The top ten teams in the NBA this season

It actually hasn't been that long since the Bulls were a top 10 team in the preseason.  I would have given them that distinction just three years ago when they finished with 33 wins and were a world class disappointment.   However, I felt pretty good entering that season.

A reminder, that things may not always go as well as you hope.

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I almost cut this list short at six, because I didn't have the heart to write out "these teams are good, but we already know they're not good enough" four times, but I decided to gut it out.  That's what I bring to the table.

#1 The Miami Heat

Talk all you want about not crowning them, if my house is on the line and I have to bet who wins the NBA finals, I'm putting my money down on the Heat.  Interestingly though, for the first time since the Jordan era, it's probably more difficult to come out of the East than the West to get to the finals, so they'll have some tough matchups having to fight through at least two of Orlando, Boston, and Chicago most likely before taking on whomever comes out of the west (most likely the Lakers).

The Heat have the most potent offensive talent we've seen on one team since perhaps the showtime Lakers who had Magic, Kareem, and Worthy.  Heck this might be the most potent offensive team of all time.   Do they have enough depth though?  Do they have enough size?   Can they be physical enough defensively?  We'll find out.   I pick the team with the most talent, but I'll acknowledge they have to answer considerable questions of fit and toughness.   It's worth noting when Boston won their title recently, no one in preseason said they'd have a chance due to lack of depth either.

#2 Los Angelas Lakers

Again, I doubt this pick is shocking the world.  The breaking news siren certainly isn't going off in houses across America with this statement.   If the Heat are 1A, the Lakers are 1B.  The Lakers don't have as potent an offensive lineup.   LeBron > Kobe, Wade > Gasol, Bosh > whomever La's #3 guy is, but they have better depth, and their pieces mesh together much better. 

They have the front line that could give the Heat fits, especially if Bosh can't man up and is abused by Pau Gasol (likely).   No one on the Heat stands a chance against Andrew Bynum who will become a key player if the Lakers are to win a championship and have to face the Heat.

#3 The Boston Celtics

It might be Boston's last chance, and they may be the first team to have a medicare supplement packaged sponsered by the team, but they have a lot of depth and talent at every position with guys who will sacrifice and work together.  

With Shaq, Kendrick Perkins, Jermaine O'Neal, and Kevin Garnett, they have the interior size to match up with Orlando and L.A. and beat up the Heat on the interior.  They have an excellent play making PG, a SG you can't leave alone, and a versatile do everything SF.  

Boston will likely coast again in the regular season, and could enter the playoffs as low as the fourth seed, but come playoff time, if everyone is healthy, then they should be a force to reckon with again.

4: Orlando Magic

The Magic are behind the Lakers/Celtics, but Dwight Howard alone poses as great a threat to Miami as any player in the NBA.  Quite simply, Miami has no one who even has a snowball's chance in hell of defending Dwight Howard, and Howard protecting the paint is the best defense possible against two offensive studs who's game is predicated on driving to the basket.

The problem with Orlando is that they bring back basically the same team that wasn't good enough the past two years with no notable improvements and some notable losses.   That said, they were close enough in both years to be in the mix for the title again this year.

After these four teams, I view a drop off in the odds of winning a title and the overall talent level.  

#5 The Oklahoma City Thunder

Things start to get dicey here, and with both the Bulls and Thunder, I'll take the unknown over the known when the known isn't good enough.

The Thunder haven't added much talent in the off-season, but they have so much young talent that has room to grow that internal improvement could add five wins to their season.  

I think the Thunder are good enough to be the second seed in the West based on talent, and if they develop better than expected then they could be a dark horse with a legitimate chance to topple L.A. given that they would have had a shot last year if Durant had a good playoffs.

#6 The Chicago Bulls

It's hard to rate the Bulls, my gut instinct is to put them lower, because they've been lower for so long.   However, they finally have a really well rounded team in terms of player fit and talent.   They'll get offense in the front court from Boozer.  They've got an elite penetrating wing in Rose with one of the best floor spacers in the game in Korver to help loosen up the defense.   Deng/Brewer are excellent off the ball players, and Noah will frustrate the hell out of teams cleaning up the offensive glass and using his athleticism to get to the hoop if teams try to leave him alone.

I love the all around passing and basketball IQ this team will bring to the table.   On the defensive end, you can argue that they start too many poor defenders to be good defensively, but Brewer replaces Hinrich while Boozer replaces Miller.   I think they're improved in both of those spots.  The only time the defense is really worsened is when Kyle Korver steps on the floor, but overall they have stronger defensive personnel and Rose/Noah are both likely to come back as considerably better individual defenders this season.

All that said, the Bulls are definitely a fringe team when it comes to title hopes, as they're my fourth pick out of the east.   Much like the Thunder, they're rated highly because of the unknown potential in a potent lineup vs the known lackings of some of the lineups below.  

With the Thunder I think their median is to be the second seed with reasonable upside to potentially win the West if everything broke well for them.  With the Bulls, I think their median is the fourth seed, and it's a real stretch to see them come out of the East.

#7 San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs had a great run while it lasted, and while Parker, Jefferson, Ginobili, and Duncan will still be a potent opponent and win their 50+ games, it's hard to imagine them putting enough together to win a title this year, but if everyone stays healthy they've still got that snowballs chance in hell against L.A., and they could top the Thunder with their experience.

The thing is, their key players have struggled to stay healthy in recent seasons, and there are rumors that Parker simply wants out now, so who knows if his play declines or if he possibly gets moved.

Four titles was a great run, but they'd be long odds to win it all this season.

#8 Dallas Mavericks

Look, it's hard to imagine Dallas having a legitimate shot to win given that they've never won, and their team certainly isn't any better than it's been in the past.  Dirk's game is such that it matures well, but he's still in the slow decline years where any year could be the one he falls off a cliff in terms of production.

Much like San Antonio, the whole team is basically just a year older, the only difference is San Antonio's team of vets was able to win some rings and put it together, so I'll take them first.

#9 Denver Nuggets

It's hard to see Denver putting everything together, but if Carmelo gets his head on straight then he and Billups make up a talented tandem that can do some damage.   The problem is they still don't have a great team defense, and they added Al Harrington to the roster this off-season.  How is that supposed to help?

It's difficult to imagine Denver putting together the run to get this thing done, because they've been the same team for awhile, always fallen short, and Melo will have questionable motivation this season while preparing for next year's free agency (see LeBron and Bosh throwing in the towel last year and quitting on their team).

#10 Utah Jazz

The Jazz have downgraded considerably this off-season losing Wesley Matthews, Kyle Korver, and Carlos Boozer.   They brought in Al Jefferson who's no where near as good as Boozer IMO, so they'll have their work cut out for them. 

The individual brilliance of Deron Williams should allow them to compete and win a bunch of games still, but their talent loss has been immense IMO.

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  • I think I would put Atlanta in the top 10 and somewhere near the Bulls. I think they are going to be the surprise team and have some experience now and are relatively young.
    I think Portland will also be better than Utah, SAS...
    Portland, Atl seem to have young, experienced talent too and they might have learnt their lessons from last year.

    Who do you think will be the surprise teams? I think there are two types of surprise teams:
    1. A team like Sacramento who everybody thought will suck last year and they were bad but showed a lot more promise and some surprising wins. But they were not playoff bound.
    2. A team like Milwaukee who many thought would be a bottom-feeder but became a top 15 team last season and would have probably beaten Atlanta if they had Bogut.

  • You don't know half this shit you're talking about?

    How is Jefferson no where near Boozer? I'm a Utah fan and you're clearly overrating Boozer. Boozer has never been able to take over a game. He never puts in effort when he plays. And he never shows up in big games. The only two traits Boozer has over Jefferson is Passing and a mid range jumper.

    And Jefferson and Boozer had the exact same assist averge before they came to Utah.

    And how is Jefferson better then Boozer you asked?

    Jefferson consistently draws double teams. Jefferon takes over games on a normal basis. But the biggest difference between the two is Boozer's post game is no where near Jefferson's. Jefferson's post game is top 3 in the leauge easily and he's a better rebounder then Boozer ever was.

