Posted on: December 1, 2010 1:06 pm
Well, I was just looking at the standings and noticed one team in the east and one in the west that were supposed to make some noise this year but look like they may not even make the playoffs. I thought it would be interesting to write up each team a bit and debate which team will or will not make the playoffs. Here we go...
The Bucks. With a rosters including Jennings, Maggette, Salmons, Redd, Gooden, and Bogut, some thought they could challn=enge the Bulls for the Central. I am on record myself in this idea. I really thought they had a nice mix of talent and a solid starting five. In the preseason they looked pretty good against my Bulls, but I guess that really does not count. Injuries have been an issue, but it is far from their biggest. They simply cannot score. They remind me of the Bulls a few years back. The Bucks are dead last in the league in scoring at 91.18 ppg as a team. With players on the roster (even without Redd) you wuld think they would be able to score at least 95 per game if not more. So then you have to go to their defense. With Scott Skiles at the helm you would think they should be in the top 10 in most catagories, but they are not. The only stat that they crack the top ten in as a team is Rebounding differential which is at +1.64 and ranks 9th. Nothing very special there. The stat that stands out the most to me is Opp FG% which they rank 20th at .446%. Not really looking like a Scott Skiles team. The also rank dead last in assist per game at a crappy 17.65 per.
What does all this mean? I think the Bucks have built a bad team to fit Coach Scott Skiles style. You have players that create on there own and do not set eachother up on one end and do not like to play defense on the other. Jennings, Maggette, and Gooden are not known to play defense at all. Bogut and Salmons are average at best, and Redd, when healthy, is a black hole on defense. Skile must cry himself to sleep every night, and it is a shame, because he is a great coach in my eyes. The Bucks are simply not built to defend or play team ball on offense. Maybe it is too early, but I think we can stick a fork in them. Indiana has simply been playing too well with a healthy Granger and Hibbert on the rise. The only team the Bulls need to fear at all in the Central might be the Pacers now. I think the Bucks will miss the playoffs.
The Trail Blazers. Man, this team looked great early on but with Oden not coming back this season or perhaps ever again and more importantly, with Brandon Roy's knees shot, this team is on the brink of fading into the sunset of the west. If this team were 100% healthy with Oden on the floor they would be a top 3 team in the west and top 5 in the league, but I think their window is closed. Aldridge will quickly become the teams best player if Roy's knees keep him shooting jumpers from the outside, and I am sorry but a Brandon Roy that does not drive is no longer an elite shooting guard in the NBA. Bone on Bone? How long can he really continue to play at a high level? This season, maybe next? They rank 26th in scoring, 26th in 3 point shooting, and 27th in rebounds per. However, they are still playing good/great defense and that is keeping them in games. They force a lot of turnovers and take care of the ball themselves, but it is simply not enough. With no rebounders other then Aldridge and no true 3rd or 4th options on offense this team is in trouble.
What does this all mean? Well, I think we can count on the Blazers missing the playoffs this season. That is simply my opinion, but with no size down low and Roy's knees a ticking timebomb, I just see a long season ahead. In the west the 8th seed team will have to be over .500 and I simply do not think they can do it against all the strong teams out there. Rudy Fernandez was to be the x-factor for this team, but is mind is elsewhere and is averaging just over 7 ppg, while shooting 33% from downtown. Unless he can turn things around and get his scoring up to 12-14 ppg, and start shooting 40% from three point land, Portland is in trouble.
So, do you take issue with my write up? Do you think I missed a team? Any other team that you would like to stick a fork in? Thanks for reading.
Posted on: October 6, 2010 10:46 am
Edited on: October 6, 2010 11:17 am
...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: October 3, 2010 6:37 pm
Okay, so it is time to start blogging again with the preseason starting this week and all. I am so happy the season is finally here and what a great season it could be for many teams that made big moves this summer. I think it goes without saying that the Miami Heat made the biggest moves but a few other made some solid moves as well including my Bulls. So where do the bulls stand in the East now? How many games should we expect them to win in the regular season? How well will each player perform? Will the Bulls make it out of the first round tis season? There are a lot of questions to answer so let us get started. I will first break down each player and then the team as a whole. I hope you enjoy.
