Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bulls Not Re-Signing TT, But There is More to the Story

Bulls won't give Tyrus an extension

As expected, it's now official: the Bulls won't give Tyrus Thomas an extension, and will let him become a free agent next summer.

Per Adrian Wojnarowski:

With no more contract extension talks planned with the Chicago Bulls, forward Tyrus Thomas will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, Yahoo! Sports has confirmed.

Bulls general manager Gar Forman and Thomas' agent, Brian Elfus, had discussed broad parameters of a contract extension in recent months, but both sides said there won't be any more talks prior to the Monday deadline.

(more at the link)

The article states that Tyrus will become a restricted free agent in the summer, and Tyrus himself has said that he'll have his qualifying offer "if all else fails." But is there a chance, albeit remote, that he won't have one after all?

Until he signs a contract, be it with the Bulls or an offer sheet with someone else, Thomas's cap hold will be for the maximum salary for a player with four year's experience. The maximum salary for next season won't be calculated until the July Moratorium (that's what it's for; doing all the maths and stuff), but to give you an example of what it will be, this season it measures in at $13,520,500.

That amount will count against the Bulls' salary figure - and thus, their cap space - until Tyrus either signs an offer sheet with another team (at which point, the first year's salary of the offer sheet is his new cap hold), re-signs with us (at which point, the first year's salary of the new contract is his new cap hold) or he is renouned (at which point he has no cap hold at all). Therefore, if the impossible becomes possible and the Bulls are able to score one of the maximum salaried free agents on the market - Bosh, Wade, Rasual Butler, etc - then Tyrus' cap hold becomes a problem.

Definitely click and read the full article, as it details what the Bulls will need to do to offer a 2010 FA a maximum contract. The Bulls will be faced with some difficult decisions (and cap maneuvering) next summer.

Bulls Lost, Still Hate the Celtics

I am choosing not to post an in-depth reaction to last night's game. The Bulls got smoked in virtually every aspect of the game. It's fun to have an up-and-coming superstar and being back in the mix in the East, but it's clear the Bulls are a long way from being one of the elite teams competing for a title. < /end bitter/sad/depressing thoughts>

Bulls lose, or something

The Bulls didn't play last night. Simply didn't happen. No. Nope. Non. Nein.

Some people may tell you that they were blown out by the Celtics, losing by roughly 98 points in a lifeless (inter)national TV debacle. Those people are lying. The Bulls didn't play.

Instead, they had the night off. Brad Miller led the bench unit on a night fishing trip to Lewiston, Idaho, where Taj Gibson was extremely happy to catch a 6oz perch, and Lindsey Hunter sat around dispensing sage wisdom about things that happened during the mid 50's. The starters, meanwhile, all went out for a light supper together, then went tapdancing together, and then went home to bed. (Not together.)

That's all they did. No basketball was played by anyone. None at all. Not a sausage.

I'm being stupid and unfunny, obviously, but only because it's better to pretend that they didn't have a game on. They did play, and they were awful. It was especially harrowing for me, since I woke up especially to watch the game, only for the team to roll over and die limply and never really threaten. I thought those days were over. Oh well.

Kevin Garnett Is Back (And Still Douchey)
There can be no doubt. Kevin Garnett is a lock for the Basketball Hall of Fame. But he’s also a lock for another hall– the one for the douchiest players to ever play NBA basketball.

In Friday night’s game against the Bulls, Garnett showed off a lot of his different douche tools. He ran his mouth most of the night, but that’s a given. After he picked up foul number 2 in the 1st quarter, Garnett was flustered as he headed to the bench. Along the way he barked and barked at the ref, even until the ball was almost inbounded to resume play again. All that for a second foul in the 1st quarter of the third game of the year? Relax, man.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Game 1 Reactions, Game 2 Preview

Rose Inspires Bulls' Defeat of Spurs

Derrick Rose was so antsy and "geeked up" to get back on the court he had to blast the music on his way to the arena.

Once he arrived, he certainly seemed in tune. Or at least close.

Rose scored 13 points and had seven assists to lead the balanced Chicago Bulls to an impressive 92-85 season-opening victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.

Rose, who missed most of the preseason because of pain in his right ankle, waved to his mom in the crowd and blew her a kiss before the opening tip. He then showed some of the explosiveness that carried him to the Rookie of the Year award last season.

Recap: Chicago vs. San Antonio

Luol Deng finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, as the Chicago Bulls used a balanced scoring attack to take a 92-85 win over the San Antonio Spurs in their season-opener.

Derrick Rose finished with 13 points, seven boards and seven assists for the Bulls, who went 41-41 last season and lost to Boston in a memorable seven-game first round playoff series.

Tyrus Thomas also scored 13, while Kirk Hinrich added 14 points off the bench; Joakim Noah had 10 points and 10 rebounds in the victory.

"We know it's a good game, but we've got to keep on building on it," Deng said. "It's going to be a long season. I feel like we're mature enough this year that we could stay consistent with it."

League pushes extension deadline

Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics have a little bit more time to work toward a contract extension.

The league has pushed the deadline for contract extensions for all players from the 2006 draft class from Saturday to Monday, league spokesman Tim Frank confirmed Thursday night.


Rondo joins Memphis' Rudy Gay and Chicago's Tyrus Thomas on the list of prominent 2006 draftees who have not been able to join Bargnani, Aldridge, Roy and Sefolosha in securing an extension.

Sleeping on it: Deng and Rose thoughts

Mark did a nice initial write up of the outcome of the Bulls and Spurs, but I after a good night's sleep I had a few thoughts about the game and how it pertains to the rest of the season.
First, for one game anyway, Luol Deng was right and shut everyone up. There were things that concerned me about Luol in this game. He took a lot of tong twos, which I just can't stand. You're literally 1 foot inside the three point line. Is the shot really that much harder if you take a step back. Most memorable was the time he got an offensive rebound about eight feet from the basket, ran to the three point line, and shot a turn around, contested jumper from six inches inside the three point line. Which he made.

Chicago Bulls eager for rematch with Boston Celtics

The last time the Bulls saw Rajon Rondo, the speedy Celtics guard was smacking Brad Miller upside the head and engaging in a wrestling match with Kirk Hinrich.

Ah, those nutty NBA schedule gods, who send the Bulls on Friday night onto the same famed parquet floor where last season's white-hot, seven-game, first-round playoff series unfolded.

"That's a day on the calendar I've been waiting for for a long time," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "KG ( Kevin Garnett) is back, a crazy atmosphere in Boston. And, obviously, they're playing very well."

The intensity of the rematch extends beyond Rondo, although he cornered the market on extracurricular activity.

"That incident won't change how I approach the game," Hinrich said. "We know they're a physical team. If we don't compete for 48 minutes, we won't win."

Hinrich is eager to play the Celtics for bigger-picture reasons.

"Obviously they're predicted to be the best in the East," he said.

"Early in the season, it's a good test to measure where we are. They're a great home team, so we're excited."

I was one of the few people predicting a Bulls win last night over the Spurs, and I'd like to carry that momentum through to tonight. But we're looking at a very different game tonight - First road game, second night of a back-to-back (which the Bulls should get used to, we have a bunch this year), and the Celtics are absolutely stacked. We played them to a virtual draw, and now that old, whiny team has had the off-season to rest.

The Bulls bench will be an advantage over most teams, but the Celtics have Sheed and Marquis Daniels, so that might be an even match-up. We don't have a big advantage anywhere in the starting lineup either, as the most glaring mismatch (KG v. TT) favors the Celtics.

[Side note: I couldn't be happier that the Celtics have an old, no-fun-to-cheer-for team. Perkins and Rondo might be young and good, but that means Boston has to pretend to actually like those dirty, whining cry-babies. Plus, this is the first year of a 3-year, $54m extension for KG and his busted up knees.]

Everything is telling me to pick the Celtics, but how could I forgive myself if I picked the team I hate most against our beloved Bulls?! So I'm ignoring the facts and picking this one based on emotions/hope. Bulls over Celtics in a tight one.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Never Too Soon For Some Vinny Bashing (+ BBS COMMENTS update)

Vinny Del Negro's Best Skill: Holding The Chicago Bulls Back

In my humble, almost 30-year-old opinion, Vinny Del Negro is among the very worst head coaches/managers any Chicago team has employed in my lifetime.

Former White Sox skipper Terry Bevington will take that prize until a blind man gets the job. He infamously walked to the mound to remove a pitcher once and called for a right handed reliever; there wasn't a righty warming up. Oops.

Also in the club is former Bulls coach Tim Floyd. He wasn't nearly as effective in the NBA, where the players are already getting millions, as he was paying the kids' parents as a college coach.

The Cubs would have their own class photo, with guys like Jim Lefebvre making an appearance. Tom Trebblehorn was pretty miserable, too.

The Bears have thrown mediocrity at Chicago, and they brought their cliche dictionary with them. It's too bad Dave Wannstredt never had enough time to get all the pieces in place to be a decent football team.

But there's a painful difference between all of these loser coaches and Del Negro: They, at least publicly, acted and said things that made you believe they believed they could win.


