Tag:Chris Kaman
Posted on: January 16, 2010 11:09 am
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Noah's Bark

     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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUuQxaAZ7HU

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.
Posted on: June 26, 2009 12:20 pm
 

Breaking Down the Bulls: Is Tyrus Thomas gone?

     Well, the 2009 NBA draft is now behind us and there have been a number of big moves around the league, but nothing involving the Chicago Bulls. One thing stands out from the draft and I am sure many Bulls fans thought of it after the Bulls drafted Taj Gibson. Having already picked up James Johnson with the 16th pick the Bulls then draft another power forward. There have been rumors that Tyrus Thomas might be traded, so was the Bulls decision to draft two power forwards a sign that a Thomas trade is in the works? Let us take a look.

     I for one think Tyrus Thomas is a great player but is too small to play the power forward and not a good enough ball-handler to be a star small forward. He is the classic tweener. He can jump out the gym and could very well be the most athletic player in the NBA. It would seem he would be a perfect fit alongside a point guard like Derrick Rose, right? He has worked hard on his shot and has become a fairly good shooter from around 17 feet but the problem is he can not seem to shake a player off the dribble and then drive to the basket. If only he had a better basketball IQ and some better handles around the rim. He is an enigma and therefore a hard player to just give up on. 
     The problem now is that the Bulls have way to many tweeners. Luol Deng is a small forward but plays the PF position at times because he does not have great speed but does have length. Tim Thomas, Tyrus Thomas, James Johnson, and Taj Gibson along with Deng is just way to much depth. Something has got to give and with Ben Gordon maybe leaving the Bulls really need a starting shooting guard unless they plan to use John Salmons there which could work nicely. 
     If the Bulls lose Ben Gordon then they will most likely keep Kirk Hinrich to backup both Salmons and Rose. This would give them solid depth at the guard position. Vinny could start either Captain Kirk or Salmons at the 2 spot depending on what team they face. The Bulls could pick up another true point guard as well for depth or just keep Hunter around if he does not retire. Rose will be playing 40 minutes a game this season for sure. I think the Bulls will be fine with or without Gordon. Infact if Gordon stays and Luol Deng is 100% heathy this leaves John Salmons the odd man out and Salmons should be starting. Hinrich is not as good as Gordon overall, but he is a great floor leader, playmaker, and defender. 
     This brings me to the small forward spot. If healthy Luol Deng is a 18 and 8 player and maybe better so he needs to start. I could see James Johnson filling the backup role very nicely behind Deng. Johnson is athletic and a solid shooter. He is not a great defender but is Deng? I could see Johnson playing a solid 15-20 mionutes off the bench. He has size and strength to play right noe in the NBA.
     We will come back to the power forward spot in a minute but first let us look at the center spot. I do not know about you but I feel good about Joakim Noah as a starting center in this league. He is not the big back to the basket center that wins championships, but really how many of those types of Centers are there? Not very many. Infact Yao Ming, Shaq, and Dwight Howard are the only true giants in the NBA right now and Ming is hurt and Shaq is old. The fact of the matter is that Noah is a good center in todays game. What he really needs is a back to the basket scoring power forward to share the paint with him. You also could do much much worse for a backup center then the savvy veteran that is Brad Miller. I think the Bulls are solid in the center position for now. The gaping hole to me is at the power forward spot.
     Tyrus Thomas is a shot blocking, rebounding, energy player and that might be it. He makes bad choices with the ball and I am in fear every time he is on the floor at the end of a close game which ironically not often. Vinny sees it too. Tyrus has limits. He is not a good man to man or off the ball defender. He is good for a few amazing blocks a game and somecrazy dunks but that may be it. Noah, while not nearly as athletic is ten times smarter and knows when to get rid of the ball. Tyrus loves to force low percentage shots in the paint at that cost the Bulls games. When he tries to blow past a defender he simply does not have the skills to do so and often just plows them over and gets called for the offensive foul. We could do better then Thomas. Tyrus could fit well on a different team like the Warriors or Knicks. Tim Thomas is an expiring contract that othe teams may bite on. He is still a good shooter and can hit some big shots, but again he is not a post player and can not drive to the hole very well. We could stand to lose Tim Thomas as well. Taj Gibson is at best an energy player and defensive stopper. He is very much like Tyrus in that his Basketball IQ is below average. Gibson is a garbage minutes player.
     I really do not understand why the Bulls took Gibson at the 26th spot of the draft. Blair was still there and while fat and slow he is a back to the basket player that would have been a steal at 26. If Tyrus is traded then the Bulls could have started Blair in place of him and had a scorer in the paint. Think Big Baby Davis here. I am not saying that Blair is the answer to anything longterm, but he would have made much more sense then Taj. The only thing that makes sense is that Blair's knees are really that bad off.
     So how do we solve our power forward issues. Well after drafting two power forwards I would say that Gar Forman has a plan. I think Chris Bosh is off the table this summer but maybe a mid-season trade with Toronto could still happen. The Bulls could just offer Bosh a contract in the summer of 2010 when he becomes a free agent. I still think the Bulls can make a trade this summer and fix the PF mess.
     One idea I had before was a trade with the Knicks for David Lee. I still contend it is worth looking at. Tim Thomas and Tyrus Thomas in a sign and trade for Lee might just work. Mike D'Antoni could start Tyrus at the 3 spot if he wanted to alongside rookie Jordan Hill. that could be an exciting team and if the Knicks could work out a deal with the Timberwolves for Ricky Rubio then the Knicks could become a very fun team to watch. The Bulls would get a solid blue collar power forward that can post up and rebound. I think the Bulls could get by with Lee and Noah. There would be a ton of second chance scoring and physical play. If then Bosh goes on the market before the trade deadline the Bulls could package Brad Millers expiring contract with Joakim Noah and maybe land Bosh. That line up would look like this:

