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Tag:Joakim Noah
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:05 pm
 

The 5 Reasons Noah’s Return Could Mean Top 2 Seed

With the Bulls going into the All-star weekend with a huge victory over the league leading Spurs, the Bulls appear to be firing on all cylinders. The Return of Noah should only add fuel to the fire that is the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls have won 17 of their last 23 games which equates to a .739 winning percentage. Let’s look at 5 ways that Noah’s return could spell out the Bulls getting home court in the Playoffs.

5. Easy Adjustment

Of all the important players on the Bulls, Noah is the easiest one to move back into the lineup without disturbing the flow of the team’s offense or defense. The Bulls are simply going to move Kurt Thomas to the bench and insert Noah. Noah does not demand the ball or disrupt things on offense. In fact his abilities on the glass and knack for making plays and running the floor instantly makes the Bulls better on all fronts.

4. Picking up the Pace

One thing, amongst many, that Noah does better then Asik and Thomas is run the floor. The Bulls have not been a great transition team since Noah has been out. Noah’s ability to run the floor will change all that and Derrick and Joakim can start pushing it again against slower opponents. Quick buckets are simply underrated and the Bulls’ offense sure could use some more help in that department.

3. Rebounds

The Bulls are already leading the league in rebound differential, but what they are missing is Noah’s keen ability to grab offensive rebounds and thus hand the Bulls another opportunity to score. Second chance points are going to be important for this Bulls team as they lack scoring at the shooting guard position and getting another chance at the basket will help to mask this issue a bit.

2. Defense

Sure Big Sexy stood up and did a heroic job of filling Noah’s shoes while Noah was out, but Kurt simply lacks the size, length, and agility to deal with today’s centers. Noah on the other hand can stay in front of most centers and has the length and strength to bang down low with all but the biggest of the big. Noah adds another shot blocker to the mix and his overall heart on defense will be felt the first second he steps on the floor. A great defensive team just gets better.

1. Vocal Leadership

We all know that Noah is a good rebounder and defender, but his vocal leadership is way underrated. Great teams always have that player that screams after a big play and encourages his teammates to be even better. Boston has Garnett in that role and we have Noah. The effect of this ability is constant and passive and cannot be measured but it can win Playoff games and Noah has it in abundance.

Category: NBA
Posted on: December 16, 2010 3:14 pm
 

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: November 10, 2010 11:26 am
 

Do the Bulls really need Carmelo Anthony?

Okay, it is well known that Carmelo Anthony is likely leaving Denver at some point. It could be as early as next week or at late as next summer, but the guy is leaving. The three teams on his list are the Knicks, Bulls, and Nets. I am not exactly sure what the other teams are willing to trade to land him but I am sure they can both offer nice packages as both have some nice young players. The Bulls have stated that they will not part with Noah in any deal for Melo and it is easy to see why. Of course Rose is not going anywhere and I think it is very unlikely that the Bulls will offer Boozer on December 15th simply because he is the scoring bigman that this team has needed for years. that leaves really only one offer that the Bulls can make and this is it.

Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, James Johnson, and a 1st rounder or maybe even two for Carmalo Anthony.

My question becomes: Does this make the Bulls a better team? I mean you really have to consider what the Bulls would be losing and what they would be gaining. Carmelo is a elite scorer that can hit clutch jumpers and back smaller guys down with his solid post skills. However, he is about as average a defender as they come. My real concern is his personality. He is yet another NBA player on a long list of players that have demanded to be traded. What happens if he beomes unhappy in Chicago? Will he cause major chemistry issues? If at some point he wants out he could cost us a title. It is not like the Nuggets are a bad team. They have bult around him prety well and have a good head coach. Does he simply want to be in a big city like Chicago or New York or is it about conflicts with team managers? Could he be a poison to a team? Call me drastic if you will but I am not sold on him and I think we might be giving up a lot in this trade.

Sure a starting lineup including Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah would be lights out and could compete with the big dogs. However, who comes off the bench? Kyle Korver and ... With no more Taj Gibson that would mean Kurt Thomas or Brain Scalabrine which is a hug drop off talent-wise. We would still need a better backup point gaurd because Watson has looked quite bad. We would also have issues still at the SG. I am sure Bogans or Brewer would be fine with the other four out there, but Wouldnt it be safer and a bit wiser to address real needs first like a bcak up point guard and perhaps a better shooting guard?

