Tag:James Johnson
Posted on: December 16, 2010 3:14 pm
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Bulls/Magic Trade Idea.

Okay, so we know that Joakim Noah is going to miss 8-10 weeks do to his thumb injury. I think if the Bulls do nothing and play with the players they have that they should continue to play well. their schedule is finally going to be soft for the next 30 games and they should be able to win at least half of those if not 20 of them. However, there are those out there that seem to think the Bulls will not be able to rely of Omer Asik and Kurt Thomas to fill the hole. I think they will be fine with a healthy Boozer and a vet like Thomas for the time being, but there is a trade that could happen that would help out both teams. Here it is:

Bulls send Kurt Thomas, James Johnson and Keith Bogans to the Magic for Marcin Gortat and Malik Allen.

The Magic have no real need for a high paid backup center with Dwight Howard playing MVP basketball. The Bulls could afford to loose one of their three shooting guards even if Bogans is their starter. brewer could start and the Bulls would be fine. James Johnson has a ton of upside and part of me would like to keep him, but you need to spice up this trade somehow. JJ would give th Magic a great energy wingman off the bench that can hit jumpers, defend, and do a lot of the little things. Kurt Thomas is a savvy vet that is a better fit for the Magic because he would be fine playing only 10 minutes or less behind Howard. The magic simply do not need to be paying a guy 6.3 mill per to play so few minutes. The Magic would be better off with a Defensive minded Sg to play behind Carter that can slow other SG down with his aggressive defense and a wing player in JJ. The Magic are also not playing the best of basketball and perhaps a smaller trade like this would be enough to boost this team up a bit. The Magic would not be giving up very much and 3 fresh players that can all contribute might be just what the doctor ordered to spark a fire under this team.

As for the Bulls, Gortat is certainly not as good as Noah, but he is a better starting option then both Asik or Thomas. he could play 30 mintues a night and be a nice partner with Boozer in the paint. he would be a solid fix for the Bulls while Noah is out and would continue to be a factor with the Bulls once Noah returns. Gortat would allow Noah to play less minutes as he recovers before playoff time. The downside is that Gortat's contract is long but i think he is a perfect fit for Chicago and I always felt that way. Besides, Chicago has the largest polish population in america. He would feel right at home here. Malik is a former Bull that would go little but keep the bench warm and be a solid lockerroom guy to replace Kurt Thomas.

I really think this is a great idea. Any thoughts? Is the trade unequal in some regard? Thanks.
Posted on: October 29, 2010 1:41 pm
 

3-Way Trade. Bulls land Carmelo?

Here is a 3-way trade I was considering that would include the Nuggets, Bulls, and 76ers. There have been a few rumors that the 76ers wanted to swap Andre Iguodala for Luol Deng recently. I am not sure how true these rumors are, but they are just rumors. I am not certain this is a great idea for the Bulls as Luol, if healthy, is a great fit. Iggy is a better defender and a better slasher, but not by much and Deng is a better shooter and is now nailing threes. However, Carmelo if Carmelo wants to play for a bigger market and with a better cast then the Bulls might be a great option. I lineup of Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah, would have to be a contender right? So I ran this trade on ESPN's Trade machine and it works. What do you think?

Bulls get: Carmelo Anthony

Nuggets get: Andre Iguodala, Taj Gibson, James Johnson, and Bulls future 1st round pick.

76ers get: Luol Deng

Bulls
would land a top 10 player and a superstar that would have to sign an extension for the deal to go through and the Bulls would beome a powerhouse.

Nuggets would land a star shooting guard to ease the pain of losing Melo and a nice young double double machine power forward in Taj Gibson. James Johnson is a raw talent that in time could become a solid player. The 1st rounder from the Bulls would be in the mid to upper 20s but still it is a pick.

76ers would get the player they wanted and only lose the player they were willing to give up.

Thoughts?

Posted on: October 29, 2010 1:41 pm
 

3-Way Trade. Bulls land Carmelo?

