Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Early Thoughts on Da Bulls

The Chicago Bulls are currently sitting at 6-9 and looking at the 8 seed if the season were to end today.  In the Free Keon NBA prediction post, I picked the Bulls to end up with the 3 seed in the Eastern Conferance.  This was clearly a leap of faith, as my predictions are mostly based off what I would like to see happen.  Upon further review, the Bulls are much more pedestrian, and appear to be headed for a low playoff seed and another early playoff exit.
Any Bulls analysis starts at the top with their wunderkind point guard, the player that seems destined to bring the Bulls to the promised land with his tremendous athletisim, ability to break down a defense, and his D-Will-esque passing ability.  ... Kirk Hinrich.

Derrick Rose

I was just kidding with the Hinrich thing.  Obviously I was talking about D-Rose.  The Memphis product had an interesting off-season filled with not taking his SAT (shocking), gang signs (isn't Simeon High just a large gang), and ankle injuries.  The result has been less than satisfying, his point totals have dropped from 16.8 last year, to 15.6 this year, and his assists are down as well, from 6.3 to 5.2.
I'm not an expert on this type of thing, but for a player looking to improve his jumpshot in the off-season, was getting a hand tattoo really that great of a decision?
Derrick's poor play this season led him to declare that he was not going to cut his hair until he "gets back on track". 
You can chalk up a large part of Rose's slow start to the lingering ankle injury, but it still brings up questions like "will Rose ever be good enough to be the best player on a championship team?" and answers like "No".

Grade so far: C+ (I realize the irony of giving Rose a grade, maybe he thought some Jewish kid was taking this part of the season for him)

Luol Deng

Deng is one of the Bulls actually playing well right now.  It is easy to forget why the Bulls illogically refused to include him in any of the trade talks a few years ago for Kobe, or Garnett, or (thank heavens) Gasol.  Those decisions were not based on nothing, they were based on idiocy, and the belief that Luol was a huge marketing draw in the Sudan (the next China). 
But seriously, it wasn't that long ago that Deng looked like a potential all-star.  He'll never be an All-Star, and he'll always have a horrible contract, but now he is showing why he was declared the 'Carlos Arroyo' of the Sudan.
This year Lu has put up 18 points a game and 8 boards, and has looked good doing it.  You can put down Lu and D-Rose as two of the primary building blocks that the Bulls have as they look to become a contender.
Grade so far: A-  

Joakim Noah

Noah has recieved some praise for his improvement this year, and currently is third in the NBA in rebounding at 12.1 a game.  The reality is that he is stronger and grabbing more rebounds, but his numbers get the "Mike Davis Inflation" effect by the fact that no one else on the Bulls hits the glass (except Aaron Gray during practice).  His scoring has also gone up and and he has added a semi-effective 15 foot jumper, but he is still a disaster with his back to the basket.  Congrats Jo, you are slightly better than you used to be.
Grade so far: B

Kirk Hinrich

Captain Kirk is coming of the bench again this year for the Bulls, and is currently sidelined with a thumb injury.  His shooting has been a little off so far this year, but the defense, hustle and all the playmaking you get from Kirk are still there. 
The defense you get from Hinrich is really special, he was put on this earth to guard Dwayne Wade.  Like in the movie Unbreakable, where Sam Jackson's character was born as a balance Bruce Willis's character, Kirk was born to bring balance to the NBA and guard Wade.  I am not sure what will happen if the Bulls sign Wade next summer, either they will have some epic practice battles, or the basketball world will collapse in on itself like a dying star.
Grade so far: B-

John Salmons

Struggled with his shot so far this season, shooting only 37% from the floor, and 30% from 3.  The Bulls don't have a real leader, or an established go-to scorer, and this leaves Salmons in no-mans land.  Some nights he is the player the teams looks to, sometimes you don't even notice him.  Salmons contract is up at the end of the season and the Bulls will probably let him go, depending on what happens in free-agency.
Beard grade: A-
Overall grade: C

Taj Gibson

is bad at basketball.  He is a 24-year old rookie and I think he is the second coming of Jason Caffey.  Taj is in the starting line-up due to Ty Thomas's injury, and doesn't bring much to the table.  He fouls a lot on defense and looks uncomfortable with the ball in his hands on offense.  He has the same amount of post moves in his repertoire as Jo Noah.  If you are counting that comes to none post moves.
Grade so far: C-

Jannero Pargo

also is bad at basketball.  On Monday, with Hinrich hurt, Pargo was so bad that Vinny Del Negro went with Lindsay Hunter down the stretch.  Poor man's Ben Gordon, he is not.
Grade so far: F-

Brad Miller

Check out the big brain on Brad! One of the more predictable players on the team, Miller plays about 20 minutes of solid basketball a game.  Had a game winner taken away against Denver.
Grade so far: B

Lindsay Hunter

Unsure why he is on the team.  I hadn't seen him in action until Monday against the Bucks, Hunter played 22 minutes and was in the game during crunch time.  Needless to say, the Bulls didn't win. 
It looked like everyone else was playing in a NBA game, and Lindsay was in a lunch-time rec league game at the Y.  Charlie Bell blew by Hunter for a crucial lay-up and I'm not sure that Hunter ever even turned his head. 
Bulls announcer Stacy King had Lindsay's back though and said something to the effect of 'when Lindsay came into the league, he had ups, and he was one of the quickest guards in the game".  Forgive my skeptisim, but the guy who is responsible for the term "calorie cap" is not an expert on athleticism.
Grade so far: F

Tyrus Thomas

Hasn't really played this year.  Broke his wrist doing pull-ups early in the season and is out for a while.  One of those injuries where it's like, 'if you break your arm doing pull-ups, maybe sports aren't your thing'.  Call it the 'Ryan Dempster Injury Clause'.  Maybe it's for the best, Ty rocks some colorful suits while sitting on the bench.
Grade so far: Incomplete

If you made it all the way through this post, give yourself an A.  Unless your name is Lindsay or Tyrus.  Then screw you. 
The Bulls are a team just waiting an biding their time before the heralded free agent class of 2010.  They are in a good position to be made a lot better by a player like Bosh, Wade, or dare I say, LeBron.  But for now, it seems like they are stuck in the middle of the pack in the East.

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