    "In over 200 post plays on Minnesota never once did he get a pick to free him, only once was he moving when he caught the ball. He just gets the ball in the left block sets himself and makes a move and converts it 48% of the time. If you consider how many times he's fouled it's about a point a possessioN"

    "On the over 200 post plays I watched only 7 times did he catch and shoot right off a pass, think about how many times Boozer and Millsap have just caught the ball and quickly put it up off good passing"

    Boozer has never been able to take the load of Deron in big games and can never be that number 1 scoring option like Jefferson has proved he can be.

    Also on defense Boozer is just about the worse big man in the leauge. In fact the reason Okur looked so bad on defense was because Boozers man would blow by him and Okur would have to pick him up.

    It's funny cause Jefferson has always averged more blocks then Boozer.

    This is the exact reason Bulls fans are so annoying. How the hell are you gonna act like Boozer's much better then Jefferson when we're the ones who have seen him play for three seasons and consistantly give us less then what we need out of a second option.

    And We gained Bell who is better then Korver. Because Bell is a much better defender and he's still a knock down shooter. But Bell brings that toughness to go one on one with the best perimiter defenders and brings that verteran leadership.

    Not to mention hayward

    He brings offensive rebounding. He's a three point shooting threat. He gets to the foul line(30% of his points are from the foul line). He bring excellent size at his position. He's an effective ball handler. And he can be a legit point forward. He's a good passer. And has a high basketball Iq. And he's a good defensive player

    He was an amazing 3 point shooter but for the second half of the season they forced him to create his 3 point shot off the dribble as opposed to just being a knock down shooter. That's a hard adjustment to make mid season for any young player but he clearly has the ability.

    He wasn't a good defender in college?
    He spent most of his time defending power forwards whiles his natural position is the 3. But he was still effective because he never gives up on plays he ralerly gives his man lanes to the basket . He also uses his Iq on the defensive end and understand the tendencies of the players he's guarding.

    He was an amazing 3 point shooter but for the second half of the season they forced him to create his 3 point shot off the dribble as opposed to just being a knock down shooter. That's a hard adjustment to make mid season for any young player but he clearly has the ability.

    Go look at his statistics when he was just a knockdown shooter. He had one of the highest percents in college

    He's been a great 3 point shooter ever since he game into college

    This is why I can't stand articles like this. You've obviously never watched Jefferson play more then two games when he was injured because he averged 29/11 in his games against teams like the Lakers with no help.

    And you've obviously not watch Utah games because if you think Boozer is way better then anyone you've obviously not seen how much playing in the flex and playing with a guard like D-Will helps out his game

  • In reply to purch:

    I sort of agree w/you on Al Jefferson. I mean he is a beast he's averaged a double-double since 2006. His only problem is his injury history which also is a problem for Boozer. Boozer is definitely a system oriented talent. But Rose really is a superstar in waiting and most certainly will maximize Boozer's talent as DWill did. Also, TT will hopefully create good half-court sets like Boston did regularly.

    The Bulls still will be better than Utah. Also, Rose will eventually be better than DWill...if not this season then next...it's inevitable!

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    I mean Rose will probably be better then D-Will in the future. But passing wise he's not up there with Rondo, Nash , D-Will and Paul. So I'm not sure if he'll maximize Boozer's talents because alot of Boozer's easy buckets just came from Deron's giving him the ball off great passing.

    That's not to say Rose isn't a good passer. But He's not an " elite passer" But he's a better scorer then Deron.

    And by elite passing I don't mean assist numbers. He's not as good at penetrating and Kicking it out, Deron run's the pick and roll to perfection, Is excellent at passing on the fast break and is excellent at passing in the half court.

    Rose will probally be the best point guard in the future but I don't think he'll ever be an elite passer.

    I think 8-9 assist per game will be his peak. With better scoring numbers then Paul or D-Will ever averged

  • In reply to purch:

    And it's funny you talk about Bell. Because in the few games he was actually healthy he still has shown he's a much better defender then Korver is.

  • In reply to purch:

    Yeah the "few" games he was healthy. Bell went to the highest bidder! He could have been a Laker but he decided on Utah b/c of more guaranteed cash. He will probably not be playing come December. In the last season he has played in maybe 50 games. AND HE IS 34!!

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    What? He went to the highest bidder? The reason Bell came to Utah is because he wanted to join the team again. He played in Utah at the begging of his career and when he left he said he always wanted to return if the oppurunity came up again. And it did

  • In reply to purch:

    And If you really want to talk about Injury prone. We can talk about Boozer so called "injury" That he sat out with when the trainers said he was good to go. Which caused us the 4th seed and pushed us down to the 8th seed to get eliminated in 08-09

  • In reply to purch:

    I'm not gonna hate on Brewer or Korver cause they're gonna be great for the Bulls cause they give it 100% every night and are great players.

    But if you think Boozer can be the man to take over games when Rose has an off night or be a better second option then someone like Jefferson then you're wrong.

    If you're looking for another star Jefferson is clearly the easy choice. If you're looking for a pure pick and roll guy who can get set up for baskets then take Boozer.

  • In reply to purch:

    No one expects Boozer to take over games. He will fit in well though b/c he is an unselfish player. The fact that he can shoot a 15-18ft jumpshot opens up the floor for Rose and Noah to wreak havoc!

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    I didn't say you need to expect him too. He's a better fit for Chicago then Jefferson would have been.

    But he's not a better player

  • In reply to purch:

    Or a better fit for Utah.

    Jefferson gives us that player who can take over besides Deron which is what this team has been lacking

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    You don't have any relatives that are Bulls fans do you Purch? You remind me of someone ....hmmm, same passion, same feeling for Dougs comments, same over-posting. I will say you single-handedly jump started this thread.

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    Well half the crap in this article gets me pissed off. Because it shows he didn't even do any research on our team before he came out with this article.

  • In reply to purch:

    And it's not about Hometown Bias. Because we had Boozer and for the past 3 years 90% of Jazz fans wanted to trade him. Boozer comes first to Boozer. Team comes second. And he's not gonna show up when you need him .

  • In reply to purch:

    And about the passing. Once a player learns the flex offense I've never seen their assist average go down. Just like Boozer's went up Jefferson's will too. The whole offense is about making the extra pass for the best shots, screening for men,cutting and ext.

  • Even if you talk about there mid range shots you probably don't even realize that Jefferson consistently hits his mid range jumpers.

    And if you talk about Pick and rolls you probally don't know that Jefferson hasn't missed a shot rolling to the basket since January 4th. The difference between them on the pick and roll is that Jefferson is primarily a roller whiles Boozer settles for the pick and pop. Which is why Jefferson gets more points per possesion cause he goes to the line and gets fouled.

    So please do you research before you talk about player you know nothing about.

    His dominant post game is exactly what makes Utah better then last season

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcT7JTmPPrk

    Since you've obviously never watched a T-Wolves game in your life maybe that will fill you in

  • And not to mention the only reason we couldn't run our tradition big man-point guard offense is because we lost the threat of having a dominant Post up man to post up under the basket who could draw double teams because Boozer could never be that man.

  • This is by far the worst article I've ever read.

    Watch Utah games. Watch Boozer
    Then Watch Timberwolves games. And watch Jefferson

    It's clear who's the better player. And this is coming from a Utah fan who like every Utah fan wanted Boozer traded for the past two seasons for good reason.

  • Um...have you heard of this guy called Brandon Roy? Some would call him a go-to-guy...LOL just saying.

    I agree with you about Boston tho...this may be the year they fall off that cliff. They may fall as low as 5th or 6th in the East. The Big 3 will be the "Mediocre 3" this year. The O'neal bros? This team will look lethargic. We'll see.

  • We finally got a man who can take over games when Deron isn't shooting well who we can just throw it too in the post and know he can score at will.

    Jefferson faced triple teams on Minnosota and stil averged 23-11 and 29-11 against good teams like the Lakers. Now that he has offensive options around him and a good coach and won't be triple teamed on ever possession of the game how the **** would he be worse then Boozer.

  • You know no absolutely nothing about our team if you thing we've lost a lot more talent then we gained this offseason.

    Not to mention Jefferson's only 25.

    So I ask that you either research the Utah Jazz or refrain from using our team name in your articles.

  • In reply to purch:

    Jefferson sucks. He is undersized for a 5, can't shoot a lick well enough to play the 4. Can't stay healthy. Very unathletic. Dougie said it best, a black hole.

    Why do you think they unloaded him for next to nothing? They couldn't get any decent offers for him.

