Bulls at Sixers Game 4: Time to earn a paycheck?

Bulls at Sixers Game 4: Time to earn a paycheck?
Photo by Keith Allison

We all know who the highest paid players on the Bulls roster are.

One is the MVP.

One is the starting center, the one guy who really stepped it up in Games 2 and 3 in the MVP's absence.

The other two are the starting forwards, an All-Star and a former All-Star. Between them, their salaries add up to over 40% of the NBA salary cap.

It's time for these two to earn their paychecks today. Deng's defense and rebounding were top-notch last game, nine rebounds and three blocked shots, plus the lockdown job he did on Andre Iguodala while battling foul trouble, all commendable.

But he had a wide-open look at a three off a perfectly-run play that would have sent the game to overtime, and it bricked BADLY. An All-Star who isn't named Rodman can't miss a shot that bad with the game on the line.

Boozer started out well in Game 3, hitting his first four shots from the field. But he hit only 5/13 the rest of the way, and his wide-open jumper late barely drew iron, missing about as badly as Deng's.

This guy was a consistent 20/10 guy in the postseason with Utah, and that's the guy that needs to show up today. If he wonders what he needs to do, have him watch game tape of Big Baby Davis yesterday, that's how a short big man contributes on offense.

Bulls fan routinely scream "trade Boozer", but that's not real likely. Unless you're looking at another risk like Amare Stoudemire, you're not going to get anything in return outside of expiring contracts.

Deng still has trade value, and if you package him with Boozer you can get one good player back (assuming you eat a bad salary or two in expirings). Deng is an All-Star caliber defender, no doubt about it. But with other guys making big money, if Deng can't show something on offense when he's needed, he could be on his way out the door this summer.



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  • That being said, if Rip Hamilton shows up like last game but just hits a few shots he normally makes, the Bulls can win this one with defense and rebounding. He should have had 10 assists, too, if he teammates could shoot straight.

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    Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. The same year (1980), as a student assistant at Seeger Memorial High School in West Lebanon, IN, he was one of the first in the world to use, study and implement analytics in basketball. He attended Daytona State College and Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (NBA Runaround: The NBA According to Ellis) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters), where he was fortunate enough to work with many rising stars, including NFL Network's Dan Hellie, Redskins coach Jay Gruden, Magic radio and TV personality Dante Marchitelli, and WSB-TV (Atlanta) Sports Director Zach Klein. In addition to running the Bullsville blog and officiating basketball, baseball and football for the KHSAA, he is also a bass player and vocalist who writes and produces music in his spare time (you may remember his internet hit "I Hate Eddy Curry"). He's a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. He's seen Primus 9 times and thinks Les Claypool walks on water. By far his greatest accomplishment is being a father of three and grandfather of one.

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