Friday, April 17, 2009

Season Preview Review

[A look back … I posted my Bulls pre-season preview way back in October, and I am ready to show everyone how accurate (or inaccurate) I was in my predictions. Here is the preview again, with my new comments added in [brackets] and bold.]

I have fairly low expectations for this team, and mainly see this as a building (not rebuilding) year. I want to see the top 3 players develop and fit into their respective roles. I also want to see the team develop an overall identity under VDN. The record this year is not important, tho it would be fun to sneak into the 8th spot or something. Really tho, it's much more about seeing where we start, how we finish, and how to use the experience moving forward. [Not bad so far (except I’m not sure why my grammar was so bad a few months ago). We have not really developed an “identity” under Vinny, other than a team winning in spite of the terrible / inexperienced / clueless coach. For instance, is Vinny an offensive-minded coach? Or defensive-minded? Are the Bulls a run-and-gun team (we should be with D-Rose and our athleticism!!) or a half-court team? Is our half-court set pick-and-roll? Or drive-and-dish? After watching close to 70 games this year, you’d think I’d have these answers … but I don’t.]

39-43 (10th in east) [Actual: 41-41 - (7th in East) Thought the record could be worse than it worked out (thanks to winning 11 of the last 15, and 6 of the last 7). And we were able to do better than the 10th spot, so now let’s make some noise against the KG-less Celtics in the playoffs.
Random note: Of course I am happy to be in the playoffs, but there is a flaw/drawback. We under-performed all year (until recently) because of a terrible rookie head coach. The recent surge and playoff birth should ensure that Vinny will keep his job for next year. But should he really get the credit? Or should it go to Rose for learning on an ultra-fast curve? Pax for pulling off the trade so Rose has another slasher (Salmons)? And a big man who can shoot in the pick-and-roll (Mad Bad Brad)?
So the overall affect of this playoff push is another year of no rotation and no development of our young players because of a terrible, inexperienced coach. Read Kmart's much better analysis of this theory here.]

I'm hoping to see rose use his quickness to get into the lane to create shots for himself and others. I would love to see consistent development (becoming more comfortable with the flow of the NBA game, court vision getting better, etc) throughout the year. VDN's fast-paced offense [I assumed that VDN had an offense?!] should suit rose, I'm just hoping he gets time with the first unit so he can work the pick-and-roll with TT and gooden (rather than gray and noah). The comparisons to Beasley can stop before they start, because MB will put up a lot of points and possibly win ROY (not if Greg Oden has any say in it). It should take about 2-3 years before we know what kind of player Rose really is (that's about how long it took cp3 and d-will), but I'm hoping to see gradual development this year. [Rose has proved me wrong – already shown superstar potential.] My real goal is to see Rose, Luol and TT be the centerpieces of a great team in 3-4 years [Is Luol still part of that list? Yes, because we are stuck with him!]
** update
after rose dropped 30 (and14 in the 4th) last week on dallas ... it's hard not to raise expectations. The mistakes i've seen (driving and jumping to look for a pass, skip passes) all seem to be differences from college v. nba, which will be corrected with time/experience. I wasn't sure before the preseason, but Rose has displayed: great court vision and an ability to hit some jump shots (both are great). [Shown a much better J than I thought, and can only get better going forward, which will make him even more un-guardable.] The dallas game showed an unbelievable explosiveness with the ball and ability to get to the rim whenever he wants, and probably most important, the ability to take over a game. Stacey King called it a coming out party for derrick rose, and i hope he was right. I dont want to depend on him dropping 30 every night, but seeing flashes of greatness and him takeover a few games (like in the dallas game) will make this season great. [Definitely saw flashes of greatness all year, especially the when they got into the open court.]

I have high hopes for Luol this season, and want to see him establish himself as a legitimate 3 in the league. He's got the talent and the contract to be compared to LeBron, Igoudala, Melo, etc. I don't need 30ppg, but I'd like to see him drop 20 a night, and have an occasional explosion (where he takes a game over offensively). [It’s unfair to expect him to take over a game because he cannot create his own shot, but he could be valuable in a pick-and-roll offense. He can knock down the midrange J, so waiting for openings to come from teams collapsing on the Rose/TT pick-and-roll could help him score.] Can he eventually be the scottie to rose's mj?? [Doubt it.] On a side note, the over/under on 3-point attempts is his jersey number ... anyone taking the over??

I am excited to see what Ty brings this year. He had a great summer with David Thorpe and I want to see that translate to games. I realize he is still a “project” but it is time to see the next step. I hope he continues to develop and become a threat on the mid-range jumpshot so that he and Rose can be an unstoppable force in the pick-and-roll in a couple years. If the D has to step out on him, he should have some great cuts to the hoop for some throw downs. For this season, i'll be content to see steady numbers (assuming he gets consistent tick) somewhere around 14 and 7 per game. [Offense not quite where I’d hoped it would be, but has definitely taken a big step. D (and helpside D) has gotten way better, and that jumpshot is coming (it has to!).]