I'm sure you've all been aggravated by the process of trying to COMMENT here at BBS, and the problem has been fixed.

I had to remove the text box, but you can now click "Comment" below the post and it will open a pop-up window. Type your comments in there, and it will actually work when you post it.

So even if you've tried in the past and been frustrated, please feel free to comment often ... stating your opinion is probably more fun than reading our opinions. Thanks!

One Obvious, Glaring Issue with the Bears finally addressed

The three of you who read this blog may have noticed that I'm not the biggest Frank Omiyale backer. Ever since before the season started I've been saying he didnt deserve his starting position and was only playing because of his inflated pricetag (the Bears make personnel decisions based on $$$ and not performance...if you don't believe me, look at how Thomas Jones v. Cedric "I Haven't Reached My Career Saving Season Yet" Benson played out a few years back). His contribution to the Bears 45-10 drubbing last week was one of the key reasons why I couldn't even bring myself to write a Bears weekly grades post this past week. It would not have been fun reading.

Only known photographic evidence of a Frank Omiyale block.

Anyone with even a little bit of sports knowledge was able to see that Omiyale was contributing nothing to the success, or lack thereof, of the Bears offensive line and running game. It seemed like he got beat to the punch on every play against the Bengals. Well our nightmare is over, reports are that Josh Beekman is going to replace Omiyale this week. I've been saying all along he is the better option, so prove me right Josh. Beekman played alot last year and I have confidence that he can perform at a much higher level than Omiyale. But honestly, I'm so glad this move was finally made Beekman could give up 10 sacks and I would still say it's a step forward.

Source: Beekman to start for Bears -

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears will start Josh Beekman at left guard in place of Frank Omiyale Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, according to a source familiar with the situation...

The article mentioned Pace is keeping his job and I think as a future HOFer he's earned the leeway. His pass blocking has been good. But run blocking? Not so much. Perhaps having a competent lineman on his right will help the situation.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bulls Game 1 Preview & Links

For some reason I am busy with school this week, perhaps because there is only about 1 month until final exams ... so I don't have a lot of time to preview game 1. I don't think anyone will be shocked to hear that I am picking the Bulls to win and get off to a 1-0 start on their way to 48 wins this year.

The new-look/revamped/healthy Spurs are not an ideal opponent for game 1, but these young, high-energy Bulls should be amped on the home floor. I am hoping to see Deng and TT step up while Rose is working his way back from the ankle injury, but facing Richard Jefferson and Timmy D makes that somewhat unlikely. Even with that, I won't be swayed.The Spurs are coming in on the 2nd night of a back-to-back, so I have the Bulls coming out with a big W.

The rest of the first couple months will be tough, and we might head into 2010 5-7 games below .500, but we will have a winning record for at least for one night early in the season.

Why the Bulls will not make the playoffs

Are the Bulls better than a year ago when they finished seventh in the conference and lost an epic series against Boston in the first round?


The bigger question: Did other teams in their conference get better?

Most definitely.

The Bulls need to keep Derrick Rose on the floor in the clutch

I know, I'm not Tex Winter.

The only triangle I know is the "Viagra Triangle" at State and Rush.

But ...

I do know that Derrick Rose should always be on the floor during crunch time of any Bulls game.

Not understanding this, defensive philosophy breakdowns and clock/game management issues earned Vinny Del Negro a spot in my doghouse last season.

I'm willing to give VDN a second chance. As we interviewed Del Negro on Tuesday, I was wearing my Bulls cap. I want this team to win and can't wait for the season to start.

As we wrapped up the interview, I was honestly just trying to joke around with Del Negro about Rose playing late in games.

He obviously is still sensitive about this. After all, his then-GM John Paxson also was publicly critical of his handling of Rose.

Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose more upbeat about ankle

With apologies to Jannero Pargo, who didn't practice much Tuesday, Bulls fans are more concerned about Derrick Rose, who did.

Rose participated in his third straight full practice and sounded his most upbeat thus far about the inflamed tendon in his right ankle.

"I'm feeling more comfortable," Rose said. "My ankle isn't really hurting. I didn't have to warm up as much to get it loose. We ran a lot, and I was feeling good."

Coach Vinny Del Negro wouldn't guess how many minutes he would play Rose in Thursday night's season opener against the Spurs. And he conceded Rose's explosiveness isn't fully evident yet.

Pippen: Lakers can make run at 72

The Chicago Bulls' NBA-record 72-win season is a seemingly unapproachable mark. Since the Bulls accomplished the feat in 1995-96, only three teams have reached 67 wins and only one, the '96-97 Bulls, has cracked 69.

There is one member of that record-setting Bulls team, however, who believes there is a team equipped to make a run at it this season.

"The Lakers have a chance," Scottie Pippen said. "They have the luxury of a young center like [Andrew] Bynum, a young power like [Pau] Gasol and even Josh Powell is a guy who deserves minutes. They have a lot of depth. If anybody can challenge [the record], it's them."

The parallels between the two teams are eerily similar. Like Pippen's Bulls, the Lakers have a dominant superstar (Kobe Bryant), a dynamic No. 2 (Gasol) and a bevy of talented role players (Lamar Odom, Bynum, Derek Fisher). They have the same serene, rarely rattled coach who prides himself on his ability to handle oversized egos. And like Chicago, L.A. also has an intriguing wild card, a talented-but-troubled star capable of making or breaking its season. For the Bulls, it was Dennis Rodman; for the Lakers, it's Ron Artest.

Bulls Preview Spectacular!

A massive collection of "Bulls Season Preview" Columns

BBS Bulls 2009-10 Season Preview
Last April I posted a "Season Preview Review" which compared my pre-season predictions for 2008-09 to how last season actually went. Read that first because where last season ended seems like a good place to start this 2009-10 Season Preview ...

* With BG in Detroit, where will the points come from?

I'm not the first person to ask/answer this question, so I don't claim to be offering anything new in this space. Losing BG surely hurts, as I've said before: he is an incredible scorer, and probably the Bulls best player for the last few years. But for everything he got us on the offensive end, he cost us the almost-the-same with bad shots and terrible defense.

Replacing BG with Salmons in the starting line-up should be looked at as an upgrade. Salmons is over the groin injury that slowed him last season, and has an entire pre-season and training camp to get into the flow of the Bulls' system. He is better suited to play off Rose than BG. BG was an offensive black-hole, but Salmons should be better at letting Rose handle the rock and create shots for him, rather than needing the ball in his hands.

Luol Deng is also healthy, and has put on some muscle in the off-season. I'm hoping the muscle will help more on the defensive end when he has to stay in front of guys like Lebron and Joe Johnson. If he really is healthy, there's no reason to think he will not benefit from playing alongside D-Rose. I could see him moving back toward the player we had 3-4 years ago, and actually earning some (but not all) of his $71 million.

We also have Kirk and Pargo off the bench, so replacing BG's 20ppg is not as tough as it first seems. Kirk can play either the 1 or 2 spot, and provides a great defensive option that we never had with BG. Pargo can give us the quick scoring spark on some nights. Those two provide great versatility as far as creating difficult match-ups for opposing second units.

We should also expect to see a big jump (or more realistically, a small increase) in TT's points/offense if he continued to work on his jumpshot this summer. D-Rose's jumper will undoubtedly be improved, which should open up more options in the pick-and-roll with TT. Hopefully both of those players will have a decent enough jumper to keep opposing defenders honest, which will open up some lanes to the hoop.

So while we no longer have 1 player who can get hot and fill it up on any night, we have Salmons and Deng healthy, D-Rose with a year of NBA experience, two guards coming off the bench, and what should be an improved TT. That group of players should be able to collectively make up for the offense that left with BG, and won't cause bad match-ups for us on the other end.


ESPN Bulls Preview Page.

ESPN Expert Bulls Predictions.


2009 Expert NBA Basketball Picks: Chicago Bulls Preview

CHICAGO - APRIL 30: A member of the Chicago Bulls dance team 'The Luvabulls' performs during a time out in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs between the Bulls and the Boston Celtics at the United Center on April 30, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Celtics 128-127 in triple-overtime.

The NBA season is quickly approaching and the Chicago Bull’s fans couldn’t be more excited. Not that they really did anything to improve their team this offseason, they just generally get excited before every season.

They keep hoping that Michael Jordan will walk back through the door and it will be 10 years ago and he can lead them to another title. Short of that happening, they probably aren’t going to go very far this season. If you’re looking for free NBA picks, don’t expect the Bulls to return to glory this season.

Chicago Bulls ‘09-10 NBA season preview

Last year we debuted the “Highs and Lows” system — previewing the NBA season by predicting the respective ceiling and basement for each team. Same theme, different season…

Added: James Johnson, Taj Gibson, Jannero Pargo, Derrick Byars

Lost: Ben Gordon, Tim Thomas, Linton Johnson, Anthony Roberson

Ceiling: Eastern Conference semifinals

NBA Blog Previews - Chicago Bulls

Below is my entry in this year's NBA Blog Previews. If you're a frequent reader, a lot you may have read before...often. But even for those sick of my offseason whining analysis, there's at least a juicy prediction at the bottom to be mocked in April.