Here is a 3-way trade I was considering that would include the Nuggets, Bulls, and 76ers. There have been a few rumors that the 76ers wanted to swap Andre Iguodala for Luol Deng recently. I am not sure how true these rumors are, but they are just rumors. I am not certain this is a great idea for the Bulls as Luol, if healthy, is a great fit. Iggy is a better defender and a better slasher, but not by much and Deng is a better shooter and is now nailing threes. However, Carmelo if Carmelo wants to play for a bigger market and with a better cast then the Bulls might be a great option. I lineup of Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah, would have to be a contender right? So I ran this trade on ESPN's Trade machine and it works. What do you think?

Bulls get: Carmelo Anthony

Nuggets get: Andre Iguodala, Taj Gibson, James Johnson, and Bulls future 1st round pick.

76ers get: Luol Deng

Bulls
would land a top 10 player and a superstar that would have to sign an extension for the deal to go through and the Bulls would beome a powerhouse.

Nuggets would land a star shooting guard to ease the pain of losing Melo and a nice young double double machine power forward in Taj Gibson. James Johnson is a raw talent that in time could become a solid player. The 1st rounder from the Bulls would be in the mid to upper 20s but still it is a pick.

76ers would get the player they wanted and only lose the player they were willing to give up.

Thoughts?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A note on the Bucks. I understand it was just 1 preseason game but the Bucks are scary. Jenings did not look great but the rest of the team that played played hard dispite 25+ turnovers. They were without Slamons, Bogut, Maggette, and Redd. When those four are back and somewhat healthy this team is going to be very very good. I will go so far as to say that they could easly win the Central and snag a playoff seeding as high as the 2nd. No I am not sniffing glue. This ina veteran team with a very good head coach. They just need to get healthy. I predict them to be 2nd in the central behind the Bulls and land the 5th seed, but I would not be shocked if they moved up from there ahead of the Magic, Celtics, and Bulls 
Posted on: 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: May 4, 2010 11:22 am
 

Who Should the Bulls Hire this Time?

      Well what we all knew was going to happen has happened. Vinny Del Negro has been fired and the young Bulls are at a crossroads. They have a young and talented one-two punch in Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah and a nice core or role-players in Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, and James Johnson. They have the money to sign a max contract player like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, or Chris Bosh and a MLE player as well. They could go from an average team to an elite team this summer and picking the correct Head Coach this time around is very important. Here is a look at a few of the names being mentioned on the national stage as well as a couple I have heard mentioned on Chicago radio.

Doug Collins.
Collins has 8 years of head coaching experience and is known as a players coach which might be fine for this Bulls team because they are a very mature group and self-motivated. Doug has a head coaching record of 332-287, but it should be noted that most of those wins came with a player named Michael Jordan playing in his early days. He is a smart guy and a veteran player that players will respect. Free agents will likely want to play for him as well as he is not known to be a screamer. The big issue with collins is that it is likely he will only coach for 2 seasons and no more then 3 as he is known to get a bit bored.

Byron Scott. Scott was a solid player in the NBA and has three rings on his fingers from his years with the Lakers in the 80s to prove it. As a coach he brought the Nets to the NBA finals twice only to lose both times. He is known to lose respect from his players after time and that could pose and issue as the Bulls need a longterm solution, not a 2 or 3 year firestorm coach like Scott Skiles proved to be with the Bulls. Still Scott is an interesting choice and has plenty of head coahing experience, but it is said he want to take over for Phil Jackson if and when he retires.

Lawrence Frank. He was the head coach of the Nets for 7 years and made the playoffs 4 times with those teams that included Jason Kidd and Vince Carter. Oddly those were good teams that never made it to the eastern conference finals once even though they had the talent. I think Frank is an average to above average coach at best and is not the type of hiring that will draw in a big free agent. His record of 225-241 leaves a lot to be desired.

Kevin Mchale. This is a joke right? I keep hearing this name and it make no sense to me. Sure Mchale is in my top 5 power forwards all time, but he was a poor GM and a bad coach as well. 38-105 coaching record is not only really really bad, but it proves that he does not even have that much experience as a coach and the Bulls need a coach that has been a head coach for a while to push them to the next level and Mchale simple is not the correct fit.