I would love for Kirk to return to the form of a few years ago. He was a great defensive player, and overall very consistent. I need nothing spectacular, just a consistent player alongside Rose. Captain kirk just needs to knock down open jumpers and share the ball-handling responsibilities. [Hasn’t looked bad lately, but definitely not worth the money he’s being paid. I’m hopeful we can move him, but I guess he’s an adequate (albeit overpaid) backup for the next few years.]

Same old thing ... scrappy and filling up the box score. I hope he stays with the bull forever b/c he is one of those guys you hate when he's not on your team. [Sad to see him go, but with his contract I love the move and LOVE what we got back from the Kings.]

I'm disappointed he signed the QO, he has been one of our best players over the last 3 years and I would hate to lose him for nothing at the end of the year. Pax is willing to keep the crowded back court b/c he wants to have either BG or kirk going forward, and I'd personally rather have BG. I think he is a great 6th man and perfect for an uptempo system (think of him as the trailer knocking down open 3s, or the kickout guy when the D collapses on the Rose/TT pick-and-roll). As for this year, no expectations for BG – I hope VDN uses him appropriately and he plays well. I also hope no other teams want to spend $$ on him next off-season and the bull resign him. [Sounds about right, I’m hoping the last part holds up and the Bulls can re-sign him for a reasonable price.]

Love the facial hair. He is actually great for the development of Rose, as he can consistently knock down the jumper, making him very useful in the pick-and-roll. [Insert Brad Miller here.] He can be the consistent (at least offensively) post player that we need while our other front court players (projects – TT and noah) find their way. [Insert Brad Miller here. ]

Love the goggles. Love the intensity. [Still love the intensity, last link here.] I just want to see him continue to develop. I hated him at Florida, but I like him as a center in the league. If he can develop a decent (think bill cartwright) offensive game, he could be a great piece to have alongside our core. Him and TT could be a big and athletic 4/5 that can run with rose, luol, etc. [Tho there are many doubters and haters, I still think this is true. He’s somewhat athletic, could run with the other guys … and he does everything that no one else wants to do (energy, defense, rebounding).]

Hoping to see more than one post move this year. He had to spend the summer doing something, right? He's a serviceable backup center, so I like him if he keeps developing. [Glad this didn’t work out, wouldn’t get this guy’s autograph if he was making my sandwich at Subway.]

Haven't seen the offensive development over the past few years. I don't know if it will ever happen, and at this point, I don't care. [Later Thabo, glad we got something for him.]

Can we trade him? He's not part of this franchise going forward, so ... [YESSS!]

[One other note: I loved Stacey King and Neil Funk this year. I hope that they stay together for a long time because a great broadcasting duo is hard to come by (ask Hawk and DJ)].

awards in the association ...
defensive poy – kg [So glad I was wrong, hate the Celtics. I think D-Wade should get this award, but can’t complain about Superman.]
6th man – ben gordon [Not even eligible because he started all year, maybe next year if the Bulls re-sign him. Jason Terry I guess?]
roty – beasley (barely edging out oden) [COULDN’T BE HAPPIER TO BE SO WRONG ABOUT THIS!!!]
mvp – bron (no one will be close!) [Check.]
finals – cavs v lakers [Looking good at this point.]
champ – lakers [If I could decide right now, I’d say the Cavs, as I said in my Playoff Predictions (DC has the Lakers).]


DC said...

do you mean Hawk and Stone? Hawk and DJ aren't together and they were terrible.

2j said...

Chalk that up to failed sarcasm ... I meant to imply that Hawk and DJ were terrible.

Kmart said...

I don't quite understand the Noah haters. Excluding Rose from the conversation, Noah was easily the most improved Bull of the season.

He went from team goat, outcast, trouble-maker to starting center in a year. He works harder than anyone on the court every night, and is one of the better rebounders in the league dispite only getting around 25-30 minutes a game for the majority of the season. His play might not always look as pretty as Brad Miller's, but when he plays close to 35 minutes a game we win. (Just once this season I would have liked to see Vinny play the starters to finish a game... the two times he was forced to by Brad miller getting ejected and fouling out... it worked)

If Noah gets in the weight room this summer and starts taking the offseason seriously (which I think he will) he has the potential to have a very very good third season.

Someone who patrols the paint, protects the rim, and cleans the glass with anywhere from 10-20 hustle points a night... a poor man's Marcus Camby.

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