Top PFs: Boozer 6th, Taj 28th

After years of the Bulls having a weak front court, it's strange to imagine that our front court is actually a strength now. [1-10], [11-20], [21-30]:

At the bottom of this list, it really came down to, "who would I rather have on my team in 2010-11: Taj Gibson, or [name redacted]?" And Taj kept winning out. It's a giant mea culpa for me, because I didn't even think Taj was the 26th-best player in last year's draft when he was taken at that slot, but his all-around game and defensive work have me on his side as we enter his second season.

It was a weird run for Carlos in Utah. He stabbed a CBA-cheating owner in the back by reneging on an illegal handshake agreement to sign with the Jazz, and then ran injured for a while, drawing the ire of his new team's front office. Then Paul Millsap popped up, and while Boozer's backup didn't exactly make him redundant, he did allow for the trade rumors that really escalated before Boozer's 2009-10 player option, assumed-but-eventually-declined 2009 free agency and eventual split in 2010.

Yikes. So, it's as if he never was a member of the Jazz. Now he's a Bull, he sets screens, he gathers well and finishes expertly with either hand, and truly comes straight out of central casting for a team like Chicago. Assuming he averages 65 games a season. Anything less, and Chicago will continue to have Jazz-like issues.

Overall, I think both sports are pretty fair.  Of the guys ahead of Boozer, the only one that really gives me pause is Amare, but I understand that one and am certainly not going to the mat discussing how much better boozer is.   I look at the two as fairly similar players though Boozer at least rebounds (and I'd rather have him in the locker room) while Amare has a bit more athletic potential.   Both have health issues that make me pretty nervous.

As for guys in front of Taj, it's an interesting discussion.   You've got guys like Tyrus, Hickson, Brand (maybe I'm focusing on the contract too much), and Young (not a real PF) whom I could make a case for Taj over all of, but it's easy to make the reverse case too, and so I'm not going to be too much of a homer on this one.   The one guy I'll argue at length about is Tyrus.

After watching Tyrus for four seasons, I'll take Gibson ahead of him.  The thing with Tyrus is that if you need a third big man, you'd rather have Gibson's consistency.  If you need someone with more upside than Tyrus has it, but he'll ultimately fail you and you'll still be better off with Gibson.

Still, overall, the Bulls finally have a top guy at the position and a backup in the top 30 as well.   While the center list isn't out yet, you can bet that Joakim Noah is in the top 10 which gives us three big men in the league's top 60 with a starter in the top 10 at each position.  

It's a nice change of pace after years of complaining over a lack of front court on the roster, and it's one of the reasons this year has really amazing upside.   It's the first season where we have a balanced attack without an obvious achilles heal.

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  • On paper Paxson and Forman have made great moves. I'm really hoping this team gels and stays relatively injury free this year.

  • I think Boozer deserved a spot or two higher ... Boozer is a better all around PF than Amare and Dirk ... and while I think Duncan is the Best PF ever, he's not that player anymore.

    But to be honest, I'm just pleased we have a top PF.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    Pippen loves Amare and was advocating for the Bulls to trade for him or sign him. I think Dirk is better than Boozer for the next year or two. I am not sure about Duncan anymore. He kind of slowed down and he might have a lot of games where he looks old in 2010-11 and thus his ranking is high.
    You are right, we seem to have a top 10 player in four positions(Center, PG, SF, PF).
    I think the plan is to see if a top 10/15 SG becomes available during trade deadline we need to get him... I don't know if they will be available but if their teams suck/need other pieces they might be...1)Jason Richardson 2) Monta Ellis 3)Jamal Crawford

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    Somewhat my line of thinking, Boozer was 6th, but #s one and two are both centers masquerading as power forwards, and Boozer is in the argument with 3,4 and 5 whereas #7 Josh Smith is a big drop off from the top 6.