Maurice Cheeks. A former point guard and a Chicago native Cheeks looks like a good choice. His coahing record is not that great but he did not have the best teams to work with to be honest. Portland was a team full of selfish thugs at the time and I do not understand how he put up with those teams, and while the 76ers had some talent they just never had enough to compete. I would be happy if the Bulls picked him and gave him a chance with a real team that is both young and hungry.

John Calipari. This angle is simple. Land LeBron James. James and Calipari are well-known friends and if the Bulls were to hire Calipari it would signal a signing of LeBron James. I am not a huge fan of LeBron the person, but as a player he is clearly the best in the league and if a coach hiring can land the big fish of this free agent class then I am for it. Sure there are all those scandles in the NCAA but this is the NBA and this league is about making money and Calipari might fit in nicely, however if the Bulls sign his and do not get LBJ then I would not be happy.

Jeff Van Gundy. To me he would be the perfect hire. He has a ton of experience and is a very smart coach that is still young enough to stick around for a while if things work out. The isuue is weather or not he wants to coach agian. If so the Bulls should go after him asap. He is a very good defensive coach and that would fit well with the Bulls young core of defensive minded players. If Gundy wants to coach a team that will not make him pull the rest of his hair out then the Bulls are a good fit as they always give effort on both ends. Another big issue would be a realationship between John Paxson and Van Gundy as Jeff has made comments recently about the Bulls brass. I say fire Gar Forman and John Paxson and hire Doug Collins to be the new GM and Van Gundy to be coach. Wake up Cliff, wake up.

So which of these seven candidatesfit the needs of the Bulls best and why? 
Posted on: August 26, 2009 12:44 pm
 

Bulls - Best/Worst-case - Final Report

     Up to this point I have broken down each of the Bulls players that should see major playing time. Those players include: Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, John Salmons, Brad Miller, Tyrus Thomas, James Johnson, and Joakim Noah. I have reposted each of those blogs below, and have treaked my predictions as to their statistics a bit. For the most part things remain the same. After all of the player reposts I have my final report as far as Best/Worst-case senario for the Bulls as a team and my predictions for wins. I hope you enjoy the read and please reply with your thoughts.

Derrick Rose.

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

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

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

My Prediction. Derrick Rose is a fierce competitor and is very strong mentally so therefore I do not see him getting distracted very easily. Infact I think he will flat out just ignore the whole Memphis deal and focus on Bulls basketball. What I am saying is I am leaning towards the best-case senario for Rose. Do I think he will make the Allstar team? Maybe. Something tells me that Allen Iverson is not going to be starting on any Allstar team this season. This leaves us with a few very good point guards in the east. There is Devin Harris, Rajon Rondo, and Jameer Nelson to deal with. If the Bulls are playing well I could see Rose making the team. Chicago is a big market and Rose could get a lot of fan votes, but he would be competing with two other large sports markets in Boston and New Jersey. In any event Rose should have a steller season even if the Bulls do take a step back. My prediction is for him to average 20 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds while shooting .470 from the floor.


James Johnson.

    I would like to breakdown the Bulls as a whole going into next season, but I thought I would start with writing a blog on each of the Bulls major contributing players first. I already have wrote on Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, John Salmons, Tyrus Thomas and Brad Miller. Now it is time to take a look at James Johnson. I for one liked what little I saw of Johnson before the draft and I thought he would be a good pickup if he slipped to the Bulls at 16 and he did. To me Johnson was a no-brainer. I think however that the Bulls should have gambled on DeJuan Blair at 24. That could haunt them. There is nothing that sexy about James and there are a few questions about his work ethic but from what we saw this summer he looks to be fairly good. He has a NBA readt body which is a plus. He is not the best defender but can score down low and can handle the ball very well. He could look nice on the floor with Rose. So will James Johnson be a difference maker this season or a total waste of a pick? Let us take a look.