  • How is he not a good passer if his assist averge was the same as Boozer when he came to Utah?

    You say he's a black hole yet the only option he had to kick it out to who could consistently score was Johnny Flynn. And we don't need floor spacing. That's the reason we have Okur. We need someone to dominant inside. O wait but you would know that if you actually watched us play.

  • And it's not like Jefferson an inefficient scorer because he averages near a point a possession and against real big men like Bynum or Yao he averages near 30 ppg

    on 11+ rebounding on 50 % shooting.

    And half the crap about Boozer being better is retarded. If you actually think Boozer could have done better settling for Mid range shots 15 feet from the basket against triple teams.

  • No. Actually if you go on Insidehoops, Real gm , Prosportsdaily or Spurstalk. It's common knowledge who's the better player it has an has always been Jefferson.

    He's constantly been voting the most underrated player in the leauge.

    And I'm not denying that Booozer's a better fit for Chicago. But to claim he's a better fit for Utah just means the article writer known nothing about our system.

    And to claim we did a massive decreased in talent just means he knows nothing about how Jefferson got no help in Minny and had no plays ran for him. And the T-Wolves ran a high paced offese last season instead of a half court offense which we Run in Utah which Jefferson is much more comfortable in.

  • D-Rose will hit his peak right before Deron starts to decline most likely. So who knows.

  • Purch....Are you Kevin O'Connor trying to defend all Utah's moves?
    But, I doubt it...Kevin probably knows to be a little polite and not rant like crazy.
    Look, Doug is being kind of nice to Utah ranking them in the top 10 while lot of people think Utah will be in the top 15 but not a top 10 team. Granted, there are issues about Boozer but he was a legit all-star while Al Jefferson hasn't done anything on a winning team. This is just speculation and we will know once they play the games.

    Cool down a little bit and BTW you got to be thankful to the Bulls. You got Al Jefferson because of Bulls giving Utah a trade exception...

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Who thinks Utah will be a top 15 team? Look I don't care if he put us at number 20 as long as he had a good reason and not the kind of bullshit he wrote.

    And Al Jefferson in 08-09 put up a better season then Boozer in his all star season

    The difference is Boozer got put into an offense made for power forwards.

    Jefferson had to play under a bad coach who tried to play the triangle offens instead of just running the offense through him.

    Jefferson was easily an all star in 08-09 before he got injured

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwtSBBmfeq8

    Look at this short video. It pretty much described how all star worthy he was that season

  • Lol then you must have a different definition of knowlageble posters. Cause anyone who actually watched T-Wolves games saids the same thing. How doesn't he score efficiently he averges nearly a point a possesion. O and most of his points were off jumpshots last season since he was injured so how does he need to be close to the basket to score. And once again Boozer wasn't a better passer then him before he came to Utah.

  • And people forget Jefferson is only 25 years old. People act like he's peaked

  • That nice. I already told you we don't need Jefferon to space out the court. That's not what he's here for right now. And he'll get better at that as the year progresses he's a young player.

    If we needed him to space the floor we would have Okur who has an irrational fear of going into the paint

  • Hilarious, this stat should be pulled out again in the future for other volume-posters (paging Mr. Happy...).

  • Wait But once again you ignore the fact him and Boozer had nearly identical assist averges before coming int the flex offense.

    And once again you ignore my whole post about Gordon Hayward.

    And When doesn't Jefferson get down the court and finish in transition. If you check synergy sports in the few times the T-Wolves had fast breaks he was nearly always down court.

  • And does it matter what team he's on if he was playing against 7 foot centers like Yao and still effectively outplaying them?

  • Except he played 76 games coming off those weak knees which is much more games then most people play coming off major injurys.

  • Read this article^

  • Read this article

    Most casual NBA fans (and even some so-called expert ones) are stuck on the thought that the Jazz rely on the Pick and Roll; nothing could be further from the truth. The Jazz team of the DWill era actually run less Pick and Rolls than 90% of the NBA, but we are still thought of as a P&R team. Why? Stockton-to-Malone. But even in those days we didn't JUST run the P&R. We ran the Flex, with a Pick and Roll as an option play, for the reasons above; less predictability for the defence. Yet we also had perhaps the 2 best exponents of the P&R in NBA history but we still ran the Flex, again because of the reasons listed above. However if you cast your mind back you can remember plays other than the P&R:

    Star-divide
    Remember the left side clear-out; that play started with Stock passing the ball to Karl on the low left block, John running a hard cut past Karl and looping past 2 screens all the way around to the top of the key. Meanwhile Horny starts on the opposite 45 and cuts off a BRuss screen on the right elbow and cuts hard down the lane, while Tag moves up to the high post in the right block and sets a screen for BRuss, who then goes to the low right side and sets a second pick for Stock while he runs his curl and then BRuss flares to the right 45 extended. That all took about 5 seconds, and it all happened only if Karl didn't pass to Stock on the give and go on Stock's first cut past him in the post. Karl would start to back his man down, but because everyone else was in motion the defence couldn't gamble and double team Karl. If they did we moved the ball and found Horny streaking down the lane, or Stock at the top of the circle, or BRuss on the elbow, or Tag open on the right block... or several combinations of open players on the one play. You all remember that set. Heck, I taught my rec league team that set about 4 years ago, and whenever we get man defence on us we run it and rack up about 10 open shots before the D switches back to zone. And that's the essence of the Flex; passing, movement off screens, open jumpers or mismatches.

    We still run the Flex today as the core of our offensive structure. 2 classic Flex sets are the plays that result in the DWill jumper from the 45, and the Power Forward 'option' play where if they don't get it in the low block for a jumper then they roll backdoor, set a pick for a downcutting guard who goes to the corner and get open at the free-throw line for the J. Why haven't we been running the 'classic' Jazz postup offence recently, I hear you ask? Well, technically we have... but just with different options. We haven't had the assets required to run some of those 'classic Jazz' Flex options in recent seasons: to run the 2 man clearout option you need a big man who can not only pass and hit a jumper but has a post game too. Booz, for all that was said and done about the big fella, didn't have a classic back to the basket game that demanded a defending team think about a double team when he got the ball.

    Al Jefferson, on the other hand, does have that back to the basket game. The current question is can he pass well enough out of single/double coverage to find the player making the Flex cuts or allow a guard to hit the open option on a swing pass? Perhaps not straight away, as he hasn't been in an offence like this, and he hasn't had the calibre of player around him that he now has. However I'm confident that in perhaps six months or so, maybe just before the Playoffs, we may see a lot more of DWill and Al on a left side clearout once the team has had a chance to gel and get used to the changes.

    We will certainly see Big Al get the ball on the low block and be given room to operate in the Flex; and with the rest of the Jazz running Flex options, setting screens and making hard cuts it will leave the defence in a real pickle: double Al and the Jazz cut you up with passes to the open man (and somehow they always seem to have one) or leave Al in single coverage and risk him going berzerk and dropping 40 on you. We haven't been able to force defences to react to us like that since the S2M days... and we may be just only around the corner from doing it again on a nightly basis.

    So, we may see more 'patterns' that we remember from the '90's Jazz this season because we have a premier passer/low block combo again. However, you have to also remember that one of Coach Sloan's strengths is being able to adapt the system he runs for the skillsets and abilities of the players that he has, and that DWill and Big Al can't play 48x82. So let's quickly look at the other new players we now have and where they could fit into the Flex this year:

    * Raja Bell: one of the reasons I was almost as excited as Moni about Raja coming back is that he knows the system already and plays well within it. I'm certain that Jazz players learn the whole Flex package but only use the sets that match their on-court skillsets (like football teams learning the whole playbook but only running 45% of their plays) so Raja will know his role already in the system no matter what changes Coach Sloan makes. The other reason that I love Raja's return is that he's got that nasty streak we all know and love... but in a Flex that translates to a guard that loves to set the backscreens and hard picks that make freeing up other players so much easier. I'm hoping that Raja's toughness rubs off onto all the guards (CJ especially) so we get back to the Stock and Horny days of our guards being known for setting tough picks on anyone regardless of size to free up the bigger guys.
    * Gordon Hayward: this kid will thrive and flourish under Coach Sloan's system. He's both intelligent and has a good Basketball IQ, moves well off the ball, and can shoot/pass/play a role. Add to that the fact that the team he has around him means that he can grow into the role and the NBA and I think you'll all find we drafted a real keeper. Where will he fit into the Flex? Well, I see him in the AK/Horny roles: the 2/3 that Flex cuts across/down the lane and gets hit for the floater/finish at the tin/extra pass to an open screener down low AND to some extent the shooter off the screen-and-slash-to-the-45, a la Korver. If he develops in the way I think that the Jazz want him to I imagine him becoming a 'mini-AK' with a dash of Korver's shooting added in, with the added bonus that if he comes along really well this year he could find himself with a big part to play in the second unit off the bench as a rookie.