Team Name: Chicago Bulls

Last Year’s Record: 41-41

Key Losses: Ben Gordon, my faith in the franchise

Key Additions: Jannero Pargo, James Johnson (draft), Taj Gibson (draft), cap flexibility

1. What Significant Moves were made during the off-season?

Will Rose and Chicago build on their playoff run against Boston or fall off in 2010?
Today’s team: Chicago Bulls.

Key Question: Will Chicago build on last year’s playoff against the Boston Celtics or fall-off in 2010?

The Quick Answer: For years, Ben Gordon polarized fans.

Some saw him as a dynamic scorer, capable of dropping big numbers and even bigger shots. Others felt his size was a liability -on offence, he could never be a legit first-option and, on defense, opponents would take to him to the block to create mismatches.

Chicago management was also split on Gordon. At times, they tried to lock him up long-term by offering multi-year contracts worth big money. At other points, management seemed to be pushing the former ‘Sixth Man of the Year’ out the door.

Chicago Bulls Season Preview

CHICAGO -- A couple of weeks ago, at the Bulls' mind-numbingly dull media day, I was obsessed with the idea that the Bulls need a singular go-to scorer to replace Ben Gordon, the Gucci-wearing, 3-point-dropping, late-game gunner who led the team in scoring 43 times last season.

Derrick Rose is the natural successor to Gordon's honorary title as Last Shot Taker, given his skill set and position as point guard, but most people I questioned assured me that the team will have to find its late-game identity organically and that more than one guy could assume Gordon's status. Joakim Noah even patted me on the shoulder good-naturedly as I rambled on about it.

Season Preview: Chicago Bulls
Lets slow down a little bit with the “Derrick Rose is the next Chris Paul” talk. Did Rose have an excellent rookie season? Absolutely. Was he as good as everyone thought he was in the playoffs? Not so much. Does his rookie season compare with what Paul did? It’s not even close. Check out the following stat lines:

22.6 USG%, 108 ORtg, 28.8 AST%, 6.1 RB%, 51.6 TS%

22.2 USG%, 114 ORtg, 38.2 AST%, 8.5 RB%, 54.6 TS%

The first line is Rose. Now, that’s a perfectly respectable rookie season. It was good enough to win him the ROY award, and he deserved it. However, it pales in comparison to the bottom line, which is Paul’s rookie season. Paul was a much better offensive player, better rebounder (despite his smaller size), and that doesn’t even touch on defense, where Rose was abysmal last year. Good? Yes. Showcased a lot of potential? Yes. On par with the greatest point guard of this generation? No. I’m excited to see what Rose can do in his second year; how much of his potential he actually realizes, but I want to see him do it before I crown him the next big thing.

2009-10 Season Preview: Chicago Bulls

2008-09 Record: 41-41, Lost in First Round

Last Season’s FIC Rank: -0.8, 17th

Key Additions: Jannero Pargo

Key Subtractions: Ben Gordon and Tim Thomas

Key Rookies: James Johnson and Taj Gibson

Probable Starters: Derrick Rose, John Salmons, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Brad Miller

BDL's 2009-10 NBA Preview: Chicago Bulls

Do I trust Vinny Del Negro? No, I don't trust Vinny Del Negro.

This is a carryover from last season, his first campaign as Bulls (or anyone's) coach, and I don't mind working with a mindset finalized last May. It's the hole he's dug.

For all I know, the man's turned it around. One season was all he needed, he's ready to lead, he's ready to complain about the offense when the offense was the problem (instead of when the defense was the problem, or vice versa), and actually mean it. Not in some passive/aggressive, Scott Skiles-like way. Skiles used to needle the defense when he knew the offense stunk, as a way to motivate. I don't quite assume that level of panache from VDN.

But I could be wrong, there's a great chance of it, but that's what I'm going with until I'm proven wrong. Most of you know where my fandom lies, so here's hoping I'm way, way wrong.'s NBA Enemy Lines

An opposing team's scout sizes up the Bulls

I don't think they're going to miss Ben Gordon that much. Of course, he was a different option for them and he scored, but Derrick Rose is going to fill in nicely and they'll be able to get Kirk Hinrich on the floor more. Plus, they've got John Salmons now [for a full season].

I was impressed with Rose's mid-range jump shooting, which was better than advertised last season. Just his stroke, the way he released the ball, being able to get to a spot and pop off the dribble -- he was very good. His athleticism and ability to get to the basket are off the charts. And if he can stop and hit jump shots when people are waiting in the lane to beat him to the spot of his drive, then he's really got it. I like his demeanor leading the team. I don't want to call him a leader yet, but they're following him and he's out there fighting. He looks to distribute the ball, he runs sets, he can control the tempo with his offense and he's tough defensively. If you put him and Hinrich on the floor together, that's two pretty tough guards.

Chicago Bulls 2009-10 season preview/predictions

I may take a shot at breaking down the Eastern Conference in a future article, but we're here to talk about the Bulls, how everyone plays and where they finish. Jump in at the bottom and leave your own Bulls predictions, go on the record, be mocked like me at the end of the year.
Team Record: 45-37
I enjoy being optimistic, and I see the Bulls winning somewhere between 35-50 games. I picked at the high end of that range, hoping things go well. The problem with narrowing this team's range is that it doesn't have dominant players yet. Derrick Rose isn't a dominant player yet, and no one else is even close.

Why is that a problem? Well on the Lakers if Kobe and Gasol stay healthy, you know the team is going to be great. On the Bulls, there is no single gate keeper who needs to stay healthy to make the season. This team could be hurt considerably by an injury to Rose, Hinrich, Salmons, Deng, Tyrus, Noah, or Miller. Since the loss of any single player for a considerable period of time could really hurt the team, they have significant downside.

If everyone stays healthy, this team wins 42+ games. If everyone stays healthy and Derrick takes a big step forward, this team wins 45+ games. If this team stays healthy and Derrick, Tyrus, and Noah take steps forward then they're a 50+ win team.

So I'm going with 45 wins. A healthy team and solid improvement by it's young players.

TrueHoop Network 2009-10 Season Preview: Chicago Bulls

Crowd Says: 43-39
By The Horns Says: 46-36

Yes We Can!
The sun is out. The seas have parted. The basketball gods are shining upon us!

During the offseason, the Bulls lost free agent Ben Gordon, whom many people considered the team’s best or second-best player (after Derrick Rose). Memo to Chicago fans: Don’t sweat it. Seriously. Gordon will be replaced by John Salmons, who not only gave the Bulls almost as many points per game (18.3 versus 20.7) but was slightly more efficient in how he scored them (Salmons had a True Shooting Percentage of .596 and an Offensive Rating of 117 compared to Gordon’s .573 and 112). Even better, Salmons has the size (6-foot-7) and ability to defend opposing shooting guards … something Gordon couldn’t do unless he was exposed to Cosmic Rays or bitten by a radioactive spider.

And that’s not the only good news. Derrick Rose spent the summer working on his jump shot (500 or more jumpers a day!) and seems poised to blossom into an All-Star. Kirk Hinrich (who could start for several teams) and Jannero Pargo (a fearless and streaky shooting assassin) might be the best backup backcourt combo in the league. Luol Deng should be healthy (I hope) and ready to party like it’s 2006-07 (when he had a career-high Player Efficiency Rating of 18.7). It’s a contract year for Tyrus Thomas, which means he’s likely to blow up. Joakim Noah would dive face-first into a swarm of man-eating sharks to win a basketball game, so expect him to be a rebounding, shot-blocking beast. Like Hinrich, Brad Miller is a starting-caliber player who proved last season he can be very effective in a reserve role. Rookies James Johnson and Taj Gibson have the raw talent necessary to provide support in short bursts off the bench. Lindsey Hunter is a first-rate (and mostly non-playing) locker room leader, and Aaron Gray hands out a mean cup of Gatorade.

To sum up, the Bulls have height and depth across the board. They have guys who can get to the rim (Rose and Salmons), guys who can shoot the ball (Deng, Hinrich, Pargo and Salmons), guys who can clean the glass (Miller, Noah and Thomas), and guys who can swat some shots (Gibson, Noah and Thomas). They still don’t have a low post scoring threat, which is a problem (maybe even a big problem), but they don’t have a gaping hole at any position. The Bulls won’t win the East (thanks to the Cavaliers, Celtics and Magic) or even the Central Division (because of the Cavs), but they’re going to be much better than the naysayers are predicting.

Bulls season preview with Andrew Lawrence of Sports Illustrated

Are you ready?

Of course you are.

Opening night. NBA basketball is back.

No more preseason, no more lethargic play, no more guys working themselves back into game shape, no more guessing, no more predictions, definitely, no more replacement refs it's time to see who's for real and who's got some explaining to do.

Numerous publications have their NBA previews up and on newsstands and Sports Illustrated is no different.

I sat down with SI columnist Andrew Lawrence, who in the newest issue, previews the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks, to get his opinion on some storylines facing the Bulls this season.

The talk has been about focusing on defense this season. How good can this team be if they focus more on that side of the ball?

