Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Click-a-Bull (Kirk/Caron, TMac, Lovie Smith, Noah, Rose, Stats Outlier)

Caron Butler for Kirk Hinrich: A Move the Chicago Bulls Should Strongly Consider

Recently it's been rumored that the Washington Wizards are interested in trading former All-Star Caron Butler for longtime Chicago Bulls point guard Kirk Hinrich.

While Washington star guard Gilbert Arenas has the team reminiscing about past mascots, the Wizards have began openly talking about dumping a star player in order to get some sort of order back to such a distraught organization.

Butler and current leading scorer Antawn Jamison have both been rumored to be on the trading block as long as the Wizards can find some guys that don't like to shoot, per se.

And what better person and leader is there to try to organize a team than Kirk Hinrich?


Shots just not falling for Hinrich

Kirk Hinrich does a lot of positive things that don't show up in the box score, but you can't have a starting shooting guard bricking wide-open shots the way he did Tuesday night.

He missed a wide-open three from the left corner with about a minute and a half left that would have given the Bulls the lead, and then two possessions later missed a 16-footer with about 25 seconds left that would have tied the game.

''The first one ... I thought was going in,'' Hinrich said. ''But then the second one, I came off [a screen] naked, and I just felt like my feet weren't set.''

T-Mac takes his spot on the NBA trading block

I thought I knew where Tracy McGrady was headed last week. I thought I had it figured out given the Rockets’ parameters. They seem to want most a potentially unexplored talent underutilized where he is. I am fairly confident from talking to some general managers that nothing much is going on yet regarding McGrady, whom the Rockets conceded last week they are prepared to trade as he left the team to return to Chicago to train.

My guess then was he would end up with the Washington Wizards for a package of players that included some expiring contacts to get the Rockets below the luxury tax and little used JaVale McGee, who has star potential.

Perhaps it’s still possible, though who knows anymore with last week’s gun incident with Gilbert Arenas (of course) and Javaris Crittenton. I’ve since heard the Wizards are on the verge of a deal that could be completed in the next day or so. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not the latest speculated deal involving Kirk Hinrich (happy 29th birthday already, Kirk on Saturday) and Jerome James for Caron Butler and Mike James. I’ve heard the Bulls have had some talks with the Wizards, but none involving Butler.

Lovie Smith keeps his job and how it relates to the Bulls

The Bears announced yesterday that they're keeping Lovie Smith on for at least one more year though they're dumping all of the offensive assistants and agreeing to bring back in a defensive coordinator rather than having Smith run the defense while being the head coach. I'm sure many Bears fans are disappointed in the lack of action against Lovie, but here's the thing:

It's not Lovie's fault. Your team stinks. Your team stinks in the way the Bulls stink. They have some high caliber pieces, but they don't match the talent of most teams in the NFL. Jay Cutler is your Derrick Rose, the rest of your team is the rest of our team.

What do the Bears really have after that once Brian Urlacher [already in decline] went out for the season? A putrid offensive line, the worst receiving core in the NFL, and a running back who was overrated after a strong rookie campaign. On defense, they have no quality safeties, one quality linebacker, no pass rush, and decent corners.

Sit and ask yourself, how are the Bears going to win games? They can't rush the passer, they can't really stop the run. On offense they can't run the ball, and they don't have the receivers to have a really high powered passing game. They have no real competitive advantage against another team. They show flashes of everything, but consistency at nothing. There's no consistency because the team isn't good enough.

Sounds exactly like the Bulls, and much like the Bulls, fans have looked to blame the head coach. Much like the Bulls, the head coach isn't the primary problem. Do you really think another head coach comes in and takes that same team last season to the playoffs? Do you really think a new head coach would have figured out a way to protect Cutler better with that offensive line? Do you really think a new head coach would have gotten Cutler to not through so many interceptions?

Seven Surprises this NBA Season

6. Last season, neither Joakim Noah nor Gerald Wallace were in the top 30 in rebounding. This season, Noah is 2nd with 12.2 rpg and Wallace 3rd with 11.9 rpg. Kevin Love, who started the season injured, is also having a breakout year, grabbing 12.3 (only 17 games).

Only the Bulls can stop Derrick Rose
Charlotte is around the same level as the Bulls, and with them at home and the Bulls playing the night before, it's not a surprising loss.

What is alarming is the Bulls still being clueless in late-game situations. It looks like the pattern will be being terrible for 40 minutes and then hope Derrick Rose bails them out (until Rose's recent surge, it was just 48 terrible minutes). That's fine, superstars bail out bad teams (and organizations) all the time.

But after scoring several baskets upon entering the game midway through the fourth, Rose was unable to get a chance to follow through with the comeback. Some of it was his own doing, with lazy passes (and an iffy offensive foul) earning him 3 TOs in that final stint (I believe these were called BG TOs from commenters way back when?). And the Bobcats did make a good adjustment replacing DJ Augustin in the lineup and more effectively trapping Rose up top. Though it helped the 'cats cause with the Bulls lack-of-adjustments, always sending Noah up to screen and bringing an extra defender for Rose to go through...

What happened afterwards was worse, though. Rose took 2 shots in the final 3:30, one of those being a desperation 3-pointer after Salmons was caught in the air and passed him the ball in the final possession. Salmons managed to miss another three in that same possession, and it's pretty safe to say the Bulls should try and avoid 3-point deficits.

Early nominee for Statistical Outlier of the Year

We have a nominee for Statistical Outlier of the Year: Bobcats 113, Bulls 108. I'm not sure exactly what the odds were of the Bulls and Bobcats playing a 113-108 game in regulation, but I'm thinking they were well south of 1 percent.

The two teams entered Tuesday ranked 29th and 27th, respectively, in offensive efficiency, and 10th and third, respectively, at the defensive end. Charlotte had played only one game all season in which both teams eclipsed 105 points in regulation, a 106-105 win over Philadelphia on Dec. 5. That was one more than the Bulls had played; Chicago had seen both teams break the century mark in a game just once, a 103-101 loss to New Jersey on Dec. 8.

Somehow, all those tendencies went out the window Tuesday and neither side could miss, as both squads made more than half their shots. It was a fluke, of course, but it produced what was probably the most watchable game either team has played this season.

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