Posted on: March 7, 2011 2:36 pm
Well I was just looking at the Power Rankings at NBA.com and this week they have the teams Pace, Offensive Rating, and Defensive Rating listed next to each of the teams. Something pretty odd stood out to me. While I knew that the east's elite teams were better at defense then that of the wests, I did not know how dramatic the difference was. On the flip side the west's elite teams are much better on the offensive side and it is not really close. It is just strange to me that each of the top 4 teams from each conference play such different basketball. Let us take a look at the numbers.
Celtics- 97.7 (2nd in the NBA)
Bulls- 97.1 (1st in the NBA)
Heat- 100.4 (5th in the NBA)
Magic- 99.4 (3rd in the NBA)
Spurs- 101.1 (7th in the NBA)
Mavericks- 102.8 (11th in the NBA)
Lakers- 101.4 (8th in the NBA)
Thunder- 104.6 (16th in the NBA)
The two teams that stick out are the Lakers and Spurs as their defensive rating are quite good and rank in the top 10, but all 4 of the elite east teams rank top 5.
Celtics- 105.1 (13th in the NBA)
Bulls- 103.8 (16th in the NBA)
Heat- 108.2 (4th in the NBA)
Magic- 106.2 (10th in the NBA)
Spurs- 109.0 (2nd in the NBA)
Mavericks- 107.7 (6th in the NBA)
Lakers- 108.6 (3rd in the NBA)
Thunder- 108.1 (5th in the NBA)
In regards to offense the only team that stands out is the Heat who rank 4th overall in the NBA making them the only team in the NBA to rank top 5 in both offense and defense. All 4 of the elite teams in the west rank top 6.
Well I guess I do not spend enough time looking at these numbers and they certainly paint a clear picture. The east = defense and the west = offense. I think we all already knew this, but the numbers are still very interesting. Infact when you look at the rest of the teams in th eplayoff picture in both the east and the west you see the same trend.
Hawks-13th Def 18th Off
Knicks- 17th Def 7th Off
76ers- 9th Def 15th Off
Pacers- 12th Def 23rd Off
Nuggets- 18th Def 1st Off
Hornets- 6th Def 19th Off
Blazers- 15th Def 14th Off
Grizzlies- 10th Def 17th Off
The east follows the trend more closely then the west but you can still see that in general the east is more defensive heavy, while the west is more offensive heavy.
Now I thought the best way to simplify this was to add up all the ranks of the top 4 teams in each conference and then compare. Obviously, the lower the total number the better and here is what I came up with:
East Defense Total=11
West Defense Total=42
East Offense Total=43
West Offense Total=16
Posted on: February 21, 2011 2:16 pm
Well the Allstar Game is over and we can move on to "real" basketball. The weekend, was for the most part, a waste of time to watch. Between watching the NBA field guys that cannot even shoot three pointers for the three point content and Griffin being handed the slam dunk contest, I really felt sick as a gazed at the TV. The actual Allstar Game itself was okay, but it was cool to see Kobe Bryant win the MVP even with LeBron doing all could to win it for the east. Anyways, I felt that right now was a good time to throw out my top ten lists. These ARE for play this season so far and for play I expect to see for the rest of the season. I have a Top 10 for each position and Top 20 for players overall and for Top 10 teams. Let us take a look.
Posted on: November 29, 2010 1:49 pm
Well we are about 15 games into the season and it is fair to say that we have a decent sample now to produce a better and more accurate rankings. Again I am only looking at the Top 10 teams. These are the teams that look like they are contenders or close to it at this point. We will alos look at my picks for the Sexy Seven, players that have been plating great since my last rankings. So let us begin.
1. Spurs (10). As long as Ginobili, Parker, and Duncan can stay healthy, I see no real end in sight to their great play. We all new they would be a top 5 team in the west, but nobody thought they would come out of the gate the way they have. Not only are they racking up wins but they are wins against above .500 teams. There is no illusion here, the Spurs are for real. Can they keep this up? Can they stay healthy? Those ar the only two questions I have for this team, but if they are playing like this in the playoffs, then the Lakers are in trouble.
2. Mavericks (7). This team is hot right now and have recently beat Miami, San Antonio, OKC, and Atlanta. They are firing on all cylinders and Dirk is looking like a true MVP again. He ranks 2nd in NBA Efficiency is the league with 26 points, 8 rebounds, while shooting 54% from the field. How do you stop that? Props also have to be thrown at Tyson Chandler, who looks like a perfect fit in Dallas averaging nearly 10 points and 9 rebounds, with 1.6 blocks to boot. Let's hope he can stay healthy.
