Monday, January 11, 2010

Click-a-Bull (Tyrus/Taj, Vinny, Tyrus, and more)

Good For The Goose, Bad For The Gander

Taj versus Tyrus:“Should Tyrus start over Taj?” is one of the biggest questions about the Bulls right now…which probably explains why they’re a sub-.500 team. But after a hot three-game stint after his return, Ty has been struggling. He was woeful against the ‘Wolves, as foul trouble 5 limited him to 22 minutes. He finished with 9 points 3-for-7, 5 boards, 2 steals, 3 blocked shots and a game-high 6 turnovers although several of those TOs came in garbage time.Meanwhile, Gibson had 13 points 4-for-8, 9 rebounds and zero turnovers in his 23 minutes. The reality is, Gibson is the more steady and consistent player, while Thomas is the more effective and impressive game-changing defensive force. If only there was some way we could merge them into a single player…

via A timely win: Bulls 110, Timberwolves 96 » By The Horns.

Tyrus Thomas is Amir Johnson is Tyrus Thomas.

I’ve been a supporter of Taj Gibson. He came into a hard situation and has made the most of it, while everyone screams he sucks. He’s old. He has no jumper (even though it’s fallen for most of the season). He doesn’t rebound. He sucks. He sucks. He sucks.

Tyrus Thomas has been the occasional golden calf of this site. I wish nothing but the best for Thomas and hope he becomes a productive player. But I do have some questions which Bulls fans are a little too close to home to answer.

Is the worst over for Vinny?

Has the worst passed for Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro?

Yes and no.

The Bulls are 5-4 since the home disaster against Sacramento when they couldn’t hold a 35-point lead. Coaches rarely survive losses like that – especially when faced with daily speculation about job security even before the capitulation – but Del Negro has handled the scrutiny admirably and his young team has managed to regroup.

That’s the good news.

The bad news: Only five of Chicago’s 16 remaining games before the All-Star break are at home. Worse yet: Del Negro has to deal with that tough schedule knowing deep down that he doesn’t have the support of his bosses . . . and that everyone in the league has known it since this report from my ESPN The Magazine colleague Chris Broussard and the Bulls’ subsequent refusals to publicly stand up for their under-fire coach.

It’s undeniably true that Del Negro is occasionally betrayed by his inexperience on the bench, which results in regular second-guessing of his in-game decisions. It's also true that the Bulls gave him a head-coaching opportunity when pretty much no other team regarded Del Negro as a head-coaching candidate.

But his Bulls superiors simply haven’t backed him. They’ve actually done more to undermine him, which has surprised even Del Negro's critics after the team publicly acknowledged Del Negro's lack of experience when it hired him and made it sound as though they'd work through the growing pains together.

Mark Stein: Tyrus is available but no one wants him

Per Mark Stein:

I've been reliably assured that Chicago's Tyrus Thomas, back at last from a forearm injury, remains highly available.

No trade partner has emerged for the enigmatic former No. 4 overall pick, but moving Thomas before the deadline is still Chicago's intention.

The Bulls drafted Taj Gibson at least partly because they saw him as an ideal replacement for Thomas and they like the progress Gibson is making as a starter.

Hardly surprising.

Not just because Tyrus simply hasn't been that good in his career so far, but this is the least desirable he's going to be for a team wanting to take a chance on him. Even if you trade for Tyrus and he completely blows up and plays great you'll be facing a contract extension with him after the season left to wonder if he's going to keep it up or not.

Bulls find the range in big win over T-Wolves
Bulls guard John Salmons endured some taunting in the locker room following Saturday's 110-96 victory over Minnesota.

Lindsey Hunter pointed out that Salmons wore a green shirt, supposedly in tribute to his hometown Philadelphia Eagles, who lost a playoff game badly while the Bulls rolled past the Timberwolves at the United Center.

At no time did anyone show appreciation for Salmons' recent stretch of improved outside shooting. Locker room humor can be cruel sometimes.

But it's true that Salmons has been on an impressive roll as a long-range shooter. During the past eight games, he's knocked down 15 of 26 attempts from 3-point range, good for 57.7 percent.

"Shooting comes and goes. You've got to ride it while it's hot," Salmons shrugged. "I haven't been doing anything different."

The Bulls have been among the league's worst all season in 3-point shooting percentage, but made 7 of 14 shots against Minnesota. In the last three games, they're a shocking 20-for-42 from behind the arc.

Kirk Hinrich, who accounted for 4 of the Bulls' 3-point baskets and a season-high 20 points, offered an explanation.

"I just think the ball's moving a lot more," he said. "Usually when you're doing a good job moving the ball and sharing the ball, you get open threes and they're easier to knock them down."

Power Rankings
22 (22) Bulls 15-20 For all the early fuss about the Bulls' annual circus trip, Chicago's January looks just as rough with eight of this month's 10 remaining games on the road.

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