When developing the "As I See It" blog, I believed it to be important to recognize those player's who bring their hard hat and lunch pail as much as those who enjoy the majority of the spotlight.
courtesy of Dictionary.com
|Main Entry:||X factor|
|Part of Speech:||n|
|Definition:||a hard-to-describe influence or quality; animportant element with unknown consequences|
So without further adieu, I present to you the nominees for the:
Chicago's Finest Awards "X-Factor Windy"
Taj Gibson - Chicago Bulls - Power Forward
Taj Gibson at 6'9'', 225lbs may just be the most coveted player currently in Chicago professional sports. During this past season's trade deadline, Bulls GM Gar Forman passed on multiple high-profile trade offers including a trade for former Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, ultimately deciding to keep the 26yr old forward from USC. Taj didn't disappoint, giving the Bulls the additional depth with high energy, high work ethic and a knack for finding the boards.
Gibson also gave the Bulls their fondest playoff memories last season, posterizing Dwayne Wade and giving a high-light reel put-back that gave the Bulls momentum to grab Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Patrick Sharp - Chicago Blackhawks - Center
Patrick Sharp by default may be the third most dominant player on the Chicago Blackhawks, but with the likes of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, not ain't too shabby. Patrick Sharp in his third season with the Hawks he exceeded his points total for his career with 71 along with 28 goals created.
Sharp's most dominant statistic of the 2011 season is his increase in power play goals, scoring 12, 3 more than his career total. Sharp would have undoubtedly would have had even better stats if he would have played a full 80 games, injury lead the center to seeing only 74 games on the ice.
Sharp's individual accolades for the season included the 2011 NHL All-Star Game MVP, where he scored one goal and two assists.
Sharp would be the star on any other team in the NHL, but even playing in the shadows of Kane and Toews, Patrick has assembled himself as one of the leaders of the Hawks and earns a X-Factor nod here at "As I See It".
Matt Forte - Chicago Bears - Running Back
Matt Forte looked to be the next generation of running back to come to the Chicago Bears after his spectacular rookie season, rushing for 1,238yds, 8TD's. He also saw success in the backfield receiving, catching for over 400yds and scoring 4TD's receiving.
Unfortunately Matt saw lows during his sophomore effort, rushing for 929yds, and reaching pay-dirt only 4 times, he also failed to record a receiving touchdown the entire season. Luckily for Matt, a better season was on the horizon.
Matt's recent season saw much success for himself and the Bears. As Matt once again was effecient in both rushing and recieving, compiling over 1,000yds rushing and 6TDs along with over 500yds receiving and 3TD's. Forte became the first running back in Bears history to record a 1,000yd rushing, 500yds receiving season since Walter Payton did it in 1983.
With Forte's resurgence in the backfield, the Bears also shared in success, ultimately winning the NFC North and going to the NFC Championship Game. The Bears lost to the Green Bay Packers 21-14, Forte had only 70 yards rushing and 90 yards receiving.
Luol Deng - Chicago Bulls - Small Forward
Luol Deng by pure expectation should be more than just an X-Factor. Picked 7th overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 2004 NBA Draft, Deng came into the NBA with a season under the tutilage of Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski and also was the No.2 player in high school next to phenom and No.1 overall pick the season's prior NBA Draft LeBron James.
Deng never got a full opportunity to reach his full potential, unable to complete a full 82-game season until his third year in the NBA. Deng's stats took a hit subsequently, averaging under 15ppg, and 7 rebounds until his third season. He struggled in years after as well averaging merely 62 games a season in the years to follow.
Then came the 2010-11 season. Deng played in all 82 games, more importantly he played a total of 3,208 minutes in the regular season, good enough for 3rd in the NBA. The more intriguiging of that stat is that in every second of those 3,000 plus minutes Deng was on the court, he gave the Bulls a chance at winning. Whether he was the No.2 scoring option behind MVP Derrick Rose, he was the primary defender on the opposing teams lead scorer. Deng locked down the NBA's best to season lows while they were playing against the 6'7'' forward.
Many would say that this was a peaking of sorts for the 26yr old Sudanese guard. At "As I See It," we look at it as a coming out of sorts. Welcome back to the NBA Luol Deng, you were missed!
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Tags: All-Star Game, Carmelo Anthony, Chicago, Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose, Dictionary, Duke University, Dwayne Wade, Green Bay Packers, Jonathan Toews, LeBron James, Luol Deng, Matt Forte, Miami Heat, Mike Krzyzewski, NBA, NBA Draft, NBA MVP, NFC North, NFL, NHL, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Stanley Cup, Sudan, Super Bowl, Taj Gibson, USC, Walter Payton