Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I don't have much to comment on, just that the most frustrating thing about being a Bears fan is that I'm sure they won't even make a phone call to Denver's front office to try and feel out what it would take to get Cutler in a Bears huddle. We're content with Orton. Which is pathetic.
The angry texts / BBMs were flying and no one seemed to know what Vinny was doing. And that's the man entrusted with getting us into the playoffs? What i f it comes down to one game or onee play? More importantly, Vinny is the man entrusted with the early career development of D-Rose. Scary.
#1 (1) – Derrick Rose – Chicago Bulls (36-39) – 16.4ppg, 6.2apg, 3.8rpgYou can start to see how scary good Derrick Rose is really going to be. Sure, Chicago lost Sunday's overtime game in Toronto, but some of the contortionist layups he nailed down the stretch were both clutch and unbelievably athletic. D-Rose is the Rookie of the Year, and he's really running away with it now.
Watching John Salmons in action the past few weeks, it appears the Bulls acquired a smooth and accomplished professional scorer.
His shots from long range have fallen regularly, but he drives to the basket equally well. The 6-foot-6 swingman has a knack for knowing how to get a good look at the rim, by either pulling up, fading away or driving to the hoop.
During March, since he stepped in at small forward for the injured Luol Deng, Salmons has averaged 21.3 points and shot an even 50 percent from the field.
Only four NBA players have scored 20 points and shot 50 percent for the full season, and two are guards (Chris Paul and Tony Parker).
The amazing thing about Salmons, though, is he never has done this before. The 29-year-old Philadelphia native averaged double figures for the first time last year, his sixth NBA season.
"I'm a late bloomer," Salmons said. "Some guys, they get it early. Some guys don't."
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Awesome stats of note:
Salmons - 8/15 for 22 points
TT - 7/10 for 18 points, 8 rebounds and 7 blocks
BG - 11/18 for 25 points
Rose - 16 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists
I would LOVE if the Bulls could re-sign BG and have him off the bench. We could trot out a lineup of Rose, Salmons, Deng, TT and Noah; strong second unit with BG and Brad Miller leading the way ...
Big game against the Raptors today -
It's been a little over two years since the Chicago Bulls won five straight games. That happened to come during their last playoff season.Unfortunately it seems like the type of game we could lose ... second day of a back-to-back, coming off an emotional win, and playing on the road. Let's hope we can gut this one out.
The surging Bulls hope to equal that winning streak and further solidify their playoff position Sunday when they visit the Toronto Raptors, who are looking for a season-high fourth straight win.
Chicago (36-38) beat Indiana 112-106 at home Saturday for its seventh victory in eight games. The Bulls are tied with Detroit for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls are trying for their first five-game winning streak since Dec. 11-19, 2006. Chicago made its most recent playoff appearance that season, losing to the Pistons in the second round.
Bulls mailbag -
Q: I've always thought Luol Deng is a decent player, but overrated. I certainly believe he is overpaid. He is also injury prone. Do you think the Bulls are stuck with his contract or do you think he can be packaged as part of a deal for a premier soon-to-be free agent (Chris Bosh?) via sign and trade?
A: I’ve said before I think it’d be difficult to find a taker in this NBA economy for Luol’s contract. It’s not so much the money, much of which is deferred, but the amount of years remaining on the deal. I’ve also said people are writing Luol off too quickly. Granted, this has been a disappointing season but I think it’s mostly because of his injuries and because the coaching staff struggled to find ways to mesh Deng’s game with Derrick Rose’s game earlier this season. Fans will recall that for about a month after Deng returned from his first injury this season, he played very well. Deng is certainly more of a system player, someone who needs ball and player movement to thrive. But I see him fitting well with Rose eventually, and the coaching staff had started to find ways to utilize their talents together before Deng suffered his second injury.
Rose for ROY -
"If I win the award, I want it to be because we made the playoffs," Rose said. "My statistics mean nothing."
Actually, they do.
With averages of 16.4 points, 6.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds, Rose is vying to become only the eighth rookie in NBA history to average at least 16 points, 6.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds.
Five of the seven players who have accomplished this — Oscar Robertson, Damon Stoudamire, Allen Iverson, Steve Francis and Chris Paul — were rookies of the year.