Best-case. In an ideal world Johnson could step into the rotation and play backup to Luol Deng and Tyrus Thomas and log about 15-20 minutes a game. He is quite athletic and is a good playmaker for a big and can handle the ball very well for his size. He has a soft touch and can play a bit in the paint. He also can create his own shot and is pretty good at driving to the rim. The downside on his is he is a bit big and slow to play against many small forwards in the league and to small to play against most power forwards in the NBA. This makes him a tweener and in many way in the same mold as Tyrus Thomas. He however reminds me of a young Tim Thomas back when he played for the Bucks. I think he can be that kind of player on the right team. If he was on a bad team and saw 30+ minutes a game he could average 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, but he is on the Bulls and will not see those kind of minutes even in a best-case senario. If he works hard and can find a way to impress the coaching staff he could see near 20 minutes a night and average 10 points and 3 rebounds, and 2 assists.

Worst-case. There are rumors floating that he has a bad work ethic and even tried to leave a practice early. Does James Johnson have an Ego problem like so many young players in the league? If so the Bulls will have no part in it. The Bulls have a long and sound history of benching or even buying out players that they view as lazy or as ego cases (see Eddie Robinson, Tim Thomas, J.R. Smith, Eddie Curry, and Larry Hughes). In many ways the Bulls are the anti-Knicks/Warriors in that they take no chances on players that are headcases. This is good and bad. Bulls teams are always hard working but often lack pure talent because often there are strings attached to that talent. In any case I can see Johnson becoming a problem if he thinks he needs more playing time and then demands more playing time. He has a lot of raw talent and could be a solid player but if he does not understand his role as a backup things could get ugly. If this is the case then he may only see garbage minutes as the Bulls let the hardnosed/hard working Taj Gibson eat up his minutes. Johnson could see less then 10 minutes per game and average 3 points per game.

My Prediction. James Johnson is a rookie so I have to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he will understand that he is not a starter and just a backup. I think he gives the Bulls a nice scoring threat off the bench and could cause matchup issues with his size at the 3 and his speed at the 4. I also love the way he controls the ball like a point guard. He has some nice skills. He is a solid shot blocker but not the greatest defender and could get into foul trouble often as a rookie. I hope he is a sleeper and I hope even more that he is not another ego-case like Eddie Robinson was. I think he will see 15 minutes a game and average 4 points with 2 rebouds and 1.5 assists. Nothing great but he will have his moments and could have a 30 point game one night.

Brad Miller.

  I would like to breakdown the Bulls as a whole going into next season, but I thought I would start with writing a blog on each of the Bulls major contributing players first. I already have wrote on Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, John Salmons, Tyrus Thomas. Now I shall turn my attention to Brad Miller. Picking up Miller along with Salmons was one of John Paxson's best moves as GM. I hope Gar Forman can add one or two more pieces to this puzzle we call the Bulls. Brad Miller gives the Bulls a gutsy veteran presence in the paint. He is a good teammate and can teach Joakim Noah a trick or two. Let us not forget that he also has size for a center at 7 ft tall and over 260 lbs. Miller give the Bulls a big strong body to throw at some of the bigger centers in the league. So is Miller going to be a bigger factor in the locker room or on the hardwood? Let us take a look.

Best-case.
Joakim noah will be the Bulls starter at center unless Noah has a major meltdown that is. Miller is getting older and really can not play a ton of minutes and still be affective. Anything more then 20 minutes a night is pushing it if you ask me. Vinny will have to be smart when using Miller by trying to exploit mismatches and by pulling the other teams center out of the paint with his shooting ability. Miller is a great passer and a pick and roll with Rose could be used effectively. Let us pretend that Miller comes into this season is great shape and can play 20 solid minutes as a backup. If this is the case then I could see him averaging 12 points and 8 rebounds.

Worst-case. Age has a way of creeping up on players in the NBA and centers seem to be the first hit due to all the years of banging in the paint. Miller is a banger and has always been one so he could start to really fade as a player. His knees could start to slow him down even more. I can vividly recall a few plays last season were Miller would put the ball on the floor and try to drive. It was comical to me because he has the footwork and skill but is as fast as molasses. It would not be a stretch to think that Miller will take a substantial step back this season. He might be only able to play 15 minutes or less and if this happens look for him to become a 8 points and 6 rebounds type of player.

