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Tag:David Lee
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: July 4, 2010 10:21 am
 

David Lee vs Carlos Boozer

Okay, I am starting to get a bad feeling about this whole free agency process. I am really starting to read and hear things that I am not liking. For one thing I do not trust Dwyane Wades false desire to play with the Bulls. Just a couple of weeks ago he was throwing out false lies about the Chicago Bulls in order to form his super team(LeBron, Bosh, and Himself) in Miami. I think his 2nd meeting took place to throw the Bulls off guard and distract them. Meanwhile the Knicks look to be adding Amar'e Stoudemire which could very well appeal to LeBron James. There is also word that Chris Bosh wants not only the max but he wants it via a sign and trade so he can get a 6 year deal instead of a 5 year deal. The Bulls have players to make the move for Bosh but so do many other teams including the Houston Rockets. Some are saying Bosh is strongly considering Houston.

What does this mean for the Chicago Bulls? Nothing good that is for sure. It looks like Joe Johnson is now back off the fence with the Hawks and he will most likely resign with them. He would be an idiot not to. The full max contract is way too much for Johnson if you ask me. The guy is really good and a top 5 player at his position but he is nearly 30 years old. The Hawks are making a huge longterm mistake, but hey, let them make it.

This is how I see things playing out right now.

1.Amar'e Stoudemire will sign with the Knicks, we all know that.
2. Joe Johnson will resign with the Hawks. he simply cannot pass on all that extra cash and the extra season.
3. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will sign in Miami.
4. Lebron James will most likely stay in Cleveland. There is a small chance he goes to the Knicks if he likes the idea of playing with Amar'e and under Mike D'Antoni.
5. I see the Knicks then going after a player like Mike Miller or a shooting guard or a servicable point guard.
6. The Nets and Bulls will battle it out for the likes of David Lee and Carlos Boozer.

I have been saying it for a very long time now that I think David Lee is a great fit in Chicago. I had a poll thread about a year ago were I argued that Lee was almost as good if not as good as Chris Bosh. Both are not top shelf players if you ask me. The big difference is that one of them knows that and the other does not. Chris Bosh thinks he is the best bigman in the game and views himself on par with players like Wade and LeBron. The fact is is he is a 2nd option on a championship team at best. That is why I lean towards David Lee for my Bulls. Sure his stats were a little blown up playing for Mike D'Antoni, but the facts are facts. He can shoot the jumper as good as Bosh and is just as good of a rebounder if not better. Neither player has a great back to the basket game and neither is a great defender. To me the are very much the same player except one plays with heart every minute he is on the floor and the other is a bit softer. So I would take a David Lee for 13 million a season over 5 years in a flash over a Chris Bosh for 5 seasons at the max. call me crazy but that is hwo I feel.

This brings me back full circle as to how I a starting to feel that things are going to pan out. I think the Bulls will be looking at Lee or Boozer come next weekend or so. If that is the case it is even more of a no-brainer to me. Boozer would certainly give the Bulls a great back to the basket player, but that is about it. He is a solid passer but is he any better then Lee? No, Lee is a better playmaking bigman and he has a better jumper so I can see a great PnP and Pnr game with Rose and Lee. Plus, I think Boozer will be looking for more money then Lee so the Bulls could just sign Lee, keep Luol Deng, and then look for a solid shooting guard with range like a Mike Miller or a Anthony Morrow.

So if the Bulls are left with a choice between David Lee and Carlos Boozer which way should they go?
Posted on: July 1, 2010 10:12 pm
 

Let's Not Be Too Greedy Bulls Fans...

          Okay, as a Bulls fan myself I too have been wooed by the prospect of landing both LeBron James and another superstar player. The problem is is that we as Bulls fans need to come back down to earth and look how far we have come and make the right moves during this free agancy. Sure acquiring LeBron would be great but we need to be careful to not put all our eggs in one basket. Sure we have a nice shot at signing him. Perhaps as good a chance as any other team aiming for him, but focusing on him is a big risk. A risk i do not want to take. I think the Bulls brass are wise to this as their gameplan heading into this thing makes a ton of sense.