PG- Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich
SG- John Salmons, Kirk Hinrich
SF- Luol Deng, James Johnson
PF- Chris Bosh, James Johnson, Taj Gibson
C- David Lee, Aaron Gray

     Not to bad. In the end us fans will have to see just what happens, but I do smell something in the works. I could also see the Bulls going after a player like Chris Kaman. The Bulls could then slide Noah into the power forward spot. The Clippers have to get rid of some bigmen with having just drafted Blake Griffin. Bulls could make a similar trade for Kaman as they would for Lee and the Bulls might be able to pry a future draft pick out of the Clippers hands. 
     I do not know about you, but I can not wait to see what happens this summer.

 

Posted on: January 5, 2009 4:18 pm
 

The Bulls Report

     If the Bulls are ever going to win three games in a row this season now would be the time to try. With Games against the Kings, the Wizards, and the Thunder one would think the Bulls could do it. Others may point at the loss the the Timberwolves at home and say that the Bulls are as good as done. With Kirk Hinrich still out and Drew Gooden as well the Bulls look like a team against the ropes and to be honest I do not think the Bulls will win three in a row this season. If that happens it will be late in the season with a healthy team. Let's look at this woeful team and see what sense we can make of it.

     Well, with Drew Gooden not playing the Bulls have an even larger hole down low and teams are able to score at will and the Bulls, on the other end of the floor, can not get an inside out game at all. Joakim Noah had a very nice game against the Magic but most of those points came late and he has been far from consistant the rest of the year. I think it is safe to say that Noah will never be a good starting Center in the NBA. He is a energy guy off the bench at best. He plays hustle ball, but hustle ball will only get you so far.

     The Bulls are just a way different team without Drew Gooden. It is funny just how important this guy is to us if we want to win. With Gooden in the lineup I always felt we had a chance against most teams, but without him I am starting to think will can not win. John Paxson needs to really start looking at making a move here or this season is going to be a waste. I still think the a move could be made for Chris Kaman. The Clippers are a bust and have really no chance at making the playoffs. Maybe Larry Hughes or Kirk Hinrich could be packaged with Joakim Noah and a second rounder for Kaman. The Clippers were looking to trade Kaman for Jason Richardson earlier this season. I just hate to see a season slip away. Also, Paxson could look at Bogut from the Bucks. Something needs to give and there is really no reason not to make a move now.