My Prediction. For some reason I feel that Miller will lean a bit towards the worst-case senario this season, though it will have more to do with Joakim Noah stepping up his game and eating up most of the minutes. If healthy and in shape Miller can play 20 good minutes, but we all saw him struggle at time last season when he played more then that. Only on a few occasions did he play well for over 30 minutes. I think age will become a factor and I see it as a burden on the Bulls if they are forced to play him over 20 minutes. Also, I see most of the Bulls points coming from Rose, Deng, and Salmons so Miller will be asked to grab boards and make plays. Tyrus will be the Bulls scoring bigman. I know that scares many of you but he has the potential to score 15 a night or more. All in all Miller will be a nice player to have and will be called upon to be a leader on this young team. I think he will average about 20 minutes a night and 9 points and 6.5 rebounds.


Tyrus Thomas.

   I would like to breakdown the Bulls as a whole going into next season, but I thought I would start with writing a blog on each of the Bulls major contributing players first. I already have wrote on Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, and John Salmons. Now it is time to tackle the most mysterious of all the Bulls and hardest to predict, Tyrus Thomas. We have seen him shine by hitting the outside jumper and blocking a ton of shots and we have also seen him disappear. His biggest problem has been his inability to be consistent. Often times he is sitting on the bench at the end of close games while Noah is out there hustling. I really think it all comes down to effort and focus with Tyrus and those two things come with maturity. Thomas is very young still and has the talent to ne an allstar level player but it is all up to him as to how bad he wants to make that leap. So which Tyrus will we see this season? Let us take a look.

Best-case.
Last offseason Tyrus worked on his jumper and when the season started and he began to shoot jumpers I cringed. I was so used to his ugly shot that it took me a while to realize that he had worked hard that offseason. Let us assume that Tyrus is working hard this offseason as well. I hope he is working on an inside game and defense but in any case it is quite possible that we will see a better Thomas on the floor this season. His numbers over his first three seasons tell us that he is getting much better with every passing year. He will will be our starting power forward this season and if he can be consistant and stay focused then he could see a lot of playing time and his numbers could make a big jump. His scoring has gone from 5.2ppg to 6.8ppg to last seasons 10.8ppg. His rebounding has gone from 3.7 rpg to 4.6rpg to last seasons 6.4rpg. Those are nice trends and you know he will be blocking shots left and right. It might not be likely but Thomas could have a breakout season and average 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game while shooting .470 from the floor.

Worst-case. It is hard to not look at the growth that Tyrus has shown but at the same time he seems to lack consistency way more then any other Bull. You just do not know what you are going to get from him night to night and for that reason Vinny may continue to keep him out of close games and Thomas' minutes may suffer. He can be a 20 and 10 guy for three games straight and then lay egg after egg after egg. It is not a huge stretch to think that this style of play could persist into this season. My biggest fear with a young emotional player like Thomas is a mental breakdown. His lack of attention could easily lead to frustration and that frustration could lead to a breakdown or at least very unpredictable play. Could we have seen all that tyrus can be? Has he hit the top? Will his lack of focus and effort keep him from blossoming? If so then he may only average 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks while shooting .450 from the floor.

My Prediction. Tyrus seems like the kind of player that puts a lot of effort into practice and getting better. You can see it in his eyes that he knows that he is good and can be great. But when he steps on the hardwood things seem to change a bit for him. He does not look so comfortable. He has improved in this area, do not get me wrong, but he often has that lost look on his face when he has lost his man on a pick or when he gets a pass down low. The Bottomline to me is that he is young and has gotten better each season and I think he will mature in time to become a very good player in this league. I just do not see him breaking out this season. I could be wrong on this as he is very hard to predict but a breakout season is a best-case senario and I can not make that my prediction. I think he will improve this season for sure as he has done every season in the past. He will come into the season with a few new tricks for sure. Maybe a three point shot, which I hope is not the case, or better footwork in the paint. I think if Tyrus puts in the time that he could become great at anything he just has to pick the right areas to work on and work hard at it. I think we will see less of the lost looks on his face this season as well. In the end I predict him to average 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game while shooting .465 from the floor.


John Salmons.

