Q: Despite his heroics he's always been completely underrated by fans. He's less appreciated than Hinrich and Deng, and rarely complimented by the media. Here's a crazy stat: Ben Gordon already has made more career three-pointers than Larry Bird. If he makes his usual 150 three's per season this year he'll be in the top hundred by the end of this year even though he's only in his fifth season. He's quite a bit younger than every player ahead of him in this stat. There's a very good chance that he's going to finish his career in the Top 5 ever in made threes. Please tell me that the organization has finally decided that they'd like to keep him over Hinrich.
A: You've got some Ben Gordon love here. And I wrote in Thursday's Tribune that Gordon hasn't ruled out re-signing with the Bulls.
Look, Ben drives everyone crazy with his decision-making and occasional defensive lapses. But name me another Bull not named Rose that has truly mastered one NBA skill. Gordon has in scoring. His 18-point first quarter last week in Memphis should remind all what he's capable of when hot. If I'm management, his ability to play with Rose should make re-signing him an offseason priority.
So bring on the Ben Gordon hate mail. And given that Gordon has to give his consent for any trade this season, Hinrich could be traded before him.
Q: I know Thomas, Noah and Sefolosha haven't exactly done anything to earn much playing time, but isn't it time we just let them loose and see what happens? I think we need to find out what they can do this season so that moving forward, the team can plan appropriately.
A: This, right here, narrows the Bulls' issue to its essence. What is this season about? Is it about limping into the playoffs and getting beat in the first round? Is it about building around Rose and seeing who fits with him? Because right now you don't know if Thabo fits with him because Hughes is taking his minutes. Noah and Thomas are playing more of late but weren't for awhile while Gooden and Gray took all the minutes. It appeared management was almost straddling both worlds, trying to make the playoffs while also building around Rose. But with recent rumblings that the Bulls are quite active in trade talks, I think the strategy is moving toward the future. It's why I wouldn't be surprised if Drew Gooden is dealt, parlaying an expiring deal for a valuable piece that fits with Rose. Moving Gooden also would open up more minutes for Noah and Thomas. As for the Hughes/Sefolosha debate, Hughes is playing well so perhaps you're getting good minutes out of him while also showcasing him. But I'd like to see Thabo get a chance. I'm sure glad I'm not coaching this team. Too many playing time headaches!
eastern conference first-quarter grades
Chicago Bulls (12-13) – C+
Derrick Rose is the future of the team, but there's little else going on with this franchise that screams "long-term success." Their record is mediocre, they're coach still doesn't quite seem to have a grasp on things, and two of their most promising young players aren't getting consistent minutes. Until a ton of kinks get worked out, this team is no better than average.
thomas out tonight v celtics
another rookie ranking has rose at 2 this week