The Bulls would be losing a SF that can defend well and nail 3 pointers, can slash and post up in Luol Deng. They would also be losing a young power forward that is having a breakout season thus far in Taj Gibson. We could stand to lose James Johnson, but if it cost us 2 first rounders then we are selling out or future as well. It is a gamble and the Bulls are not in the business of taking a ton of risks. I think if we could goback in time and know that LeBron was going to Miami, then we could have kept Kirk Hinrich and signed Boozer and called it a day. The loss of Hinrich is causing our biggest flaw, a lack of a playmaker besides Rose. Once we have Boozer we should have plenty of scorig with Rose, Korver, Deng, Gibson, Boozer, and even Noah. Do we need another? Do we want to trade balance for another superstar?

I know people love to say that it takes superstars to win a title, well the Bulls have a young superstar in Rose and Boozer and Noah are both stars in their own right. Plus you have a Luol Deng that can drop 40 on you and you have both star power and balance. Titles are also won with good roleplayers as well as some depth. I am not saying a deep 12 man rotation is needed, but you need a solid 8 man rotation with 2-3 stars to win it all. Gibson will be a great roleplayer when Boozer returns and Korver, Brewer, and Asik are all nice players as well.

One more factor to consider is Derrick Rose. The guy openly stated he wants to be a MVP. He wants to be the best player in the league, so he certainly wants to be the best player on his own team. Carmelo Anthony is right now a better player then Rose, so would adding him upset Rose? Let us be honest here Bulls fans. Rose wants to be an Alltime great and he never reached out to LeBron in the offseason. Had he we might have seen a different Bulls team this year. one with LeBron James on it. Was it Rose's desire to be the best that kept him from even calling LeBron once? that is something only he knows, but it is certainly something to tink about. Adding Melo could upset Rose.

Well, that is the end of my rant. My question to you is if you think the Bulls should for Melo and trade how much?
Posted on: November 5, 2010 11:43 am
 

ChiTownCliff's Top 10 - Power Rankings #1

Well most teams have 4 to 6 games under their belt so I think we have a small taste of what teams look good early off and what teams should be able to establish themselves as forces for the rest of the season. I only want to look at the top 10, because that is all that really matters right? If you make the top 10 then you are either a contender for the title or real close to it. Outside of the top ten and you have some issues to deal with or you simply are a bad team. 

Well let us take a look at the Top 10 teams thus far.

1. Lakers
. How any other team could be ranked number 1 is beyond me. The Lakers are clearly the best team in the league. Kobe looks like himself and should still be considered in the running for the MVP, but the real stars of this team are the newly added Matt Barnes and Steve Blake. These two smaller pickups were well thought out by Laker's brass and have been a big part of the Lakers early success.




2. Celtics. Coming out of the gates and handing the Heat a loss goes was the perfect start to their season, but they have looked very good since as well. Rondo is averaging an amazing 16.4 assists per game and the green machine is off and running like they are well oiled. Paul Pierce has showed little signs of aging and the J.O. pickup looks like a solid move thus far.




3. Heat. The number that sticks out to me so far with this team is the average margin of victory which is a league leading 16.6 points. That is pretty scary. After their first game loss to the Celtics this team has looked pretty great since. Winning big against the Nets and Timberwolves is not a big deal, but the pounding they put on the Magic is.





4. Hornets. Who would have thought, right? This team is not only 4-0 but they have won against the likes of the Bucks, Nuggets, Spurs, and Rockets. Beating those 4 in a row proves you are doing something right. Chris Paul looks like his old self leading the NBA already in NBA efficiency with a 21-6-9 statline. Play from Belinelli and Thornton have been key but really missing in action is Trevor Ariza, who if he can get on track, could be an X-Factor for this team.




5. Magic. Getting hammered by the Heat does not make a good statement, but this team is still a great team. They simply had a bad night. I do not tink they will lose like that to the Heat again. In their two wins thay have looked great and Dwight Howard has added a little offensive punch to his game in the form of an outside shot that looks better then ever, but he needs to continue to be that force in the paint on defense if this team want to make it to or past the ECF.




