Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Newest Bull

The Bulls have officially announced the signing of swingman Andres Nocioni, of Argentina. This gives the team possibly its first worthwhile European product since Toni Kukoc. Since Toni got traded, "The Sleuth" Jerry Krause had parlayed his mythical scouting experience into busts like Kornel David, Dragan Tarlac, and Dalibor Bagaric. However, from what has been reported, Nocioni looks like he can contribute immediately(unlike his predecessors), and I'm sure he'll get every opportunity to earn the starting SF spot over Luol Deng and Eddie Robinson.

Admittedly, I have never seen him play, but there will be a chance soon since he is on the Argentinean Olympic basketball team, alongside Manu Ginnobili. A month ago when Nocioni was first mentioned by the press, a Bulls Blog reader from Spain had this scouting report:

I've been living in Spain and following Nocioni's evolution for the last 3 years and let me tell you something: this guy is a GREAT player and he'll have an immediate impact on the Bulls.
He's a really athletic guy (like no other white guy in the NBA), extremely strong and aggressive. He started being an excellent defender with limited offensive skills (he'd always drive it to the hole and dunk on someone) but has polished his game and has become a threat from the 3-point line.
If you're afraid you're getting a slow, soft Euro guy forget it...Nocioni will be a fan favorite in no time!!!

If you want to see something with your own eyes before Team Argentina hits the court, check out this footage from the 1999 Olympic Qualifying Tournament. You'll see Nocioni torching a familiar face. Wow, so even *I* have reason to watch the Olympics now.

Now as far as the remaining spot on this team (tall guard who can shoot), candidates Wesley Person(Heat) and Calbert Chaney(Warriors) are now off the market. And while resigning Kendal Gill is a nice idea, I think its Gill who is no longer interested in the Bulls. He had his year with the hometown team, now back off to trying to win a championship. At least I think that's his plan.

 I also forgot to add in my last entry that when going along with the idea that this team needs more shooters, I now have rooting interest in Jannero Pargo winning a roster spot over Chris Duhon. I know, Dickie Vs of the world, Duhon has leadership and court awareness and the ability to crash into cameras. But I prefer more tangible attributes, like, say...putting the ball in the basket.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Hired Guns

The Mutumbo to the Rockets rumor is just making too much sense:

Bulls, Rockets still talking: The Bulls' efforts to trade newly acquired center Dikembe Mutombo are focused almost entirely on Houston. The Rockets have no backup center and used their midlevel exception to sign two free-agent guards Monday - Bob Sura and Charlie Ward.

The Bulls would like to acquire veteran shooting guard Eric Piatkowski (two years, $5.75 million) for Mutombo (one year, $4.5 million).

The Rockets have a trade exception from the Tracy McGrady deal that can cover the difference between the two salaries. The teams also have discussed adding players, such as Adrian Griffin or free agent Scott Padgett.

While I kind of labeled Mutumbo as useless in my last entry, maybe a backup center role with a slow-down, defensive coach like Jeff Van Gundy will work. And for the Bulls, Piatkowski is exactly what Paxson is looking for at the moment. A tall guard(6'7") who can shoot. His FG% was down in an injury-plagued season with Houston, but his career stats suggest he would be a nice gun off the bench.  

If Pax can't facilitate another deal, the team still has around $2m of their mid-level exemption(I'm considering Nocioni signed) along with the $1.6m veteran exemption. These 2 numbers cannot be combined, so its really gonna come down scrapin the bottom of the barrel. Names like Calbert Chaney and Hubert Davis(thank god Ron Mercer is off the market). Although if you remember about a month ago Euro guard Arvydas Macijauskas was heavily reported to be of interest to the Bulls.  While not as tall as Piatkowski, he is also a reputed shooter.

Hopefully Paxson can find one somewhere, and preferably not from the line at Krispy Kreme or Social Security Office. Another shooter on the team would take the load off of Hinrich and Gordon, and free up Eddy Curry in the middle. You know, so Eddy can pass it over his head and into the 5th row.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Movin on the West side?

I love the monday night 'tidbits' column...

Anyway, that title refers to the new location of Bulls Blog, which is coming to you from the West Loop of Chicago. It'll be nice to stop masquerading as a suburbanite(or downstate college dude) and live as a true Chicagoan. I am also a little over a mile away from my personal Mecca.

This means more Bulls games for me, and subsequent ranting after Bulls losses for you.

Now on to the "link dance of love":

CelticsBlog: A great team blog, in the tradition of KnickerBlogger, RaptorBlog, and my favorite one of all. And more Bill Simmons citations than you can imagine.

The Brushback: Go to this site now, guaranteed laughter. Basically, The Onion for sports.

The Captain and Shaquille: Except for perhaps "Kenny Bloggins", this is the most clever blog name I've heard. It covers-you guessed it- the Miami Heat. Convenient timing :).

Give Me That Rock: He's got transaction analysis from both a practical and fantasy basketball point of view.

Its good to see the Basketball Blogosphere grow and grow. If you know of another blog that I would be interested in, email me. Mind you, this doesn't mean I'll link it, I try to keep it to the ones I actually read. Except for those ones at the bottom, which are for reference purposes.