I absolutely hate stats like that. Pretty much meaningless until after the fact when you happen to notice it's never been done before. Henry Abbott (at TrueHoop) summed up my point nicely the other day -
On the one hand, Wade could not be better. Agreed. I mean, the man seems to able to do whatever he wants out there. On the other hand: We need to have some kind of moratorium on new statistical categories. 2,000/500/100/100? 6-4 with 100 blocks? Last summer, did anyone think those were important milestones? These are retrofit stats -- they only matter because somebody did them and they are now unique.
Think this is more because of the new guys (give some credit to Pax!) or because Luol is out (Pax is terrible for giving him that contract) -
The victory gives the Bulls (36-38) their first four-game winning streak of the season and first since March 2007. They've won seven of eight overall and 10 of 11 at home.
Their 13-8 record since the All-Star break is the third-best in the Eastern Conference in that span.
''It's a lot of fun,'' guard Ben Gordon said of the Bulls' winning ways. ''Anytime you're winning and you're starting to play your best basketball, it's really fun."
Friday, March 27, 2009
The Bulls are the 7 seed in the East -
Crazy that a Vinny-coached team is even in the payoffs -
This is more the type of analysis (read: Vinny bashing) that I want to see after a game like that -
New book about the potential financial disaster that is the NBA -
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Derrick Rose said he felt improvement after receiving treatment on his injured right wrist Wednesday, and the Bulls' training staff is hopeful the rookie point guard will be able to play tonight against Miami.
Rose, who missed his first game of the season Tuesday against Detroit, is classified as a game-time decision, and general manager John Paxson said the Bulls will ''err on the side of caution'' in making the decision.
On the same day the NBA announced it would send Luol Deng home to London for an exhibition game Oct. 6 between the Bulls and the Jazz, the injured forward offered a glimmer of hope to salvage the season.
Deng, who has missed 12 straight games with a stress fracture in his right tibia, said he planned to increase his workouts to gauge how his leg reacts. More importantly, Deng said he's leaning toward ruling out surgery.
"I want to play," Deng said. "It'd be great if I can get back, especially because we should make the playoffs."
Since Feb. 28, Deng has been limited to pool and stationary bicycle work and running on a "weightless" treadmill designed to minimize impact. His increased workouts will include more running.
On Paying Luol Deng $72 Million - "We kind of looked at is as, 'In paying Lu, we think he has value now and will have value down the road.' Sometimes that's how you have to look at it. You've got to say to yourself, 'If we pay this guy, there may come a time down the road....' We don't have any intention of moving Luol Deng, but that's how you look at it.
"One of Lu's great strengths is his ability to move without the ball. I still think he will become a very, very good player."
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
No need to read the article, just check the chart in the middle:
TOP ALL-TIME PER SEASONS
LBJ v. Grant Hill (first 6 years). This just tells me that Grant Hill was really, really good. (Stats via ESPN)
Grant Hill -
Other than that sad realization, the game was pretty boring. It's actually crazy that this terribly-coached Bulls team has a chance at the playoffs ... the 7th spot in the East no less! I dislike Vinny more and more each game. It's scary to think that our playoff chances could come down to one game - one play, and Vinny will be the one with the drawing board.
And now, some links ...
Video "highlights" of the game.
The Bulls were on national TV (TNT) last night, and the halftime analysis was great -
I guess Captain Kirk was good last night -
WOULD YOU RATHER ...
(a) make the playoffs (obviously one-and-done), which almost ensures vinny will be back to start next season, or
(b) miss the playoffs, get a lottery pick, and increase the odds that Vinny will be fired in the off-season??
[More to come on this later ... ]
"(Sacramento) is the worst team and being here you find out why... There are many young guys that want to find their niche, but they are so far away... There's no chemistry or teamwork. I can't see how this team could be competitive in the near future in the West... The draft is going to save no one. I don't know, I'll see what happens this summer."
We all know that Barack Obama will be rooting for an upset by his Bulls -- a team he loves so much he had them to the White House not after winning the championship (as is traditional) but after losing to the Nets.
But does he know that in his own Office of Management and Budget there is a senior economist in economic policy who has a second job advising the Cleveland Cavaliers?
Dan Rosenbaum spends his days working on issues like education and the alternative minimum tax. But he spends evenings and weekends helping Danny Ferry and the Cavaliers figure out how to beat teams like the Bulls -- by advising on player acquisition, coaching strategy, and more.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Two weeks have passed since a Miami-based specialist recommended two more weeks of rest for the stress fracture in Luol Deng's right tibia.
And Deng, who didn't accompany the Bulls here, isn't closer to returning.