   I would like to breakdown the Bulls as a whole going into next season, but I thought I would start with writing a blog on each of the Bulls major contributing players first. I already have wrote on Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and Kirk Hinrich. Now it is time to breakdown John Salmons. Salmons came to the Bulls along with Brad Miller in perhaps the best trade of last season. Some will argue that the Nuggets trade for Chauncey Billups was better and I might agree, but nobody can say the Bulls got the short end of the deal with the Kings. The Bulls robbed them. Salmons was a steal. He is a sure starter on just about any team. He can play both the shooting guard and small forward and is a good defender and can create his own shot. In many ways he is what the Bulls wanted Ben Gordon to be. Sure BG is a better scorer and a bit more clutch, but Salmons is bigger and plays savvy basketball on both ends. Something that Gordon will not give you. Bottomline Salmons is a complete player, much like Kirk Hinrich. So were does Salmons fit in on the Bulls and how good can he be? Let us take a look.

Best-case.
First off, with no Ben Gordon on the team Salmons will be looked for to score more and he will see a lot of minutes. There is a chance that the Bulls may have Salmons start at the small forward spot and have Luol Deng come off the bench until he can prove himself, but in a perfect world John Salmons would be out starting Shooting guard and Deng would play well enough to start at small forward. Hinrich would then be the 6th man. If this is the case, which I hope it will be, then look for salmons to be playing 35+ minutes a game and be either a second or third option on offense. For the sake of best-case senario we will have John as the Bulls number two option and spliting time as the starting SG and some time at SF. It is possible then that Salmons could average 20 points, 4.5 rebonds, and 3.5 assists while shooting .475 from the floor.

Worst-case. I think it is within the realm of possibilities that John Salmons had a career season last year and that he really is not that good. Many players have come into this league and had one good season and then gone down hill. Remember Ron Mercer? Mercer had season were he almost averaged 20 ppg. So one could argue that Salmons having one solid season was a fluke and that nobody should count on him to repeat what he did this year. He is also 29 years old. That is pretty old to finally be figuring out how to play in the NBA. So let us pretend that this season was an accident and that Salmons returns to his old playing habits. If this happens then Kirk will be the starter and John will come off the bench and may only see 25 minutes a game or even less. If this is the case then he may only average what he did a season ago. 12.5 ppg, 4 rpg, and 2.5 apg, all while shooting .460 from the floor.

My Prediction. Well if you look at Salmons career stats you will quickly see that he has gotten better every season and has taken a couple of big jumps the last two years. To me he simple is comming into his own and the Bulls just might have a very good player on their hands. If Salmon's game continues to improve at the same pace that it has then he could be an Allstar, but I am not that bold to predict anything like that. I do think that he has shown to be more reliable then Deng and therefore should be the Bulls second leading scorer behind Rose. Infact he could become the leading scorer depending on how much better Rose is this season, but one would have to think that Rose will be the centerpiece of the Bulls offense and judging on his rookie play you have to think he is an Allstar talent in this upcoming season. I think Salmons will fill in nicely for Ben Gordon if he starts at the two guard which i think he should. He is the perfect sized SG at 6'6" and 210 lbs. He also is a solid shooter from anywhere on the floor. I think he is a much better fit with Rose then BG was and is smart enough to know when to pass the ball. I think Salmons will be a big factor for the Bulls this season adn should see about 35 minutes a game and average 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists all while shooting .470 from the floor.

Kirk Hinrich.

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

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

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

My Prediction. Kirk Hinrich is a team captain and a solid veteran and for this reason I lean a bit more towards the best-case senario. Kirk plays with heart and it a gritty player and will be a defensive stopper off the bench. With no Ben Gordon slowing down the offense I see Kirk stepping up and being a very good 6th man. I am now seeing clearly how much crisper the Bulls rotation looks without Ben Gordon. Sure BG won us some games last season with his crazy scoring but Kirk is a more complete player and I think he will shine without BG on the team. The Bulls can go small with Rose, Hinrich, Salmons, and Deng if they want in some games and this too could be a great advantage for the Bulls. Keeping Kirk makes so much sense for so many reasons. I predict that Kirk will come off the bench as a very good 6th man and play 30+ minutes a game and will Average 12 points and 4 assists.