3. Lakers (1). The Lakers could be number two, but they have just dropped two in a row. I can see losing a game to Utah, but they should have adjusted and beat Indiana. All in all this is still the most complete looking team in the league and could very well reclaim the top spot in my rankings. Kobe is looking better and better with each game and Gasol himself is in the running for MVP. Two MVP level talents together and it is working. Take notes Miami.
4. Celtics. (2). Their record does not show the whole truth as they have been beatin up on the weaker teams in the league lately, but they have adjusted well to losing Rondo to injury, so I have to give then some credit. They still are the deepest and most well rounded team in the east and the favorite to make it to and out of the ECF. As a team they are shooting over 50% fromthe field. It is no wonder that Rondo is averaging near 15 assists per game.
5. Jazz. (-). This is a team on the rise. Out of the deepest corners of the west this team has crept to near the top. Recent wins against both L.A. teams, Portland, and New Orleans has brought this team into the spotlight. We all knew what Deron Williams was, and most of us thought that Al Jefferson would patch the injury left when Boozer left, but few thought that Paul Millsap would become a top ten power forward this quickly. With 19 points and 8.5 rebounds, while shooting 56% from the floor, Milsap has become the next in a long line of great power forwards to play in Utah.
6. Hornets. (4). This team is still hanging in there as one of the top teams in the west. They have a nice inside out game and Okafor finally looks like a good addition. Chris Paul is the real story though. Many wondered, including myself, if he would still be the same player as he was before he got hurt. The answer is yes. He has recaptured the rank of the best point guard in the league is most people's eyes. If not the best, he is certainly top 2 or 3. With a healthy CP3 the Hornets should have a nice season ahead of themselves.
7. Magic. (5). There record is very much like the Celtics in that a lot of the wins have been against weaker teams. Their revenge victory against the Heat however was very nice to see and puts them ahead of the other Florida team for now. Dwight Howard's slight shift from a Defensive to Offensive mindset is almost needed and is a clear sign that this team has a hole. They lack a go to shooter that would clearly make them perhpas the best in the east. Carter and Nelson can light it up from time to time but they need a consistant thread on the wing and they will be complete.
8. Thunder. (8). So who is the best player on this team? In the begining of the season everyone would have killed me for even asking such a question, but not anymore. While Kevin Durant was bathed in talk of the next MVP, Russell Westbrook was transforming into a top 5 point guard. Some could even debate him as the best right now in the NBA. Him and Durant are both top 10 candidates for the MVP. They have started out a bit slower than most thought but they are still winning games and could be a contender out of the west.
9. Bulls. (-). The Bulls have been playing pretty good thus far and better then teir record shows. Close loses to the Spurs and Lakers and a last second loss to the Nuggets without Rose have scarred their record. They have been playing great lately and their 4-3 record on the annual circus trip is a team best since 1998 with MJ and Scottie. Once Boozer returns this week the Bulls will become near complete. They still have needs for a better shooting guard, but with scoring from Rose, Noah, Boozer, and Deng, perhaps a defensive minded Bogans or Brewer might be best.
10. Nuggets. (-). I myself am waiting for this team to implode. Denver knows Carmelo is leaving and his teammates know as well. You would have to think that this will start effecting his temas play. However, having a veteran coach like George Karl might be the difference keeping this storm of emotions in check. As it stands the Nuggets are playing quite well, but Nuggets fans must be more nervous then a Clevelnad fan during the "Decision".
Off the Top 10 this week are the: Heat, Hawks, and Trail Blazers.
Sexy Seven. These are the seven players that have been playing out of their minds over the past few weeks in no order.
Kevin Love. I do not care if he is playing for the Timberwolves or not, the guy is averaging 20.5 ppg and 17.2 apg over the last 10 games. If you are in the NBA and are putting up those kind of numbers then you are the real deal.
Kobe Bryant. Slowly over the past few weeks Kobe is coming to life. Scoring 41 points is only the begining, as he is averaging nearly 30 points per over the last 10 games.
Blake Griffin. Dropping 22.6 and 12.5 over the past 10 games have him a clear favorite for ROY until John Wall can prove otherwise.
Russell Westbrook. He can score, make a play, and defend. He is almost complete and has been playing like a MVP with 24.6 ppg, 8.8 apg, 4.3 rpg, and nearly 2 spg over the past ten games.
Amar'e Stoudemire. STAT is finally making a splash in New York and making him look almost worth the 100 million they spent on him. With 25 ppg, 9.1 rpg, and 2.3 bpg, he has simply been a beast as the Knicks piled up some wins over the last 10.
Derrick Rose. He now ranks 2nd in the league in scoring with 26.6 points per and 8th is assists with 8.2 per. Rose is clearly a superstar now scoring 30 or more in 5 of his last 6 games in which the Bulls went 4-2 with losses only to the Lakers and Spurs.