Derrick Rose. Rose is certainly the new face of the Chicago Bulls and the first Allstar we have had since MJ and this being his third season we should get an idea of what we have here in Chicago. Most Superstars become superstars in the third season. Will Rose? Maybe. I do not think he will enter the ranks of Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, But I think he will become a bigtime player. A seond tier Superstar if you will. Last season he ranked 14th in point per game and I see him moving into the top 10 even with the addition of Boozer. Derrick has had to holes in his game in the past. One being his ability to hit from downtown which looks to be vastly improved, but the other issue, his defense, is still a big question mark. Rose has the size, strength, and speed to be a very good defender, he just needs to get there mentally. Coach T is a good fit to help Rose become the best player he can be and I think Rose will shine this season. His assist numbers should move up a bit with the addition of Boozer and Korver who both hit a high percentage from the floor and his scoring should increase a bit if he is sharing the backcourt with Brewer who is more defense minded.
Stat Prediction: 23 ppg, 8 apg, 3.5 rpg, 1 spg, .475 FG%, .350 FG3%
Carlos Boozer. The Bulls finally have their back to basket player that they have been seeking since Elton Brand was traded away nearly a decade ago. If healthy Boozer is the perfect fit in Chicago. I know I was pro-Chris Bosh before but that was mainly do to the fact that Bosh was younger and healthier. Boozer is really the better player if healthy and a great teammate. his ability to make the pass in the post and his pick and roll skills are a great match. If he gets the double he can pop it out to an open Korver, a driving Rose, a slashing Deng, or simply bounce pass it to Noah on the block. There really is not a player out there with his skill set that the Bulls could have snagged and the Bulls also got him at a bargin with teams like the Knicks overpaying for Amar'e Stoudemire and the David Lee deal. I am happy with this pickup as it does put the Bulls close to contention. The big looming storm cloud is Boozer's health. Last season he put up great numbers, but I am not sure the Bulls will see those kind of stats from him. He will not be great but he will be just what the doctor ordered.
Stat Prediction: 17.5 ppg, 3 apg, 9.5 rpg, 1 spg, .5 bpg, .525 FG%
Luol Deng. Here we have another player that is known to get hurt, but he had a solid rebound season last year and I think he is a perfect fit for a third option on any offense. I understand he is being paid like a number 1 or 2 option, but with Boozer and Rose taking the big shots, Deng can focus on defense with his long frame and he can also keep defenses honest with his ability to hit the open jumper. Deng is at his best when he is slashing and moving and we saw a lot of that last season and I think we will only see more. Luol is far from great at creating his own shot, but with Boozer drawing in defenders Deng could see more open shots in stride. Overall, I think the addition of Boozer will hurt Deng's numbers but I think he will be a more effective player with open lanes and looks.
Stat Prediction: 14.5 ppg, 2 apg, 6 rpg, 1spg, .485 FG%, .375 FG3%
Joakim Noah. I am a huge fan of Joakim Noah and his ability to get under the skin of other players and play nasty defense, but to be honest I am not sure he is going to get all that much better stat-wise as a player. I think he is close to his ceiling. He is a double double machine that can shot block and rebound like nobodies business. I simply cannot see him becoming a better scorer and he already is a good ball handler and passer for a bigman. Having Boozer in the paint could hurt his rebounding numbers a bit but his scoring could go up slightly. I think we all know what we are going to get from Noah when he steps on the hardwood. Energy, energy, and more energy, and he is just the type of player that most Championship teams have in the fold in one way or another. The Bruce Bowens, James Poseys, Dennis Rodmans, Ron Artests of the world. The players that are not affraid of anyone or anything and are willing to roll up their sleeves and get dirty.
Stat Prediction. 12 ppg, 2.5 apg, 10.5 rpg, 1 spg, 2 bpg, .500 FG%
Ronnie Brewer. I remember a few years ago when Brewer was getting a lot of hype as an up and comer. Those ideas have faded as Brewer has never been able to turn into the complete player that many thought he would become. He is very athletic and a good finisher, but his jumper is off and he is scary bad from downtown. However, Brewer has change his game and now focuses on being a defender first. In many ways he is a lot like Hinrich with his ability to matchup with the other teams elite player and slow them down or shut them down, but Brewer is bigger, stronger, and much more athletic then Kirk was and should fit in nicely even if he does come off the bench which I would prefer. A Brewer/Watson Combo off the bench would have defense and firepower. I am not expecting much from brewer this season, but think his defense will be a big part of the Bulls chances of advancing in the Playoffs.