"It could be [season-ending]," coach Vinny Del Negro said Monday. "You just don't know how it's going to react. We don't want him to come back and really seriously injure himself. He's still got discomfort and pain.
"It's a stress fracture. Until that heals—and that takes time—we'll be smart about it. Luol wants to be out there as much as anybody. But injuries happen and this one is tough."
Still, the Bulls weren't about to apologize for their 101-99 victory over the lowly Washington Wizards in the Verizon Center -- a result immensely more satisfying than the 23-point loss they suffered in their previous visit a month ago with Obama sitting courtside.
"We don't worry about how bad we played in a time like this. We just got to keep trying and getting wins."
-- Bulls guard John Salmons after his team beat the East cellar-dwelling Wiz by two points
The victory increased the Bulls' lead over ninth-place Charlotte to 11/2 games and 10th-place Milwaukee to two games but, more importantly, pulled them to within two games of seventh-seeded Detroit.And Tuesday night just happens to be the first of two remaining games against the Bulls' once most bitter rival.
"If we can get seventh, we'd love to be there," Derrick Rose said. "It's going to take hard work and dedication."
Monday, March 23, 2009
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls (32-38) – 16.6ppg, 6.1apg, 3.7rpgRose is the only guy in this consensus Top Five who appears headed to the postseason, which right off the bat gives him a bit of a one-up for Rookie of the Year. But wins alone aren't enough to clinch it; what's done the job for Rose down the stretch is improved defense and a jump shot that's only getting better and better. And almost nobody in the league gets to the basket quicker than him.
Ben Gordon has been the Bulls’ leading scorer for the past five seasons. That also happens to be the same number of seasons that Gordon’s been in the league. But despite that fact, nobody knows yet whether he’s even going to be in Chicago next season…and opinion is pretty firmly divided on whether or not John Paxson should spend any more of the team’s precious salary cap space on him. That’s too bad. I know BG is streaky and woefully undersized, but he brings it every night, and has been since his rookie campaign. So why don’t you take a few minutes, sit back and appreciate the fire-and-lightning brilliance of Ben Gordon.
Should Luol Deng get his starting spot back when he's healthy enough to return to the Bulls lineup?
The question might end up being moot, considering Deng has missed 10 games with what he calls a stress fracture in his right shin but the team continues to list as a ''contusion.''
The answer coach Vinny Del Negro gave Saturday sounded like a maybe.
''My focus is [to] go with the guys who are healthy now,'' Del Negro said. ''Get Luol as healthy as he can as quick as he can. When that happens, we'll work out those things.''
Judging by the fervent talk-radio reaction, many fans would say no to Deng being handed his starting job at small forward if he comes back. And judging by the way John Salmons has been playing, who could argue?
When Chicago Bulls forward signed the most expensive deal in team history last summer, the team communicated that he was the piece they planned on building the team around. Organizations don't throw around $11.5 million a year to players they don't believe are cornerstones. The hope was that Deng would grow into an All-Star, emerging the way Caron Butler managed to do in Washington.But this season has fallen considerably short of those expectations for Deng, who has not only seen his lowest numbers since his rookie year, but also has missed considerable time due to ankle and leg injuries. This has left some to wonder if maybe Deng isn't quite the cornerstone he once was, especially with the outstanding play and promise of Derrick Rose.Critics can say whatever they want, but Deng's teammates swear nothing has changed., a teammate of Deng's for the last two seasons, makes the point that there's no reason the team can't build around both guys."Him and Derrick play different positions," he explains. "There are a lot of pieces to this team that can help and be positive going forward, and Lu's a big part of that."It has nothing to do with being The Man," Noah continues. "He definitely affects the team and is a big part of what the Bulls are trying to do. That's why they gave him that money—and deservedly so—because he's brought success to this organization."
Vinny Del Negro began calling his team unpredictable as far back as training camp, so givethe Bulls rookie coach credit for prescience.
Just as the Bulls can play like world-beaters for three quarters against the Lakers and then come unglued, they can beat teams like the Cavaliers and the Celtics and then stumble against the Eastern Conference-worst Wizards.
That's what happened Feb. 27, the last time the Bulls rolled into Washington. So with a return trip on tap Monday, consider this playoff primer on the race for the Eastern Conference's eighth seed, well, unpredictable.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
I was terrified by how awful our D looked in the 2nd half, especially the 4th quarter.