    So that's the 3 new guys. But what about the rest of the team? Will their roles change? Well, yes and no. Once we are all healthy you'll see groups on the floor that were the same as the previous few seasons, so the plays that are run won't change (think DWill-CJ-AK-Sap-Memo.)

    However with the new additions we have you can see both some new lineups that mean we can run 'old' sets like the clearout I describe above (DWill-Raja-AK-Al-Memo with Al and DWill playing as Stock and Malone) and even some new look lineups that are faster and move better off the ball, allowing for even more cutting and opportunities for extra passes for open looks (Dwill-CJ-Gordo-AK-Al.)

    The thing to remember is that Coach Sloan will always adapt the options he runs from the Flex depending on the players he has, and that this Jazz team of 2010-2011 will sport a very different look from the '09-'10 team, and I'm not just talking about the sweet new Uniforms. For those of us that have been watching the action since the glory days of the '90's I dare say you will see some patterns in our offence that look spookily familiar (if my hunch is right I reckon we could even see some 80's sets come out!) Allow me to finish by painting you a picture of about 10 seconds of game action from our near future:

    DWill comes over halfcourt dribbling the ball through his legs as Coach Sloan calls the play for the 'classic 2 man clear out' set. Al drops to the low left block and starts posting up his man, as DWill moves toward him to make the entry pass. Just as Deron lofts the ball over his defender toward Al's outstretched hand a flurry of activity starts on the weak side: Memo moves to the top of the circle from the low left block and sets himself, and Gordo streaks in from the high 45 and brushes past his shoulder as he cuts down the lane. As soon as Gordo is past Memo the big fella moves to the top of the circle and gets ready to catch and shoot, as his defender is still tangled up in Howard's man. Meanwhile DWill has faked moving high after passing the ball, then pushed off and flashed HARD past Big Al, leaving his defender confused and a few steps behind as he cuts to the basket along the baseline just past Al's shoulder. Mansap, who was flat on the weakside baseline toward the corner has now moved to set weakside screens for both Deron's cut and curl to the high 45 and, a split second later, Gordo's cut and flare back to the corner. While all that was happening Al caught the ball, and looked over his shoulder at the dance of movement behind and around him, saw that Deron, Gordo, Sap, himself AND Memo all would have several good looks on this option and very much realised he wasn't in Minnesota anymore.

  • In reply to purch:

    So what year is Big Al going into the HOF? Will he go in with the player he got traded for because they have something else in common(bad knees) or will he do the "Return of Malone" and play for 15 more years without winning a title and then go to the HOF with a Bull who beat him in a few finals..

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Who knows? It really doesn't matter if he goes into the HOF? All he's here for is to produce.

  • In reply to purch:

    My God Poochie! No one asked for your life story!

  • I don't care for betting It has nothing to do with our talent. The only thing stopping us from having home court throughout the playoffs is weather we can stay healthy or not.

  • Like I said. That was his road trip leading up to the all star game.

    Before he got injured. The games speak for itself

  • Houston Rockets

    35 Points/18 Rebounds/4 Assist

    ( He seems to carry the Utah tradition of raping Houston)

    Boston Celtics

    28 points/8 Rebounds/1 assist

    Chicago Bulls

    29 Points/12 Rebounds/1 assist

    Golden State Warriors

    29 Points/11 Rebounds/2 assist

    Los Angeles Lakers

    27 Points/13 Rebounds/2 Assist

    Memphis Grizzlies

    29 Points/14 Rebounds/1 Assist

    San Antonio Spurs

    29 Points/11 Rebounds/ 1 assist

    Those are his averges in 08-09 the teams he was most effective against. Notice the playoff teams.

  • And you talk about high volume shot attempts. But in Minny Jefferson wasn't double teamed. He was triple teamed on a consistent basis and still dominated.

  • Doug, for all our sakes, please never mention the Utah Jazz in your articles ever again.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    I mean don't get me wrong I think the Bulls will do great in the east with the talent they picked up this offseason but some of the crap in this article made me sign up an account just for this.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    No kidding...these mormons sure are sensitive & defensive

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I think it has more to do with not having any other pro teams to care about.
    Until Real Salt Lake came along and won the MLS championship last year, they really didn't have anyone else to care about.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    In the Eastern Conference Bulls are lumped together at 4-6 along with Atlanta and Milwaukee. Very difficult to predict in what order.

    I don't see how 4-6 in the East translates into Bulls being the 6th best team in the entire NBA.

    Likewise Miami, Orlando, Boston are lumped in at 1-3 in the Eastern Conference. And its also very difficult to predict the order of finish or, more importantly, who will perform better in the playoffs.

  • In reply to Edward:

    It's not that hard when 3 of the top 4 teams probably come from the EC.
    Bulls are more than capable of being the #4 in the east and that pretty easily puts them in line for a #6 or #7 overall seed.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    I disagree. Bulls are not 'more than capable' of being the #4 seed in the East. 'More than capable' suggests they are also capable of the 3rd or even the 2nd seed. Which is not the case.

    Bulls are 'potentially capable' of the 4th seed in the East. That's a BIG DIFFERENCE. They are also potentially capable of being the 5th or 6th seed in the East.

    Last year there were 9 teams in the Western Conference with better records than the Bulls who won 41 games. Now suddenly the Bulls leap past 7 of those 9 Western Conference teams? That's absurd. That would require the Bulls winning 55 games. Is that your prediction?

  • In reply to Edward:

    Actually yeah, I can see that.

    Last year the Bulls were about a 45-46 win team. Injuries really hit them hard, especially during that one ten game stretch. Even a .500 record during that stretch should have given them 4-5 more wins.

    Let's say we were "just" a 45 win team.
    I predict 53-54 wins for us this year. That's just an 8 or 9 game improvement.
    That's entirely possible with our team.

    We return 4 of our 5 starters ... with one of them moving to the bench.
    We upgraded our weakest position to a top 5 PF. (I really like Taj, lots of potential, heart and desire to improve ... but he's not there just yet.)
    We replaced Kirk with Brewer, Bogans, and Korver.
    We found what looks like a steal for our backup PG.
    And our biggest loss ... Miller ... we managed to find a replacement that wasn't horrible.

    I'm willing to optimistically predict 54 wins for the Bulls ... a 13 game improvement.

    And that puts them 3rd in the East ...

    1. Heat (66 wins)
    2. Magic (61 wins)
    3. Bulls (54 wins)
    4. Celtics (52 wins)

    and 6th overall ...

    Lakers (60 wins)
    Mavs (55 wins)
    Thunder (52 wins)

    It's not that hard to see it happening.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    Agreed

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    I think I now understand how its done.

    Suddenly in the space of a few minutes the Bulls added 4-5 phantom wins to last years record and have moved up from the 4th seed in the East to the 3rd for this season.
    I'm glad to know its that easy.

    Hey, I've got an idea! If we wait another couple hours you can crown the Bulls Eastern Conference Champs!

  • In reply to Edward:

    Look at it however you like.

    And in case it wasn't clear, allow me to clarify ...
    There is a difference in my rankings between final conference standings for the season and who is a better team.

    In my prediction for conference standing I have the Bulls #3 as I stated above.
    In my prediction for best teams in the East, I have the Bulls #4, as I also stated above.

    There is a difference.
    A better record is more important for some teams ... usually younger ones.

    Why don't you tell me where you see the Bulls standing this year?
    A 54 win season would have put them 3rd in the both the east and west last year.
    Do you not see the Bulls being able to win 54 games this year?

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    In your 54 win prediction are you assuming Bulls go 100% injury free? That

  • In reply to Edward:

    51 isn't that far from 54 ... I think you're quibbling over the little things.

    I too see Milwaukee pushing us for most of the season ... but after that, who's left in our division?

    With Cleveland dropping dramatically, and Indiana and Detroit no threat, our Division became much more manageable.

