Tag:Luol Deng
Posted on: February 4, 2011 12:50 pm
 

Turkish Delight.

While the Magic have not been a super elite team this season they have been fairly solid. Dwight Howard is putting in another season with MVP-like numbers and is the front-runner for the DPOY. The Magic made that big trade and at first it looked like a great move but now I am not so sure. The main issue is Hedo Turkoglu or the Turkish Delight. He offers the Magic a player that can shoot from just about anywhere and that can also play the point-forward. The problem is his defense. He has to be the worst defender of all the starting small forwards in the league.

Last night allowing LeBron James to score 51 is insane, but that maight happen to anyone right? However Turk has had his share of defensive issues over his career and he now should be a major concern to any Magic fan. While the magic have the best bigman in the league, the other elite teams in the east at least have somewhat respectable players at the center position. The Boston Celtics have Perkins, Shaq, and even Big Baby to throw at him. The Bulls have Noah, Thomas, and Asik. The Heat have.... Oh I forget. Anyways, the Magic's biggest strength has been their play from Dwight, but the lack of a starting small forward might be their undoing come playoff time.

The Celtics have Paul Pierce, the Heat have LeBron James, and the Bulls have Luol Deng. "Luol Deng?" you say. Yes, Luol Deng. Deng completely outshine Turk last week with 26 points and 8 rebounds to Turk's 5 points and 4 PFs. Deng scored at will and at the same time shut Turk down. At some point in the playoffs the Magic will face one or more of these 3 players and it might be the x-factor matchup that sends the Magic home. The playoffs are a lot about matchups and without a perimeter defender to slow down the likes of LeBron, Pierce, and Deng, the magic might be in trouble. Against the Bulls Dwight Howard scored 40 points, but that was becaus the Bulls played him straight up and at the same time shut everyone else down. The magic can be beat even when Howard has a huge stat night. Turk struggles against aggressive defenders like Deng and at the same time cannot stop SF that are quick of the dribble and can shot from range. Turk is like a lost puppy on defense. And just like Turkish Delight he is mainly made out of soft jelly.
Posted on: January 20, 2011 10:23 am
 

Carmelo to the Bulls? Nope. Not happening.

Okay, so we all are aware that the Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov yesterday dropped out of the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes during a press conference. Yesterday it was also reported by YahooSports' Adrian Wojnarowski that the infamous Worldwide Wes is going to Chicago and sources are saying that Melo's "people" are going to try to work a deal with the Chicago Bulls.

This past summer the two sides talked about a trade and neither side would budge on two sticking points. The Bulls wanted to package Deng and his 40 million dollar contract as a centerpiece to any deal, but the Nuggets wanted no part of taking on the extra cap. Also, Denver wanted Joakim Noah and the Bulls flat out said no way. It is hard to think that a deal could ever be put together between these two teams alone. A third team would certainly have to be part of the deal.

So, do I think that Carmelo will become a Chicago Bull? Absolutely not. I think that any person with a clear understanding of how recent negotiations in the NBA have been cunducted with regards to superstars should have a keen insight as to what these talks between Chicago and Melo's people are really all about. It is simply smoke and mirrors. Sure Melo had Chicago on his short list "publically", but in reality there is but one team and city that he want to play for and that team is the New York Knicks. Not really a big shocker at all. So why now are Melo's people moving to the Bulls and trying to spark an old fire? They are using triangulation negotiation tactics in order to place a fire under Donnie Walsh's ass. Walsh is a pretty savvy businessman as he has stepped back a bit from this whole Nets/Nuggets deal and held firm on his offer. He most likely even knew that the Nets would back out. Now the Nuggets are in a hard spot. They turned down the best deal they could possibly get and now are either going to sit on Melo until this summer calling his bluff, trade him to a team like the Rockets or Mavericks as a loaner and get little back in trade, or try to work out a deal directly with the Knicks. Part of me thinks that Donnie Walsh saw all this coming a mile away. This whole thing has shifted a ton of power in the negotiations over to the Knicks who can make a reasonable offer and the Nuggets almost have to take it.