Stat Prediction. 8 ppg, 2.5 apg, 3 rpg, 1.5 spg, .475 FG%
Kyle Korver. Korver was a great backup plan to J.J. Reddick and perhaps an even better fit for the Bulls. He Knows his place and his job is clear. Hit open threes all night long. Kyle is an average deffender at best but I like him as a starter for the Bulls at the shooting guard and splitting minutes with Brewer. I think his ability to spread defenses has to be utilized as much as possible with Derrick and Boozer. Having him come off the bench kills the whole reason we brought him in. He needs to be out there with Rose nailing threes and driving other teams coaches mad. With him in the starting lineup the Bulls would have a nasty starting offense that could blow up a big lead in a hurry and then the Bulls could slow it down a bit and bring in Taj and Brewer to play defense.
Stat Prediction. 9 ppg, 1.5 apg, 2 rpg, .5 spg, .480 FG%, .450 FG3%
Taj Gibson. With Boozer on board Gibson's minutes will be cut bigtime and thus so will his numbers. Gibson will continue to be a great defender and should have his way in the paint with most other teams bench power forward. Gibson is a jack of all trades kind of player in the mold of P.J. Brown. He is fundamentally sound but lacks the talent to be a star in this league. He will have a long career as a backup and a darn good one at that, but he just lacks the flash and skills to be a huge threat. He can be brought in to be a pest on defense or to slow down another teams bigman and he is always good for a shot block or two. The best thing about Gibson is his basketball IQ, which is very very high and he always makes great choices with the ball or without the ball. He will have a few games this season were he will put up big numbers but Boozer is the man now and Gibson needs to keep on adding bulk and perfecting his jumper which is not bad as it stands.
Stat Prediction. 6.5 ppg, 1 apg, 5 rpg, 1.25 bpg, .510 FG%
C.J. Watson. I think the Watson pickup might be the sleeper pickup for the Bulls this season. He is a great firecracker off the bench and he should do what the Bulls were hoping Pargo would do last season and that is to be a spark off the bench. Watson is fast and can score very well from within 18 feet or so. His 3 pointer is not great but he can get hot. His defense is a question mark but with Brewer sharing the floor with him the burden is less. I think he could be a great pickup but I will try and keep my hopes in check and wait to see what he looks like in the Bulls system. Scoring a lot of points for the Warriors is not hard to do. I think he will do just fine with the 10 minutes or so he sees every game.
Stat Prediction. 6.5 ppg, 2.5 apg, 1.5 rpg, 1 spg, .450 FG%, .350 FG3%
The Others. Past the players that I have listed are some solid roleplayers that will not see many minutes unless there are injuries and the players that could see some action are:
Omar Asik. Will see minutes behind Noah and sounds like he has some offense in the post and is a decent blocker and rebounder. Must see him play on the NBA hardwood to see how good he really is.
James Johnson. Will see minutes perhaps behind Deng, but from what I have heard the Bulls brass are not liking JJ's work ethic. We need no drama so I hope this guy settles down.
Keith Bogans. 6 teams in 7 years is never a good sign, but he could see minutes if there is an injury and he is a solid vet and a consistant player.
Kurt Thomas. Yes, this guy is still in the league. He is a locker room vet that will be a nice to have sitting on the bench and keeping the guys focused. He is also good for 3 minutes a night during a blowout. lol.
Brian Scalabrine. The golden horseshoe himself is now a Chicago Bull so mark your calendars for June because we are going to the Finals baby!
The addition of head coach Tom Thibodeau was a fairly bold on the Bulls part and I liken him to Scott Skiles who we never should have gotten rid of in the first place. From what I have heard Tom has been pushing the Bulls hard in training camp as has made his place known and the players seem to have fallen suit. We all know that Thibodeau is a defensive wizard but I think we are all holding our breath to see what the Bulls offense looks like. To me it is simple. push the open floor with Rose on fast breaks for as many easy buckets as you can get. The Bulls will be quick and with Noah on the floor dangerous. If the fast break is stopped then set up the half court slow down game with Rose and Boozer utilizing the pick and roll or rune a series of high screens but leave Noah in the paint for rebounds and easy buckets. Noah no longer has to set those high screens with Boozer on the team and Noah never could hit the jumper or drive to the basket anyways. Keep Joakim were he belongs. The Bulls could also try to get Boozer down low in position first and run the offense through him. Let him decide with the ball in his hands. He has plenty of options. On any fast break were Noah or boozer are in the paint and Korver is standing on the 3 point line make the pass to Kyle for the 3 in stride.