6. Hawks. Okay, so they are 5-0, but I do not think this team is quite top 5 yet. Their wins have come against the Pistons, Cavaliers, Wizards, 76ers, and Grizzlies. That might have been a feat 5 years ago but not today and they face the Timberwolves tonight. We will not know what to think of this team until after next week when they face the Suns, Magic, Bucks, and Jazz.




7. Mavericks. This team has all the parts to have a 60+ win season. Most have played together for a few seasons and Jason Kidd continues to defy age, but the key to this team is the fact that Dirk is still in his prime and puting up great numbers. His ability to score from anywhere opens the floor for everyone else. This team has plenty of scoring theats and now they have some big defenders to clog the paint in Chandler and Haywood.




8. Thunder. Big wins against the Bulls and Trail Blazers has this team close to being in the talks with the elite. They still lack size and that may turn into a bigger issue down the road, but for now the duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook looks like a top 1/2 punch in the league.





9. Trail Blazers. It is hard not to like tis team. With Brandon Roy putting up jumpers from the outside and LaMarcus Aldridge turining into an elite back to the basket player Portland has their bases covered. Sprinkle in a savvy veteran point guard in Miller and a defender of the paint in Camby and this team is on a roll. Just wait until they add more size in JP and Oden.




10. Spurs. The combo of Duncan, Parker, and Manu is already a thing of history and it looks like they will continue to be together for quite some time. Sure they could use some new springs in the legs, but they are wise and well coached. This team can never be ruled out until Duncan retires. Jefferson is also starting to play the way they were hoping he would. This is a darkhorse team in the west if you ask me.





Let us take a look at a few players that have come out of the gates on fire. The Sexy Seven.

Monta Ellis.
they guy is just thowing up sick numbers and is leading the league in points per at an even 30 a game. His Warriors are 3-1 and just missed my list. Toss in 4 rebounds, 6 assists, and 55% shooting from the floor and Warriors' fans must be happy.

Joakim Noah. It is still early but it looks like Noah could lead the league in rebounding. He is right now with 15.3 per game to go along with 14 points and 2 blocks. He also has had 4 double doubles in 4 games and it seems unlikley that that trend wont continue.

Luis Scola. 23 points and 14.5 rebounds per! Are you kidding me? While the Rockets may be 0-4, Scola is proving to be a star player in this league. I wonder if these numbers will continue.

Rajon Rondo. I do not care how overrated the steals per and assist per statistics are, if you are averaging 16+ assist per game you are doing a good job of gettting the ball to were it needs to go. Rondo certainly is the front runner to lead the league in assists and by a large margin.

Pau Gasol. 23.8ppg, 11rpg, and 4.4apg is pretty darn scary. The Lakers made the best trade perhaps of the past decade when they landed this guy. He is a top 3 bigman for sure with Howard and Dirk and he plays with the best team in the league. I see no end to these types of numbers from him.

Derrick Rose. With 26.8 ppg(2nd) and 10 apg (5th) Rose is slowly becoming the superstar that many thought he would be. Thesse numbers should stay high but his scoring will certainly come down a bit when Boozer returns. 

Russell Westbrook. Durant who? Just kidding, but this guy must be the most underrated point guard in the league. A debate could be had that he is a top 3 PG right now. He certainly is as good as Derrick Rose if you ask me.

Just missing the Sexy Seven are: Paul Millsap, Dirk Nowitzki, and Rudy Gay.

Hope you enjoyed the read and please reply with your Top Ten and your Sexy Seven or simply give your thoughts. Thanks. 
Posted on: October 31, 2010 11:36 am
 

+ Best NBA Halloween Mask?

First off I would like to say happy Halloween to everyone. I thought it would be fun to poke a bit of fun at the ugly and scary looking NBa players. So if a mask was made for any NBA player which one would scare the most people?

Here are seven masks that I came up with and why I think they would scare people.

