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Wow. How quickly things change (the Bulls' progress) and how quickly they forget (how bad they were for years). The latter is especially strange because really--how do you forget the morass that was 1999-2004? But apparently they have as they found some time to trash-talk on the Bobcats, according to Sam Smith's column today.

"They said some things like, 'We lost to the Bad News Bears.' That kind of got to us a little bit and motivated us," said Melvin Ely, the Chicagoan from Thornton High School who had a game- and season-high 20 points. "Anytime you win in this league, it's not luck. We lost that first game to them, but then when they got a loss (Dec. 20 in Chicago), don't go speaking about it. That motivated us a lot."

The Bulls lost to the Cats 93-80 last night. Somewhere along the way they were also victims of identity theft. They are not the Bulls anymore. The Bobcats are. The Bobcats are the ones that play hard and are gritty. The Bulls are just bad now. Role reversal at its worst.

5 losses in a row. That's discomforting but there are things that are more disturbing. Such as:

  • What free agents? The Bulls will have a lot of cash to spend on a big man next year. But run down the list of FAs and you'll find only 2 worth mentioning. Ben Wallace and Drew Gooden. Gooden has a nice skill set for a big man, but it's not worth the max contract. Would Ben Wallace want to come here?

  • Ben Gordon. Quick--what is the difference between Ben Gordon and Jannero Pargo? I don't know either. Sorry, the #3 pick overall should start more than 4 games in 1 1/2 seasons. Starting isn't everything? Ok, then he should be averaging over 26.8 minutes a game, his current total this year. His FG and FT percentages are down and his FT attempts are down. He's small and not a good defender. My point? If he can be packaged in a deal for a star big man he should go. I like him a lot, but we need something he cannot supply. He can be a special scorer. But remember what Charles said...

  • Tyson Chandler. One of my favorite players. But his performance this year has been terrible. Numbers down across the board and he lacks that boundless energy and quick spring that he had last year. He's had some physical issues and apparently a bit of the mental stuff has entered the picture too. Also glaring is that the Bulls have no true center on the team and they are woefully small otherwise--even at guard.

  • Bigs. The 3 big men they have aren't getting it done. Sweetney has been good, but along with Chandler has had foul trouble and can't stay on the court enough because of it. Othella Harrington was resigned but now I wonder why. He's not even averaging 10 minutes a game. The last time he played more than 6 minutes was on the 20th against the Bobcats. He had 16 & 5 in 19 minutes. When he gets minutes he produces. He gets points, boards and he gets to the line and makes his free throws. Why isn't he in there now?

They are too small, lack low-post scoring, still turn it over too much and usually get killed on the boards. So in the spirit of Sam Smith I offer the following: Tim Thomas, Ben Gordon, Tyson Chandler and one of the Bulls' 1st round picks for Kevin Garnett and whatever else they want to throw in to make the money work. The Wolves aren't going to win anything anytime soon. The deal makes sense for them and the Bulls.


Anonymous said...

The Bull are indeed disappointing and frustrating to watch for all the reasons you very nicely itemized.

As much as I've come to admire Chris Duhon, considering how I was predisposed to dislike him by Dickie V's overhyping of him at Duke, the truth is he'd be the 4th guard on a real contender. A good 4th guard, a nice contributor, but just that. And he starts at point.

I think everyone knows that this team won't be a real threat until Hinrich starts at PG and Deng at SG (maybe SF)--really, they're the only guys I project as real starters on a contender. Really everyone else on the roster would make a good bench plater. Maybe you can get by with a Songaila or one of the others in the starting lineup--if you've filled the other spots with upgrades.

And where I'm going with this is that really it's all about which NBA Star the Bulls are going to try and get, so that the rest of the lineup can fit into the places they're supposed to be.

They're in good position in terms of available young talent and cap room. But as you note, it's gonna have to be by trade, as they're really no FAs that would solve their issues--Ben Wallace would be awesome, but they would still need another big piece or a few upgrade pieces to have the team around him to truly compete.

And I also don't think that Pax and Skiles would settle for just a 'Star'-- they want a guy who plays both ends, is a good teammate, selfless and tough, etc. I've been racking my brain trying to think of how many of these guys there are, let alone how many would be available, coz who would wanna trade guys that meet that description? I mean, the Heat aren't gonna trade Dwayne Wade and the Spur aren't gonna trade Duncan, ya know what I mean? And Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, any of the Golden State guys etc. don't really measure up to what I think Pax and Skiles would demand. T-Mac is kind of a toss-up, though I lean towards more primadonna than gamer.

Which really leaves only KG, who you mentioned. And does Minny really wanna dump him? He IS their franchise. Maybe if he demanded out of there-- but if he did that, wouldn't that reveal him to be not the guy we think he is?

The Bulls have the contracts and players to make it work, but it takes two to deal. And every time I think this through, I get to this point where if a deal for KG doesn't happen, than they're kinda screwed unless they somehow manage to draft some latent superstar that magically appears in the middle of the first round. It really kinda gets me depressed, as I don't see any other way the real difference maker can be acquired, because I don't see the upside in any of the Bull players to be good enough to lead a championship team.

So yay to battling for the 7th & 8th spot.


The Zoner said...

Maybe if he demanded out of there-- but if he did that, wouldn't that reveal him to be not the guy we think he is?

Not at all. He's been through hell and highwater there and it might just be time to move on. They got as far as they could and I could see him coming here.

And when I said 'star', i obviously meant with the assets you wrote about. I wouldn't want a Vince Carter or the sort. I think Wallace does get them very close though. And if they could sign a big guard they'd be real close! I would mix in Chandler and Harrington with Wallace--at least Harrington is a low-post option. Deng at SF and somebody taller than me at guard.

As for Duhon, I disagree. How he has improved with this bunch is amazing. I don't necessarily want him as a starter, but #4? C.mon.