The Bulls played the Raptors on Saturday night at the United Center. I was able to watch it this afternoon through this archaic format called VHS. (I know, how lame). Got to see what I've been hearing the whole preseason: Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni look like keepers, while Ben 'bricklayer' Gordon is still struggling to find his shot. If you want to follow the game through the eyes of the other side, I started a thread over at the Raptorblog.com forums, and the fine folks over there were happy to use the opportunity to dance on the Bulls grave after their team's close victory. No problem fellas, its all good, its just preseason right?
After watching the first half of that Raptors game, and some of the 2nd preseason game against Boston last week, I am starting to weigh down my preseason optimism with thoughts of gloom. While I am really excited over the play of Nocioni, Deng, and even Chris Duhon (yes, i'll admit it)...they sometimes look like the best players on the court. This is not a good thing. If the team is relying on those three instead of Curry, Chandler, Hinrich, and Gordon...well then congratulations you are a bad team. I won't go that far yet, but the other players need to step up a level to match the welcome intensity that Deng and Nocioni are showing.
Another player that I have been waiting to show his stuff was Jannero Pargo, and he delivered against the Raps. Fifteen points in ten minutes (including 3-3 on three-pointers) shows off a skill that I (and the Bulls) have been clamoring for: scoring. After this output I would have to say that Pargo has earned his spot on the team. Duhon has also impressed to the point that there is speculation that he will be the primary backup PG. But despite unverified assurances of a spot going all around, can the Bulls really keep so many guards under 6'4" (Hinrich, Bricklayer, Williams, Duhon, Pargo) on the roster? They all have their strong points (Williams' one being his trade-friendly contract), but you would think Paxson is working the phones to see if he can trade Williams, Pargo or Duhon for another big man. This should be no surprise to frequent visitors but out of the three candidates I am rooting the most for Pargo to be one of the two that stay.
Additional Notes: Hornets247.com is back after a 6-week hiatus. Good to see it.