Luol Deng.

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

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

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

My Prediction. With Rose running the teams offense and Ben Gordon being done I see Deng being a big part of the Bulls season. I think he will get hurt at some point and miss about 10 games total. He will lay a few eggs thoughout the season as well, but he will also have a few superstar-like games as well. During a healthy stretch last season Deng averaged 20 and 8 and was shooting well over .500 from the floor. He was also very consistant in that stretch, so I think he will be overall a pretty consistant player this season. John Salmons still gives the Bulls another outside scorer to spread the defense so Deng should be able to do his thing. If the Bulls keep Kirk Hinrich, which I hope they do, then the Bulls will have another shooter as well. Rose is the first option on this team now that Gordon is gone and I see Deng being a solid second option. My guess is he averages about 16 and 6 while shooting .485 from the floor. I also think he will score 40+ in at least one game.

Joakim Noah.

     I would like to breakdown the Bulls as a whole going into next season, but i thought I would start with writing a blog on each of the Bulls major contributing players first. I thought I would start with Joakim Noah. He was the Bulls starting center last season and had a great post season in the now epic Bulls vs Celtic series. So, just how good can Noah become, or have we seen the best of what he can offer already? Let us take a look.

     Best-case. I think Noah would have the best chance to grow and prove himself this upcoming season without the likes of Chris Bosh or Carlos Boozer in a Bulls uniform. While having either of those two might be best for the Bulls as a team, I think Noah's statline would suffer. I do think that having an offensive minded player like Bosh or Boozer could make Noah shine in the sense that he would complement either of those two greatly. He plays with energy and has become a good shot blocker and a very good low post defender. On offense he is in the top ten percentile when it comes to basketball knowledge for a center. He is a smart player and knows were to be on the floor at all times. He is a great passer for a bigman and more importantly he knows when to give up the ball. He knows his own limitations and then might be his greatest strength.
     So what kind of season would be a best case senerio for Noah? I think if the Bulls decide to make no trades and stick with what they have for one season that Noah will see big minutes and be a much bigger factor for the Bulls then if they were to land a star low post player. Like I said though, this may not be the best overall choice for the Bulls, but Noah would surely. I think if all the stars are aligned Noah could average 13 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks in 36 minutes of action.
    
      Worst-case. Obviously a major injury would be worst-case so I will exclude injuries from my analysis. Like I mentioned I think if the Bulls acquire a player like Bosh or Boozer that it will hurt Noah's number. It may very well help mature Noah and make him a better player, but you would have to think then Boozer would get his points and rebounds and that Noah would take on the role as energy guy/defender. Also, was the series against the Celtics just a fluke? Kevin Garnett was in street clothes. Would Noah have averaged 10 points and 13 rebounds if the Celtic's bigmen were healthy? I think not. Was Noah's steal and 70 sprint to the basket for an and one the highlight of his career? What I am saying is that we just might have seen the very best of Noah already. So, if all the stars do not line up I could see Noah slipping a bit and averaging 6 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block in 28 minutes of play.
     
      My Prediction. I think it is a good idea to look at the best/worst-cases for a player and then go somewhere in between. I do not know what the Bulls might do as far as a trade. Boozer this summer? Bosh before the deadline? Amar'e? There are a lot of questions, but I have to tink that Noah still has some room to get better. Will he be the player we saw in the Celtics series every night of the season? No. I think he will lay his eggs as he matures, but I also think that this might be the season were we see him have some crazy games were he might score 15 points and grab 20+ rebounds. He has talent and a brain. He may not be very athletic but he can make up for that with grit. I think it is safe to say that he will average 9 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks in 32 minutes of action. These stats are up across the board from this past season. I just think Noah proved himself in the playoffs to be a solid starting center in the NBA and he will see the minutes to produce.