So the Bulls are only being mentioned as a cheap ploy to make it look as if there might be interest from another team in order to drive up the Knicks offer. Melo's people have a clear understanding that Nuggets ownership is being unreasonable and they know if a deal is to be done with the Knicks, that the offer is going to have to be higher or the Nuggets may simply hold onto Melo, or trade him for cap space and a picks as a rental. I am pretty sure that this angle will not work for two reasons. One, the Bulls are not going to part with Joakim Noah. That has not changed and if anything the Bulls will be more firm on the subject as Coach T loves what Noah does for the team and the Bulls have the upper hand now in the negotiation. Also, again the Bulls almost have to deal Luol Deng in any deal to make the money work. On the Nuggets side the Bulls simply have little to offer them. The Bulls would give up Luol Deng, James Johnson, Taj Gibson, and a 1st rounder, but the Nuggets do not want Deng's contract and I am sure they are not that desperate. Maybe a third team could get involved, but again this is never going to happen. Melo wants NY and so does his wife and we all know what that means. Wink wink. 

Donnie Walsh must see right through this as well. He has no reason now to raise his offer. Melo may or may not be traded and all the Knicks need to do is sit and wait and sign him in the offseason. Sure Melo might say he would sign an extension in Chicago but I simply do not see it happening. Would Melo make the Bulls better? Sure, but how much better and is it even worth the risk? Deng is their top defender and Melo plays no defense or very little of it. Sure Melo is a superstar and a much better talent then Deng, but Coach T has a man crush on Deng as you can see from Deng's minutes(3rd in the NBA). The Bulls need an upgrade at the shooting guard, not a high usage player like Melo. I digress. 

The bottomline is that Melo will be on the Knicks next season. He may or may not finish the year out with the Nuggets, but he will become a Knick.  
Posted on: January 18, 2011 4:17 pm
 

07-08 Hornets = 10-11 Bulls?

Okay, it has been a while since I dropped a blog so I thought now was as good a time as any. I have always felt that the Hornets and Bulls of recent had some very similar teams, but I really think I struck something while researching a bit. This seasons Bulls team has a ton in common with the 07-08 Hornets and in a way I find is a bit scary, because the Hornets did lose in the 2nd round, but I could see the same thing happening to the Bulls. So let us take a look down memory lane and find some eerie similarities together shall we?

 The Paul/Rose Factor. In 07-08 it was CP3 third season, just as it is Rose's third season, but that is just the cherry on the top of the cake. Paul had his breakout season that year with 21ppg, 11.6rpg, 4rpg, and 2.7 spg, just as Rose is having his with 24.5ppg, 8.1apg, 4.7rpg, and .376 3P%. At the time Paul was on the short list of players to become the MVP. I remember thinking he should have won the Award, but in the end Kobe became the MVP and CP3 finished 2nd in voting. Not to shabby for a 3rd year player. Paul became a household name. All of these things seem to be in the works for Rose as well. He is at the top or near the top of every MVP rankings I have seen, and while he may not be quite as good as CP3 was and is, Rose is certainly now a household name and a superstar. Rose will also be landing some votes for the MVP award if he continues to carry the Bulls. I just find this very interesting, that both of these players broke out bigtime in the third season, but this is only the begining of how the Bulls and Hornets mirror eachother.

The Rest of the Roster. Now comparing Derrick Rose and Chris Paul and what they mean/meant to their teams in the 3rd seasons is a bit creepy, but let's look at the other major players on these two teams. David West was in his prime this season and put up 21-9 for the season and was the post player that meshed so well with Paul. The Bulls have Boozer, who has been hurt, but in the 25 games that he has played he has averaged 20-10. West and Boozer are very much alike in many regards and both supply their teams with post scoring and 15 foot jumpers. Now let's look at the centers. Tyson Chandler had his best NBA season this year after being traded to the Hornets form the Bulls for P.J. Brown. Chandler was a double double machine and averaged 12ppg and 12rpg. He played above the rim and fit very well with Chris Paul. Now Noah is not really the above the rim type of player that Chandler was but both put up about the same numbers with Noah averaging 14ppg and 12rpg. Chandler was considered by many to be a top 10 center if not better at the time and Noah is also considered a top 10, if not top 5 center by many as well. Both are energy guys that play hard-nosed defense in the paint and both are very very vocal. It does not end there my friends. Let us look at the 3rd scoring options on both of these teams. The Hornets had the highly overpaid Peja Stojakovic and guess what? The Bulls have the highly overpaid Luol Deng. Both play the small forward position and both are known as streaky shooters that can light it up from time to time. Both have long histories of being injured and both put up very similar numbers. Peja with 16ppg and 4rpg and Deng with 18ppg and 6rpg.

