He is just the type of scorer we need to replace Ben Gordon. Word is that the Kings are willing to move K-mart because of how well rookie Tyreke Evens is playing. Now we can go two routes for this trade. If the Kings want cap space then we offer up Brad Miller and our first round pick or if they want talent we could try and sell them on Luol Deng. Another option would be a combo of both like Jerome James and John Salmons and our pick. I could go on and on with trade senarios with the Kings because they make a very good trade partner for us. Another option I would jump at is Deng and Jerome James expiring contract for Martin and Nocioni. Nocioni is overpaid thanks to us and the Kings may want to clear up some cap and still get a solid starter in return.

Other Shooters on the Radar. If a move for K-mart fails we could move Deng and his large contract to the Suns for Jason Richardson. We would have to throw in Aaron Gray to make the money work, but Steve Kerr really likes Deng and he would be a nice fit for that team. The advantage on our end is we get a shooter with a shorter contract. Michael Redd is also and option but he is also a health risk. I also wonder if we could make a deal with the Pistons for Rip. With Ben Gordon on the team the Pistons may be willing to part ways with Rip. The issue with Rip is he is overpaid so Deng would have to be part of this trade and to be honest i would rather have Deng longterm then Rip. So scratch that idea. I will leave this open to you guys. Can you think of some solid Starting quality shooters that we could get that would fit in well with Rose, Noah, and Boozer?

The Main Idea Here... The idea of landing Bosh and Wade, or Joe Johnson, or even LeBron James might be out of the question. Boozer is a solid starting point for the Bulls in a realistic attempt he mend things on this team. Add a shooting guard that can score from the outside like Kevin Martin and you have a solid team. It is not a team as sexy as Bosh/Wade, but could very well be just as effective. With the right chemistry of players the Bulls can contend without having a household name type of player on the roster. We have some nice pieces that can be traded, now all we need to do is make the right series of moves and in the right order to attract veteran help in the offseason. If we can land Boozer/Martin this season or this summer then a player like Camby may want on board or another veteran or two. 

I hope you enjoyed the read and please reply with your ideas or thoughts. 
Posted on: August 20, 2009 10:43 pm

Bulls - Best/Worst-case - Derrick Rose

     Well I have written a blog on each of the Bulls major contributing players over the last few weeks and I will finish with Derrick Rose. It only seems fitting to end on a high note. While Rose had a wonderful rookie season there looks to be a lot of room to grow. He has size for a point guard and mad speed. He can break down defenders and make the pass. To be honest he is the total package. His only black eye at this point is the controversy in regards to memphis and coach John Calipari. This could cause a distraction for a young player and we will have to pay attention Rose to see if he can or can not move past this. So will Rose become a top 5 point guard this season or will he struggle to focus with the Memphis blues? Let us take a look.

To me this would start with Rose being honest and up front with the fans about his behavior at and prior to playing at Memphis. He could then put all of that in the past and focus on basketball. In regards to basketball Rose is a future Allstar for sure and if the Bulls make any kind on noise before the Allstar break this season and Rose is playing great then I could see him making the team. The Bulls have not had an Allstar since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. That is sad. Derrick Rose reminds me a lot of a cross between Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul. He has speed and vision like paul and the driving and finshing ability of Wade. Sure Paul is a better playmaker and Wade a better finisher, but Rose is a nice hybrid. He can run the floor faster then 99% of the league and can finish with a dunk. He has strength and size to take contact but still make the shot setting up the and one. His weaknesses are his defense and shooting, but I could see both of these only getting much better. He will never be a defender like Hinrich, but with his size and strength alone he should be able to be an above average defender. His shot looked pretty good last season to tell you the truth. The media had me believing he could not shoot past 15 feet to save his life. Those stories were fiction. His jumper will get better and when you couple that with his court vision and driving ability you have a winning combo. Rose will see a ton of minutes and for this reason I could see him averaging 22 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and making the Allstar team.

Worst-case. Rose is still young and last season he had a great offensive player to pass to in Ben Gordon. Gordon was the centerpiece of the Bulls offense most of the time. Well this season Derrick will take over that spot. Sure the Bulls will have John Salmons and a healthy Luol Deng, but I have to think Rose will be the go to guy. Part of me wonders if that is too much to ask. With all the Memphis controversy stuff going on as well will this take a toll on the young Derrick Rose? Maybe. Maybe he might burn out a bit under all the pressure. Last season he was as consistant as any player in the NBA. Will that change? I do not think it is possible for him to lose his starting role, but he could see his minutes drop if he lacks focus and starts fouling to much or throwing the ball away to often. If this is the case we could see him average 16 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and not make the Allstar team.