I think they can be a top-tier outfit, no question. Scott Skiles wrung a lot out of this roster when he was coach, and they figure to be improved by another year of Brad Miller (a huge addition to the maturing frontcourt of Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas) and the subtraction of Ben Gordon, who made no secret of his allergy for defense. On the other hand, his replacement, John Salmons, is both bigger and legitimately eager to distinguish himself as a premier perimeter defender while building on last year's breakout offensive year.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bulls Links & A Must-Read Fight Club / Calvin & Hobbes Comparison

The NBA Logo Ranking Project: #2 – The Chicago Bulls

It’s probably impossible to be objective about Chicago’s logo as purely an element of design.

The mythos and success of Michael Jordan combined with the fact that the bull imagery accompanied the creation and rise of what was perhaps the biggest global marketing personality of all time means that when I look at the the Bulls’ logo, I’m not just looking at a logo. I’m looking at six rings. I’m looking at Mars Blackmon. I’m looking at the Double Nickel. I’m looking at ProStars. I’m looking at the Flu Game. I’m looking at Wheaties. I’m looking at 63 in Boston Garden. I’m looking at the Dream Team.

I’m looking at the hangtime. I’m looking at the flying motion.

Bulls exercise options on Rose, Noah
The Chicago Bulls have exercised contract options on point guard Derrick Rose and forward Joakim Noah for the 2010-11 season.

The reigning Rookie of the Year and a Chicago native, Rose averaged 16.8 points and 6.3 assists last season while leading the Bulls to the playoffs after being taken with the No. 1 draft pick. An inflamed tendon behind his right ankle kept him out for most of the preseason, but he is expected to be ready for the season opener against San Antonio on Thursday.

Noah, the ninth pick in the 2007 draft, has averaged 6.7 points and 6.6 rebounds over two seasons.

Hey, Vinny: Keeping Thomas a starter is the right call

Not sure if this is a true dilemma in the mind of Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro, but starting Tyrus Thomas in Thursday's season opener against San Antonio is the right call.

The reason is simple: Starting matters to Thomas and the Bulls need their fourth-year forward to continue moving forward.

There are times when a little implied disrespect can coax a better performance from an athlete, but not in this case.

The Bulls played well late last season when Thomas became the full-time starter at power forward. He feels he has earned the right to remain in the lineup, and he's right.

Del Negro not sure Bulls are contenders
(Click for audio of VDN on Waddle & Silvy)

Chicago Bulls, NBA title contender? You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone around the league throwing that phrase around before the start of the season. Count Vinny Del Negro among them.

At least, Del Negro implied as much Tuesday during an interview on the "Waddle & Silvy" show on ESPN 1000. The context of Del Negro's statement started when the Bulls coach seemed to take exception when asked about sitting Derrick Rose a couple of times at the end of games last season.

"Yeah, he's my best player, but he's still young," Del Negro said. "He's still growing. Confidence is a big thing in this game. Statistically at the end of games last year, Derrick wasn't our best player."

Del Negro was asked if being on the floor late in games is important for Rose to learn how to win a championship.

"Well, I agree with that, but do you think we're ready to win a championship with all these young guys?" Del Negro asked.


Check back tomorrow for a huge compilation of Chicago Bulls 2009-10 Season Preview Columns!


Fight Club - The Return of Hobbes

Hobbes is reborn as Tyler to save "Jack" (a grown-up Calvin) from the slough of un-comic despair.

In the film Fight Club, the real name of the protagonist (Ed Norton’s character) is never revealed. Many believe the reason behind this anonymity is to give "Jack" more of an everyman quality. Do not be deceived. "Jack" is really Calvin from the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. It’s true. Norton portrays the grown-up version of Calvin, while Brad Pitt plays his imaginary pal, Hobbes, reincarnated as Tyler Durden.

Part I: The Hobbes-Tyler Connection

Picture this: a hyper, self-absorbed child initially concocts an imaginary friend as the ideal playmate, to whom more realistic qualities soon become attributed. This phantasm becomes a completely separate personality, with his own likes, dislikes, and temperament—and the imaginer and the imagined clash and argue constantly, though remaining fast friends. This pattern continues to the point where the child begins to perceive what was originally mere fantasy to be reality.

Just as Calvin has an imaginary jungle-animal friend named Hobbes, whom everyone else believes to be nothing but a stuffed toy, "Jack" in Fight Club has an imaginary cool-guy friend named Tyler, whom no one but Jack can see.

NBA Fantasy - Auction Keeper League - PREDICTIONS

All 3 BBS writers already described the auction draft and each of our teams, so check that out for league info and rules. I was looking for a way to project how good (or bad) each team will actually be this year.

I'm starting with these ESPN rankings of the top 175 fantasy players.

I wanted to see where each my of players fall on that list, and how that stacks up to the rest of the league.

First thing I noticed from the ESPN list is that I have 2 guys in the top 10 (KD, 5; Amare, 9) and 3 in the top 20 (J. Johnson, 18). Seems like I was off to a good start because had this been a draft rather than auction, I would have only had 2 picks in the top 18 (9 person fantasy league).

The problem is that I have a pretty significant drop off after that. My next best players (both projected starters for me) show up in the mid-40s (Westbrook, 43; LmA, 46). My utility spot will either be a big man (Emeka, 60) or PG (Chalmers, 94) if Westbrook is not getting enough assists.

My team finishes out with a Bull (Salmons, 69), a second-year player that is out 6-8 weeks (K. Love, 121) and a rookie (Flynn, 139). Not sure how that will play out, but I expect Love's stats to jump in year 2 (when he returns). I also expect Flynn to be competitive with Blake Griffin for ROY, which would be a great rookie season. Basically taking a flyer out on those two, now I have to wait and see if it pans out.

Doing this made me realize that my team is pretty top-heavy. I would rather have a more well-balanced roster because one injury could cripple me, but there's something to be said for getting top-tier players. There is a big drop from the elite NBA players to the mid-level guys. Once you get out of that top group, there is some variance, but everyone is pretty much the same. You can fill out the stats with 2-3 random guys who do one or two things well.

I was curious how my team stacked up, and whether the other teams in the league were top-heavy or balanced. So here's a look at the the league based on the ESPN rank of the projected starters. I will lay out each team (add up the total - so lower numbers are better), give a quick analysis of strengths and weaknesses, then project where each team will finish (9 team league, so I will project 1-3, 4-6, 7-9).


My team - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 191 (Rank: 3/9)

Westbrook 43
Joe Johnson 18
Kevin Durant 5
Aldridge 46
Amare 9
Okafor 60

Read the analysis above. Realistically, I see my team somewhere in the middle of the standings because I lack a premier PG, but how could I not pick my own team to win the league?? Projected finish: 1


Derek - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 199 (Rank: 5/9)

Dwight Howard 11
Devin Harris 27
O.J. Mayo 54
Tim Duncan 20
Ron Artest 71
Andre Iguodala 16

Very good team at every position - having 3 players in the top 20, but none in the top 10. Definitely not winning FT% with Howard and TD on the roster, but they fill up the other big-man stats. Harris should see his numbers jump as a he takes a bigger role with Vince gone. Would expect a similar jump from OJ, but who knows where minutes/shots will come from in the Grizzlies' backcourt. Projected finish: 4-6.


Gasser - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 231 (Rank: 9/9)

Nene 41
Kobe Bryant 4
Tony Parker 64
Carmelo Anthony 19
Gerald Wallace 23
Al Harrington 80

Nothing to love about this team, but sneaky good. Only 2 players in the top 20, but it's a legit 2 players - unless Kobe's age/games finally catch up with him. Plus, Gerald Wallace is possibly the most unheralded top 25 guy. With that top 3, should have no problem filling up the scoring, FT%, 3s. Not sure where the big stats (blocks, rebounds) with Nene and Big Al. Looks like a back-of-the-middle-of-the-pack team. Projected finish: 7-9.


Kmart - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 179 (Rank: 2/9)

Brook Lopez 30
Dwyane Wade 3
Chauncey Billups 17
Vince Carter 26
Al Horford 72
Kevin Martin 31

Looks like a good team with a top 3 player and another in the top 20. Feels like there are a lot of questions: Will D-Wade stay healthy or was last season a fluke? Will Lopez jump in year 2? Is Chauncey finally going to start slipping? Will Vince flourish finally playing on a good team? If everything goes right, this is a legit team, but I'm not convinced that all of the "ifs" work out positively. Projected finish: 4-6.


PC - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 193 (Rank: 4/9)

Mehmet Okur 51
Steve Nash 15
Gilbert Arenas 44
LeBron James 2
Kevin Garnett 24
Rudy Gay 57

This is a very solid team, but not built on a very solid foundation. Two players in the top 20, including #2 overall, and potential for two others with Arenas and Garnett. Really dependent on some bad knees (Arenas, Garnett) and an old PG (Nash). It would be impossible not to be in the mix with LeBron, who could potentially win the league by himself. Projected finish: 1-3.


Sacks - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 214 (Rank: 8/9)

Andrea Bargnani 61
Deron Williams 8
Eric Gordon 68
Danny Granger 6
Josh Smith 22
Marcus Camby 49

Overspent on Granger, but ended up with 2 players in the top 10. Those 2 with Josh Smith make for a very good core, but the role players look pretty weak. If Eric Gordon makes the leap in year 2 this team could be better than anticipated. Projected finish: 7-9.