What I am getting at is that the Bulls players pretty much spell out what needs to be done on offense and I think Tom knows this. Hand the ball to Rose and let him work his Magic. I really feel that the Bulls are a very balanced team and their chemistry should work out just fine. I know there are a lot of new faces, but they are all vets for the most part and everyone seems to know their roles. There really are no headcases on this team and a starting lineup of Rose, Korver, Deng, Boozer, and Noah is very explosive. If the Bulls want more defense then the starting lineup could be more conservative with Rose, Brewer, Deng, Boozer, and Noah. This linup has few holes. The Bulls bench is fairly deep. Not the best in the league, but solid with Korver/Brewer, Gibson, Bogans, Asik, and Watson.
I think the Bulls will be a top 4 seed. The Heat should lead the pack and the Magic and Celtics will most likely be ahead of the Bulls, but it could be close with those two. The Celtics cannot be counted out. I thought they were done last season at this time only to see them back in the Finals again. The magic could go either way. They do not look quite as sexy on paper as they did before the Heat and Bulls trades. The Bucks and Hawks will be in the mix as well. I could see the Bulls winning as many as 56-58 games this year and I would not be shocked. On the other end we could be looking at a team just above .500. I have to believe the Bulls are better then last season and even better then the team that won 49 games and swept the Wade/Shaq Heat in the first round and few years ago. Injuries will play a big part for sure with players like Boozer, Deng, and even Noah playing. The Bulls lost 10 game in a row last year late in the season when noah was out with his foot injury. The Bulls were playing great basketball at the time and could easily have had won 5 or 6 of those games and finished the season with 46 or 47 wins. Subtract Kirk Hinrich and add Boozer, Korver, Brewer, and Watson and the Bulls are a better team.
My Prediction. Record: 52-30. Advance to the second round in the Playoffs and push either the Magic or Celtics to a game seven but ultimately lose.
Possible Bulls Regrets. Not signing Tracy McGrady if he goes off with the Pistons.
Midseason Trade? Most likely not unless the Bulls can move Deng. The Carmelo Anthony for Joakim Noah trade talks will continue until the Bulls lock up Noah. If the Bulls do not lock up Noah then he could be part of a big trade of some sort. If the Bulls resign Noah and are above .500 by 5-8 games come the deadline then the Bulls will not be making any moves.
Thanks for taking the time to read through this preview. Please reply with your thoughts on my predictions or your perdictions for the Bulls or the east in general. I tried hard not to be bias so let me know what you think.
Posted on: July 16, 2010 9:31 pm
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: March 18, 2010 6:57 pm
Well the hopes of the playoffs are all but over now for Bulls fans as they have dropped 9 in a row. Sadly, there is no light at the end of the tunnel as the Bulls will continue to to play like a D-League team until they can put a healthy team on the floor. With Joakim Noah out the Bulls became a bad team and now that Derrick Rose and Luol Deng are sitting the Bulls are going to struggle to see another win this season. With the playoffs looking out of the question losing might be in the Bulls best option. I know as a Bulls fan that I should never say it is time to tank a season, but there is much at stake.
As it stands the Bulls are looking at the 11th pick in this summers draft. The issue is that the Bulls will then have to swap that pick with the Bucks as part of the Salmons trade. If the Bulls can drop to the 10th pick then they get to keep it as the pick is protected if it is a top 10 pick. This brings me to the Clippers. They hold the 10th pick, but the issue is the Clips are 26-43 with 13 games remaining. The Bulls are 31-36 as it stands. They need to keep losing and the Clippers need to start winning.
Therefore, I am now a Clippers fans until the end of the season. If the Bulls can land the 10th pick they will be in good shape going into the offseason. The Bulls need to let Noah just sit out the rest of the season. They should play Rose and Deng only if they are 100%, otherwise they should just let this season go. It make me sick to even be saying this, but this team is driving me crazy. Just a couple of weeks ago the Bulls were on fire and sitting in the 5th seed in the east and then it all fell apart. What is the point of even going to the playoffs at this point? The 8th seed will draw the Cavaliers and the Bulls would be swept without a healthy big three(Noah, Deng, Rose).
