It's July. Time to Look at the Bulls!
by B.J. Delas Armas
on 7/06/2008 07:28:00 PM
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I don't need crack, I have the RealGM Chicago Bulls Message board.
It's kinda disgusting how often I check that board for rumors during the summer time, even when things weren't so exciting. The Summer of 2000 was really what began all this, this summer-time obsession with offseason NBA basketball --- the year we drafted Fizer, Crawford, Bagaric, Voskuhl, Guyton, and El-Amin in one draft and also the summer where we were expecting to get T-Mac, but ended with Brad Miller, who wasn't bad, and Ron Mercer, who wasn't that good.
So, I've come a long way in this, or it's just been a long time where I haven't really obssessed with the Bulls during summer-time.
This one here's bound to be as exciting a summer as any. One big reason for this exciting summer happened on May 21, 2008 and officially concluded on June 26, 2008, 6:40 EST.
In two words, Derrick Rose.
In the context of watching the playoffs, he was a point guard in the mold of CP3 and D-Williams.
In the context of draft history, he was the Stevie Franchise pick to our Elton Brand.
He could also have been the Jason Kidd to Michael Beasley's Glenn Robinson.
In the context of our draft history and guard selections, he is going to be what J-Will was supposed to be.
I'm not sure that I liked the 2nd or 4th comparisons, especially given that Franchise's wheels have reduced him to another Penny, and J-Will's bicycle reduced him to a Bobby Hurley. I guess it's not helpful right now that one of the big topics on the board is the fact that he has tendinitis in his knees before his first summer league game. The uncertainty of a rookie player is so...unnerving...This is why my first instinct was to trade him for a known quantity like Carmelo Anthony.
I really can't tell what kind of player he's going to be because I haven't really sat down and watched him. I've only seen what I've seen mostly through highlight reels. I can only hope that he's jumping on the D-Will, CP3, soon-to-be-great point guard generation. That he's the guy that will live in the paint. That he's the guy who will live in the paint and kick it out.
To this point, all we've seen so far from him in his association with the Bulls are interactions with the media. From his draft interviews, Cubs-White Sox baseball games, the intro press conference, his interviews, he's not a media-savvy guy. 19-years old in a generation of text-messaging and abbreviated speech, mostly giving 3-sentence answers.
But even if there doesn't appear to be much, there's still something unique about him. After his intro press conference, when players usually just bounce, especially those who don't talk very much, he actally asked John Paxson if he could thank everyone for making things possible. It wasn't a cursory courtesy, some kind of procedural thing. He asked John Paxson for permission as if he was slightly embarrassed. Slightly embarrassed because it isn't something normally done, he knows it, but he still felt that he had to do it. The man lives unselfishness.
Not bad for a man whose supposed to be the white matter for this team, the connective tissue between the different functions in the brain.
That #23 in Memphis really fit him. It's a shame that he couldn't wear that number here all because some guy who apparently was very popular in Chicago wore that number already.
The #1 will do fine for him. Didn't think it would because I thought he would wear the #25, but hey it works. Officially puts to rest what I thought always fit Craw-diddy really well.
It would've been kind convenient if he took the #5 (with apologies to Andres Nocioni), so that those who bought the Jalen Rose jerseys wouldn't have to worry about buying a new one.
Anyhow, outside of Derrick Rose, Bulls have done a lot so far:
-Hired Vinny Del Negro (VDN) or Vinny Del Whito as Joe Go put it one time when VDN was still in the "L" playing for the Spurs. The jokers at the RealGM board have had plenty time to make references to Joe Pesci, his Italianness, and the fact that he kept mentioning in his introductory press conference, that "[coaching the team/learning on the job/establishing communication with the players/shaving his ass-hairs] would be a process."
Yes, yes, we understand it is all a process. The question is if he can progress in this process back to being considered playoff contenders, which is where this team was before 2007-2008. The way that he drilled into our heads that "[x] would be a process" didn't really inspire much confidence that he could get past that stage and get us into a "processed", finished product stage. Really seemed like the Bulls organization was just trying to lower everyone's expectations.
VDN has no coaching experience at all at any level, but was assistant GM for the Suns and so he was a bit familiar with Mike D'Antoni's system. As folks might recall, but later forget, Mike D'Antoni appeared to be John Paxson's first choice to replace one, Jim Boy-love. So Paxson hired what appears to be someone who could rip off D'Antoni's high-pace, 7-secnd offense, only for much cheaper than D'Antoni's 6 million dollar asking price.
