Thursday, December 02, 2004

History lesson

If you have a subscription to ESPN insider, or know of...other ways to read this, Chad Ford spent his Thursday detailing how the Bulls got in this post-dynasty mess. Not only that, he offered some advice to Pax on how to get out of it. How nice of him.

The first part isn't bad, but my main complaint makes the gigantic leap of faith when discussing the Bulls' second round picks. Sure they could've drafted Gilbert Arenas or Michael Redd. But nearly every other team in the league can say that as well. I'm not denying things have gone wrong in these past drafts, far from it. But I will not pretend failure to get a second-round steal is a massive oversight by Bulls management. I mean....drafting Mario Austin over Zaza Pachulia? Aren't there bigger fish to fry here?   Well unfortunately, there are plenty, and while Ford does gloss over some important things (most notably the Jalen Rose deal), the piece is a nice read. Nothing new though if you've been visiting here for a while.

As far as the way to fix the Bulls, it basically boils down to trading Curry, Chandler, and Gordon for Nene, Chris Wilcox, Mickael Pietrus, and Andres Biedrins. Oh and don't forget the bizarre scenario of getting Toni(!) Kukoc back in town. And then of course to close things out he stresses the importance of stability, if that makes any sense after trading away half the team. I'll give Ford the fact that Curry will be traded, but lets wait awhile before giving up on our #3 pick. And that also goes for the guy who had 18 rebounds last night.

Hm....maybe even stay the course on Curry too?

What if Jerry Krause was right?


But it's these kind of nights--the Bulls defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 92-84 on Wednesday at the United Center-- that make you wonder

Could Curry and Chandler still turn out be as good as we were told instead of what we have seen? Could they be an inside/outside tandem worth the loss of Elton Brand? Could they be the next coming of Shaquille O'Neal and Bill Russell instead of Benoit Benjamin and Brad Sellers?

In any case, the Bulls must play them a lot to maintain their value ina trade--if there is one. The Bulls can't afford to keep giving away players with little in return. But what if they could do this with some consistency? The NBA would be back in Chicago.

Even though you can't help but feel the smirk this article was written with, Sam Smith is saying what Bulls fans have been struggling with forever. See...he may be a half-crazy, crotchety old man, but My Man Sam(tm) can still write.

But then again, on Monday morning we'll be seeing Sam's new "Eddy Curry trade scenario of the week"

Both Smith and Ford have been trying forever to write ways for the Bulls to get back to prominence. I am more inclined to give GM John Paxson some time, and see where the chips fall. He knows more about his personnel than anyone, as well as their market value. But heed this warning Pax, the fact that you've gotten so much attention just goes to show how we're all waiting for a rebuilding plan to work for once.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

A celebration.

Hey now, gotta take these victories and savor them. I was at the game in person tonight. And if you need a reference point to where I sat, it was about 10 rows behind where Ben Gordon blew that breakaway dunk. But I can laugh about that miscue now since they wound up holding on for a victory.

Sure the Lakers played the night before, and aren't that great in the first place, but at no point did the Bulls look like they couldn't handle them, which is a step in the right direction. Tyson Chandler was outstanding, especially on the glass. And of course he added to it by getting the oftentimes-sleepy United Center crowd rockin' like it was 1998. Ok...not that loud.

Luol Deng had another great game, as Scottie Pippen said in the telecast "This rookie has some balls. I will tell you what he has never met a shot he didn't like." (thanks to Tim for catching that). Ben Gordon was attacking the basket in crunch time, something his predecessor Jamal Crawford would never do.

And I topped off my night by watching (after recording) my Fighting Illini lay a beatdown on #1 Wake Forest.

Its late so I don't have much in the way of analysis or statistics to give ya, just wanted to open the forum up to Bulls fans (and observers). Especially at 2-10, its nice to talk about a win.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Catching up with an old friend

Had to mention Knickerblogger's usual spot-on analysis, this time of Jamal Crawford in his "way too early season review":

He has been good offensively, but his defense is porous. Crawford's thin frame is ill-suited to fight through picks, and too fragile to slow down a drive once the other team gets a step on him. Jamal has an excellent handle, but there is nothing more frustrating than having Crawford settling for a jumper (which comprise 82% of his shots), after he's faked his defender with a series of fancy dribbles. Crawford should force the issue towards the basket with his great passing and dribbling skills. In addition, he'd do well getting fouled driving to the hoop, since the guy makes a free throw shot look like a layup (86% FT).

Watching Jamal a bit this year, he is still uses his favorite move. You remember, the one where he dribbles through his legs twice to get the defender off balance, and then pulls up and slings a jumper. Sometimes it goes in (albeit at 40% this year), and he looks good. But now Knicks fans are getting a taste of what I had grown tired of:  the annoyance that is Jamal Crawford's untapped potential.


Monday, November 29, 2004

A silver lining, by any means necessary

Well the Bulls did predictably bad  on their Annual Circus Trip of Death, but did manage to get their first win of the season. So now at 1-10, it seems that there is little chance for anything to happen this season. However, I am on a neverending quest to drum up false interest and optimism in this team, especially since there are 6 more games that I have already purchased tickets for (and expensive ones at that), and don't want to come across as a *complete* moron for doing so.

So let's take a look at an easy scapegoat, the schedule. Here's what the Bulls have had so far, with their records:




@ IND (pre-fight)








@ GS

















Besides the obvious turkeys residing in Golden State and New Jersey, those are all very tough opponents, and most of them on the road. Not that the Bulls have exhibited any type of home court advantage in the recent past, but in theory there should be some relief in knowing that 11 of the 15 games in December are at home. And in January the schedule takes a much easier turn, with plenty of games against the East.

Speaking of the East:

(1) Indiana


(2) Miami


(3) New York


(4) Cleveland


(5) Orlando


(6) Washington


(7) Detroit


(8) Philadelphia


(9) Toronto


(10) Milwaukee


(11) Boston


(12) Charlotte


(13) New Jersey


(14) Atlanta


(15) Chicago



As bad as the Bulls have been, there are several teams I still think they can leapfrog pretty quick, namely Atlanta, Charlotte, New Jersey, and Milwaukee. The next tier of Toronto, Boston, Washington, Philly and New York (I throw them in since I loathe them) aren't exactly earth-shakers either. However this is nothing new to anyone who follows the NBA: the East is really bad. The key for the Bulls to gain some sort of respectability (and sadly that's all I'm asking for at this point) this season is to win most of the games they should win, as few as they may be. That means any home game against the non-elite Eastern Conference teams, and also road games against the truly horrid. Any winnable one that they may let slip away (like a should've win against Jersey in the season opener), can be made up by the random surprise win (Utah on the road).

I can take some solace in knowing as the team gets better, the schedule will also be easier. However, as I say that, there are fans in Atlanta, Oakland, Charlotte, and New Jersey who already have the Bulls circled on their schedule.

Hm...I didn't do a great job of building up that optimism, did I? But what I guess I'm trying to convey is that this early schedule has been tough for a young (and bad) team, and I doubt there will be more 1-10 stretches in the future. At least I sure hope not.

And that can bridge our sanity until the trading deadline, when some bigger questions can be answered.


Comedic note: Former Bull Chris Jefferies lasted until the 6th round in the NBDL draft.