Friday, May 28, 2004

Olympic cop-out

Rick Morrisey had a lame flag-waving column imploring that NBA stars join the olympic squad, despite fears of injury and safety. Lately the team has seen its stars drop like flies, causing coach Larry Brown and columnists like Morrisey to start wringing their hands:

That's not going to be enough to change the minds of men who have to answer only to their next impulse. That's the real problem here, not terrorists. Asking the standard-model NBA star to shrink his ego for the benefit of something bigger is like asking the standard-model NBA star to hold his breath for an hour. Or to go a week without his GameCube.

If the question for these players is, "What's in it for me?" the answer is, "Not much except widespread admiration." Most of these guys have more money than most small towns. A few commercial endorsements from the Olympic experience isn't going to affect their lives.


If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll see how much crap I think this sentiment is worth. If not, here's a reminder. Too summarize, nobody cares about Olympic basketball, its not worth the hassle of risking NBA talent.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

3's Company

It could've gone better, but it also could've gone worse, as the Chicago Bulls last night landed the third overall pick in this June's draft. And as we all can assume, that means either drafting Duke SF Luol Deng, or trading the pick. I've said all along I want that pick gone to some team ready for more youngins, but drafting Deng wouldn't be a bad choice, because at the very least he fills a need. But My Man Sam(TM) isn't impressed:

Look, he's a nice player, about 6 feet 8 inches and a small forward, which is one of many unfilled positions for the Bulls. He can shoot some and play some defense. He's unselfish and has a sense of the game. But he's an incremental improvement. He's not a slasher to beat someone off the dribble, a requirement for the pro game. Is he better than Mike Dunleavy? Probably not. Wally Szczerbiak? Probably not yet. Though Deng looks like he would do well over time, could he use a teammate who can be double-teamed? Sure.

Admittedly I haven't watched enough Dukie basketball to get a decent assessment on Deng's 'slashing' abilities, but it sure sounds like Smith is pigeonholing Deng a little too early.

Meanwhile, on the happier end of the lottery, the Orlando Magic get the #1 pick, and are gonna draft Emeka Okafor. McGrady sees a young Alonzo Mourning (although I don't) and stays with the team, saving the franchise. And after this first sense of good fortune in months, Orlando Magic Fan is back!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Channeling Mark Cuban

Update below:

A couple things bothered me watching the end of the TWolves/Lakers game last night. As you probably have seen already, Mark Madsen was purposely fouling Shaq-sometimes before he even got the ball-to stop the clock. I'm no expert on rules here, but I have a few Cuban-esque questions about the officiating in such a situation.

What exactly is an intentional foul? I'm talking about the kind that gets you a foul shot (or two) and the ball. Is it only if there's a clear path to the basket and the defender isn't going for the ball? Couldn't this be extended to a point where you foul someone off the ball on purpose, and go as far as tell the refs that you're trying to foul? In my opinion Madsen should've been called for intentional fouls whenever he tried to bearhug Shaq when Shaq didn't even have the ball. Its true that if Shaq shot his free throws better there wouldn't be a problem, but that fact also keeps the ball out of Shaq's hands in crunch time, which is a deterrent enough for poor foul-shooting. A defender shouldn't be able to just punch him in the kidney and automatically send him to the line. Something like that is what I would call 'intentional'.

ALSO, it bothers me when NBA players are trying to foul at the end of games, and they can't do it. They'll just lackadaisically wrap their arms around the ball handler, and oftentimes he can get away, keeping the clock moving. And then the defender stands there like a moron asking the refs why they didn't call the foul when it was 'obvious' he was trying to foul them. Here's an idea, just play hyper-agressive REAL defense. Don't walk up to someone and hug them, press them and try and slap at the ball as hard as you can. Either you'll foul them, or you'll get lucky and get a steal. And on the plus side you don't look like an idiot.

UPADATE(5/27): Unsurprisingly, Mark Cuban himself has something to say about the Madsen-Shaq hugfest.

Bouncing Balls

The NBA Draft lottery is tonight at 7pmCST on ESPN. Representing the Bulls will be B.J. Armstrong, which for some reason I like better than the idea of sending a player. I can't believe some players would actually go to New Jersey for a night of hobnobbing with the likes of Elgin Baylor and Gordon Gund. Seeing BJ though won't the same as seeing Jerry Krause's frumpy face. Seeing his reaction (good or bad) was always worth a laugh.

Here's the statistical breakdown for the Bulls chances. As you may have forgotten, the Bulls have the second-worst record in the league (ahead of only Orlando):

  • #1 - 20%
  • #2 - 18.9%
  • #3 - 17.2%
  • #4 - (Charlotte picks #4 no matter what)
  • #5 - 31.7%
  • #6 - 12.2%

While this year's draft is deep enough (if not top-heavy) where the order of the picks don't matter as much, getting a top 2 pick would be a huge bargaining chip for GM John Paxson if he wants to trade it. And as you know I'm all for trading this pick.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Links, neither the sausage nor the golf kind

Its time to do some maintenance here at Bulls Blog, which first means an update on the links section, but also will hopefully mean some other juicy design stuff in the future. When I actually get a job, expect a move to a fancy new domain. maybe.

On to the links (clickable on the left panel)..

  • Hornets247 - a top-notch blog. This site covers the New Orleans Hornets more than I thought was even possible. Check it out if you want to get the low-down on their search for a new coach and GM.
  • JockNews - a newer blog, all-purpose sports. He was nice enough to link to me, so I had to reciprocate in what I call "the link dance of love". He's writing some good posts, so go over there and say hi.
  • DRAFT STUFF: Yes, for a crappy team like the Bulls, the Draft is really all there is to look forward to. Tommorow night is the Draft lottery, and after then the draft coverage at Bulls Blog will really step up. So here are some sites to get you up to snuff:
    • - I refer to this site like its the next book of the New Testament. They're moving some stuff to subscription-only membership, which is a downer, but still the definitive mock draft board.
    • CollegeHoopsnet - Another top site for draft coverage.
    • ESPN Insider - Insider's Chad Ford has really taken to this draft guru title of his. He's literally traveling the world in order to tell everyone who the next 7-footer from Iran or Lithuania is. And that will help you in turn by making you sound smarter than everyone else (especially smarter than Dick Vitale). There is the Insider subscription required to view this content though.
    • I cannot forget to mention Yoni at CollegeBasketball, who I've been visiting a lot lately. He's really posting up a storm concerning draft prospects, so make sure you check that out as well.

As always, if there are any NBA blogs out there that I'm missing feel free to drop me an email. I love finding new ways to waste my day. And the Basketball Blogosphere needs to grow and prosper.

I'll be back tomorrow with stuff on the Draft Lottery. Trust me, its an important day.

UPDATE(10:15pm): Well, as you can see I've spent the whole night updating the design. Blogger added some neato features, like putting up the previous post titles (seen on the right), as well as its own comments section. I'm not sure about the comments yet, so email me if you think they suck, and i'll go back to Haloscan.