Halftime score: 62 - 48
End of 3rd: 87 - 81
End of 4th: 109 - 117
So we blew most of the lead in the 3rd quarter and gave up 36 (almost 40!!) points in the 4th quarter.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Derrick Rose didn't attempt a shot in the first quarter Wednesday at Oklahoma City, but it's not as if the Thunder defense was shutting him down, denying him opportunities. It's just that Rose, as he often does, was deferring to his veteran teammates.
But with the Bulls trailing by five at halftime, Rose began the second half looking for his shot and didn't hesitate to fire. When the smoke cleared, the rookie point guard had scored 20 of his team-high 25 points after halftime -- on 10-for-10 shooting -- and the Bulls had snapped a seven-game road losing streak with a 103-96 victory.''I didn't want to lose, so I just started shooting the ball,'' Rose said. ''I realized my team needed me to mak plays. I didn't know what type of plays. It ended up being scoring.''
Jokingly, Brad Miller and John Salmons were starting to think it was them.
Winless away from the United Center since they began playing for the Bulls, the two veterans again came up big to snap that seven-game road skid with a 103-96 victory Wednesday night over the improved Thunder at the Ford Center.
Derrick Rose made all 10 of his second-half shots, nine on jumpers, to lead the Bulls with 25 points, while Salmons added 20 and Miller did the dirty work with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
After the new poll was up, Kmart had this comment:
I think we should look to package Kirk and Deng this offseason. Even though their value is at historic lows, if we can move them both for some young talent and expirings, we can afford to give BG his $11-12 mil per over 4. We'll still have Salmons to play the 3 and enough roster flexibility and cap room to still go after a superstar in 2010.
Agreed, but isn't that impossible? Kirk and Deng are both big contracts that go beyond 2010. Any team with hopes of landing a superstar (or just a player better than Kirk and Deng) would have zero interest. That leaves teams with no hopes of a 2010 player as potential trade partners in a Kirk/Luol package ... and those teams are either: (1) terrible, (2) have no cap space, or (3) both.
Most terrible teams are looking to cut costs (even some good teams are, i.e. the Hornets). This is especially true considering the likely drop in the salary cap next year. That means that bad teams will not be looking to take on Kirk/Luol.
I think the same runs true for teams with no cap space, unless we take back bad contracts and draft picks or something. I'm not sure that draft picks are the answer, because we've already got a couple projects (TT and Noah). At this point we should be looking to turn our assets into a legit front court player, not more picks.
The new poll got this response from Gow:
I hate KIRK, I just cannot watch him any more. I NEVER like or respected his game. Deng is making Dollars so he might be a bit harder to get rid of
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
If only the Chicago Bulls could carry over their recent success at home on to the road.
Coming off another key home victory, the Bulls will try to avoid losing a season-high eighth straight road game Wednesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Chicago won 127-121 over Boston on Tuesday to extend its season-high home winning streak to seven games. The Bulls, who hosted and routed , 97-79, on Saturday, moved one-half game ahead of Milwaukee (31-38) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
While Chicago might hold that advantage, it will need to find a way to win on the road if it wants to remain in playoff position.
The Bulls are 10-26 on the road, and haven't won away from home since a 113-104 victory on February 18 in Milwaukee. is allowing 108.4 points per game while averaging 95.3 during its road skid.
Nix re-injured his right quad rounding first base on Tuesday. His inability to stay healthy this spring throws the position of second base into flux for the White Sox.
I'd love to see Beckham make the major league roster as he has been touted as the most impressive player in Sox camp this season. But I have a feeling that he could use at least half a season of everyday ball in AA or AAA. If he continues the form he displayed after we drafted him last year(a small sample set being only 14 games but still showing potential), he could be up and starting sooner than we think.
Nix' removal from the 2B competition leaves just Chris Getz and Gordon Beckham, with Getz having the inside track and the head start of a strong minor league record.
White Sox make roster moves - MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Prior to today's spring training game vs. the Los Angeles Angels, the Chicago White Sox made the following 12 roster moves:
-Optioned C Cole Armstrong, RHP Jon Link and 3B Dayan Viciedo to Class AAA Charlotte;
-Optioned INF Brandon Allen, RHP Jhonny Nunez and RHP Clevelan Santeliz to Class AA Birmingham;
-RHP Ryan Braun, INF Javier Castillo, C Tyler Flowers, RHP Franklyn German, OF Michael Restovich and RHP John Van Benschoten were reassigned to minor-league camp.