     There is a solid debate to be had as to if the Bulls are better or worse for having lost Ben Gordon in the offseason. One thought is that the Bulls lost their best player and their clutch go to guy and that they will be lucky to even make the playoffs. The other side of the debate is that losing Ben Gordon made the Bulls a more balanced team and allows Derrick Rose to shine. Both side have very valid thoughts behind their theories that should be looked at. So, are the Bulls better by subtraction, or will they be taking a step back this season? Let us take a look.

Best-case. Addition by subtraction is the theory here. Some believe that the Bulls are better for having lost Gorodn in the offseason. Could the Bulls be more balanced? Maybe. Ben Gordon did slow the offense down and was only average at best on defense. If John Salmons slides over to the shooting guard then the Bulls gain size and defense at the sacrifice of of a little offense. Salmons is no push over on offense however and could match Gordon's output last season without raising any eyebrows. Many of us remember a past president saying that "The buck stops here!". Well with BG the saying is "The ball stops here!". Gordon would often hold onto the ball and dribble to much and force bad shots. This is not to say this happened all the time, but often enough to really slow the offense down. I myself would rather have Rose with the ball. Rose is a much better play maker and a bigger threat to drive and finish. Everyone knew that Ben was going to shoot a jumper and that allowed defenses to roam a bit. Losing BG also gives the Bulls a better rotation with Rose and Salmons starting and Kirk coming off the bench as a 6th man Manu-style. Kirk would be deadly off the bench. A combo guard that can run the offense very well and defend just about any guard in the league. The big question in this all is Luol Deng. If Deng is healthy and his old self then the Bulls can start him and move Salmons over, but if Deng struggles again then John may have to start at the small forward making Kirk the starting SG and thereby creating a small lineup that would be challenged on defense for sure. Pargo would then be in the rotation and I would rather have him used on a smaller scale. If things work out for Deng and the Bulls are healthy with a solid rotation and depth then it would not be out of the question for the Bulls to win 50 games and snag the 4th seed in the playoffs.

Worst-case. In this senario the Bulls would struggle badly on offense without the go to player in Ben Gordon. Also Deng would struggle again with injuries and not be effective. Salmons would be forced into the starting small forward spot and the Bulls would again have a small lineup. Tyrus Thomas would hit a wall and not continue to improve. A heavy burden would be placed on the aging Brad Miller at center and he would be made to play more minutes then he should. Derrick Rose would be distracted with off court issues and would not improve greatly. The Bulls could start off really slow and the losses would pile up. They could enter the new year with a twice as many losses and wins. This would shatter confidence on the young team and that would boil over into the locker room. Vinny would get the axe and the season would be a loss. This would also set up a deadline trade were the Bulls would have to give up much more to get what they want had they had a winning record. Just writing this makes me sick because as a Bulls fan I have seen this type of season all to often in the past. The Bulls would end the season strong but miss the playoffs with only 37 wins.

My Prediction. The original idea behind this Best/Worst-case senerio series was to find that place in the middle for making a sound prediction and this is were it really comes into play. The Bulls are one off the most difficult teams to predict this season because they could really go both ways and nobody would be shocked. However, if I simply go in the middle here then I place myself in the light of not being able to be bold. I will have to use caution here. I think Rose will have a great season and that will be the heart of the Bulls season. I do tend to lean on the idea of addition by subtraction so I think the Bulls will make the playoffs. Deng is a big question to me. If healthy the Bulls could be really good. Also, I do think Thomas will get better this season. I just hope he does not shoot to many jumpers this year and I hope he learns a few post moves. I think noah will continue to be a pest of defense and could average 10+ rebounds a game. I think overall the Bulls will be more balanced and I love the idea of Kirk coming off the bench. The Bulls will start off slow like always but I think will be close to .500 come the new year. I am not slod on the Bulls making a midseason trade unless it is for a player like Chris Bosh and that would require the Raptors to not be playing well. The best bet is keeping the team together and making a splash next summer with all the money they will have. They should be able to land a superstar like hometown hero Dwyane Wade or a bigman like Bosh. Then the Bulls would be clear contender. Ok, back down to earth. I think the Bulls will have a slightly better season this year and could take a team to a game 7 again in the first round. In the end I am going to predict 43 wins and the 6th seed.

I hope you enjoyed the read and again please reply with your thought. Thanks.

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