Despite his inexperience, the cheapness of the organization, and this process talk, he still seemed to handle things quite well on the podium. Hopefully that translates to handling things well when were down 2 with less than 2 minutes left and he needs to find the right combo of players to put in, or draw up the right plays, or fire up the troops.
-Counter-balancing VDN's vast inexperience and broad management knowledge are the incoming Assistant coach trio of Del "fucking" Harris, Bernie Bickerstaff, and Bob Ociepka, whom I assume will focus on the more technical aspects of this team.
Most excited about Del Harris, who was actually a coaching candidate, and Bernie Bicks.
D.Harris was a coach of that Lakers squad with Eddie Jones, Cedric Ceballos, and Nick Van Exel so he knows a bit about getting the best out of an athletic young team without that outstanding, obvious #1 option.
Bicks always seems like a guy who can make something out of nothing. Seemed like he turned the artists formerly known as the "Bullets" around not too long ago.
Two guys who sat on NBA benches who've come to Chicago to become coaching assistants. Alright, it works for me if it does for them!
-Chris Duhon, back-up point guard for the past 3 years, signed with the Knicks.
I'll sort of miss him. I always thought he was the best point guard on the team, simply because he circulated the ball, unlike the man he was playing in front of him. Too bad, he never had anything resembling a jump-shot.
But at mid-summer, there's still lots of other stuff to settle:
As it stands, the roster is cluttered. Too many guys need minutes, especially at the 2, 3, and 4.
1: Rose, Hinrich
2: Gordon, Hinrich, Hughes, Sefolosha
3: Deng, Nocioni, Sefolosha
4: Goooden, Thomas, Nocioni
5: Noah, Gray
-The big thing is deciding if they're keeping both BG and Deng. Lots of people think that if BG signs only the qualifying offer instead of a 9-10 dollar extension, then we might as well trade him now. However, the latest interviews seem positive at least from BG's side. I'm hoping we could sign him to the same contract offered him last year.
-If we decide to keep BG, we must absolutely trade Kirk Hinrich, the 9.5 million dollar man who averaged 11.5 ppg in 32 mpg. He's a serviceable shooting guard at best, especially considering that he didn't average 12 ppg. The fact that he's making 9.5 million, an amount earned by Manu Ginobili, Josh Howard, Jason Terry, to be a backup who won't even get the majority of minutes at his natural position will not be doing us any favors.
However, even if we get rid of Hinrich, there's still the clutter at shooting guard, small forward, and power forward.
-At the shooting guard spot, Larry Hughes' contract probably won't be bought out and it wouldn't be fruitful for us anyway because he'd still count against the cap. Even though no one really wants him here, he'd likely still log at least 20 mpg, taking away time from Thabo, who might be a better fitting piece going forward.
Thabo's in his 3rd year already, he showed signs of being a serviceable player, but the problem is that we cluttered up the backcourt by trading for Larry.
-At the small forward spot, Deng and Nocioni have always been tugging for playing time since they came together in 2004. Nothing much has changed except that Nocioni's minutes as a power forward on the floor are probably going to be cut down. Not that he should play power forward, but the man needs minutes to be effective.
I actually like Nocioni more than Deng because Nocioni can shoot the 3 and isn't afraid to make moves. Deng is what he is, which is pretty good, but I'm not sure that his production is worth 11-12 million dollars.
-Speaking of power forwards, Tyrus Thomas needs minutes to be effective. Never been a big fan especially considering we drafted Lamarcus, and I do like Gooden and think he needs to be playing 28-30 mpg, but it'd be a waste to have Tyrus average less than 20 minutes a game for the 3rd year in a row.
In my semi-real ideal basketball world, we'd consolidate Tyrus Thomas, Luol Deng, and Kirk Hinrich into a young inside scoring power forward like Al Jefferson and put out this playoff-tuff lineup
1: Rose, Gordon
2: Gordon, Hughes, Sefolosha
3: Nocioni, Sefolosha
4: Jefferson, Gooden
5: Noah, Gooden, Gray
-Gordon putting up 22 ppg
-Jefferson putting up 19 ppg/11 rpg
-Rose doing 13/7
On offense It would be
...Rose splitting the floors and getting inside or
...kicking to BG or Nocioni on the outside or
...Jefferson down low.
On defense it would be
...Noah fronting the middle, looking to play that help-side defense
...Sefolosha playing a harrassing Scottie Pippenish-role on the perimeter
I think that lineup would be mandated to win 45 at least.
Ahhh...it won't happen, but who knows. I don't know what to think about John Paxson anymore. Summer's young, so is this team.
Labels: Chicago Bulls