The Records. This brings up another factor. What about the teams records? Well the 07-08 Hornets finished with a 56-26 record and the Bulls are now at the half way mark and sit on a 28-13 record. Do the math people. Yes, if the Bulls go 28-13 for the rest of the season they too will end up with a 56-26 record. Creepy. Now remember this is all in fun and I do understand that the Bulls play a defensive halfcourt game and the 07-08 Hornets got out and ran a lot more then the Bulls do, but the numbers are scary. The fact that the top 4 players on both teams were so much alike in so many ways is at the very least a bit weird. Now I certainly hope the Bulls end up doing better in the Playoffs this season but I could see the same outcome happening.

What this all means. Well if the 10-11 Bulls follow this pattern to the final outcome, then I for one will be freaked out. I could see it happening. I really could. The Hornets won there first round battle against the Mavericks. I see the Bulls, as do most, getting out of the first round. The Hornets then took the Spurs to an epic 7 games and a great series were the Hornets led the series early by winning the first two games before the wheels started to fall off. Well, what team in the east reminds me of that 07-08 Spurs team? Hmmmm. Maybe the Boston Celtics? Yes. If the Heat get the 1st seed and the Celtics and Bulls end up in the 2nd and 3rd seed(which they are both in now) then this would set up a 2nd round battle between the Bulls and Celtics. The Bulls and Celtics matchup very well on the floor and neither has played the other with a healthy roster this season. The Bulls took the Celtics to 7 games 2 years ago in perhaps the best 7 game series I have ever seen with a record 7 OTs. I could see the Bulls and Celtics putting on another show in the 2nd round this time and I could see it going 7 games. Sadly, I could see the Bulls losing that final game. Then the Bulls would be just like the 07-08 Hornets.

Thoughts?
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 6, 2010 10:35 am
 

Strike while the iron is hot!

I think we as Bulls fans are starting to see a pattern here. Rose leaves the game to rest and C.J. Watson comes in and we go from either winning or close to it, to losing by 10+ within minutes. The Bulls need two things outside of a healthy Carlos Boozer to make them a real contender.

1. A play-making back up Point Guard. Not a scorer that makes bad choices with the ball like Watson. We need Lindsey Hunter from 5 years ago or something along that lines. Losing Kirk Hinrich is proving to be a much bigger hit to this team then most thought.

2. We need a starting Shooting Guard that can score and defend. In short we need a real starting shooting guard. Brewer looks far from a starter as does Bogans. both are good defenders, but look lost on offense. Korver is an average defender at best and most SG can blow past him, so he is better as a small forward anyways.

We can solve both issues with that one trade we were talking about.

Andre Iguodala for Luol Deng.

Yes, I understand that we have been down this road before, but the Bulls are going to have to address their backcourt woes even with Boozer healthy at some point. Also, the 76ers are off to a really bad start and I bet that they will be a bottom feeder team come the deadline so the Bulls should strike while the iron is hot. First let Boozer come back and get used to the system, but if the Bulls troubles at the guard positions are still glaring them they need to make this trade. 

Here are a few trade options that could get the deal done.

Luol Deng and 1 rounder for Iggy.

or

Luol Deng, Omer Asik, and a 2nd rounder for Iggy.

or

Luol Deng, Keith Bogans, and a 2nd rounder (after dec 15th)

Let the 76ers pick from either a late first rounder or Omer Asik and they would get Deng either way.

Iggy would give the Bulls a player that can score and defend from the two guard and above all he can make plays and run the offense. The Bulls could make sure that either Rose or Iggy are on the for at all times. I would think this would put an end to the scoring droughts. I know what you are thinking. What about filling the hole left by Luol Deng? Sure that is not an easy task, but I think we could simply start Korver and have him split minutes with James Johnson. Give Johnson some minutes out there for some defense and Korver for scoring.

Compare rosters and you tell me which one is a true contender.

Rose, Bogans, Deng, Boozer, Noah, with Korver, Gibson, and Asik seeing about 20 or more minutes.

or

Rose, Iguadala, Korver, Boozer, Noah, with Brewer/Bogans, Johnson, Gibson, and perhaps Asik seeing about 20 or more mintues. 

I think the second squad is clearly better. The Bulls would have 4 allstar level players as starters in Rose, Iggy, Boozer, and Noah, with Gibson coming off the bench. korver would simply be out there to spread the floor and nail 2 or 3 3-pointers a night. I like it.


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: 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.
 
 
 
 
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