          Waiting for LeBron James is a death wish if you ask me. There is a good chance he may stay in Cleveland. We all know the Dwyane Wade is staying with the Heat so he is off the table. This is why the Bulls need to go after Chris Bosh with all they have. offer him the Max deal right away. Tell him he is the guy that you want to build a Championship around. What has been the biggest hole on the Bulls over the last decade? One has been a supestar level player that can win games by himself. The Bulls have  player that is growing onto that role in Derrick Rose, but the other big hole has been a elite scoring bigman. Chris Bosh is not a lot of things but one thing he is is a scoring bigman. He can hit the jumper and can score in the paint. Sure he is a bit soft and shies away from contact. He is also not a great defender, but he sure can score and grab rebounds as well. Joakim Noah does the other stuff. i think a pairing of Bosh and Noah has great dynamics. They are a perfect match. 

          Of all the free agents Chris Bosh is also the most likely to bolt town. Chicago needs to make him their number one target before any other team gets their slimy little hands on him. Is he the best bigman in the game? No, but he alone could make the Bulls a contender. With Bosh in the bag the Bulls may be able to sway LeBron for sure, but even if they do not they are a much improved team. One year ago it seemed like a dream that the Bulls would be able to free up the money to be in the position they are in now. If you would of told me we would lose John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich but gain Chris Bosh, I would have called you a fool. But here we are.

          My point in this rant is clear. We should not become greedy and think that it is LeBron James or bust. That is not the case for our team. Let the Knicks fans worry about that. They bottomline is we now have the cap space to make our team better. We made it to the playoffs the last two seasons and last season were in the 5th seed until Noah, Taj, Hinrich, and Deng all had their injuries. We could have won near 50 games last season with the team we have now. I say add the right players and not the sexy ones. I am not saying that Lebron is not a great fit, but we have a greater need in the post and have had that need for darn near a decade. Rose is a great scorer and playmaker on the perimeter. That is why i say if we are to throw all our eggs into one basket, we should throw them into the basket of the player that not only is the best fit for our team but is also the most likely to sign with us.

          If we land Bosh and cannot obtain another star then who cares. John Paxson and Gar Forman would still have done a great job in my eyes. We cannot let ourselves set the bar too high, becuase we are certain to be let down. The Rumors last week of that it was a done deal that Lebron and Bosh were both coming to the Bulls simply are just rumors. Those kind of rumors can give us way to much false hope and they forve us to raise the bar on what we want. We go from a mindset were we just want to add any one other star player to our team to thinking we are owed two superstars. Do not fool yourselves. Set a realistic goal. I think Bosh is a realistic goal. If we cannot add him at the max then move to a player like David Lee with a smaller contract. There is no gun to our head that says we have to land a megastar. Lee is quite similar to Bosh in many ways. Both are solid shooting bigman that can spread the floor. Both are outstanding rebounders. Neither is a great defender or a great shot blocker. Lee is a better passer while Bosh is a bit more aggressive. Too me David Lee is a better backup plan then over paying for Carlos Boozer or Amar'e Stoudemire. If we cannot get Bosh then we should target Lee.

          The other glaring hole is the lack of a shooting guard and one who can nail the three pointer. Joe Johnson looks like he is signing the max deal in Atlanta so offering him what is left after signing Bosh will most likely not fly. If we lose out on Bosh and then sign Lee then Johnson will have long-since signed in Atlanta or elsewhere. We can make a pitch to Ray Allen but he is not a longterm solution. Sure he has some gas left in the tank because he takes great care of himself but sooner rather then later age will catch up to him. We can save some money and target a couple of role players to round out the roster instead. Perahaps pick up a shooter like J.J. Redick. or even Kyle Korver. Both are not very good defenders but they sure can spread the floor for Rose. There is always a player like Anthony Morrow that can be had. We could simply resign Flip Murry. After that we could go after a defensive player like a Matt Barnes. Then resign Brad Miller who has said he wants to stay in Chicago. We can grab a cheap backup PG like Kevin Ollie or Sergio Rodriguez. This would give us a deep lineup like this.