Dwight Howard. Over the last ten games he is scoring 22.3 points per, with 12.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. He has the Magic on his back and is getting it done on both ends.
Hope you enjoyed the read and please reply with your Top Ten and your Sexy Seven or simply give your thoughts. Thanks.
Posted on: November 5, 2010 11:43 am
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 8, 2010 2:08 pm
I must make it clear as to what I term as an ASSASSIN Team. I am not refering to a crappy team that somehow makes the playoffs or a low to middle seed playoff team that wins the the NBA Finals. What I am looking for is a borderline playoff team that somehow makes the playoffs and grabs the 8th seed and knocks off the top seed in the first round. Think of the Warriors knocking off the Mavericks a few seasons ago. They then went on to lose, but the damage was done. That was a peret expample of an assassin team. Against the odds they killed off a much greater foe.
So which of these four teams do you think could sneak into the playoffs and knock out the top seed in the East or West, likely but not certainly the Heat or Lakers.
Wizards. With John Wall looking like a stud early on and with Josh Howard returning at some point and a guard rotation of Wall, Arenas, and Hinrich the Wizards could be a crafty and quick team. Andray Blatche continues to grow this team might have the pieces to pull off an upset. Another key will be the play of Yi Jianlian.
Knicks. Amar'e Stoudimire and Danilo Gallinari make a nice combo and with a solid a cast of roleplayers the Knicks could be in great shape to make an upset. Amar'e and newly added Anthony Randolph as the center and power forward, with Gallinari on the wing and Felton and Walker in the backcourt is a perfect fit in a fast paced Mike D'Antoni system.
Hornets. If Chris Paul can return to old form then the sky is the limit. A West and Okafor frontcourt is a perfect defense/offense combo that should gel sometime this season. The addition of Ariza at the shooting guard is a huge upgrade for this team and his play and CP3's health are the only concerns at all.
Grizzlies. Sure they overpaid for Rudy Gay but this team is young and has a lot of good pieces in place. They have a pretty good foursome in Mayo, Gay, Randolph, and Gasol. This team could give a contender real trouble. They lack a lot of depth but I could still see them pulling off an upset.
So which of these 4 teams has the best chance of knocking off a top seed in the playoffs? Please leave feedback or add teams into the mix for a healthy debate. Thanks.
Posted on: June 19, 2010 10:26 pm
This is it. I cannot take it anymore. Too many people have no respect for the basketball that was played in the 1990s. False labels have been plastered on it from people who were not even old enough to have watched a single game from the decade. Some call it a soft decade were no defense was played. Other point that there were no other good teams except the Chicago Bulls. This is a heeping pile of bull crap! The 90s were full of great teams both in the east and the west and outstanding defense was still played because the newer rule changes were not in effect. Shooters were murdered on the floor. Hand checking was not even heard of. But I now know the real reason there is no respect for the 90s. It is quite simple.
The reason for no respect is due to the fact that neither the Lakers or the Celtics were any good in that decade. Sure the Lakers were okay at the start of it when Magic Johnson was still playing. You see the NBA is so owned by these two franchises that as fans we simply believe that the 90s lacked any real competition for the Bulls because they did not have to face a good Celtics or Lakers team. This is crazy. The Knicks of the mid 90s were a great team. They played gritty and nasty defense. They were as good a team as any other team to reach the eastern conference finals in league history for the most part. People make it out as if the Bulls had it easy. False. The talent level was great in the 90s. The early part of the decade had the Pistons and the Cavaliers in the east for the Bulls to contend with. Then it was the Knicks, Magic, and Pacers. Even the Heat and the Hornets had good stretches in the 90s.
Out west there were plenty of good teams like the Trail Blazers, Supersonics, Rockets, Suns, Spurs, and Jazz. The Bulls were simply just better then the rest. Would the Bulls have won 6 Championships in the 80s with the team they had in the 90s. Most likely not, but they would have won 3 or 4 and maybe even 5. I never see anyone ask a question like, "Would the Kobe/Shaq Lakers win three in a row in the 80s?" or "How many titles would Russell have won had his team of the 60s played in the 90s?". Nobody asked these questions. Nobody dears to tarnish the legendary Celtics or the showtime Lakers. But the Bulls, well they were just lucky to have played in the 90s. There is no way they would compete in todays game or at any other time in NBA history. The stars in the sky were all just in the right spot at the right time. Also, Michael Jordan is not even a top 5 alltime player if you ask me. Also, I think Paul Pierce is better then a prime Scottie Pippen. Pippen was only good because of MJ. Whats that you say? Pippen had his best season ever without Michael and finished 3rd in MVP voting. Well that is just because Scottie and the Bulls were lucky to play in the 90s. Pippen is really just a roleplayer.