1. Delonte West. Scary because you would be afraid he would sleep with your mom.

2. Joakim Noah. I am his biggest fan, but his face is just so messed up looking.

3. Didier Ilunga-Mbenga. The child of batboy and E.T.

4. Rajon Rondo. Just in case you wanted to be a tranny for Halloween.

5. O.J. Mayo. I mean his first name is O.J. That alone is scary.

6. Rashard Lewis. In case you want to trick-or-treat as the most overpaid player in the NBA.

7. Omer Asik. The guy is so white everyone would think you were a ghost.

On a personal note, I am going as a Cavaliers fan with a Cavaliers LeBron Jersey on and dynomite strapped to my chest (road flares) and a remote in my hand. I plan on walking up to people and asking them if they have seen LeBron.

Anyways, which mask would you pick?
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: October 3, 2010 6:37 pm
 

Chicago Bulls: Season Preview & Predictions.

Okay, so it is time to start blogging again with the preseason starting this week and all. I am so happy the season is finally here and what a great season it could be for many teams that made big moves this summer. I think it goes without saying that the Miami Heat made the biggest moves but a few other made some solid moves as well including my Bulls. So where do the bulls stand in the East now? How many games should we expect them to win in the regular season? How well will each player perform? Will the Bulls make it out of the first round tis season? There are a lot of questions to answer so let us get started. I will first break down each player and then the team as a whole. I hope you enjoy.

The Players.

Derrick Rose. Rose is certainly the new face of the Chicago Bulls and the first Allstar we have had since MJ and this being his third season we should get an idea of what we have here in Chicago. Most Superstars become superstars in the third season. Will Rose? Maybe. I do not think he will enter the ranks of Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, But I think he will become a bigtime player. A seond tier Superstar if you will. Last season he ranked 14th in point per game and I see him moving into the top 10 even with the addition of Boozer. Derrick has had to holes in his game in the past. One being his ability to hit from downtown which looks to be vastly improved, but the other issue, his defense, is still a big question mark. Rose has the size, strength, and speed to be a very good defender, he just needs to get there mentally. Coach T is a good fit to help Rose become the best player he can be and I think Rose will shine this season. His assist numbers should move up a bit with the addition of Boozer and Korver who both hit a high percentage from the floor and his scoring should increase a bit if he is sharing the backcourt with Brewer who is more defense minded.

Stat Prediction: 23 ppg, 8 apg, 3.5 rpg, 1 spg, .475 FG%, .350 FG3%

Carlos Boozer.
The Bulls finally have their back to basket player that they have been seeking since Elton Brand was traded away nearly a decade ago. If healthy Boozer is the perfect fit in Chicago. I know I was pro-Chris Bosh before but that was mainly do to the fact that Bosh was younger and healthier. Boozer is really the better player if healthy and a great teammate. his ability to make the pass in the post and his pick and roll skills are a great match. If he gets the double he can pop it out to an open Korver, a driving Rose, a slashing Deng, or simply bounce pass it to Noah on the block. There really is not a player out there with his skill set that the Bulls could have snagged and the Bulls also got him at a bargin with teams like the Knicks overpaying for Amar'e Stoudemire and the David Lee deal. I am happy with this pickup as it does put the Bulls close to contention. The big looming storm cloud is Boozer's health. Last season he put up great numbers, but I am not sure the Bulls will see those kind of stats from him. He will not be great but he will be just what the doctor ordered.

Stat Prediction: 17.5 ppg, 3 apg, 9.5 rpg, 1 spg, .5 bpg, .525 FG%

Luol Deng.
Here we have another player that is known to get hurt, but he had a solid rebound season last year and I think he is a perfect fit for a third option on any offense. I understand he is being paid like a number 1 or 2 option, but with Boozer and Rose taking the big shots, Deng can focus on defense with his long frame and he can also keep defenses honest with his ability to hit the open jumper. Deng is at his best when he is slashing and moving and we saw a lot of that last season and I think we will only see more. Luol is far from great at creating his own shot, but with Boozer drawing in defenders Deng could see more open shots in stride. Overall, I think the addition of Boozer will hurt Deng's numbers but I think he will be a more effective player with open lanes and looks.