Starters

PG Derick Rose
SG Anthony Morrow
SF Luol Deng
PF Chris Bosh
C Joakim Noah

Bench

Brad Miller
Taj Gibson
Matt Barnes
Kevin Ollie
Kyle Korver

          Maybe this lineup is not super sexy and it is far from perfect, but it has all the working parts of a contender. A dynamic star in Derrick Rose. An elite post scorer in Bosh. A top shelf denfender of the paint and energy player in Noah. A slasher and jump shooter in Deng and a long range shooting threat in Morrow or even Redick. We would have a solid bench full of a nice mix of roleplayers. This very much what our team could look like heading into next season. Would we be the clear favorite to amke it to the Finals out of the east? No. Could we compete with the elite teams every night? Yes. This is all we can ask for and hope to get. Wade and Lebron are likely not coming so I am not holding my breath or getting my hopes up for them. I just want our team to have a chance at contending.

          I hope you enjoyed the read. Let me know your thoughts? Do you think I am off-base? Am I selling the Bulls short or am I being realistic? What are your thoughts on David Lee vs Chris Bosh? After Wade, Johnson, and Allen who is the best choice for a shooting guard for the Bulls?
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: May 21, 2010 9:56 pm
 

3rd Annual Offseason Dreams and Delusions.

          Well here we are again with another offseason just around the corner. It looks as if both of the conference might be sweeps this year. David Stern cannot be too happy about that. Ouch! Well every year before the trade deadline and before the offseason I run a "Dreams and Delusions" thread. This is the place to drop your offseason solutions for your team faults. Weather that has to do with the upcoming draft, a trade, signing free agents, or a little bit of it all. What will get your team back on track or, if you are so lucky, keep your team a contender? I will start off by gining you my dream senario followed by some more realistic ones.

The Big Delusion.
          
          The Bulls are in pretty good shape going into the summer. They have a solid young team led by the Allstar point guard Derrick Rose and the crafty center Joakim Noah. The big target of all the teams with cap space is going to be LeBron James and that is no secret, but will he want a sign and trade? Maybe. The Bulls have to be on his short list due to the big market of Chicago and the young core of players. Derrick Rose is young and only going to get better and LeBron knows it.
          So let us say the Bulls and the Cavaliers orchestrate a sign and trade. The Bulls will have to send around 18-19 million in contracts to the Cavs so that would have to be Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich. Would the Cavs want Deng's longterm contract? Would they want another Guard? These are both reasonable questions, but a third team could get involved so that all parties got what they wanted. This thread is all about dreaming so I am going to say that the Cavs agree to take Deng and Hinrich. Both are good starters and Luol would fill the void at small forward.
          This would leave the Bulls with all their cap money to sign another big free agent. It is being reported that Chris Bosh is waiting to see were LeBron goes because he wants to follow him. I am not sure if this rumor is true but I am sure having LeBron would help sell the Bulls to any free agents. So then we will pretend the Bulls sign Chris Bosh to a max deal as well. The Bulls would have a hole still at the shooting guard position that would need to be filled, but they would still have 3-4 million to spend on a player after signing Bosh. So the Bulls could simply resign Ronald Murray or perhaps go after a scrub like Roger Mason to fill the void.
          This would give the Bulls a insane starting five of Rose, Murray, LeBron, Bosh, and Noah. The Shooting Guard could be anyone as long as they can play a bit of defense and hit from beyond the arc to help spread the floor. I love the idea of Bosh and Noah in the paint. They are like peanut butter and jelly. Bosh can score inside and out and Noah can do all the gritty work. LeBron would be drawing the double and so would Rose and that would cause nightmares for other teams. Bosh, Rose, and LeBron si a very scary and young big three that would win championships and be very good fo a very long time.
          This team would have a weak bench with James Johnson and Taj Gibson as the two only real players there. The Bulls would have to hope to lure a veteran into the mix and pick up some scrubs. Still this team would be a top 3 team instantly. But this is indeed a big Dream and a bit of a Delusion so lets look at some more reasonable option.
 