The Bulls have 21+ million to spend this offseason and they should be able to add a player or two that will make this team close to a contender if not a contender flat out. It all depends on who they can sign. If they then also have a pick in the lottery then the Bulls will be just fine.
My only major fear is that the Bulls get the 11th pick and then have to swap it with the bucks for the 16th or 17th pick. Then if the Bulls are unable to sign Wade, James, or Bosh and have to overpay a player like David Lee then things could be ugly in Chicago for some time. I just hope this senario does not pan out or I may have to move to another state.
So, am I crazy? Should I become a Clippers fan for the next month? Can the Bulls drop to the 10th pick? Should the Bulls sit Noah the rest of the season? Will the Bulls be able to sign a superstar? There are a lot of questions jumping around in my mind and I cannot wait for them all to be answered.
Posted on: January 16, 2010 11:09 am
It has become clear to me that Joakim Noah is now my favorite player in the NBA. If anyone is missing from the Allstar ballot it is him. I cannot believe the league has Brad Miller on it and not Noah. Silly. In this blog I am going to make a case for Noah to be a reserve on the eastern conference Allstar team and I will also give you my top ten centers in the league today. I understand the noah has a couple of weaknesses and I will talk about them as well. I am a bit bias, but I am not a fool. So what has Noah done to make me a huge fan? Let us take a look.
Rebounds Per Game. 12.2. First we will look at perhaps Noah's biggest strength and that is his rebounding. He is second in the league behind only Dwight Howard and is half a rebound ahead on Marcus Camby. Noah is not a biggest or the strongest center so how does he grab so many missed shots? With his brain. He is very smart and knows were to go on every play and understands how to box-out. Couple this with his nasty take-no-crap attitude and you get a rebounding machine. If Noah puts on another 10 pounds of muscle this summer like he did last summer then he could lead the league in rebounding next year.
Field-Goal Percentage. .495. Now we will look at one of Joakim's weaknesses. He has come a long way on the offensive side of the floor and is averaging 11.2 points a game, but to be considered a major threat in the paint you have to shoot a higher percentage from the floor. Somewhere above .550 for a center seems like the qualification to me and Noah still needs to work a bit more on this part of his game, but he has been getting better every game this season. He has a back to the basket game but needs to perfect his 15 footer. If he can hit the jumper with consistency then defenders will be drawn out of the paint and that will open things up for Derrick Rose to drive and create a nightmare for other teams to defend. Then Noah can learn from Brad Miller about the power of the shot fake and drive to the hole maneuver.
Blocks Per Game. 1.74. Noah is a top 10 shot blocker in the league and to me shot blocking is one of the keys to being a great center along with rebounding and shooting a high percentage shot. In todays game the power forward is typically the scorer and the center tends to play of the scorer and block shots and score on put backs. Dwight Howard is really the last old school type center that does it all on both ends. Cases could be made for Brook Lopez and Chris Kaman in this regard. Not every team is so lucky as to have a scoring center. They are just rare these days. The bottomline is that the role of the center has changed over the last decade or so into more of a support player and less of a focal point.
Double-Doubles. 20. Noah is tied for second amongst centers in total double-doubles and ranks sixth overall in the NBA. He is also one of only 4 total centers to be averaging a double-double.
The Intangibilities of Noah. There are many like his passing ability that ranks in the top 3 amongst centers or his overall NBA Efficiency score of 20.79 that ranks 7th. If you add up his points, assists, and rebounds he ranks 8th amongst centers. But the real key to Noah is what you will see every time he steps foot on the hardwood. It is his passion and love for the game. He plays hard and focused every second on the floor. He more then makes up for his weaknesses with his heart and desire. He plays nasty defense and will not back down to anyone and is not afraid to speak his mind. Just ask LeBron James. He is not the quite leader, but a vocal leader that also leads by example. Much like Ben Wallace was once the heart and soul of the Detroit Pistons, Noah is now become that kind of player in that he can light a fire under a teammate with a little yell in the ear or by inspiring his whole team by making an incredible offensive rebound and then pushing off a defender and slamming home the ball for an and-one. Noah's overall game has few limits. He is a great athlete and has a great basketball mind. Just watch him take the ball up court by himself and you will see his great ball handling skills or you can always just watch his now epic steal in game 6 of last years playoffs were he runs 80 feet with the ball and beats Paul Pierce to the basket and slams in home. That moment just might have been the turning point in Noah's career. Here take a look.