Stat Prediction: 14.5 ppg, 2 apg, 6 rpg, 1spg, .485 FG%, .375 FG3%

Joakim Noah.
I am a huge fan of Joakim Noah and his ability to get under the skin of other players and play nasty defense, but to be honest I am not sure he is going to get all that much better stat-wise as a player. I think he is close to his ceiling. He is a double double machine that can shot block and rebound like nobodies business. I simply cannot see him becoming a better scorer and he already is a good ball handler and passer for a bigman. Having Boozer in the paint could hurt his rebounding numbers a bit but his scoring could go up slightly. I think we all know what we are going to get from Noah when he steps on the hardwood. Energy, energy, and more energy, and he is just the type of player that most Championship teams have in the fold in one way or another. The Bruce Bowens, James Poseys, Dennis Rodmans, Ron Artests of the world. The players that are not affraid of anyone or anything and are willing to roll up their sleeves and get dirty.

Stat Prediction. 12 ppg, 2.5 apg, 10.5 rpg, 1 spg, 2 bpg, .500 FG%

Ronnie Brewer.
I remember a few years ago when Brewer was getting a lot of hype as an up and comer. Those ideas have faded as Brewer has never been able to turn into the complete player that many thought he would become. He is very athletic and a good finisher, but his jumper is off and he is scary bad from downtown. However, Brewer has change his game and now focuses on being a defender first. In many ways he is a lot like Hinrich with his ability to matchup with the other teams elite player and slow them down or shut them down, but Brewer is bigger, stronger, and much more athletic then Kirk was and should fit in nicely even if he does come off the bench which I would prefer. A Brewer/Watson Combo off the bench would have defense and firepower. I am not expecting much from brewer this season, but think his defense will be a big part of the Bulls chances of advancing in the Playoffs.

Stat Prediction. 8 ppg, 2.5 apg, 3 rpg, 1.5 spg, .475 FG%

Kyle Korver.
Korver was a great backup plan to J.J. Reddick and perhaps an even better fit for the Bulls. He Knows his place and his job is clear. Hit open threes all night long. Kyle is an average deffender at best but I like him as a starter for the Bulls at the shooting guard and splitting minutes with Brewer. I think his ability to spread defenses has to be utilized as much as possible with Derrick and Boozer. Having him come off the bench kills the whole reason we brought him in. He needs to be out there with Rose nailing threes and driving other teams coaches mad. With him in the starting lineup the Bulls would have a nasty starting offense that could blow up a big lead in a hurry and then the Bulls could slow it down a bit and bring in Taj and Brewer to play defense.

Stat Prediction. 9 ppg, 1.5 apg, 2 rpg, .5 spg, .480 FG%, .450 FG3%

Taj Gibson. With Boozer on board Gibson's minutes will be cut bigtime and thus so will his numbers. Gibson will continue to be a great defender and should have his way in the paint with most other teams bench power forward. Gibson is a jack of all trades kind of player in the mold of P.J. Brown. He is fundamentally sound but lacks the talent to be a star in this league. He will have a long career as a backup and a darn good one at that, but he just lacks the flash and skills to be a huge threat. He can be brought in to be a pest on defense or to slow down another teams bigman and he is always good for a shot block or two. The best thing about Gibson is his basketball IQ, which is very very high and he always makes great choices with the ball or without the ball. He will have a few games this season were he will put up big numbers but Boozer is the man now and Gibson needs to keep on adding bulk and perfecting his jumper which is not bad as it stands.

Stat Prediction. 6.5 ppg, 1 apg, 5 rpg, 1.25 bpg, .510 FG%

C.J. Watson.
I think the Watson pickup might be the sleeper pickup for the Bulls this season. He is a great firecracker off the bench and he should do what the Bulls were hoping Pargo would do last season and that is to be a spark off the bench. Watson is fast and can score very well from within 18 feet or so. His 3 pointer is not great but he can get hot. His defense is a question mark but with Brewer sharing the floor with him the burden is less. I think he could be a great pickup but I will try and keep my hopes in check and wait to see what he looks like in the Bulls system. Scoring a lot of points for the Warriors is not hard to do. I think he will do just fine with the 10 minutes or so he sees every game.

Stat Prediction. 6.5 ppg, 2.5 apg, 1.5 rpg, 1 spg, .450 FG%, .350 FG3%

The Others.
Past the players that I have listed are some solid roleplayers that will not see many minutes unless there are injuries and the players that could see some action are:

Omar Asik. Will see minutes behind Noah and sounds like he has some offense in the post and is a decent blocker and rebounder. Must see him play on the NBA hardwood to see how good he really is.