The Dream.
         
Well, now let us pretend that LBJ goes elsewhere. This leaves one clear option to me. Go after Bosh! I understand he will most likely head to the Heat to play with Wade or to the Knicks to play with LeBron, but he may still want the chance to be the leader and on the Bulls he could be that guy but have a real cast of players around him. I love him and Noah in the paint and Rose drawing double teams on the outside. That could prove to be deadly even more if Rose can perfect his 3 pointer this offseason. Last offseason he worked on his mid-range jumper and it showed as he hit almost everything he threw up this year. The Bulls could simply keep the cast of players they have and move taj Gibson to the bench. If you look at the Bulls starting five as they stand Taj is the weakest link. He is a solid rookie and wil turn into a good player and will have a long career, but Bosh is a major upgrade and it would be nice have Gibson come off the bench. The Bulls could then try to pick up a sharp shooter which is another of their big needs. A player that can spread the floor. Perhaps they might be able to pull off a signing of Ray Allen. With Bosh, Noah, and Rose I am sure the Bulls could land a solid veteran and I am not so sure the Celtics will resign him. That would give the Bulls a very good and balanced starting five of Rose, Allen, Deng, Bosh, and Noah, with Johnson, Gibson, and Kirk coming off the bench. Not bad depth at all. 
          This would be a balanced team that would be able to spread the floor with Ray and Deng to allow Rose to work his Magic and Bosh would create havoc on pick and rolls with Rose and Allen. Noah would clean up the boards and perhaps lead the league in rebounds if Bosh draws a lot of doubles and Noah gets a lot of put backs.

The Reality.
          The bottomline is that the Bulls are going to get better this offseason. It just matters by how much. With LeBron they become a contender but I am not holding my breath. With Bosh and a shooter I think they are more balanced and have greater depth and are also a contender. It will come down to were LBJ signs and if Bosh signs with the heat to join Wade. That will take Wade off the table as a third option in my book as he is much to much like Rose as a player and cannot hit the three pointer like we need. This will leave Carlos Boozer, Amar'e Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, and perhaps Dirk as the leftovers. Not the best bunch of players as they all have their weaknesses. Dirk is getting up there in age even though he is playing at the top of his game, but it will be a matter a couple of seasons and his game will decline as the Bulls are paying him max dollars. Not the best idea. Boozer is hurt so often that I would not think to sign him to a max deal, but even at 12-14 million he is a risk I would not want to take. Amar'e has been playing for a contract this season and I am not sure he would produce once the money was in hand. He would also want max money and the Bulls might find themselves in a bidding war with other teams like the Knicks, Clippers, and Nets. Amar'e is not worth max money even with the season he had. That leaves Joe Johnson. I am sure he will want max money too, but I have less of an issue spending it on him. I no he was lost in this years playoffs, but he would fill a huge need for the Bulls with his shooting and ability to create.
          I say that Joe Johnson is the clear target in this senario. The Bulls would then need to land a bigman and I like the idea of making a deal with the Knicks for David Lee. Lee is a poor man's Chris Bosh. I think the Knick would do a sign and trade sending Lee to the Bulls for Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson. This would give the Bulls a starting five of Rose, Johnson, Deng, Lee, and Noah. They would still have cap space to add a player or two to add depth. I think this team might not look sexy but could be a gritty team that could very well be a contender as well. Sometimes it is not all about having all the big stars but more about having the right balance of players. Rose is a leader and a creater for his team. He is as fast as they come and a top athlete in the league. He is simply a superstar. Johnson is the perfect storm with his ability to hit the jumper and nail the three to help spread the floor. Deng is the jack of all trades wingman that can slach, defend, and hit the open 18-footer. Lee is a crafty player who has been playing out of position in New Yrok. As a power forward he will have his way with lesser talents and hold his own against other Allstars and has the ability to also spread the floor with his jumper. Noah again is the heart of the Bulls with his nasty defense and big personality. I like the chemistry that this team would offer.
          In the end I see the Bulls having a offseason like the one I just laid out. No major superstars, but smart moves that quietly make the Bulls a balanced and powerful team.