My Prediction. Derrick Rose is a fierce competitor and is very strong mentally so therefore I do not see him getting distracted very easily. Infact I think he will flat out just ignore the whole Memphis deal and focus on Bulls basketball. What I am saying is I am leaning towards the best-case senario for Rose. Do I think he will make the Allstar team? Maybe. Something tells me that Allen Iverson is not going to be starting on any Allstar team this season. This leaves us with a few very good point guards in the east. There is Devin Harris, Rajon Rondo, and Jameer Nelson to deal with. If the Bulls are playing well I could see Rose making the team. Chicago is a big market and Rose could get a lot of fan votes, but he would be competing with two other large sports markets in Boston and New Jersey. In any event Rose should have a steller season even if the Bulls do take a step back. My prediction is for him to average 21 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds while shooting .470 from the floor.

Well I hope you enjoyed reading all my Best/Worst-case Blogs but do not worry there is still one more for me to write. Next up will be my final look at the Bulls going into next season. It will be my Best/Worst-case Bulls season Blog. I will repost my revised predictions for each player and then look at what might happen for the Bulls as a team this season. I will give some statistical predictions for the team and tell you how many wins I think they will reach. I look forward to your replies so let me know what you think. Thanks.
Posted on: July 27, 2009 8:21 pm

Bulls - Best/Worst-case - Kirk Hinrich

    I would like to breakdown the Bulls as a whole going into next season, but I thought I would start with writing a blog on each of the Bulls major contributing players first. I already have wrote on Joakim Noah and Luol Deng. Now it is time to tackle Kirk Hinrich. A few years ago Kirk was considered in many fans eyes as being the Bulls most complete player and the teams clear leader, but sadly Kirk has not been himself for awhile. The Bulls also now have Derrick Rose who is the Bull franchise player and he plays in Kirk's position. To add to matters, whenever a trade is rumored you almost always hear that Hinrich is involved somehow. So were does this leave Captain Kirk? Let us take a look.

Ok, Kirk is not going to be the Bulls starting point guard this season and everyone knows that. Kirk can however play both the guard positions so there is a slight chance that he could start at the shooting guard spot now that Ben Gordon is gone. It is more likely however that John Salmons will start at the 2 spot. The Bulls will need scoring with BG gone and Salmons is a better scorer then Kirk, and while Salmons may not be as good of a defender as Hinrich he is bigger and can hold his own. So I see the best-case senario for Kirk being the 6th man spot. Something that I think he could be very good at. He would see starter minutes playing behind Salmons and Rose and would be a spark off the bench. Not only can he score and defend but he can run the offense. That is very valuable in this league. With about 32+ minutes a game I could see Kirk averaging 15 poits and 5 assists and be in the running for 6th man of the year.

Worst-case. Even without an injury Kirk could still have a rough season. Not starting could prod at his ego a bit and with inconsistent playing time his scoring could suffer. Hinrich can be a steaky shooter scoring 5 points one night and 25 another and if he can not stay focused he could get into a lot of foul trouble and play himself out of games. If this happens then I see Kirk playing only 20 minutes a game with Pargo snagging some of his minutes. Kirk would then average 10 points and 4 assists per game.

My Prediction. Kirk Hinrich is a team captain and a solid veteran and for this reason I lean a bit more towards the best-case senario. Kirk plays with heart and it a gritty player and will be a defensive stopper off the bench. With no Ben Gordon slowing down the offense I see Kirk stepping up and being a very good 6th man. I am now seeing clearly how much crisper the Bulls rotation looks without Ben Gordon. Sure BG won us some games last season with his crazy scoring but Kirk is a more complete player and I think he will shine without BG on the team. The Bulls can go small with Rose, Hinrich, Salmons, and Deng if they want in some games and this too could be a great advantage for the Bulls. Keeping Kirk makes so much sense for so many reasons. I predict that Kirk will come off the bench as a very good 6th man and play 30+ minutes a game and will Average 13.5 points and 5 assists.

Hope you enjoyed the read and let me know what your thoughts are. Next Up. John Salmons
Posted on: July 23, 2009 5:14 pm

Bulls - Best/Worst-case - Luol Deng

     I would like to breakdown the Bulls as a whole going into next season, but I thought I would start with writing a blog on each of the Bulls major contributing players first. I already tackled Joakim Noah earlier this week and now it is time to breakdown Luol Deng. Deng is a hard player to predict. Many thought that he was going to have a breakout season two years ago after he was the key factor to the Bulls sweeping Shaq, Wade and the defending champion Miami Heat. He looked like a true Allstar. But things have been up and down the last two seasons due to injuries and Deng has yet to prove worthy of his big contract he signed last summer. So will Deng be back to his 18 and 8 ways or will he continue to battle injuries? Let us take a look.

