Tuesday, January 20, 2004


...as in...before an eruption. get it?

Yesterday's performance against the Wizards was possibly the worst of the year. A disgrace to Basketball and Martin Luther King. I didn't even watch the game, but I only need to know these facts: 1)15 point lead at half 2)The Wizards are AWFUL 3)scored 25 points in the second half. The whole half!!

A game like this happens and people start to take a step back and look at the makeup of this team, and the plan to build a champion. And after a game like this, the plan seems less likely to succeed. Its no surprise that the likes of Jay Mariotti are calling to blow up the squad, but one of the real optimistic Bulls fans, Chad Ford, is also jumping off rebuilding plan #2.

I'm giving up on the Chicago Bulls.

Remember when Jerry Krause resigned, claiming he left the once proud Bulls in "fine shape?"

Stupid me, I believed him.

There was a time I was convinced Jamal Crawford was going to be a star. I thought Eddy Curry would join Shaquille O'Neal and Yao Ming as one of the elite centers in the NBA. I felt Tyson Chandler would be Curry's perfect partner in crime. While Curry racked up 25 points a night, the long, athletic Chandler would grab 12 to 15 rebounds, block three shots and become a defensive force in the middle, meshing perfectly with Curry.

I was sure the Bulls had the juice to make a playoff run this year. When the team stumbled out of the gate, I thought the hiring of Scott Skiles and the trade that sent Jalen Rose and Donyell Marshall packing would fix things. Blue-collar guys like Antonio Davis and Jerome Williams would give the Bulls the grit (and rebounding) they sorely lacked.

I've moved on.

The 12-29 Bulls aren't going anywhere. They'll be lucky to repeat the 30-52 season they had last year. New GM John Paxson's preseason motto of "no excuses" is a farce. The only thing there is no excuse for is the team itself. It's awful.

Chad, I believed him too. In fact, I still believe him somewhat. But this season has placed plenty of doubt in my mind. Of all the talk that this season was going to be 'make or break', it was easy to forget that the 'break' result was a possibility. But after so much losing you can't help but begin to look to yet another rebuilding situation. Its been said all so many times here, that the Bulls would live or die with Curry and Chandler. All the peripheral moves, such as signing Pippen or trading Jalen Rose to the Raptors didn't matter nearly as much as to see this year how the young 7-footers developed. Every roster move was attached to the effect on them. Who will be getting their minutes? Who will stagnate their development? Who will be good complements to their games? The truth is, if Chandler and Curry flop, what's the difference?

So when you have 12 wins on MLK day, your attention turns to lottery balls and the trade deadline. I once scoffed at any idea of trading Curry or Chandler. However, if GM John Paxson has evaluated the talent enough to think it will never happen, I'll back his decision to trade the once-labeled 'untouchables'. But a much more likely scenario will be the departure of  Jamal Crawford. Comparing the "3 Cs", he is the oldest (a whopping 23 years old), will be a restricted FA this summer, and is a guard. As little has Curry and Chandler have played in their careers, they're barely 21 and, if you remember, are very very tall. Even with their kind of production, its hard to give up on that much size compared to a player like Crawford. I'll look at his possible options tommorow...