          So what are the offseason Dreams and Delusions for your team?
Posted on: March 18, 2010 6:57 pm
 

Bulls fans are rooting for the Clippers now!

          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: March 2, 2010 9:49 pm
 

Official "I Dont Want Wade on the Bulls" Blog.

          That is it. I am making it official. I do not want Dwyane Wade to join the Chicago Bulls. Call me what you will, but I have to stand my ground on this one. I understand that Wade is likely to remain with the Miami Heat anyways, but there has been and will continue to be Bulls fans dreaming about Wade returning home to Chicago. Listen up people. Wade is not the right fit for Chicago. He is not what the Bulls need to contend either and contending is what it is all about. You want to know my reasoning? Let us take a look.

1. Wade and Rose are to much alike.
I am not saying that Derrick Rose is as good as Wade. I am not a fool, but they have similar games. Both are at their best with the ball in their hands making plays and driving to the hoop. I really think that Rose will become a player close to the level that Wade is now. Maybe not next season but by his fouth season I think Rose will be a solid 25-5-5 player or something close. A backcourt of Wade and Rose looks great on paper, but there would be serious chemistry problems. Who handle the ball? The Bulls do not need a shooting guard the caliber of Wade to be successful. They can do very well and even contend with a SG that can hit a high percentage of jumpers and hit it from beyond the arc. A max contract player at the two spot is a waste.

2. Spend the money on a real need. The Bulls have more pressing needs then a shooting guard. They still need a low post scorer. They had Elton Brand and traded him for Tyson Chandler. Sad. Then they had LaMarcus Aldridge and traded him for Tyrus Thomas. Those two moves set the Bulls back big time. Had we just kept Aldridge the Bulls would be a top 4 team in the east right now. But I have to let the past go and look to the future. The Bulls need a post player and Chris Bosh is everything that the Bulls need. If the Bulls somehow move past the Raptors in the standing then Bosh might have to ask himself why he would not want to just sign with the Bulls in the summer. Adding Bosh to the Bulls by itself puts them ahead of the aging Celtics and perhaps the Hawks. The Bulls would be a top 3 team in the east and have a real shot at making it to the ECF and beyond. With Wade I think they would be a 45-50 win team. With Bosh they would be a 55+ win team. If the Bulls get Wade they will still have a huge hole in the paint that Joakim Noah just cannot fill.

3. Wade's health concerns me. Wade has yet to play a 82 game season. He never will either with the style of game he plays. He is bound to start wearing out as his injuries continue to mount over time. I truly believe it would be a mistake to sign Wade to a max contract over 5 seasons. What ever team does this will be taking a huge risk. I do not think Wade will be near the player he is now in five years.

4. Johnson>Wade for the Bulls. Yes, Wade is the better player of the two, but Joe Johnson is a much better fit for the Chicago Bulls. He is a great jump shooter with outstanding range and would be a perfect fit with Rose. Derrick could run the offense and drive and kick to Johnson and Deng all night long. Heck, I even think a shooter like Jamal Crawford or Kevin Martin would fit on the Bulls better then Wade and would allow the Bulls to still sign a bigman like perhaps David Lee.

The Bottomline is that I want Bulls fans to understand that while picking up Wade this summer would seem great, in reality it would hurt the Bulls longterm. He is a gamble due to a history of injuries and not the best player to pair with Derrick Rose. Our money could be spent more wisely.
Posted on: January 16, 2010 11:09 am
 

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