If Deng can stay healthy and play healthy then he could become a key factor for the Bulls. He is not a 1st option type of player and I do not see him every being that kind of talent even in a best-case scenario. Two years ago Deng had a great season averaging 18 points and  7+ rebounds per game while shooting over .500 from the floor. He became a deadly shooter and a very good slasher, but injuries struck and he has been up and down since. I think he will see plenty of minutes if healthy as the Bulls starting small forward and John Salmons will move over to the shooting guard spot. If Deng can remain healthy one could argue that he could still become an allstar level player with a star point guard in Derrick Rose running the team. Deng could see a lot of open shots with Rose driving the lane. Also, with no Ben Gordon on the team you have to think Deng will touch the ball a lot. If things work out just right for Luol I could see about 20 points a game with 7 rebounds and a return to his sharp shooting ways with a FG% of .500+.

Worst-case. A battle with injuries seems fair with Deng. I stayed away from the thought of injuries while writing about Noah because he has shown no real history of being injury prone, but Deng has. Deng getting hurt would shock not one Bulls fan. That is what I am saying, so it becomes clear that another injury plagued season could easily happen. In this case Deng might only play in 40 games and only start in half of those. This being the case, Deng would only average about 12 points, 5 rebounds, while shooting around .440 from the floor.

My Prediction. With Rose running the teams offense and Ben Gordon being done I see Deng being a big part of the Bulls season. I think he will get hurt at some point and miss about 10 games total. He will lay a few eggs thoughout the season as well, but he will also have a few superstar-like games as well. During a healthy stretch last season Deng averaged 20 and 8 and was shooting well over .500 from the floor. He was also very consistant in that stretch, so I think he will be overall a pretty consistant player this season. John Salmons still gives the Bulls another outside scorer to spread the defense so Deng should be able to do his thing. If the Bulls keep Kirk Hinrich, which I hope they do, then the Bulls will have another shooter as well. Rose is the first option on this team now that Gordon is gone and I see Deng being a solid second option. My guess is he averages about 17 and 7 while shooting .485 from the floor. I also think he will score 40+ in at least one game.

Hope you enjoyed the read and let me know what your thoughts are. Next Up. Kirk Hinrich
Posted on: July 21, 2009 6:58 pm

Keepers, Sleepers, and Bleepers.

     Well, we now sit in the offseason. Many big moves have been made and one has to think that the major trades are over with. Carlos Boozer is about the only big name still out there. For the most part every fan knows what players are going to be on their teams come November. So I thought it would be interesting to hear from everyone what they think of their own teams, but I have a different idea then just giving your basic predictions for the season. I thought it could be interesting for people to place a badge of sorts on three players from their teams. There are three badges that you can stick on a player and they are:

This player is the heart and soul of your team. He may or may not be a superstar but he is the leader in your eyes of your team. Of all the players on your team you feel that he has the most value and therefore deserves the badge of the keeper. Some teams have a clear-cut backbone kind of player and some teams do not, so this could be an interesting question.

. This player is about to breakout. Maybe he is a rookie or has been around for a couple of seasons, but he is about to blossom and you know it. You can feel it. Maybe he is a veteran that has struggled with injuries and has a chip on his shoulders or a forgotten lottery pick that is begining to shine. Who is your teams sleeper?

    Bleeper. This is the player you wish would just go away. He is a cancer to your team or just does not fit in. He is oil and your team is water and it is time for a separation. He could be a good player or he might be an overpaid bust that is freezing up your team's money. He is the bleeper because this is a family site and if you wrote how you really feel about this player you would get banned from CBSSports.com for sure. What player is your teams bleep'n bleeper? BLEEP!

     So, that is it. Give me your three players and why. Who is your teams keeper, sleeper, and bleeper. I will start things off with my beloved Bulls.

Keeper. Derrick Rose. For the first time in a decade the Bulls have a superstar in the making. He is not yet a great leader but that will come. He is however bursting with talent and is very exciting to watch. I think it is safe to say that he holds more value then any other Bull by far. He is my keeper.

Sleeper. Tyrus Thomas. The reason I went with Tyrus is clear. Of all the Bulls he might have the most upside. Sure he lacks a great basketball IQ like Joakim Noah has. Sure he forces up bad shots, but I think he made a nice step forward last season and think he could become a very good starting forward for my Bulls if he is not traded. Last summer he worked on his jumper and it showed last season, so maybe this summer he can work on his inside game and footwork. He seems to want to get better and I think he will.

Bleeper. This is a hard question for me. We already traded Ben Gordon and i really did not even hate him. Infact I think the Bulls will struggle without him. We also got rid of Tim Thomas again and I would have picked him first. I guess I will have to pick Luol Deng. Sure I could pick a nobody player like Linton Johnson, but I do not want to take the easy road. To me, and most others I would imagine, Deng is way overpaid. The Bulls signed the wrong guy to that contract. Ben Gordon did more for the Bulls over the last few years then Deng has. Deng could have a comeback season and be a 18 and 8 player again, but I still think he has a monster price tag for what he is.

    Well, that is it. i look forward to reading your replies. I think this is a good way for posters to get a feel for eachother teams. Have fun.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com