Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Click-a-Bull (Tyrus, Rose, Bosh, Inconsistency)

What do you do with Thomas?

Tyrus Thomas has been a big boost to the Bulls since he returned from an injury.

Tyrus Thomas is a hard guy to figure out.

There are days when he has games that show why he was the fourth pick in the 2006 NBA draft. He's long, athletic, and he can play solid defense when he wants. In short, he can be the type of difference-maker that successful teams must have.

The LSU product has proven that at various points since returning from a broken forearm injury on Dec. 26. In his first game back, he had 21 points and nine rebounds, a performance which helped get the Bulls back on track and off to a four-game winning streak.

But Thomas can also be a non-factor. His energy level has been called into question since he came into the NBA, and there are games in which he doesn't provide the type of boost that you might expect from a guy with his talent.

But one thing about Thomas is certain: The Bulls are a much different team with him in action. That was clear during the recent winning streak when Thomas averaged 14 points and nine rebounds.

Rose to defend skills challenge title
Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose will defend his title in the skills challenge during All-Star weekend.

The reigning Rookie of the Year won the event last year in Phoenix. Held during All-Star Saturday night, the skills challenge is an obstacle course consisting of dribbling, passing and shooting stations.

Rose's return was revealed Wednesday along with the announcement of the NBA and Taco Bell's "Driving Better Choices" program to promote health and fitness. Taco Bell is the sponsor of the skills challenge.

The other three contestants for the Feb. 13 event in Dallas have not yet been selected.

Finding his place

Is it a coincidence that the Bulls have lost two in a row and Tyrus Thomas hasn't played a significant role in either game?

It depends on who you ask.

The only thing that is clear surrounding the Bulls right now is that Thomas has struggled to get back on the roll that he started off on since returning from a broken forearm two weeks ago.

"I don't think he's been in as good of a rhythm as he was the first few [games]," Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro said after practice. "He gave us such a big boost when he came back. He'll be fine. I thought he had an excellent practice [Thursday]. We need his activity and his shot blocking. Running the court and doing the things he's capable of. He gives us more of a shot-blocking presence in there. We'll get him back on track [Friday] night. The more consistent he is on the court, the more minutes he'll get just like everybody else. We need him to play well and he knows that."

What is Chris Bosh worth to you right now?

It's highly unlikely that Chris Bosh is traded at the deadline this year. At least, I think it's highly unlikely, perhaps the Raptors will prove me wrong. However, there's a danger for both sides in the trade. The Raptors are obviously going to lose the most talent and not get back anything equivalent, losing their opportunity to build around Bosh. The other team is going to take over Bosh for half a year and then have to worry about whether he'll bolt in the summer. Bosh won't sign an extension right away, not when he can get an extra year this summer.

So that being said, what would you give up for Chris Bosh right now, knowing that if you get him right now and the team stinks that he'll likely leave us for Miami in the summer.

Definite No's for me:
Derrick Rose

Maybe's for me:
Joakim Noah

Definite Yes's for me:
Everything else

Inconsistent Bulls are tough to figure out

Finding a winning formula

Bulls win/loss record:

when they outrebound opponent: 12-8

when they win bench points: 9-4

when they win fastbreak points: 8-9

when Derrick Rose scores 20+: 4-8

when Rose has 7+ assists: 5-7

when Rose has 5+ turnovers: 5-3

when Luol Deng scores 20+: 4-10

when Joakim Noah grabs 15+ rebounds: 3-5

when John Salmons scores 15+: 8-6

when Salmons shoots 50 percent or better: 7-7

when Brad Miller scores 10+: 7-5

when Kirk Hinrich scores 10+: 6-6

when James Johnson plays 10+ minutes: 3-10

when Jannero Pargo takes 5+ shots: 3-7

Just a few days ago, the Bulls stretched their winning streak to four by beating Orlando and their slump appeared to be over.

Now they're back on a two-game skid following losses to Charlotte and Oklahoma City. Once again, there is no telling how the season with turn out.

Since the Bulls took Wednesday off, this is a good time to search for their elusive winning formula, if one exists. For example, playing a bad team at home doesn't fit, otherwise the 3-31 New Jersey Nets would be 2-32.

The Bulls (14-19) have plenty of losing formulas, such as 0-7 in the second leg of back-to-back games and 0-11 when the opponent scores 100 points.

A cursory check of their performance based on certain milestones showed a couple of trends. Outrebounding the opponent is good, with the Bulls producing a 12-8 record when that happens.

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