     To make matters worse Derrick Rose really looks as if he is hitting the rookie wall. His consistency seems to be lost and as fans we are left to wonder just what Rose we will see from game to game. Do not get me wrong, I love Derrick Rose, but he is not playing at the same level now as he was at the begining of the season. Here are his point totals for the last 6 games: 10, 27, 21, 11, 3, and 22. The Bulls need to find a way to rest him more, but that seems unlikely with Kirk Hinrich still out. I wish Thabo Sefolosha would start playing the way I invisioned him playing before the season began. I really thought that Thabo would be a factor this season. His defense has not even been that great.

     Besides Rose being a smart pick in the draft the only other real bright spot is the play of Ben Gordon which makes us all have to ask the question, "Why did we not sign him?". Well many thought that Luol Deng was the better player of the two and Deng could still prove to be better, but man, it really looks like we made a mistake. Could we win a championship with Ben Gordon as a starter? Maybe, maybe not. But will we win a championship with Luol Deng are starting small forward? Both are valid questions, but I would be having stomach pains if I were Paxson. Deng is not 100% is what we hear, but nobody is ever 100% and I just do not see the same player in Loul that I saw two seasons ago. I really think he was just after the paycheck and now is not putting any effort into his game. I hope I am wrong about this but it looks as if the writing is on the wall. Now we could not even trade Deng if we wanted to.

     Now for the Ups and Downs of the week:

Up. Ben Gordon and Derrick Rose combine for 45 points to beat the Nets in NJ for the first time since 2001. That is just sad.

Down. In that same game Thabo Sefolosha plays 20 minutes and goes 0-4 from the field and posts zero points and only one rebound.

Up. Andres Nocioni looks like a solid sixth man with four game with over 10 points each and quite a few rebounds as well.

Down. Derrick Rose has an ugly game against the Cavaliers and finishes with 3 points and 1 assist in 25 minutes of action.

Up. Joakim Noah has his one and only good game of the season in a losing effort againt the Magic.

Down. Drew Gooden continues to have issues with his right ankle and will have a MRI today. We need him bake ASAP.

Player of the week: Ben Gordon. He has been the backbone of the Bulls. He is as consistant a player as anyone could ever ask for. Every night you can mark him down for 21 points 3.5 rebounds and nearly 4 assists. Not to bad at all. He is starting to make a case for a place on the Allstar team. The Bulls will have to start winning some games for that to happen though.

Predictions for the week:

Bulls 101 Kings 95. The Bulls are not playing well so the Kings are a welcome sight. The Bulls really need a win and I think they get this one.

Bulls 97 Wizards 94. This will be a close one but I think the Bulls will be OK with no real threat in the paint on either team.

Bulls 88 Thunder 97. Bulls have to lose one of these games and it might happen on the backside of back to back games. I see Rose being tired and it would just be fitting to lose at home to the Thunder.

Hope you enjoyed the read. Go Bulls!

 

Posted on: December 8, 2008 7:05 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2008 7:14 pm
 

Bulls Review: Week 6: Dec 8th

     Well the Bulls are at it again. They look sharp one game and then the next they look like the B team down at the YMCA. No consistency at all. They bury the 76ers on the road last Sunday only to lose to them back home on Tuesday. I picked the Bulls to split those to games, but after seeing the number they did to the 76ers on Sunday I thought for sure they would win against the same team two day later at home. There is no reason to also not win a game against the Bucks. The Bucks game was one the Bulls needed to win and they are lucky they beat the Wizards on Saturday or I might have had to take a break from watching them. It is really hard on the fans when the team is so inconsistant. We have know idea what to expect each night. Let's break down a few things shall we.