I cannot take it anymore! The 72 win Bulls were the best team to ever step foot on the floor. One could argue they were the best defensive team alltime and they had the greatest player of alltime. Jordan(1x DPOY, 9x Defensive 1st team) Pippen(8x Defensive 1st team, 2x Defensive 2nd team) Rodman(2x DPOY, 7x Defensive 1st team, 7x Rebounding Champ). They simply shut other teams down.
The bottomline to this insane rant is that the Bulls get no respect in the 1990s because the Lakers and Celtics were not good at the time. I would bet my life that had the Celtics had the Knicks' roster and the Lakers had the Jazz's roster in the 90s that there would be no debate. The Bulls 72 win Bulls would be the greatest ever, but because the Celtics and Lakers sucked at the time then so must have the Bulls as well. Dumb.
Whenever the Celtics and Lakers go through a bad stretch of seasons at the same time you have people calling that a bad era in NBA history. What the hell is wrong with us. The world of basketball should not revolve around two teams should it? Do not get me wrong. I do not hate the Lakers or the Celtics as francises, but I do hate that their winning dictates great basketball, but if some other team is playing well then they are just lucky. That is a big crap sandwich and I am not hungry.
Posted on: June 14, 2010 4:44 pm
I would first like to say that this years Finals is turning out to be much better then I thought. My hunch was that it would be a 5 game series one way or the other. In many ways these playoffs have let us down with all the short series and blowouts, but this series looks to have the makings of a classic. Now back to the topic I want to explore, Kevin Garnett and his growing effect on this series.
I am not a true fan of either team, so my thoughts should be viewed as unbias. I think the biggest reason the Celtics are up 3-2 in this series is due to the play of Kevin Garnett. This is coming from the guy that thought the Celtics should have traded Garnett last summer while he still had value. I would insert my foot into my mouth if there wasn't a crow in there.
As this series moves on Garnett is becoming more and more of a force on both ends and Gasol seems to be heading the other direction. Pau clearly looks overwhelmed out there. Garnett and the Celtics defense is taking it's toll on him and the Lakers cannot afford to not have Gasol be a factor. As we all saw last night, Kobe Bryant cannot do it all by himself. Even scoring nearly 40 points was not enough for a win because he had no help. It was like watching the Celtics play the Cavaliers all over again. Gasol needs to score 20 for this series to move to a 7th game. Odom and Artest have been disasters and the Lakers can count only so much on Fish.
So the answer for the Lakers is clearly better production from Gasol, but the problem is is that Garnett is playing like his 2008 self and his defense on Gasol has been stellar. The Celtics simply are too stubborn to budge from their man to man defense on Kobe and this is effecting the Lakers offense on a grand scale. By not using a help defender on Kobe the Celtics are able to play aggressive man to man defense and are not allowing the other Lakers clean looks or easy shots. The Lakers need to make some bigtime adjustments on offense. Odom has to become a factor again and Artest needs to be benched or something. His defense has been solid but his offense is killing the Lakers.
If you compare the stats of Gasol and Garnett you clearly see that Gasol is still the better of the two, but if you ask me Garnett is having the better series. I say this simply because Garnett is making Gasol not play to his normal level. Pau's FG% in this series is his lowest of the playoffs and that can be credited to Garnetts defense. The other thing that gives Garnett the edge in my book is that he is having an effect on the offensive end as well. He is averaging 15.6 points and 3.2 assists per game. When Garnett is hitting jumpers and scoring in the paint the Celtics become a new animal. One that is hard to kill. If Garnett continues to play the way he has been on Gasol and Gasol does not make adjustment then this series will be over in 6. I do expect the Lakers to come out strong in game 6 however and I see this series going to 7 in an epic battle between these two legendary teams. We can all only hoe for a OT game 7.
So do you agree with me that Garnett's play has been the major key to the Celtics series lead or are you thinking it is something else? One could point to the Celtics overall defense or the play of their bench, but I still contest that a healthy Garnett seems to be the achilles heel of the Lakers.
Posted on: June 3, 2010 5:22 pm
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.
Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire, Avery Johnson, Ben Gordon, Brad Miller, Bulls, Byron Scott, Carlos Boozer, Cavaliers, Celtics, Chris Bosh, Clippers, Daniel Orton, David Lee, Derrick Rose, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Eric Bledsoe, Hassan Whiteside, Heat, James Anderson, James Johnson, Jeff Van Gundy, Joakim Noah, Joe Johnson, Kirk Hinrich, Knicks, Lakers, LeBron James, Luol Deng, Nets, Phil Jackson, Rafer Alston, Ray Allen, Scott Skiles, Suns, Taj Gibson, Tom Thibodeau, Xavier Henry