With the moves, the White Sox have 41 players remaining in camp: 20 pitchers, four catchers, 11 infielders and six outfielders.
Won't be seeing the "Cuban Babe Ruth" on the Opening Day roster.
As a rookie in 2005, Paul was often compared to Tony Parker—the sort of quick-thinking point guard with an ability to dish the ball with ease and score in droves. Now, four seasons later, Rose finds himself being compared to—who else?—Chris Paul.But Rose, always modest, has been batting away that comparison all season. "I'm not even near where he's at right now," he admits. "That will take me a little while, but hopefully I'll get there."When it comes to watching the best point guard in the league, Rose says he admires "Everything—his leadership, his moves—he's a leader when he's out on the court"But Paul, seemingly competing with the Chicago rookie for the highest level of modesty, makes a bold statement about Rose. When asked if he could see any of himself in Rose, his response was the epitome of humble: "He's a lot faster than me, a lot more explosive than me, and a lot more athletic than me. So it might be, do I see myself in him."
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Thus far in his Bulls career, Joakim Noah's seasonal arc isn't unlike one of his rare outside shots—a beginning that is unsightly, followed by a pleasing, fundamentally sound climb as it settles for its target.
For the second straight season, Noah is finishing strong after a dismal beginning. That makes the even rarer 15-foot jumper he took and made in Saturday's victory over New Orleans all the more fitting.
Noah's energetic and fiery nature, clearly, has rubbed folks the wrong way and has gotten him in some trouble. But now Noah's showing another side – one where he understands his role and is learning to adjust. Since the Bulls traded for center Brad Miller just prior to the trade deadline, Noah has been seeing less playing time, logging about 10 minutes less per game.
The "immature" thing to do, of course, would be to complain. Noah, though, isn't doing that.
Monday, March 16, 2009
And that's not that he's not doing wrong. It's that his path to stardom is so important, that if he can't get there everything's so screwed it's too depressing to consider. So I choose to believe everything's going great and he can't be screwed up. Luckily he has his better moments like in the 4th quarter against Philly that reinforce the idea of a can't-fail prospect.
After a flurry of roster turnover and a couple of notable injuries, the Bulls have settled into a tight eight-man rotation (seven when Tim Thomas is a hamstring casualty).
In the backcourt, Derrick Rose, Ben Gordon, and Kirk Hinrich provide Vinny Del Negro with a lot of flexibility. Both Rose and Hinrich are both steady at the point, and
both can defend both guard positions. Gordon usually finishes games at the 2, but Del Negro will occasionally opt for Hinrich for key minutes in the fourth -- we saw this Friday night in the Bulls' close loss in Philadelphia. John Salmons is logging heavy minutes as the only true small forward in the rotation -- though Del Negro will occasionally use all three guards together when Salmons gets his few minutes of rest.
Up front, Del Negro has boiled it down to Brad Miller and Tim Thomas. The Aaron Gray experiment is kaput, except in garbage time -- even when Tim Thomas is sidelined. In the Bulls' double-overtime loss to Miami last Monday, Del Negro used only seven players, opting to go with Miller as the only big sub.
The Bulls top seven are a durable bunch. So long as they avert key injuries, that should be enough, even though a first-round exit -- provided they quality for the postseason -- is almost certain.
The push for the No. 8 seed is back to being Chicago's race to lose. Although the Bulls are effectively tied with Milwaukee in the standings, Chicago has 10 home games left against just five road games, and only six of the games are against teams with winning records. Chicago's 59.1 percent playoff odds are nearly triple those of their closest foil, the Bucks. Remember, Chicago has the tiebreaker with Milwaukee after winning the season series 3-1.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Chicago (29-36) was on the wrong end of one of the wildest games of the NBA season on Monday, starting a three-game with a 130-127 double-overtime defeat in Miami as Dwyane Wade made a running 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Bulls traveled north to for a game Wednesday night, but barely bothered to show up. Ben Gordon and Derrick Rose finished a combined 3-for-22 from the field and Chicago shot 31.4 percent overall in a 107-79 loss.
"Everything we were doing was real difficult," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We didn't bring the energy. We didn't make any shots. ... It was one of those nights."
The Bulls missed an opportunity to jump past into sole possession of the eighth spot in the East, instead joining the Bucks at seven games below .500 while New Jersey, Charlotte, Indiana and New all lurk within 1 1/2 games.