     First, I would like to talk about Drew Gooden. I think he is a perfect example of the Bulls inability to play the same way twice in a row. I had Drew Gooden as my Player of the Week last week. I really thought that maybe the Bulls had a post player that was decent. For five games in a row he was averaging about 20 points and 10 rebounds and I was starting to get excited, but as a Bulls fan I should of heeded the warning as Gooden went on to lay two eggs the next two games. The 1 field goal game against the Bucks had me rethinking the Ben Wallace trade. OK, so it was not that bad, but the Bulls really changed their gameplan after that loss opting for a small lineup against the Wizards.

     Drew Gooden is still by far are best post player and I really liked it when Vinny had him and Derrick Rose running the high sreen and roll two weeks ago. Gooden is a pretty good shooter and an equally good passer and I felt they had a good thing going. When ever Gray, Tyrus, or Noah would set a pick the other teams would just double Rose because these three can not seem to either hit the open jumper or drive to the bucket after the pick for the open pass and a layup. Gooden really is the only bigman I want to see setting the pick because other teams understand he can hit the open shot and this forces teams to make a gamble. Do they still double Rose and allow Drew the open look or do they not double Derrick and allow him to drive to the paint? The Bulls need to employ this scheme more often.

     Something else that the Bulls need to be careful with is Derrick Rose's minutes. He is averaging over 38 minutes per game. He is bound to start wearing down at some point. My guess is some time in January. The Bulls are really going to need him in good shape if they really want to make a run at the playoffs. Kirk Hinrich should be returning come January, but he will be far from 100%. Infact I am not so sure he will be very effective until February or March and the Bulls could be out of the playoff picture by then.

     I hate to beat a dead horse but the Bulls need to make a trade if they are looking to make it into the playoffs and for sure if they plan on getting out of the first round. Now John Paxson and company may just play the hand they have until this next summer or maybe even hold out until 2010. I sure hope they know more then the rest of us do because a few trades have taken place that the Bulls could have been part of. We could have went after Camby or Harrington. I understand that neither of them would make us a contender but it would have been a move in the right direction. We could have moved Hinrich and his contract out of town for Camby's expiring contract.

     We still have options as of today. Chris Kaman was on the trading block a couple of weeks ago as the Clippers were trying to land Jason Richardson but that deal never got done. I think the Bulls should make a call to L.A. if you ask me. Also I came up with a trade on ESPN's trade machine that would package Tyrus Thomas and Andres Nocioni to the Bucks for Andrew Bogut and Charlie Bell. We all know how much Scott Skiles loves Nocioni, so this trade could happen. Also we would be losing a contract from a position that we have two large contracts. Those being Luol Deng's and Andres Nocioni's. We would still have money freed up by 2010 for a push for a Superstar like Wade or Bosh. I just hope Paxson is making phone calls because there is no reason not to try and shake things up a bit.

     Now for this weeks Ups and Downs:

Up - Luol Deng looks like his old self by posting 26-4-4 against the Wizards on Saturday.

Down - Drew Gooden goes 1 for 11 from the field in a loss against the Bucks.

Up - The same Drew Gooden plays a great game against Elton Brand and scores 20 points with 12 rebounds.

Down - The inconsistency of Nocioni. He scores 19 points one night and 1 point the night before. Sad, because I love Nocioni.

Up - Ben Gordon is putting up very consistant numbers lately, scoring 21, 18, 22, and 21 points in the four games last week. Who thought that he would be one of our most consistant players this season?

Down - Joakim Noah. Enough said.

     Now for the Player of the Week: Ben Gordon. As well as Derrick Rose has been playing and even though Derrick did win the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month Award, I still give a slight edge to Ben this week. I really could go with either of them and be happy but Ben has been a machine. He is not just scoring. He is playing at a very high level. He averaged 5.75 rebounds last week and 4.75 assists as well and lets not forget that his shooting has been lights out.

     This weeks Predictions:

At home vs the Knicks - Bulls 106 Knicks 100. Should be a high scoring game with little to no defense. I think the Bulls can keep up.

