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My summer predictions ...
How Will the Summer of 2010 Play Out for the Chicago Bulls?
Paxson Shoved Del Negro
"Chicago Bulls executive vice president John Paxson shoved coach Vinny Del Negro twice in the chest and had to be restrained in a postgame confrontation late last month, multiple sources told Yahoo! Sports.
After a loss to the Phoenix Suns on March 30, an irate Paxson walked into the coach’s office at the United Center and confronted Del Negro over a narrow breach of a management-imposed minutes limit on injured forward Joakim Noah(notes). Sources said Paxson first grabbed a hold of Del Negro’s tie and seemingly tried to provoke him with two successive jabs into his chest. Paxson was even heard to angrily challenge Del Negro to a fight.
There were several staff members present, sources said, and assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff stepped between Paxson and Del Negro and pulled Paxson away.
Sources said Del Negro did not retaliate, mostly out of fear the incident could be used to void his contract without pay or hurt future career opportunities elsewhere. The Bulls have dispatched lawyers to interview witnesses about the incident, sources said."
My favorite part: Challenging Del Negro to a fight.
Woj with the story.
How Joakim Noah destroyed the dinosaurs: Bulls 104, Raptors 88
By emerging victorious in an epic Sunday evening confrontation, the Bulls finally wrested the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot away from the mighty Toronto Raptors.
Release the Kraken! Release it I say!
Okay, I’m being a little sarcastic. Maybe even a lot sarcastic.
In all honesty, the Bulls and Raptors are currently engaged in one of the saddest “Clash of the Titans”-style postseason positioning duels I’ve ever seen. Both teams are below .500. Toronto has dropped five straight games and 14 of 20 overall. Earlier this week, Chicago suffered critical losses to the Andrew Bogut-less Milwaukee Bucks and the 12-win New Jersey Nets while barely beating the LeBron James-less Cleveland Cavaliers.
Do either of these teams actually want to make the playoffs?
Maybe tonight’s game answered that question. The Raptors – who recently lost Chris Bosh for the season due to a broken face — fell behind by 10 at the half (58-48), by 19 after three quarters (84-65), and by as many as 25 in the fourth (94-69). It was like the home team had been hypnotized into thinking this was a preseason game.
Near the end of the third quarter, Hedo Turkoglu, who has become persona non grata in Toronto, bricked two free throws and the crowd booed him with extreme prejudice. Late in the fourth, a Jannero Pargo air ball was hauled in by Reggie Evans. Evans then threw a lazy pass that was interecepted by Pargo, who walked it in for an uncontested layup.
Yep. This one was ugly, folks.
If the Raptors had any will left to win this game, it was broken by Joakim Noah, who finished with 18 points (7-for-10), 19 rebounds and a career-high-matching 7 assists. Forget the asteroid and volcano theories. It was obviously Noah who drove the dinosaurs to extinction. And although the fact that Toronto ranks dead last in Defensive Efficency probably had something to do with Noah’s stat stuffing performance, Joakim obviously brought his A-Game.
And then some.
Why Does Derrick Rose Get No Respect from NBA Refs?
Derrick Rose probably drives to the basket as much as anybody in the NBA, yet he gets no respect from NBA referees. He's constantly jostled, poked, grabbed, probed, and just about everything other than being mugged, (except for by Dwight Howard) more than anyone in the NBA, and he rarely gets the calls that he should be getting by now.
Out on the streets, a lack of respect can be deadly. Just this week, an elderly man was shot by a thug who asked him for a dollar. The assailant didn't like how the man acted after he asked him for the money. He was quoted as saying, "He disrespected me."
While those actions won't work on the basketball court, it would be nice if his coach, Vinny Del Negro, could defend his star guard once in a while.
Del Negro normally just stands there with his hands on his hips and a puzzled look on his face instead of getting in the official's face. It would be nice if he got a technical foul once in a while or even thrown out of a game defending his star player.
It wouldn't hurt the team with him gone either. That should be happening after three more games anyway if they don't make the playoffs, or seven more if they do after Cleveland sweeps them.
As a rookie, Rose averaged 3.1 free throw attempts a game. It's jumped this year to a robust 4.3.
Could Dwyane Wade work in Chicago?
Could Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose play well together?
Let me make one thing clear up front: I’m not saying Dwyane Wade is coming to Chicago. There’s simply no way to know how this summer’s free agent bonanza is going to turn out. However, until he either re-signs with the Miami Heat or signs with another team, it remains a viable possibility. And hey, there are longer shots than D-Wade coming back to his home town, right?
Now, when I’m chatting on ESPN’s Daily Dime Live, the question I’m asked most often is: Which free agent(s) would I most like to see the Bulls sign this summer. My first two picks are always Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, usually in that order. The response from most DDL chatters is usually something along the lines of: “Wade could never play alongside Derrick Rose. They both need the ball in their hands.”
It’s a reasonable point to make. Derrick Rose is a scoring point guard, and Wade functions as Miami’s “three guard.” And the numbers seem to indicate Dwyane is a dominator of the ball. Check it: Wade has finished in the top five in Usage Percentage in three of the past five seasons, and he leads the league this season as well. Yes, ahead of LeBron James. Rose, meanwhile, currently ranks 12th.
Unless David Stern makes some radical rule changes during the offseason, we have to assume that NBA teams will still be allowed only one basketball per possession. So two guys who are always holding onto the rock couldn’t possibly work in tandem…could they?
The reality is this: You never really know until you actually see player combinations in action. Therefore, a better question is: Are Wade and Rose capable of playing together. Are the necessary skills and mindset there for both of these talented young men?
Personally, I think they are.