DC - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 208 (Rank: 6/9)

Chris Bosh 10
Chris Paul 1
Monta Ellis 39
Hedo Turkoglu 45
Carlos Boozer 38
Andrew Bynum 75

Great start both big and small with Chris and Chris, both in the top 10. I see Hedo having a major decline in Toronto. Depending on potentially-splitting-minutes-with-Milsap Boozer and an always-potentially-out-for-the-season Bynum for big stats might be risky. Projected finish: 4-6.


Big Fil - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 143 (Rank: 1/9)

Al Jefferson 13
Jason Kidd 21
Brandon Roy 14
Paul Pierce 25
Caron Butler 36
Troy Murphy 34

Quietly put together a good team that will be absolutely no fun to cheer for (other than B-Roy). No top 10 players, but no one ranked below 36 (this is the balanced approach to contrast with my top-heavy team). Could struggle to get the big stats (blocks, rebounds) with only Big Al working down low, but a better fantasy than real-life team. Projected finish: 1-3.


Catron - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 210 (Rank: 7/9)

David Lee 37
Jose Calderon 29
Michael Redd 58
Dirk Nowitzki 7
Pau Gasol 12
Jason Terry 67

Love D. Lee in real-life and Pau in fantasy, but not much else. Dirk is a legit fantasy player who will carry this team, and Calderon should rack up some assists. Other than Lee, this team seems to lack anyone to fill up the big stats. No real weaknesses shooting, so this team could kill in the 3 % categories. Obviously the best odds we have for a white-wash in the entire league. Projected finish: 7-9.

Monday, October 26, 2009

NBA: Where Anticipation Happens. (VIDEO)

Downloads: Views: 63562

Hot Topic - Tyrus Thomas

I posted this earlier today: This Should Ruin Your Monday: Bulls will not extend Tyrus Thomas.

Which for some reason elicited about 483 responses on my facebook status. Now you can have the joy of seeing what was said:

This was my issue with the Ben Gordon situation. It wasn't so much that we chose not to re-sign Ben, but the handling of the entire situation from start to finish pretty much killed my faith in the franchise. The writing for this has been on the wall for a few years now. Sitting Tyrus in key moments in games, forcing him to come off the bench, agressively shopping him on the market, low balling him with early contract extentions, and benching him for the rest of the Celtics series after his breakout Game 1 (most of the time while Brad Miller was dying on the court gasping for breath)

In one way or another this is pretty much exactly what they did to Gordon, all while throwing money and the good soldiers Luol and Kirk.

The Bulls drafted BG and told us that he was a short offensive scorer who might have trouble on defense. Then spent the next 5 years complaining about his defense and how short he was. The Bulls drafted Tyrus and told us how raw and untrained his basketball game was, then spent his entire time with the organization complaining about how he was too raw and had zero ball IQ. ... Read More

The fact that this organization sees nothing wrong with letting Top 5 draft picks walk for nothing baffles me. I hate the Bulls.


letting BG go was the right decision. You can't overpay players like that...especially in the current economic conditions of the NBA. Why do you think the Celtics are balking at signing Rondo for the max? $12 mil for BG is a foolish contract that would handcuff the Bulls.

Saying the front office knew they were getting a limited player so ... Read Moretheir decision to not overpay that limited player years later after his inability to add any dimensions to his game shouldn't be a poor reflection on the franchise, if anything it shows improved judgment...I'm sure they're all relieved he didn't take the big contract when it was originally offered.

As far as TT is concerned, I'm not pleased at all about this decision. On a team lacking big men, you can't give up your most athletic and explosive player. He hasn't made the leap he needs to yet, but I wanted to find out if he could in a Bulls uniform and not find out on the Sportscenter Top 10 in a different one.

Since you dont allow comments on your posts (cuz you know they arent that good and dont want people calling them out haha) ill do it here...

As much as I like Tyrus Thomas, It was the right decision not to sign him now. Based on his career numbers, the Bulls would have had to low ball him and his big ego would have been frustrated leading him to have a bad season. You are absolutely right the Aldridge contract would have been highly scrutinized as the men were traded for each other and the fact of the matter is, TT has never broken out from a 10-6 season.

Not to mention he is rumored to be a problem on the bench. We all remember his "disappearing act" and several noted tardies to practice. It was also rumored he was part of the coup to overthrow Scott Skiles. Is that really the kind of player you want on a WINNER?... Read More

I love TT but show us youre worth the money. Go out there and play for it. There's no reason to throw big money at an unsure thing -- especially after what happened with Luol -- especially going into the biggest free agent pool ever -- and especially coming off an exciting playoff run which saw TT on the bench for most of it.

I hope Tyrus can play this out and earn a 4-5 year ride with the Bulls but history is not in his favor. The Bulls have not had much success with the No. 4 overall pick and have cut ties with many of the players in this slot... see Eddy Curry and Marcus Pfizer

So you can't overpay for players like BG, but you can overpay players like Luol Deng, Ben Wallace, and Andres Nocioni?

Last I checked you won championships by having the best team... not the least amount of overpaid players.

I'm not trying to lobby that the Bulls should have matched BG's 5 year $55 mil offer. Not in the slightest. I'm simply trying to understand how we are getting better as a franchise by letting our top 5 lottery picks walk for nothing?... Read More

If they didn't want BG long term and they didn't want Tyrus long term they should have traded them both for someone they wanted instead of sitting on the fence and watching them walk out the door.

we are getting better because we formerly made terrible picks... tho TT was taken in one of the worst drafts ever with only Roy and Rondo having any success... and are now admitting it.... Wallace was a terrible move, I think the ego of Pax wanting to stick it to Detroit cuz he hated Dumars got in the way there, but Luol was a fluke... everything ... Read Morepointed him to being great, increasing numbers and younger than LeBron but the man got hurt and hasnt been the same since... plus, its hard for him to score when his game is 15 foot jumpers and TT is taking tho shots instead...

and your point about TT, hes PERFECT trade bait this year with an expiring contract and the ability to help in the short run, plus whoever he gets traded to (if he does) will be the team that can say "oh the bulls didnt want you and we did, sign with us for a little cheaper and we'll take care of you" which makes him more valuable. Again, i like where the Bulls are sitting as Tyrus's fate is in his own hands, which is exactly how sports used to be...

Those were bad contracts but just because we made bad decisions in the past with extensions/free agents doesn't mean we should just do it again. Especially for a player that, despite his offensive gifts, was a clear detriment to the team.

I agree you win championships with players not cap space, but I definitely feel the Bulls are a better team without BG. It will help Rose being able to run an actual offense instead of dealing with the blackhole that BG was. Salmons is a bigger, better defender coming off of a career year...and his acquisition was what spurred the Bulls into the playoffs, not BG's scoring ability/porous defensive skills. It was addition by subtraction.

I think you're too hung up on lottery pick status...Kwame Brown, Adam Morrison, Darko Milicic were all high lottery picks. If you can't play within a system and contribute it really doesnt matter where you were drafted. BG has panned out better than them, but the fact remains the team wasn't going anywhere with him on the team. ... Read More

I think the main difference I see is that Thomas was drafted on pure potential and I'd like us to sign him to realize that i agree letting him walk away is a mistake at this point. With BG we knew what we were getting, drafted it anyway and let it go when it was no longer helpful to the franchise.

As far as trading BG, you can't assume there was any market for him in the trade market with teams clearing space for next summer. Why would teams trade assets to the Bulls for a player they are going to have to pay a huge contract for the following year? getting sub-par players in return for BG isn't going to get us to the Larry O'Brien trophy any faster either.

Unless they just wanted his expiring contract this offseason...but there werent many marquis names available...

in other news the bulls have exercised options on two lottery picks...

carroll, youre really coming around, props to you on these posts! maybe u were always there but for some reason i recall you liking BG... anyways... D-Rose and Noah are where the franchise is at so thats the bigger news either way... Both winners and both more proven than TT

i wavered back and forth on BG because he can fill it up like few players in the league...but i just couldnt take it anymore. Of course I'm not like you who thinks Hinrich is a stud. And don't confuse any of this as me not wanting to resign TT....I absolutely do.

Yes, it sucks we let BG walk ... but isn't that a moot point? He was overpaid and everyone should be glad we don't have him AND Luol at max or near-max deals. Luol's deal sucks, but might be moveable at some point in the next year or 2 (unless he clicks/gels with D-Rose and returns to old form).

Letting TT walk is something different (even tho... Read More it was similarly mis-handled from a front office standpoint). The thing everyone is overlooking is that we drafted an athletic freak that we knew was a project ... similar to what the Magic did with Superman (I'm not comparing the skill-sets, just the "project" aspect). The Magic then hired Patrick CH-Ewing to work with Dwight, and who is the Bulls bigs coach who is developing our young, raw players?! PETE MYERS!!!

