2004-2005 Chicago Bulls Midseason Report
by B.J. Delas Armas
on 1/23/2005 02:10:00 PM
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19-19. I am officially stunned. The Bulls are at .500 for the first time since #23 played for them when I was on the verge of graduating grade school after starting this season 0-9.
I know I predicted this season wrong, but so did everyone else. No one even management themselves as they revealed in the 2004-2005 marketing slogan "Through Thick and Thin", which means we'll stick with the team even though they blow balls, expected such success like this so early.
Have the Bulls officially broken the cycle, the cycle in which they trap themselves in losing situations by recycling experienced talented players for rookie talented players ?
Well, it's tough to say because this is just one year and 6 years of crappery isn't just erased.
First off, were lucky to not have suffered any serious injuries to players like in years past. Pretty much every useful player has been available whenever Coach Skiles has needed to put them in, which has helped the team's continuity a thousand fold.
Right now, the Bulls are winning on momentum and winning streaks rather than on any established confidence from players. They are winning games here in the midseason when other teams may take games as something quantifiable. The Bulls do have confidence now, but it's strictly based on this year.
There's still no established constant star who is carrying this team through it's tough moments, though I'm inclined to say that Ben Gordon is the closest they have to one because he has been the main factor in closing out victories. Kirk Hinrich I wouldn't consider a star because while he is the undisputed leader of the team, he's consistent, and can keep the team in games, he rarely helps the team close wins out. And the wins are what matters, not who's the "purest" or "truest" point guard in the game.
So without this established star at least for now, who's to say that next year and years preceding we won't just turn out to be the struggling Denver Nuggets of this year who have Carmelo Anthony ?
The talent I think is there for us, but eventually I think we need an established star and defined roles for these guys so the winning becomes embedded in their minds.
In addition to these random bursts of talent during games, the coaching strategy I have to question as well because of it's lack of adaptability. Basically it's work hard, teamwork, defense, constant intensity --- fundamental peewee league basketball. It seems to be built in the mold of Jerry Sloan's defensive philosophies which is predicated on continuity and having certain players. That strategy worked well last year when all their players were in tact, but is now choking when one of their key players went down earlier in the year. If you have a system, theoretically, I think it should at least hold the team in some place and you don't slip into one of the worst teams in the league as has happened to this year's Sloan-coached team.
I mean I'm neutral to coach Skiles, I give him credit for this instant turnaround. But you gotta question what the long-term effects of this strategy are. The reason this strategy can work in the leagues under the NBA is because there is less physical demand on those players and they play only 30 or so games. I'm glad that the team seems to have confidence but I have to wonder if the players will eventually wear out, or if we'll hold up when the tests come down near the end of the season.
Labels: Chicago Bulls