On the road vs the Grizzlies - Bulls 98 Grizzlies 93. Should be a fun game to watch. O.J. Mayo vs Derrick Rose should get national attention.

At home vs the Nets - Bulls 91 Nets 98. Bulls are bound to lose at least one game this week and Devin Harris has been the best PG in the east so far this season. D-Rose vs D-Harris will be great. We will get a chance to see what Rose is all about in this game.

     Once again the Bulls could win all of their games this week, but I also said that last week and they went 2-2. The Bulls really need to be winning these games against all these subpar teams. Their schedule is only going to get harder with the Celtics, Jazz, and Pistons around the corner.

 

Posted on: November 23, 2008 6:09 pm
 

Trade ideas for the Chicago Bulls.

     Against the Warriors the Bulls went with a small lineup with Andres Nocioni at the power forward spot. It worked, but Bulls fans can not expect that kind of outing every night with a small lineup. I think Vinny will change his starters every night if needs be to attempt to hide the truth that the Bulls have a big hole on th roster. The Bulls need a starting bigman with an inside game worse now then they ever have before. Derrick Rose is the future of the Bulls for sure, but he needs a real talent down low for him to become a top NBA player. The Bulls are deep with talent and should be able to pull off a trade of some kind this season. Here are a few ideas on what they could do.

     One option would be the blockbuster route. I think the Bulls could target Dirk Nowitzki if the Mavericks continue to hover around or below .500. The season is young but if the Jason Kidd trade continues to look like a mistake and the Mavericks can not solidify themselves as a contender then the door could be open for a trade and the Bulls could make a very attractive offer.

     I think the Mavericks would like to replace the two first round draft picks they lost in the Kidd trade, so the Bulls would have to offer at least one and maybe two 1st round picks right from the get go to show that they are serious. I think if the Bulls packaged two first round picks with Drew Gooden, Andres Nocioni, and Thabo Sefolosha that the Mavericks might make the trade. Gooden's contract expires this summer so the Mavericks would free up some money, and the Picks would get them back into the draft.

     Another option is the two picks and Drew Gooden, Ben Gordon, and either Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah, or Thabo Sefolosha. With Gooden and Gordon the Mavericks would have two expiring contracts. That might be hard to pass up on.

     The bottomline is if Cuban could let go of Dirk or not. Dirk has not provided them with a Championship yet even when he was surrounded by talent, so maybe Cuban would make the smart buisness decision and not be stuck in the mindset that Dirk has to stay. Like I stated though, this trade depends on the Mavericks not perfroming well by the deadline.

     Another trade idea that would not be quite as glamorous but almost as effective would be to go after Chris Kaman. While I understand that Kaman is far from the player that Dirk is, he is never the less a very solid inside threat and that is just what the doctor ordered. The Clippers just picked up Zach Randolph and already have Marcus Camby, so they would not be hurt that bad by losing Kaman.

     I think the Bulls would also have to include a first round pick to get the deal done. I would package Drew Gooden and Ben Gordon with one first round pick and I think the Clippers would jump on it. They would get two expiring contracts and a first rounder. The Clippers would also have to through in another small piece to make the numbers work, but it could get done.

     John Paxson and the upper brass of the Chicago Bulls passed on making deals for Kevin Garnett and Pau Gasol. They need to make some kind of deal before the deadline. I would love to see them steal Chris Bosh from the Raptors or Al Jefferson from the Timberwolves, but that is unlikely at best. They need to focus their attention on teams that are struggling and have a solid big that we could make an offer for.

     In the end the real problem is the real lack of solid bigman in the league. If your team does not have one then you can expect to pay a lot for one, hence having to offer one or two first rounders just to get the door open to talks. The Bulls could just keep playing with what they have and wait until the big summer of 2010, but that is a big gamble. What if the Bulls can not pick up one of those prized players when that day comes. Then they will again be on the outside looking in for a long time.

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