Everything about this seems premeditated in a way ... from doing nothing to help TT develop for the past 3 years, to drafting 2 guys to replace him this year. It's another bad situation, and if we planned on letting TT walk, we should have traded him when his value was highest (think Boozer or Amare or Bosh).

i do too, but at a reasonable price and i just think his big (or maybe just precious) ego will see reasonable at a higher number... i love the man and want those mid ankle white socks to be a staple of the bulls

right, just what we talked about earlier, instead of bitching hes RAW, coach the man.... and pete meyers, im still laughing that a below average 2 guard coaches bigs haha

You realize that a "reasonable" contract for a 23 year old athletic freak is going to be a lot of money right? He might even be making Kirk Hinrich money (speaking of overpaid/bad contracts).

we all know hinrich only got that contract because pax thought he was signing himself...

i retracted to 2J (a little) on my trade bait statement and agreed we get 50 cents on the dollar for TT... i guess i was still hoping the hinrich/TT for Batum trade might still be out there as the trailblazers would have a short term backup plan for greg oden and money to spend next year while the bulls rid themselves of hinrich money and get a young, big guard

DC - Good points. I understand what you are saying, and I agree that BG being gone will be better in the long run. I'm simply playing devil's advocate. And at the same time explaining why it shouldn't surprise you that they've given up on Tyrus.

As Blogabull says the Bulls philosophy Step 1) Cut payroll. Step 2) Profit.

Pezza - I fail to see how TT is perfect trade bait this year. If he's an expiring headed to a contender for the short run, they will not be giving us any real substance in return. At best a late draft pick. Which to me seems like getting 10 cents on the dollar.... Read More

The best we could hope for would be a sign and trade, which also seems highly unlikely going into the summer of 2010.

I think any trade involving Tyrus to Portland kissed the baby when they inked LmA to $65-70 million last week.

This is going to suck. Expect an interview with Gar saying something along the lines of "Signing Tyrus is one of our top priority's this offseason" then you will know he's gone for sure.

Your 2010 starting lineup: Derrick Rose, Joe Johnson, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah.

Mediocrity never looked so good.

joe johnson??? salmons is here to stay

oh man i hope we get Batum:

Salmons... doubtful.

I just re-read this... "A source close to the Chicago Bulls organization told us yesterday it looks like the Bulls will not extend Tyrus Thomas before the Oct. 31 deadline"

Offering an extention to an unproven RFA before the deadline would be idiotic - especially someone as raw with as much to prove as Tyrus. These are the only facts he's reporting.

The rest "AND I ASSUME he also meant they will let him walk next off season when he becomes a restricted free agent."... Read More

Pure speculation. A lot to assume, and a bit of a reach here. Let's all take a deep breathe and pretend like we never read this... I actually want to try to enjoy this season.

This Should Ruin Your Monday

Bulls will not extend Tyrus Thomas -

A source close to the Chicago Bulls organization told us yesterday it looks like the Bulls will not extend Tyrus Thomas before the Oct. 31 deadline and I assume he also meant they will let him walk next off season when he becomes a restricted free agent.

With the summer of 2010 looming and the bevy of talented free agents available the Bulls seem content on letting the uber talented big man go via free agency.

The Bulls took Thomas, 23, with the fourth pick overall in 2006 ahead of Brandon Roy and have not received much in return but Thomas has always flashed brilliance and was a reason why they battled the Celtics last season.

It is safe to say if he had stayed all four years at LSU he would have battled Blake Griffin for the #1 spot last season and Tyrus will produce his best season this year.

Thomas is going to make it tough on Bulls management if he shines in his contract year and the Bulls have no plans of resigning him. They already screwed up not taking Roy and now they may screw it up again by not resigning the freakishly athletic spaz Ty Thomas is.

I guess we should have seen this coming after the Bulls drafted not one, but two players to replace TT in this year's draft. Two possibilities that could make me remotely OK with this decision: (a) TT wanted money similar to what the Blazers just gave LmA. LmA was not worth that contract, so there's now way TT is worth it; (b) The Bulls are hoping all the teams with money next summer spend on big names, then someone tries to low-ball TT to an offer-sheet. The Bulls then match and have him signed to a reasonable contract.


***** UPDATE *****

Might as well throw Kmart's rant here:

"This was my issue with the Ben Gordon situation. It wasn't so much that we chose not to re-sign Ben, but the handling of the entire situation from start to finish pretty much killed my faith in the franchise. The writing for this has been on the wall for a few years now. Sitting Tyrus in key moments in games, forcing him to come off the bench, agressively shopping him on the market, low balling him with early contract extentions, and benching him for the rest of the Celtics series after his breakout Game 1 (most of the time while Brad Miller was dying on the court gasping for breath)

In one way or another this is pretty much exactly what they did to Gordon, all while throwing money and the good soldiers Luol and Kirk.

The Bulls drafted BG and told us that he was a short offensive scorer who might have trouble on defense. Then spent the next 5 years complaining about his defense and how short he was. The Bulls drafted Tyrus and told us how raw and untrained his basketball game was, then spent his entire time with the organization complaining about how he was too raw and had zero ball IQ.

The fact that this organization sees nothing wrong with letting Top 5 draft picks walk for nothing baffles me. I hate the Bulls.


And DC's response:
"letting BG go was the right decision. You can't overpay players like that...especially in the current economic conditions of the NBA. Why do you think the Celtics are balking at signing Rondo for the max? $12 mil for BG is a foolish contract that would handcuff the Bulls.

Saying the front office knew they were getting a limited player so their decision to not overpay that limited player years later after his inability to add any dimensions to his game shouldn't be a poor reflection on the franchise, if anything it shows improved judgment...I'm sure they're all relieved he didn't take the big contract when it was originally offered.

As far as TT is concerned, I'm not pleased at all about this decision. On a team lacking big men, you can't give up your most athletic and explosive player. He hasn't made the leap he needs to yet, but I wanted to find out if he could in a Bulls uniform and not find out on the Sportscenter Top 10 in a different one."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

NBA Player Rankings – Center

It's been a while since I posted my Player Rankings - Power Forward, but I am finally finishing up the rankings with my Center Rankings.

These are subjective rankings, meaning that although I considered statistics, the final rankings are based on my personal thoughts and feelings on each player. I ranked each player based on the position they actually play for their team, and considered each players’ impact this year and going forward. The things I considered in developing my rankings are: skills/accomplishments, age, stage of career, future potential.

1. Dwight Howard
2. Al Jefferson
3. Andrew Bynum
4. Al Horford
5. Tyson Chandler
6. Emeka Okafor
7. David Lee
8. Brook Lopez
9. Joakim Noah
10. Nene
11. Shaquille O’Neal
12. Kendrick Perkins
13. Mehmet Okur
14. Greg Oden
15. Yao Ming

Just missed the list: Marc Gasol, Andrew Bogut, Andris Biedrins, Zydrunis Ilgauskis, Marcus Camby

This was a hard list to come up with – mainly because I wanted to use the positions teams use. I feel like David Lee and Al Horford would be considered power forwards on most teams, but they are listed at center on the depth charts.

Dwight Howard was obvious, but the next few spots are based on future potential rather than past results. The same can be said about Noah and Lopez in the 8 and 9 spots. They are both young players who have a chance to be good/very good, but both still need some polish.

I had no idea where to put Shaq because he is splitting time with Big Z. (Tangent: Why did the Cavs bring in Shaq? Big Z is much better suited to play with LeBaby James because he has the outside jumper. Shaw clogs up the middle, so LeBron and Mo Williams have less space to slash. Plus, the Cavs lost to the Magic because of the pick-and-roll, which Shaq is too old and slow to defend. This move makes no sense.)

May have overrated Perkins, but didn’t want to put him too far down because of my personal hatred for all things Celtics. Also had no idea where to put Yao because he is out for the year (and I just don’t like him).


In case you missed it, these rankings started with Point Guards.

Bears Key Match-ups

Already posed a Week 7 Preview, but here is on more link on key match-ups. In my opinion, the key match-up is our secondary v. Ochocinco. The secondary has had trouble at times this season, and Ochocinco has been rejuvenated. If we can contain him (and Cincy's other receivers) we should cruise to an easy W.

Key matchups, predictions: Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals

When the Bengals have the ball
G Frank Omiyale vs. DT Tank Johnson or Pat Sims

Omiyale, who had a miserable time against Atlanta's Jonathan Babineaux last week, simply has to play better. Omiyale promised the problems he has had run-blocking are easy to fix. If they aren't, he might find himself on the sidelines watching new starter Josh Beekman. Ex-Bear Johnson likely has some anger to let loose after being booted out of Chicago. A foot injury might limit his time, and Sims has started the last three games in Johnson's place. The Bengals need someone to step up on the line with sack-master Antwan Odom (Achilles') done for the season.

RB Matt Forte vs. LB Dhani Jones, Rey Maualuga and Keith Rivers

A push from the offensive line would help, but Forte is sure to be motivated, regardless, coming off his 23-yard, two-fumble outing in Atlanta. His 3.4 yards-per-carry average is more than a yard short of Jay Cutler's (4.7). If Forte can get to the second level, he's sure to see his share of the sensational rookie Maualuga, Rivers and reality TV star Jones, the Bengals' leading tackler. As a team, the Bengals are solid against the run, holding the Ravens and Texans to fewer than 90 yards in consecutive games.