    No, I am not assuming an injury free season. I've been watching all sports for about 30 years now. I know how teams have to cope with injuries. Things like Rose starting the season slowly last year happen to all teams.
    But I also realize that it's very unusual for a teams top 4 starters to all get injured at nearly the same time and all end up sitting out much of nearly the identical 10 game stretch.

    We went into that stretch at a .534 pace through 58 games.
    Just sticking to that pace alone we would have won at least 3 more games.
    Over the final 14 games of the season we went 10-4 ... a .714 pace.
    Don't you think it might have been possible for us to win a few of the games like we played against the Grizzlies when our starting lineup consisted of ...

    Acie Law
    Jannero Pargo
    Ronald Murray
    Taj Gibson (who was playing injured)
    Brad Miller

    and off the bench we played Hakim Warrick, James Johnson, Chris Richard, and Devin Brown ...

    One of several games that were very similar during that stretch.

    Injuries are one thing, but that goes beyond even the most outlandish idea of injuries.

    I can see a scenario where the Bulls come out slowly this year ... there's a lot of change to get used to there. And that would likely drop them down in the wins column.

    But these are predictions ...
    You don't expect me to make a prediction based on the minimum number of games they will win ... of course not.
    Or Base it on the number of serious injuries we'll have to deal with.
    Predictions have to assume a relatively normal rate of minor injuries along the way and put everyone on the same starting ground. And that's exactly what my prediction is based on.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    Nice breakdown. The Bulls finished 41-41 despite Rose's slow start due to injury, Noah missing a bunch of games to injury, significant roster changes with the cap-space clearing trades, the silly distraction of the VDN/Paxson confrontation, no consistent long-range shooter, and no post game.

    The Bulls have added a consistent long-range shooter and post presence and hired a guy considered to be one of the best defensive minds in the NBA.

    Assuming the Bulls avoid significant injuries to key players and Paxson can refrain from attacking Thibs, it's not unreasonable to expect an improvement of 8 or 9 wins over the 45 or 46 win season that would've been well within their reach last season had so many elements not worked against them.

  • How about Washington. Wall, Arenas, and don't forget Andray Blatche played at an All-Star level in the second half of the season last year. They may win 40+ games.

  • And since when was Boozer ever fast getting down court?

    ANd whats your point Boozer averaged 2 assist before come to Utah and Jefferson averaged 1.7 when he was healthy before coming to Utah?

  • Well obviously since Boozer gets to play his natural position at the four and doesn't have to go against 7 foot centers and get triple teamed he's gonna have better number

  • What point are you trying to make?

  • Nope that's not me research. The point wasn't the highlights. The point was the video has all his numbers leading up to the all star break which put him into all star consideration.

    Duh.

    My research is actually watching Minny games like I watch all divison teams.

  • Also what does record mean when you're playing with a hall of fame coach and the best point guard in the Nba and significantly more talent? Btw please show me a clip where Boozer has gotten triple teamed.

    Because if you watch a T-Wolves game or even Jefferson highlight you'll see it much more then once.

  • What? He doesn't have range outside of 10 feet? He scored most his points last season from mid range after being double teamed.

    And you say his athletisism isnt high enough to defend fours yet on Boston that's all he used to defend

  • Hes not supposed to. Hayward is supposed to be a move versitle Korver. Who's a knock down shooter , better defensive player, can handle the ball,gets to the foul like and can post up.

  • Except for the fact that having Lebron the pass the ball to is much more of a threat then having Johnny Flynn to pass the ball too. I think teams are more willing to leave Flynn open then Lebron. Except for the fact that flynn is inconsistant

  • In reply to purch:

    Not many assists to get off Lebron since he genarally creates his OWN shot.

  • In reply to purch:

    What you Bulls guys gotta understand is that Boozer was done-zo here. We'd gone as far as we were going to with him, he had mentally checked out of the franchise, he was past the point of being "in it to win it". Just look at his comments in the media - two years ago it was "I'm getting a raise regardless" and him spending all his time day dreaming about Orlando Chicago and Miami, never really committing and giving himself fully to the team.

    D-Will, our team leader and best player, couldn't stand him after a certain point. Not to mention Boozer's rediculous injury history - while there is speculation to this date on the legitimacy of his injuries there is no doubt he is/was a softy.. taking as much time as possible to come back from any injury. Just this last season he opted to skip the final game of the regular season against Phoenix - a game that had the 3rd!! overall seed on the line, only to play (and play well I might add) 3 days later against the Nuggets. Phoenix ended up making it all the way to the conference finals.

    I think Purch is just trying to articulate the excitement that Utah has because not only is Boozer gone, but we got an awesome, potential all-star calibur player in Al for nothing. We also have Paul Millsap, who has been waiting and waiting for this opportunity, finally being given his chance to shine in a featured role. Look at the dude's playoff statistics.

    Another thing is Jefferson is completely buying into the system and the franchise here. If you've listened to any of his interviews he just talks about how blessed he is, and how he'll do what it takes to win. I don't understand the perception that Al is just gonna come here and be the same old player he's always been. He's here to change his game for the good of the system and the team. He understands how the Jazz's offense has always been able to make successes out of power forwards. Someone earlier mentioned something about systems and the chicken/egg debate when it comes to Jeff. Where are you to argue that Boozer's success isn't the result of the proven Jazz system? Or that it at least did not play a significant part of it? I'm not saying I would make that arguement myself, but you need to at least be consistent in your reasoning.

    D-will is ecstatic about having a new, capable, non-Boozer PF on our team. Someone new to work with and someone who might level with him more. You are all going to realize, Boozer might act like a team leader, and for the first 2 or so years he might be, be the luster is going to wear off and you'll see the Boozer the Jazz all got to know up and personally - the man has always put himself before the good of the team. And with all the talented youth on your team - D-Rose, Noah, Gibson - i have a hard time believing they'll put up with it forever, just as Williams on our team got tired of it.

    Boozer's a good player, but as far as the Jazz are concerned it is addition by subtraction. I guarantee 100% of Jazz fans, even the rational ones, would agree to that. He had his time here and now we have a brand new era to look forward to. I think that's all Purch was trying to say.

  • In reply to JohnnyComeLightly:

    I have to agree that it does appear that most Jazz fans seem relieved to be rid of Boozer, and are excited to have Jefferson. I will give you that much.

    While this does give me some cause for concern regarding Boozer, I wanted no part of Jefferson on the Bulls.

    Additionally, being tired of Boozer and excited to acquire Jefferson does not make one player better than the other.

    I know that I am excited to have Boozer, I don't watch the Jazz enough to know if Jefferson is an upgrade or not.

    Hope for the best, and maybe both teams and their fans will be happy with their acquisitions.

    That being said, being the Mr Happy of Utah Jazz fans is not something that Mr Purch should aspire to.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    To be fair to Mr. Purch, he is in love with a player on his team and is not pushing for useless trades for a player on the Grizzlies or Nuggets

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I wouldn't worry too much ...

    Boozer ran into the Utah phenomenon known as "You're not Karl Malone ... so you'll never be good enough."

    Boozer isn't as good as Malone ... he's not as good as Stockton ... he's not as good as Jordan ... he's not as good as Pippen ... he's probably never going to be as good as Rodman or Grant.

    In terms of overall play, Boozer could be as high as the #3 best PF in the league behind Gasol and Bosh. Nowitzki and Amare are both better offensively, but lack in other areas. None of them besides Gasol play anything resembling good defense, but at least Boozer tries ... unlike Dirk and Amare.

    Very few Jazz fans actually wanted Boozer gone before he was actually gone ... only after. Otherwise known as jilted lover syndrome.

    I think as long as we keep our expectations to a reasonable level, we'll all be just fine.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    "Very few Jazz fans actually wanted Boozer gone before he was actually gone ... only after. Otherwise known as jilted lover syndrome."

    This shows how off base your whole perspective is man. People have been wanting him gone for years. I don't know how you could try and make that assumption when it is so blatantly false.

    Oh and Boozer hardly tries to play D.. that's been his biggest issue for 4 years. The dudes soft.

  • In reply to JohnnyComeLightly:

    Get real ... all you Jazz fans are the same and it's really ridiculous.