Just a few stand out games from the last few weeks:
vs Wizards. 17 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks
@ Celtics. 15 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks
vs Pistons. 16 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists
vs Timberwolves. 20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals
@ Bucks. 10 points, 18 rebounds,
@ Pistons. 15 points, 21 rebounds, 4 assists
vs Hornets. 17 points, 18 rebounds, 4 blocks
vs Knicks. 10 points, 21 rebounds
vs Lakers. 11 points, 21 rebounds, 6 blocks
vs Warriors. 18 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks
And these are only going back through december. There are many more great games from Noah during this time, but I do not feel like typing them all out.
My Current Top 10 Centers in the NBA.
1. Dwight Howard. The Best and it is not really close.
2. Brook Lopez. A distant second with a big upside.
3. Marc Gasol. Another young guy with a lot of upside.
4. David Lee. A center in a PFs body. Is he just a product of a system?
5. Chris Kaman. A classic 20 and 10 center. Watch out for injuries however.
6. Al Jefferson. Getting better with every game. Was my number two center last season.
7. Joakim Noah. See above.
8. Al Horford. Wonder what his numbers would look like on another team?
9. Andrew Bynum. Shows promise, but needs to become consistant.
10. Nene. Good defender and solid in the paint on both ends.
Honorable Mentions: Andrew Bogut, Brendon Haywood, and Kendrick Perkins.
Tags: Al Horford, Al Jefferson, Andrew Bogut, Andrew Bynum, Ben Wallace, Brad Miller, Brook Lopez, Bucks, Bulls, Celtics, Chris Kaman, David Lee, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Hornets, Joakim Noah, Kendrick Perkins, Knicks, Lakers, LeBron James, Marc Gasol, Marcus Camby, Nene, Paul Pierce, Pistons, Timberwolves, Warriors, Wizards
Posted on: October 4, 2009 10:25 pm
In reality that might be the only time you ever see the name Taj Gibson in a thread title on these boards. I thought that after having had a great preseason game that I would give him that opportunity. I also thought it would be fun to have a thread were we could all gloat a bit about our teams unknown players that are making a splash in the preseason. This is not to be a serious thread as one can tell by the title but one in which we can poke fun at our own teams or other teams.
Posted on: March 16, 2009 6:39 pm
OK, so MAJO has a real nice thread about Vinny remaining or not remaining as the Bulls head coach. In it he goes into a micro rant in defense of Ben Gordon. I for one agree with him. While I think BG has a few holes in his game, I also think he is one of the best offensive players in the league. Not only does he score 20+ points a night, but he shoots a high percentage from anywhere on the floor. BG is a below average defender for sure but that has a lot to do with size and not effort. I think the biggest hole in his game is his ball handling not his defense, but most NBA fans will point out his defense first having not seen him play as much as a Bulls fan.
Anyways, I thought it would be interesting to have a poll and ask you to choose between Ben Gordon and another player. When selecting another player I targeted a player of the same position and about the same stats. What I was really looking for was a player that has been an allstar and is liked by most fans. My angle of course is to prove that Ben Gordon is as good if not better then a player that most fans would deem better without a moment passing.
The player I have picked is Michael Redd. In many ways he and Ben Gordon have a lot in common, but I bet that most posters would rather have Redd and I just simply find that intersesting. Here are there stats:
This season: 20.5 ppg 3.5 rpg 3.5 apg 0.9 spg .455 FG% .866 FT% .418 3P% 36.1 mpg
Career: 18.4 ppg 3.0 rpg 3.0 apg 0.8 spg .436 FG% .859 FT% .417 3P%
This season: 21.2 ppg 3.2 rpg 2.7 apg 1.1 spg .455 FG% .814 FT% .366 3P% 36.5 mpg
Career: 20.5 ppg 4.1 rpg 2.3 apg 1.0 spg .452 FG% .843 FT% .386 3P%
So if a gun was pointed at your head, who would you pick?