When the Bengals have the ball
RB Cedric Benson vs. LB Nick Roach or Hunter Hillenmeyer

Benson says he isn't running to prove anything, but you can count on him being a little more jacked up than he ever was in his Chicago career. The Bears also will have to watch him closely on passing downs, as the Bengals are using him effectively as a receiving outlet. Roach has been playing the run wonderfully and likely will continue to start at the position, but there is a chance coach Lovie Smith will decide to move Roach to the strong side and reinsert Hillenmeyer at middle linebacker.

WR Laveranues Coles vs. CB Zack Bowman

Assuming Charles Tillman follows Chad Ochocinco and they play to a draw, the matchup between Coles and Bowman could be very influential in determining the score. Coles was a free agent in the offseason and the Bears decided to pass on him. The former Pro Bowler has not had more than 40 yards in a game but is crafty enough to light up an inexperienced cover man. Bowman started to play with more confidence against the Falcons and says he is going for the ball more.

The picks
David Haugh, Bears 27, Bengals 24: The Bears reacted to the Falcons' loss the way you would want from a veteran team, publicly and privately acknowledged the self-inflicted errors in the Atlanta game. Don't expect a similarly lax performance against a beatable Bengals team.

Vaughn McClure, Bears 21, Bengals 17: Matt Forte should rebound, and the much-maligned offensive line should play with a sense of urgency. But this could come down to how the Bears' defense fares. There is no way the Bears will allow ex-teammate Cedric Benson to run loose.

Fred Mitchell, Bears 24, Bengals 20: Jay Cutler has new paper, Cedric Benson has a new team and Chad Ochocinco has a new book. Should make for an entertaining afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bears will emerge victorious if they don't beat themselves again.

Rick Morrissey, Bears 24, Bengals 17: This pick is more about skepticism of the Bengals than it is a strong belief in the Bears. The historically woefully Bengals 4-2? This can't be.

Dan Pompei, Bears 31, Bengals 24: This could be the day Jay Cutler breaks out. The Bengals have the 28th-ranked passing defense. The key is the Bears will have to load up the box to slow down an inspired running back named Cedric Benson.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bulls (D-Wade, Joa-Noah & D-Rose)

Chicago Bulls: The Reasons To Pursue

Wade is the only great player on an otherwise pretty putrid team. Without Wade the Heat are absolutely lottery-bound. Michael Beasley might have the potential to be a 20-10 type player, but he’ll do it without playing a lick of defense. Jermaine O’Neal may be healthy, but his athletic ability has noticeably deteriorated as of late and he’s being forced play out of position. Mario Chalmers has decent potential, but I can’t help but thinking that his ceiling is along the lines of Chris Duhon; he’ll be a solid defender, good passer and floor leader, but won’t have a great amount of offensive game to speak of. And Udonis Haslem is, well, just a nice role player to have but nothing special. Lastly, Carlos Arroyo will play big minutes. And no offense to Arroyo, but if he’s your sixth best player and he‘s not far off in talent compared to players 3-5, you’ve got problems. So it’s no wonder that there is a lot of talk regarding Wade leaving Miami.

My counter-argument, Why The Bulls Shouldn't Sign D-Wade, can be found by scrolling to the bottom of my Bulls Season Preview. (Note: I make the argument, but I don't really believe it - I would L-O-V-E to have D-Wade on the Bulls!)

Noah: Bigger, Stronger, Better
When Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah walked into media day at the Berto Center a few weeks ago, nearly everybody in the building was doing double-takes. With his trademark floppy ponytail pulled up into a more business like bun, Noah's shoulders showed his muscle gain pretty clearly. This past summer was one of hard work and, perhaps much more importantly, one of maturity.

Now he's Chicago's starting center, and rightfully so. His game has improved. He's a better ball player, and he's ready to roll.

"I'm feeling like I'm in a lot better shape," Noah said before the Bulls' last preseason game Friday night. "In my first two years in the NBA I really experienced a lot, and I feel like I'm just in a better routine right now. I'm really excited for the season to start."

In Chicago's eight preseason games—all of them starts—Noah averaged 9.9 points and 7.4 rebounds, as well as 2.1 blocks per game and a 57% field goal shooting percentage. All that in just over 25 minutes per game. With 30+ minutes per game, he could very well be one of the more formidable centers in the Eastern Conference.


Ric Bucher picks Derrick Rose for MVP

You need ESPN Insider to read it, but in the NBA preview article, Ric Bucher selected Derrick Rose as the league's MVP this season. Tim Legler took Joakim Noah as the league's MIP (most improved player).

In other news, ESPN reports that Ric Bucher's phone has been ringing off the hook with college students asking him what he's been smoking.

I love the fact that Derrick Rose is viewed as a future superstar. Hopefully, he goes on to earn that on the court. However, MVP? In his second year? Has any player ever won the MVP in their second year?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bears Week 7 Preview

From the BBS Bears Season Preview -
-7- Oct. 25 at Cincinnati, noon, Fox-32

2j – The Bengals could be decent, depends a lot on how Carson Palmer performs. Decent isn’t enough to play with the Bears. Bears 31, Bengals 7

Kmart – Child Please. The Bengal’s defense isn’t there yet. Jay goes off. Bears 42, Bengals 28

DC – Bears will make the Bengals “Kiss the baby” en route to a victory. Bears 24, Bengals 14

How will the Bears deploy new defensive end Gaines Adams?

The plan is for Gaines Adams to make his debut for the Bears on Sunday at Cincinnati, but exactly how that will be executed remains to be seen.

The first question is whose place on the 45-man gameday roster will he take? Adams was one of three linemen inactive last Sunday at Atlanta, joining tackle Matt Toeaina and rookie swing man Jarron Gilbert. it would seem unlikely the team will sit down any of the linemen who played vs. the Falcons--tackles Tommie Harris, Anthony Adams, Marcus Harrison and israel Idonije, and ends Alex Brown, Adewale Ogunleye and Mark Anderson. Of course, if Harris' left knee remains an issue--he's missed practice the last two days--it could be him.

Don't panic about Bears' running game
Stats show Forte, Bears' ground game doing about what they did last season

With the Bears playing the Cincinnati Bengals and Cedric Benson on Sunday, it's a perfect time for one of those ''Where Are They Now?'' features about former Bears running backs.

Benson has resuscitated his career and ranks third in the NFL in rushing this season. Super Bowl hero Thomas Jones turned into a Pro Bowl player after being traded to the New York Jets and ranks fifth in the league in rushing.

Concerns about the Bears' running game, which were alleviated somewhat in the victory against the Detroit Lions before the bye week, are once again front and center after the loss Sunday to the Atlanta Falcons. That loss was fueled by turnovers in the red zone, but Forte's struggles, the success of former Bears running backs and the game against Benson has elevated the terror-alert level.

What's wrong with Forte? What's wrong with the offensive line? What's wrong with the running game?

''I don't know how much of a chance we gave it,'' offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. ''We were trying to mix and do all that stuff. We will be able to run the ball. We just have to keep with it.''

Lance Briggs: No-huddle, Pisa's injury, Ochocinco, Cedric Benson

Atlanta week was exciting, especially when you’re playing against a team of that caliber. You want to come in and make a statement about who you are as a team.

Once a team starts to go no-huddle, you have a different type of procedure where we have wristbands on and we’re looking to get the calls out much faster. It’s just being more efficient. In order to be more efficient, we might do numbers or have the whole team look to the sideline to get the call instead of having to echo it all around … just a way of combating it.

You never know when a team is going to go no-huddle. It’s different for Lovie (Smith) because he’s making the calls. He’s got to get the calls in a lot faster. For us, we just have to wait for the call and play.

TT or Taj "Update" + Bulls Links

Covered this topic the other day: Should Tyrus Thomas Start for the Bulls?

Chicago Bulls intrigue: Taj Gibson or Tyrus Thomas?

Coach Vinny Del Negro said not to read anything into Taj Gibson starting over Tyrus Thomas in Monday's exhibition loss to the Magic despite Thomas returning from his sore right hip the previous game with 22 points and 13 rebounds.

But another chapter unfolded Thursday when Gibson remained with the first unit during the final practice day before Friday's final exhibition against the Wizards.

Del Negro obviously could change that at Friday's morning shootaround. But Thursday's lineup, confirmed by several people, lends credence to the thought the Bulls could consider starting Gibson in the Oct. 29 opener.

Approached by a reporter following practice, Thomas politely declined to discuss the situation, smiling as he waved off a question.

But Monday, Thomas passionately stated his reasoning for why he should be the starting power forward.

The Chicago Bulls Are Better Off Without Ben Gordon, Without a Doubt

Believe me, I know what incredulous stares are greeting the title of this article.

I guarantee you a vast majority of those disbelieving glances are from non-Bulls fans.

I have never witnessed a player that was so over-valued by non-fans of the team that that player played for, and it's a fact I need to call attention to.

There is a reason the Bulls let Ben Gordon walk to an inter-division rival without so much as a counter-offer. Gordon's selfish, monopolizing style of basketball no longer gels with the new direction Vinny Del Negro is taking this team under the leadership of Derrick Rose.