    I LIVE IN UTAH for crying out loud!
    My wife and her entire family ... all from Utah ... are life long UTAH FANS!
    I live just outside SLC ...
    I read the papers ...
    I listen the the radio ...
    I visit the websites ...

    These attempts at revisionist history are absurd ...
    Find me one credible article from a Utah fan site that wanted Boozer gone before he actually left ... and no, ones from the period last summer when everyone in Utah figured he was gone anyways do NOT count.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    Hey man that's just how you see it. My circle of basketball friends hated him and on online communities i've visited there was also the same sense. I live in Utah too you dumbass.

  • In reply to JohnnyComeLightly:

    You can "see" it any way you want, but the reality of the situation was pretty clear. Jazz fans whined and moaned about Boozer's shortcomings, and a few of them here and there suggested getting rid of him, just like every other player in the history of the NBA ... but never was there a big sentiment that the Jazz needed to get rid of him. NEVER.
    He was the 2nd best player on the team and a top 5 player at his position ... don't be absurd.

    http://forums.realgm.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=1030225

    http://forums.realgm.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=1035185

    These, along with dozens of others like them, give a decent sense of what Jazz fans thought of Boozer.

    And over the course of his time with Utah, Jazz fans were so up and down ... as the almost always are ... that you couldn't tell one day from the next how they were going to feel about their players.

    And yes, I had assumed you lived in Utah ... dumbass.

  • In reply to JohnnyComeLightly:

    Speaking of Jazz fans, I use to have a friend who lived in SLC and had court side seats to all their games. He was from Chicago and at Christmastime every year he would come into town and tell us that Karl Malone was better than Michael. You can only imagine how sweet it was to beat the Jazz in the finals. You know sometimes dope-slapping a fanatic just doesn't work.

  • In reply to purch:

    I guess you just don't see the potential that a front court rotation of Jeff-Okur-Millsap has. Losing Wesley hurts 10000% more than losing Booze

  • In reply to JohnnyComeLightly:

    Utah would have been ecstatic if Boozer for example had said I will sign for a 4 year/40 mil deal.. He has had issues but to tell somehow Al Jefferson is better is really dumb. The grass always looks greener on the other side...so beware of what you get. And you guys mean to tell that other FOs are stupid not to have traded for Al Jefferson if he was so great with so many teams requiring PFs/Center(Chicago, NJ, OKC, NY) and having cap space. I hope it works out for the Jazz but throwing out meaningless arguments isn't a good reflection of the fans..

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Wouldn't Chicago have been ecstatic if Lebron or D-wade offered to sign a 4 year 40 Mill contract?? Because that's about as realistic as Boozer doing the same. Boozer's not an idiot, he knew what the market was like... he'd been planning and looking forward to it all year. If it wasn't Chicago then NJ, maybe even Miami if it had gone down differently.

    I laugh at your declaration of meaningless arguments when you yourself start your retort with one. I don't think you really read what I was trying to say. If you did and are choosing to ignore it, trust me, it will hit you like a ton of bricks a few years down the road.

  • In reply to JohnnyComeLightly:

    The point is Utah didn't have the resources for paying market rate to Boozer. Although I have to agree they did a good job of getting Jefferson instead of signing a Hakim Warrick or Drew Gooden type player. We know Boozer has issues but the Bulls are a big market team and should be able to handle one bad salary in 3/4 years from now.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    From the fan stand point it was a win-win because we lost Loozer but were able to get a more than adequate replacement for nothing. Had we just lost him to FA without getting anything else then we would be singing a different tune

  • In reply to purch:

    I knew that we were in trouble when I saw nearly 150 comments, I figured the usual suspects were reverting to their normal prepubescent form.

    Surprise, we got a new one. If you are a Utah fan who watches every Timberwolves game and reads a Chicago Bulls blog you must be even more unemployed than Mappy.

    I did learn something new today. I had no clue that there was even one single person on earth that has watched every single Jazz and Wolves game over the combined Boozer/Jefferson era. An era which is certain to be immortalized by its own wing in the HOF.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Bigdork,

    Funny how you are the one commenting on this post though.

    Get a life...idiot.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    You telling me or anyone else on this blog to get a life is the most assinine thing that you have ever said. Given your herculean assininess, that is really saying something.

    Like your buddy KW, you are simply not in my league as a sportsfan, intellect or human being.

    So go back to calling your 3 year old friends 3 year old names.

    Get a job, and move out of your mothers basement.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    My mind is clearly superior to yours. It's that simple.

    You had to call your Dad (Doug) because you didn't have any other way to defend yourself from my comments. So I had to stop my brilliant assaults on you because apparently you were incapable of defending yourself and instead you were just bathing in your tears. When you can't defend yourself, you're a giant pussy. Pussy.

    Then you stooped so low as to challenge me to a fight. That's the ultimate sign of douche-ness on the internet. Act tough when you know there's no way anyone can find you. Impressive (not really). You consistently reveal yourself as a waste of semen when you post. But threatening someone is the ultimate sign of a pee brain. McHappy doesn't even do that. Congratulations, loser.

    You're my bitch and you know it, bitch.

  • Purch... STFU. Seriously, you're done son. Jefferson is not better than Boozer and resorting to posting two year old youtube videos just proves how pathetic your argument is.

  • In reply to jpbaker81:

    What? You obviously didn't read what I said. You have no idea what you're talking about and have probally never watched a Utah game in your life or watched Boozer play any game outside of Chicago.

    And i doubt you've ever watched a minny game so you have no credibilty.

    My youtube video wasn't to prove anything it just had his numbers leading up to the all star break so I didn't have to go and find them.

    Common sense you lack it.

  • In reply to purch:

    And btw I've already made my points which you've probably refused to read because you're an ignorant person who lacks a brain.

  • In reply to purch:

    What???? Kevin love came off the Bench because of Jefferson. The only reason Kahn traded Jefferson is because they wanted to play a high tempo system and Jefferson wanted a trade.

  • In reply to purch:

    And once against reading comprehension is gold. I didn't say he hasn't missed a shot since January 4th. I said he hasn't missed a shot rolling to the basket off a pick and roll since january 4th. GO check synergy sports. Please.

  • In reply to purch:

    And if by not staying on the court if you're referring to early in the year when he was injured then sure. But come March he was back to his regular minutes and love was back to being a 6th man

  • In reply to jpbaker81:

    Purch your crazy. Did you watch YOUR team go to the Western Conference finals? Who were the players? Boozer and Williams, everyone else is a role player. Jefferson has had 1 good year and when I watched T-Wolves games he couldn't even stay on the court cause he was splitting time with Kevin Love.

    Why did Minnesota trade him and keep Love? If Love beats you out how good are you?

    And it sounds like to me your watching a highlight film of Jefferson, not a game. He hasn't missed a shot since Jan. 4th, really? Then he wasn't shooting enough or he's the greatest player in the league. Please.

    Boozer has been there and is proven, so when Jefferson goes to a Conference Finals as the 1st or 2nd best player on his team you can talk, till then stop it with Al Jefferson, lol.

  • Ok Boozer is the ultimate transition big man and Jefferson is the worse.

    According to you Mr expect on Utah games.

    I presented you with both their assist averges before they came into the flex offense and both of them were .3 apart. Take that as far as you want.

  • And he's 25.

  • Im a basketball head.

    I watch basketball.

    A lot.

    Get over it.

  • Purch again, you show your true lack of basketball knowledge. Love is a much better player vs. Jefferson. I wish Doug would just ban you from this blog. You are worse that Mr. Happy when it comes to nonsensical jargon.

  • In reply to jpbaker81:

    oh, but feel free to post another old youtube video to back up your point. Dumbass.

  • In reply to jpbaker81:

    What since when was Love a better player then Jefferson? Since when did love ever produce enough to not be 6 man. All he did was rebound and shoot shots last season then complain whne he didn't get enough minutes. You obviously have no idea what you're talking about.

  • In reply to purch:

    Please say Love is better then Jefferson on a Minny forum and you'll get laughed at.

  • In reply to purch:

    Love is better then Jefferson on a Minny forum

  • In reply to jpbaker81:

    Please go post a thread on TWolves blog named Jefferson vs Love. And say love is better and you'll get laughed at.

  • In reply to jpbaker81:

    Doug, while I'm a hopeful Bulls fan I think you rated Bulls too highly. Atlanta won 53 games last year and Milwaukee 46, we can't simply dismiss them.