James Johnson. Will see minutes perhaps behind Deng, but from what I have heard the Bulls brass are not liking JJ's work ethic. We need no drama so I hope this guy settles down.

Keith Bogans. 6 teams in 7 years is never a good sign, but he could see minutes if there is an injury and he is a solid vet and a consistant player.

Kurt Thomas. Yes, this guy is still in the league. He is a locker room vet that will be a nice to have sitting on the bench and keeping the guys focused. He is also good for 3 minutes a night during a blowout. lol.

Brian Scalabrine. The golden horseshoe himself is now a Chicago Bull so mark your calendars for June because we are going to the Finals baby!

The Team.

The addition of head coach Tom Thibodeau was a fairly bold on the Bulls part and I liken him to Scott Skiles who we never should have gotten rid of in the first place. From what I have heard Tom has been pushing the Bulls hard in training camp as has made his place known and the players seem to have fallen suit. We all know that Thibodeau is a defensive wizard but I think we are all holding our breath to see what the Bulls offense looks like. To me it is simple. push the open floor with Rose on fast breaks for as many easy buckets as you can get. The Bulls will be quick and with Noah on the floor dangerous. If the fast break is stopped then set up the half court slow down game with Rose and Boozer utilizing the pick and roll or rune a series of high screens but leave Noah in the paint for rebounds and easy buckets. Noah no longer has to set those high screens with Boozer on the team and Noah never could hit the jumper or drive to the basket anyways. Keep Joakim were he belongs. The Bulls could also try to get Boozer down low in position first and run the offense through him. Let him decide with the ball in his hands. He has plenty of options. On any fast break were Noah or boozer are in the paint and Korver is standing on the 3 point line make the pass to Kyle for the 3 in stride. 

What I am getting at is that the Bulls players pretty much spell out what needs to be done on offense and I think Tom knows this. Hand the ball to Rose and let him work his Magic. I really feel that the Bulls are a very balanced team and their chemistry should work out just fine. I know there are a lot of new faces, but they are all vets for the most part and everyone seems to know their roles. There really are no headcases on this team and a starting lineup of Rose, Korver, Deng, Boozer, and Noah is very explosive. If the Bulls want more defense then the starting lineup could be more conservative with Rose, Brewer, Deng, Boozer, and Noah. This linup has few holes. The Bulls bench is fairly deep. Not the best in the league, but solid with Korver/Brewer, Gibson, Bogans, Asik, and Watson. 

I think the Bulls will be a top 4 seed. The Heat should lead the pack and the Magic and Celtics will most likely be ahead of the Bulls, but it could be close with those two. The Celtics cannot be counted out. I thought they were done last season at this time only to see them back in the Finals again. The magic could go either way. They do not look quite as sexy on paper as they did before the Heat and Bulls trades. The Bucks and Hawks will be in the mix as well. I could see the Bulls winning as many as 56-58 games this year and I would not be shocked. On the other end we could be looking at a team just above .500. I have to believe the Bulls are better then last season and even better then the team that won 49 games and swept the Wade/Shaq Heat in the first round and few years ago. Injuries will play a big part for sure with players like Boozer, Deng, and even Noah playing. The Bulls lost 10 game in a row last year late in the season when noah was out with his foot injury. The Bulls were playing great basketball at the time and could easily have had won 5 or 6 of those games and finished the season with 46 or 47 wins. Subtract Kirk Hinrich and add Boozer, Korver, Brewer, and Watson and the Bulls are a better team.

My Prediction. Record: 52-30. Advance to the second round in the Playoffs and push either the Magic or Celtics to a game seven but ultimately lose.

Possible Bulls Regrets. Not signing Tracy McGrady if he goes off with the Pistons.

Midseason Trade? Most likely not unless the Bulls can move Deng. The Carmelo Anthony for Joakim Noah trade talks will continue until the Bulls lock up Noah. If the Bulls do not lock up Noah then he could be part of a big trade of some sort. If the Bulls resign Noah and are above .500 by 5-8 games come the deadline then the Bulls will not be making any moves.

Thanks for taking the time to read through this preview. Please reply with your thoughts on my predictions or your perdictions for the Bulls or the east in general. I tried hard not to be bias so let me know what you think.
Posted on: July 16, 2010 9:31 pm
 

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