Ben Gordon is what I like to call a "SportsCenter Hero," a player who is capable of putting up 50 on any given night, and does so on an often enough basis to make SportsCenter one or two nights a week.

I am not denying that Ben Gordon is an incandescent scorer who hit some big shots for the Bulls in his time there. How could I, because that's all most were exposed to on SportsCenter every night.

However, it was the nights Ben Gordon wasn't on fire that most didn't see on SportsCenter that really killed the Bulls last year. Only the diehard Bulls fans got to witness those "gems."

I said the same thing in my Bulls Season Preview -
* With BG in Detroit, where will the points come from?

I'm not the first person to ask/answer this question, so I don't claim to be offering anything new in this space. Losing BG surely hurts, as I've said before: he is an incredible scorer, and probably the Bulls best player for the last few years. But for everything he got us on the offensive end, he cost us the almost-the-same with bad shots and terrible defense.

Replacing BG with Salmons in the starting line-up should be looked at as an upgrade. Salmons is over the groin injury that slowed him last season, and has an entire pre-season and training camp to get into the flow of the Bulls' system. He is better suited to play off Rose than BG. BG was an offensive black-hole, but Salmons should be better at letting Rose handle the rock and create shots for him, rather than needing the ball in his hands.

Best News of the Day! ...
Bulls' Rose practices, may play tonight

After being listed as day-to-day for nearly three weeks with a lingering injury to his right ankle, Bulls point guard Derrick Rose finally returned to the practice court Thursday.

Rose participated in about 40 minutes of the Bulls' 2½-hour session at the Berto Center, taking part in contact and non-contact drills.

''I felt way better,'' Rose said. ''I could have practiced the whole practice, but they told me they didn't want me sore [today].''

If he doesn't suffer any setbacks, Rose appears to be on target to play Thursday in the Bulls' regular-season opener against the San Antonio Spurs.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bulls Rookies Run the Stairs

Noah does not haze rookies -

As rookies James Johnson and Taj Gibson left the United Center with their pink backpacks -- a ''gift'' from Brad Miller on the first day of training camp -- Joakim Noah was asked if he participated in the rookie hazing.

''No, it would be hypocritical of me to do so,'' he said.

''I wasn't a so-called 'good rook.' I was a rebel. So I try to leave them alone.''

To prove the point, Noah told a story about how he and Aaron Gray splashed veteran Ben Wallace with water while he was getting a massage during their rookie seasons.

D-Rose Rookie Mix (Highlights).

This is only his rookie year high-lights, it's going to be a wonderful next 10 years for Bulls fans.

Downloads: Views: 45117

The jumper at 2:12, then the way he backs down the floor is a little MJ-esque.

Derrick Rose is Sexy (and I'm not the only one saying it)

Derrick Rose receives new accolade from Marisa Miller of Victoria's Secret

Victoria's Secret Angel Marisa Miller made a special appearance at the Berto Center following practice on Thursday to present Derrick Rose with his Victoria's Secret “What’s Sexy Now Chicago Athlete” nomination.
Marisa Miller and Derrick RoseBelieve it or not, Rose and Miller have a few things in common. Both excelled at sports at a young age, with Rose dominating on the basketball court growing up on the south side of Chicago and Miller a high school standout volleyball player in California.

So, Marisa, why is Derrick sexy?

“Well first of all, basketball is sexy,” said the 31-year old supermodel. “Any athlete is sexy, they have talent. I actually met Derrick [Wednesday] night and he has these long eyelashes and gorgeous eyes. He’s sexy.”

Bulls' Rose feeling better; eyes opener

Bulls guard Derrick Rose began doing cutting drills on Wednesday and said he expects to play in the regular-season opener on Oct. 29.

"I'll be playing, no doubt in my mind, I want to play," Rose said Wednesday when asked if he'll face the San Antonio Spurs. "The trainers have been saying I'm looking good, running better every day.

"It's a little sore, but I'll be fine."

Rose hasn't played or practiced since a Oct. 2 game against the Indiana Pacers because of an inflamed tendon in his right ankle.

"He worked out yesterday a little bit and was a little sore, and today he worked out and felt better," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "So that's a good sign. So we'll see how sore he is tomorrow and try to get him another workout and just try to build it up and be smart about it."

Rose said he could even play in a preseason game Friday, but Del Negro said he doesn't expect that to happen.

Rose better, but still not ready to go

The Bulls didn't do any work on the court Tuesday, instead using their allotted practice time for film review and weight training. So technically, Derrick Rose didn't miss another session.

But if they had taken the court, it would have been without their starting point guard yet again.

After testing his lingering right ankle injury by running on Monday, Rose reported soreness on Tuesday morning. His activities were limited to weight training and getting treatment.

''They didn't want me running [Tuesday],'' Rose said. ''I told them it was a little bit sore from all the running I did [Monday]. We're just taking it day-by-day.''

Tuesday's soreness was just the latest chapter in a frustrating healing process for Rose. He was encouraged Monday after he ran for about 20 minutes without pain, but discouraged that he woke up sore the day after.

''Yeah, it's definitely from the running, but I can play through it,'' he said. ''I'll try to practice [today] early and, hopefully, I'll be playing on Friday.

''Hopefully, they'll let me practice. If not, I will be kind of upset, but I have to listen to [the medical staff].''

The soreness isn't a setback per se, but a sign that the healing process isn't complete just yet, which is an obvious concern to coach Vinny Del Negro.

Ask K.C. Johnson

Is the preseason over yet? The London game added an extra week to the annual snooze-fest known as NBA preseason. Luckily, there’s just over one week left to the Oct. 29 season opener. Your questions, however, count equally as much whether it’s preseason or regular season.

Man, that was pretty sappy. Onward. And, yes, Derrick Rose did some running at Wednesday practice but I’d still be surprised if he played Friday.


I don't think I need to bother writing this, but it is crucial that the Bulls get a 100% healthy D-Rose on the floor if they are doing anything or going anywhere this season. Missing the pre-season sucks because it means we have to spend the first part of the season gelling as a team. But the Bulls generally get off to a slow start, so maybe it won;t matter to much as far as Ws and Ls.

I want Rose to play as soon as possible, but I would rather make sure he is healthy and wait until game 4 or 5 than rush him back for the opener. A healthy D-Rose for the last 75 games of the year is better than a lingering injury for all 82 games.

Should Tyrus Thomas Start for the Bulls?

In a word: YES! I come in with a somewhat biased opinion - I have been a huge TT supporter for the last few years, and even argued against trading TT for Amare. I still stand by that, I loved TT then and I love him now.

The Bulls have expended too much time and energy developing TT as the PF of the future to throw it out the window now. TT deserves to start, and it would be a huge mistake by VDN to bring him off the bench.

If you don't buy the obvious argument (that is: TT is the best power-forward on the Bulls roster!), then I have another reason to start TT:

Isn't the idea to maximize what we can get from our best player, Derrick Rose? We are already changing the starting lineup enough (Salmons moves to SG, Deng in at SF, BG out) without benching TT. Shouldn't we be trying to create some consistency? Don;t we want a team taht can grow and learn together? A process D-Rose started with TT last year and can continue moving forward. MNo reason to throw another wrinkle at our young superstar.


There is an argument for why Taj should start -
Will Taj start over Tyrus this year? If the Bulls start Joakim Noah, then I don't think it's a bad decision. I think the Bulls should start him in a Chris Duhonesque way where he's the first one out of the starting lineup, but limiting the minutes where Noah and Tyrus are on the floor together is a good thing.

A rotation where Gibson plays for six minutes, then Tyrus comes in, and Noah plays for 8-9 then Brad comes in would work a lot better for separating the two than playing them both to start the game and third quarter. In that scenario, you're probably sticking with both for at least six minutes which gives them a minimum of 12 together on the floor.

The rebuttal from BlogaBull -
Firstly, I never thought I'd see Scott Skiles' self-sabotage as a positive example of strategy...

But I do get why one would (again, for purposes of winning games this season and being completely blind to the franchise tailspin) want to limit the Thomas+Noah lineups. All the best lineups last season included Brad Miller, and you can see how Noah and Thomas duplicate eachother in skillset a bit too much.

But to make sure Taj Gibson started and got at least 12 minutes a game? Thonus doesn't really expound on why Taj starting is a better idea...

It is preseason, and maybe this won't matter
Based on the pregame lineups, Taj Gibson will continue to start at power forward tonight against Orlando. That’s a little surprising, since Tyrus Thomas came off a hip injury to produce 22 points and 13 rebounds last Friday against Minnesota.

Was Thomas surprised he’s not starting?
“A little bit, but he’s the guy who makes decisions,” Thomas said before the game, referring to coach Vinny Del Negro.

“I don’t even think it should be questionable, from what I’ve contributed to the team last season and what I did throughout camp. But like I said, he’s the guy making the decisions. Whatever decision he makes, I still have to go out and play.”

Del Negro came out a few minutes later for his pregame news conference and made it sound as though Thomas will be starting on opening night against the Spurs.