  • As somebody said in a earlier post, Utah fans are acting like a jilted lover. I don't even worry about Boozer's mental strength etc...He looked beaten up when playing the Lakers front line without much support. Even Noah(who we claim to be a warrior) was so distraught after playing the Lakers in a regular season game that he was talking about their length problems last year. His physical health will be the main issue and I hope we have a improved Gibson to take care of backup time/injury time.

    There are a couple of things I would like to see Taj do better:
    1. Practice and shoot 15-17 footers well.
    2. Learn better shot selection techniques. Last year, during distress he would jack it up even if he was not set(not a lot of times). That may be because of the schemes and lack of team offense.
    3. He also needs to get better at not fouling or more smarter defense.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    i'd like him to bulk up.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    obviously he's never goign to be a boozer type bigman, but i'm hoping he can get as big as joahkim did.

  • The vibe I get from Boozer(at the Bulls press conference where he proposes something and then looks at Forman and Paxson and says, "Right, Gar and Pax?" etc.) is that he can be kind of a wise guy who marches to his own drum.

    There's not much talk about Thibodeau, but after dealing with Sloan's sterness, I just wonder if a coach who's said to relate as well to players as Thib's also has the commanding presence top tier coaches need to help compell players to be the best they can be?

    If the answer to this question is yes then I think we're in business. Boozer from watching him last year/in the playoffs does look like a committed player to me that needs a nudge to take it to hungry/relentless, but is capable of being that guy. And that's what we need. He also by almost all accounts showed a better committment to D. And that screams someone who's ready to commit to hard/hustle play.

    As for Taj I agree with Mort on the Luis Scola parallel that some mature guys still do have upside. Just as I now believe that even though he was overrated, Russell Westbrook will eventually become a better shooter. Anyhow, as I said before, to me Taj's defense is a big part of his idnetitiy/who he is. Last year he made some mistakes, but he also got jobbed to no end by rookie calls gone bad refs who fed into Taj's affable, non-threatening manner and his coache's/Vinny's absolutely impotent advocacy for his players.

    This will be another important test for Thib's. As excellent coaches do standing up for his players and helping them claim their legitimacy/respect. If so, and Taj doesn't get to be made a walking foul/tossed out of games, then I think you will see a much more confident Taj who hits those jumpers consistently instead of in stretches. I have no doubt Taj can be a solid or better mid-range shooter. Really, with his length, ability for excellent D, and offensive instincts I think Taj could be a vital rotation piece of note/who gets pub/recognition on a contending ballaclub.

    But Taj, similar to Derrick, has to establish his claim/legitimacy/respect with the refs. And it's no given that this will happen or that Thib's will be the strong coach who will back them up. I hope this happens or else it will be very stifling/limiting, and frustrating.

  • I agree with your central point about Gibson. The only problem with this article is many who will read it will start to expect more of Gibson than he can reasonably give. Remember all those who decided they didn't want Bosh because "he'd interfere with Gibson's development?" Gibson could become one of the best backup bigs in the league, but let's keep him in perspective.

  • If korver goes out, we're no better than we were last year from the 3. Deng taking the corner 3 and rose claiming he's worked on the 3 still get me nervous.

    hopefully it's just nerves. i cant wait for october, or at least september.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    Bulls were the worst 3pt shooting team in the league last year. So while Korver is a nice bench 3pt threat, we really do need 3pt production from our starters, mainly Deng and Rose.

    Thibodeau already said he wants more 3pt production from Deng, so we'll see. I'm confident Rose will improve, the only question is how much and how soon.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    i going with 1. bosh 2. boozer 3. love
    amare's one dimensional. duncan has no legs anymore. gasol is a solid guy supported by exceptional teammates but worthy of your top spot, i think not. garnett is a thanks for the memories guy now.

  • In reply to dubsdread18:

    HUH??? This post makes no sense. You have Love at three?? Kevin Love?? So you would pick Kevin Love to start a team before Gasol?? Amare? Plenty of PF come to mind before Love! 1a.Bosh 1b.Gasol 2.Boozer 3.Amare 4.Nowitzki 5.Garnett seems slightly more reasonable.