    All this talk of the Bulls being a near elite team is very premature in my opinion. They won 41 games last year. Bulls have to prove themselves by passing 50 wins before they can legitimately be in the discussion.

    It's quite possible Bulls are locked in a battle with Milwaukee for the Central Division crown. If Bulls don't win the Central then its no homecourt advantage in the 1st round of the playoffs.

    I hope Bulls run away with the Central with 53-54 wins, but we can't simply assume that. If Bulls start strong and are near .600 at the end of December, then I'm all in! But a typical slow start and making up ground after the all-star break when half the teams in the league have quit won't cut it anymore.

  • In reply to purch:

    Al Jefferson was so valuable to Minnesota that they begged some team to take him during the season and offseaason and finally traded him to Utah, for nothing! Get your head out of year ass for crying out loud.

  • In reply to jpbaker81:

    What? Who did they beg you mean the fact they wanted a true center instead of a power forward? And are you really talking about trades from Kahn in your argument you mean the same one who thinks Darko is on the same level as C-Webb? Funny how Dallas and Utah two very good teams were the top contenders for him

  • In reply to purch:

    The fact that some team didn't jump in earlier to get this Jefferson shows his value, HE WAS TRADED FOR GARBAGE!!!!!!!!

  • In reply to jpbaker81:

    So? How about the fact that we're the only team who offered the T-Wolves cap relief which is all Kahn was after.

    Kahn didn't want a Kenyon Martin or something from Denver. He was looking for cap relief.

    And that's what we gave him. No T-Wolves fans agreed with the decision because he traded their best player for nothing.

    But Kahn is a dumbass who said Darko is on the same level as C-Webb so what does that even mean?

  • In reply to jpbaker81:

    ROFL ... you pissed off a Jazz fan Doug ... never a good idea.
    They will drown you with irrational arguments and fanaticism until you just want to shoot yourself.

    Purch, you're a riot. Just like every other Jazz fan I've ever met ... completely oblivious to reality. Half your posts contain errors and mistakes.
    Don't you think before you call out the author of the post for errors, you should stop exaggerating and mis-stating facts and figures yourself?

    Jefferson a better rebounder? (Especially considering the 2 inch height difference) Not even close. Even at his best, Jefferson wasn't better than Boozer. And 9.3 isn't all that inspiring for a 6'11" starting Center ... but considering you've been dealing with Okur now for awhile, it's not surprising that you're overly excited.

    Jefferson a better mid range shooter? Laughable ... Jefferson is not as good a shooter as Boozer and likely never will be. He's pretty good when you get him the ball within a step or two of the basket, but outside of there, he has very little range.

    Jefferson a better passer? Jefferson's assists have never been as high as Boozer's were before he came to the Jazz. Boozer as a starter has never gone below 2.0 ... Jefferson as a starter has never gone above 1.8 ... Will Jefferson get better in the Utah system? It's possible, but as typical Jazz fans do, you just assume that it's going to happen without any evidence to back it up.

    Jefferson is now magically going to be a dominant player? He's never been a top 5 center in the league ... he barely might make top 10 this past season ... and that was as a number one option ... on a team that won 15 games. 15 GAMES.
    Boozer has consistently put up better numbers for the past several years as a number two option on a consistent 50 win team.

    It is absurd, by just about any measure, that you would think Jefferson is an upgrade over Boozer.
    Does Jefferson have a few areas he might be better at? Sure ... he's a solid, back to the basket, low post scorer ... maybe better than Boozer even. He's a little bit better defender. And that's about it.

    When Jefferson comes in and doesn't run the offense the way the Jazz want, or doesn't play perfectly ... the Jazz fans will do the same thing they've done with Boozer. Talk about how great he is and how if things would just go their way, they'd win it all ... until the Jazz get rid of him. And then they will all talk about how they wanted to get rid of him right from the start and never really liked him anyways.

    And Purch ... before you get your panties in a twist ... I live in Utah. I've listened to all you ridiculous Jazz fans for years now. Your arguments are always the same ... and always just as irrational.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    One before I even point this out. I never said Jefferson was a better mid range shooter or a better passer

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    And if you talk about rebounding Jefferson averged 11 rebounds playing the center which isn't even his natural position against 7 foot centers.

    And you talk about him not being a top center but who are these top centers who are so much better then him?

    Who are you talking about Bogut?

    Game 1:

    Al Jefferson: 23/15/1
    Andrew Bougut: 8/13/5

    Game 2:

    Al Jefferson: 13/11/2
    Andrew Bougut: 24/15/2

    Game 3:

    AL Jefferson: 20/7/2
    Andrew Bougut: 14/7/2

    Game 4:

    Al Jefferson: 8/8/2
    Andrew Bougut: 17/10/4

    Game 5:

    Al Jefferson: 9/10/2
    Andrew Bougut: 14/6/1

    Al Jefferson vs Brook Lopez

    Game 1:

    Al Jefferson: 17/12/3
    Brook Lopez: 11/10/2

    Game 2:

    Al Jefferson: 9/4/2
    Brook Lopez: 27/15/4

    Game 3:

    Al Jefferson : 27/7/4
    Brook Lopez: 9/10/7

    Game 1:

    Al Jefferson: 23/13
    Dwight Howard: 12/14/3

    Game 2:

    Al Jefferson: 28/6/3
    Dwight Howard: 10/14/3

    Game 3:

    Al Jefferson : 25/10/1
    Dwight Howard: 28/16/1

    Game 4:

    Al Jefferson: 18/11/1
    Dwight Howard: 20/14/4

    Game 5:

    Al Jefferson : 19/8/2
    Dwight Howard: 23/14

    Game 6:

    Al Jefferson: 16/7/2
    Dwight Howard: 17/5/2

    Game 7:

    Al Jefferson: 14/10/3
    Dwight Howard: 9/15/4

    Game 8:

    Al Jefferson: 18/13
    Dwight Howard: 24/19/4

  • In reply to purch:

    I'm still not sure why you cherry picked some games while leaving out others ... and yet left in several games where Jefferson got completely outplayed.

    Games played against ...
    Bogut = 10
    Howard = 13

    And yes, he's put up some decent games against guys like Howard, Ming, Bogut, and Lopez ...
    But decent games every once in awhile do not make a star.
    Overall numbers mean something. It shows consistency. And while Jefferson has put up consistently above average numbers, he's not hit star level yet.
    Currently, I have Jefferson ranked as the #7 center in the league. That puts him very close to star level.
    And if he manages to put up a good season with a 50+ win team in Utah this year, he'll probably be considered at that next level.
    It might bump him up to being the #2 center in the west behind Yao (assuming he comes back healthy).

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    And when hasn't he been a dominant player? What dominant player has he not played against an outperformed our matched bucket for bucket?

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    And if you think he's just a bit better then Boozer with his back to the basket then there's no point in this argument. Cause that's his biggest advantage over Boozer.

  • In reply to purch:

    It is his biggest advantage ... and it's not even all that big.
    Boozer was consistently asked to score and defend against centers and post defenders without having anyone to back him up down there. Okur was usually hanging around the 3 point line.
    I wonder what it's going to be like for Boozer to actually have a low post defender, shot blocker and rebounder next to him to actually help him out this year.
    I'll bet he gets Noah a big huge christmas Turkey for after the Knicks game. LOL

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    And Jefferson has never had any of those three so what's your point.

    And yes Boozer has been asked to score and defend against Centers and post defenders more then a few times in games when Him and Millsap played together. And his post game was never that dominant

    It really is that big. Jefferson post moves are top tier.

  • In reply to purch:

    What does Millsap have to do with anything?
    He's like 6'7" tops ... and not as good as Boozer.

    Boozer was asked to defend just as much when Okur was in the game. And against 7 foot post players ... Jazz fans get all bent out of shape that Boozer couldn't take on Gasol and Bynum.
    6'9" going against two 7 footers ... alone ... considering that Okur did next to nothing. And yet somehow it was Boozer's fault that he wasn't able to get the job done ... not Okur's fault. Or not the team's fault for expecting Boozer to somehow neutralize both of the Lakers 7 footers.
    Ridiculous.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    And putting up better numbers isn't hard when one players is faving 7 foot centers and getting triple teamed on every play and having no other offensive options.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    Or are you talking about someone like Yao Ming who Jefferson averges

    35 Points/18 Rebounds/4 Assist against

  • In reply to purch:

    And btw what does 50 wins have to do with anything when you're playing with a hall of fame coach, signfigently better talent and the best point guard in the Nba?