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    Garnett/Nowitzki or even Gasol/Boozer don't come before Love if you starting a franchise. They are all at the end or the last phase of their careers. But, if this is a ranking for just next year, then Love comes after all the guys in the conversation. Even the Greek backup guys were taking Love to school yesterday..

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    Its not about starting a team, in which case you can make a good case for the young Love over 30 something Gasol. Its maore about choosing a player in a pickup game. In which case this nutbag's list is Ridiculous!

  • In reply to dubsdread18:

    Love was the guy that I wanted the Bulls to get their hands on this summer, by any means necessary.

    Love should be team USA's center at the world championships.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    I don't expect us to be a particularly good 3pt shooting team.
    But I would like to see us improve ... maybe to the 20-24 range.

    We'll need to replace the 3 pt shooting of Hinrich and Salmons ... who were both 38% for us last year.

    Deng had a pretty decent year and shot better from 3 than many seem to think, but it's the volume that needs to improve ... maybe that's confidence that he needs to find. But 38.6% isn't bad, and surprisingly puts him in 6th place among SF's last year. The only notable SF who shot better was Paul Pierce.

    I'm hoping for a few things ... better 3pt shot from Rose, more volume from Deng, Korver being Korver, and decent shooting from Bogans (35.7% on 196 attempts) and Watson (31.0% on 145 attempts).

  • I feel like Brewer is a little better version of what Tony Allen was for the Celtics. He could defend premier guards, run the fast break etc...but couldn't shoot well.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Brewer had better be better on offense than Allen.

    Allen looked like he had never played offense in his life throughout the playoffs last season.

    Now, if Brewer is as good on defense as Allen, and can provide legitimate offense for a starter then we got a steal in free agency.

  • all i'll say is just watch. just watch.

  • One of the most valuable assets Boozer will bring to the Bulls is the knowledge he'll be able to share with Gibson in practice. By mid-season, Gibson might be looking more like Boozer on the court because of the lessons he'll learn in practice. This should also help speed along the development of JJ because that kid has an identity crisis.

  • I hope not, but some were talking otherwise earlier this offseason.

  • Just curious ...

    But wouldn't the other way make more sense?
    I mean, if this were for several years or a career, Dirk and Duncan make a lot more sense.
    But just based on last year, or even what one might expect from them this coming year, wouldn't Boozer make a little more sense?

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    I would still take Dirk over Boozer...I don't know about Duncan. Boozer was an allstar in the west a couple of times. That tells me all I need to know, he is a pretty good player.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    NOBODY CARES:

    Great Britain just beat Bosnia-Herzegovinia in OT. Deng went for 38pts. and 13rbs.

    http://live.fibaeurope.com/netcasting/default.asp?game_number=7663-B-18µsite_scope=undefined

    He would have broken 40 points, if he didn't miss 8 free-throws.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Notice that you didn't post about his last game, 4-13 from the field, and a boatload of turnovers.

    But yea, 40 points in OT against B-H almost guarantees him an allstar berth in the NBA this season.

    But he did miss 8 free throws, or so you say.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Bigway,

    Actually I did. Your sarcasm is naive by the way.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    ADD ONE MORE:

    I forgot about Joakim Noah.

    He'll probably be playing for France in the European Championships as well.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    OLYMPICS:

    And if all 4 of those countries qualify for the Olympics, then Rose, Deng and Asik will be playing international basketball for 3 straight summers and Joakim Noah for two straight summers.

    That's a lot of basketball for those guys. Is that good or bad for the Chicago Bulls?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    WORLD WIDE WES:

    He's at it again.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Aslnhdwpd0kxPYguMroqV.G8vLYF?slug=aw-anthonynuggets082610

    I'd take caution with the teams mentioned in this article.

    Keep in mind that World Wide Wes and A.W. were both saying LBJ would go to the Bulls.

    The Bulls' brass might be silent for a reason. Who knows?

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I don't trust anyone on these rumors. BTW, the Bulls were silent during the LBJ FA time too. That doesn't mean anything.