  • In reply to purch:

    Have you ever watched basketball?
    It has everything to do with the argument.

    Just because you can put up good numbers as the #1 option on a really, really bad team doesn't mean you can do the same thing as a #2 option on a really good team.
    Everyone knows that.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    Ok but what does putting up good numbers in single coverage compare to putting up good numbers against triple teams?

  • In reply to purch:

    Yeah, Jefferson gets triple teamed every time he touches the ball ... are you from this universe?

    Boozer draws double teams just like Jefferson does.

  • In reply to purch:

    Beware of players who put up good - but not great - stats on bad teams. It's that old "chicken in the egg" type of argument. Did he put up good stats because the team was so bad that he didn't have to defer to anyone or was he the reason the team wasn't twice as bad as it already was?

    Would he put up even better stats playing alongside teammates who can pull some of the defense's attention away or would his stats drop as quality players overshadow him? Would his stats stay the same no matter what, but have no bearing on team success either way?

    It's different if a player puts up PHENOMENAL stats on a bad team (near 30 or more than ppg; rebounds in the low to mid teens; near triple-double average). Those guys usually turn lottery teams into low-to-mid-seed playoff teams.

    I know the argument isn't whether or not either player is great, but we know that Boozer has put up solid stats for contenders. Jefferson has put up only slightly better stats for lottery teams. I guess this season we'll find out.

  • In reply to magestew:

    I know but when I read articles like this where people are just ripping apart players they don't know about it just gets me pissed.

    And I didn't say Boozer isn't a better fit for Chicago. But to say Jefferson isn't a better fit for Utah Just goes against our whole offense which I posted in that article above.

  • In reply to magestew:

    Anyhow I have five minutes before I have to leave so .-.

  • In reply to purch:

    Don't let reality smack you in the ass on the way out ...

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    Funny. That I just spent an hour defending my team against people who don't understand our offense or understand who fits into our system. And don't understand how well a dominant low post scorer suits us.

  • In reply to purch:

    Funny. I thought you just spent an hour making yourself look silly and uninformed.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    Nope I spent an hour disputing every point made here. And explaining how hes more suited for our offense.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    The Bulls are ranked a bit high. Hell, I was arguing with Lang Greene from Hoopsworld about the Bulls being better than the Hawks. There is a good chance they are not...and is it possible a possible future superstar can be overhyped? I think that is the situation with Rose. I have said in the past, for the Bulls to be a great team, Rose has to be Isiah Thomas...he is not close to that level yet...again, he is still battling with Rondo for position in pg ranks right now...

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    Funny I just disproved all the retarded misconceptions about the Jazz offense and proved how he's a better fit. I choose to think the people who are uninformed are the people who say we're a worse team without even researching what every player on our roster bring us.

  • In reply to purch:

    But a difference in opinion I guess.

  • In reply to purch:

    More like a difference in reality ...
    Some people like to face it, Jazz fans prefer to ignore it.

    Jefferson was a decent pickup for the Jazz to replace Boozer and considering Okur's injury. But just like when Jazz fans were convinced that Millsap was better than Boozer, reality is going to smack them in the face after a couple months.

  • In reply to purch:

    Back to the original topic ...

    #1 Lakers - I can't see how the Lakers aren't in this spot. Even against the Heat I think they win 4 of the 5 position battles, have a better bench and a better coach. Head to head, unless Lebron can just absolutely dominate Artest, I don't see how they can beat the Lakers.

    #2 Heat - I'll give them this high on talent alone. We'll have to see if they deserve it.

    #3 Orlando - a very deep team that still has a lot of potential, but they are already running out of excuses for why they are not improving. Howard needs to get better, Period.

    #4 Celtics - They are probably still better than Orlando, but getting older will make you care less about the regular season.
    I think this might be the year they decline in talent and effectiveness. Just a little.

    #5 Mavs - I know they continue to come up short. And I think they likely will continue to do so. But they did win 55 games last year in the WC, taking the #2 seed. They have plenty of talent, but I doubt they do any better this year.

    #6 Bulls - I'm sure I'm biased, but I see all the potential there. This might take a little while to get there, but by the end of the season, this is where I see them.

    #7 Thunder - Very talented, probably just as good as the Bulls, but I think everyone is jumping on their bandwagon just a little bit too quickly. I like Durant, and I think he's got a lot of talent ... but how do we know he still has more to show? Maybe last year was just about his peak ... I mean he did lead the league in scoring. Does he have a whole other level to go to still? And outside of Durant's potential, the Thunder didn't do much in the offseason to improve. I see them winning a few more games this year and perhaps getting up to the #3 seed. I can see them being that dominate #2 seed if Durant really does have even more to show us.
    #8 Jazz - Despite all the nonsense talk in this thread about the Jazz, I do still have them winning 50 games this year and being the #4 seed out west. They just have more discipline, coaching, and heart than teams like Denver, Portland and Dallas in my opinion.
    #9 Spurs - Unfortunately (because I like the Spurs), I see the Spurs dropping off just a bit this year. I'd love to see if a healthy Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, and Jefferson still has a run in them.
    #10 Nuggets - In my opinion, there's little difference at this point between the Nuggets, Blazers, and Rockets. They all have talent but they also have their weaknesses. They could all go somewhere if they could find a little more heart and drive. But considering that I think Denver has more talent and potential with Billups and Anthony, I put them here.

  • In reply to purch:

    Wow!!! that was an interesting conversation with that Utah fan. He sounds like a Jazz fan that is a little lost because his team lost 3 of their best players to the Bulls and now he's on the Bulls blog in denial trying to trash the best player that the Bulls signed in Boozer. He's upset because he knows that the system in Utah is good and they have a great coach in Sloan but I really feel that Utah never had the right players to compliment Boozer's game in the post which caused them to come up short every year. With the Bulls, Boozer has more than enough help in the front court and the team should be in the top five in the league as far as rebounds go and his numbers overall should be better than in Utah. That guy is obviously a passionate Jazz fan and he hated losing so many players to the Bulls so all I can say to the guy is good luck with your Jazz and it's new acquisitions because they will still be irrelevant as long as Phil and Kobe are with the Lakers and as long as OKC continues to improve their team.

  • In reply to purch:

    Holy crap.

    Like Wilt's 100 point game, I never thought one person could break McHappy's record for most redundant posts on one article.

    But today, McHappy's record has fallen. Egads.

    p.s. McHappy, this isn't an invitation to beat his new record tomorrow. We all know you're capable. You don't have to prove it.

  • In reply to purch:

    Just watch this youtube video, and you will understand
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0&feature=search

  • In reply to jpbaker81:

    I just find it funny that you would name the T-Wolves 6th man a better player then the guy Minny fans have called easily their best player for the past two years

  • In reply to purch:

    In fact here's a minny forum speaking about love

    http://www.prosportsdaily.com/forums/showthread.php?t=523002

    Like I said you don't watch Minny games so shut up.

  • The only reason I know Blatche did great is b/c he helped me win my Fantasy Basketball League last year!

  • Word no there's no way I would disagree with that ranking. My purpose here was just to explain why there's still such excitement or optimism for us and Jeff despite losing Boozer, who I'm sure you all view as the big fish in the sea.

    And if we don't get instant results, well, look at our record Boozer's first two years here. Maybe you should compare Al's first two years to those. I would bet a million dollars it'll be better.

  • Lmao, the Clippers, good one Doug

  • Everyone is forgetting how good Portland was when they were healthy, particularly Oden. Now, I'm not counting on a healthy Oden, but they shopuld be healthier, and scarier, in general.
    Plus they have Camby for a full season now.

  • Amen Dougie! By the way, do you know if the NBA hands the 1-3 seeds to all the division winners still? I thought they might have changed that. Or maybe they switched to a system that reseeds after each round? If not, either Orlando or Miami is getting a 4 seed. That would put us in a virtual lock to get the 2 or 3, assuming we are better than Atlanta, or Boston is not as good as us or Atlanta. I see the older Celtics pacing themselves, and us claiming the 2 seed, giving us homecourt for the first 2 rounds. I think we can get by there and into the Conference Finals.

    Then that's where the magic starts. Thats where some great rivalries will become!

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