    The only thing I can say is the Bulls which might trigger a flurry of posts from you again is the Bulls do not have the proper assets to get Carmelo for what the Nuggets need...

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    INTERNATIONAL PLAY:

    Now that Great Britain has qualified for the 2011 European Championships, chances are the Chicago Bulls are going to have at least 3 of their players participating in INTERNATIONAL PLAY again next summer.

    Derrick Rose - Tournament of the America
    Luol Deng - European Championships
    Omer Asik - European Championships

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Great, more injuries! Deng needs to be resting, lifting weights, dribbling, & putting up 1,000 shots a day.
    He does not need to be doing anything that puts stress on his back & legs.
    Not crazy about the other guys playing international as well, and regretfully Noah probably will be back to international play next summer.
    I will make an exception with Rose though, only because he has showed no serious injury history unlike the 3 other guys.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Our frontcourt is actually a strength, probably the best frontline of any team in the proud history of Your Chicago Bulls.

    Hard to fathom.

    I wouild like to see a lineup experimented with, featuring Noah @ PF & Asik @ C. Do it while everyone is healthy, break it out against teams like Los Angeles & Portland, & should/when Boozer goes down, you can start Gibson, & bring Asik off the bench. By playoff time Omer can be seasoned well enough to be in the rotation to deal with those long teams. Noah really started knocking down those 15 footers last year, and I'm sure all you other die hard Bulls fans remember the post season interview with Noah describing his off seasonm plans. He said after 6 weeks off, he would be back in the gym busting his tail, and mentioned turning his mid range jumper into an automatic shot as one of his main goals. If Noah says it, you can believe it. He's athletic & versitile enough to play that 4.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    We can have our own twin towers. Note, I'm not predicting that we will be playing Portland or LA in the finals, but the twin towers lineup could be effective at times out East as well, specifically with Atlanta, Orlando, & Miami.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Wondering why Boozer's deal goes down in year two and then back up the remaining years? Read Bucher's column today on ESPN about the looming lockout. Apparently, the price for getting Boozer at a below max deal was him not losing as much in the event of a lockout.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Dude, your hard-on for Luol Deng? Kinda creepin me out bro

  • Still to come out I guess is the C, SG, & PG list

    Noah is definately top 10, but where exactly? I have him 3 at the highest behind Howard, Bogut for sure, 10 at the lowest behind Brook Lopez, Marc Gasol, Nene, David Lee, Yao, Oden, & Bynum in that order, and Yao, Oden & Bynum are all huge injury risks which cause them to drop further.

    Its hard not to be a homer here because I realize Noahs tremendous intangibles, & understand all the little things he brings to the table, & appreciate his work ethic which will allow him to develope beyond most.

    Ultimately I put him 4 behind Lopez, but my heart would take Noah over both Bogut & Brook Lopez. For the record I have Gasol as one of the top 2 centers, but he plays in that twin towers lineup with Bynum & Mr. Dwyer considers him a PF, so I'll play along.

  • I think SGwise, Brewer is definately top 30, it will be interesting to see exactly where.

    PG: Derrick is 3 right now, and I think this season he becomes 1.
    Its Paul 1
    D. Williams 2
    Rose 3
    then the next tier something like Nash, Kidd, Tyreke Evans (is he a true 1?) Rondo, Wall & Parker

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I believe the PG, SG, SF, and PF lists are all done now. Only center isn't done.

    Brewer wasn't in the top 30, which I find somewhat strange.

    Rose was #5.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    I would bet my house that Deron Williams would find the Brewer (non)ranking strange as well.

  • On previous Bulls teams anything inside of 16 feet was considered a post game. So as long as he isn't chucking up 22 footers I will be thrilled by what his offensive game brings to the Bulls, never mind his 11 rebounds per game.

  • Nice thought, the only problem is that the Bulls wave(s) are all still smaller than their Laker counterparts.

    ON the other hand, a dominant front court is going to be the only way to compete with or beat the Heat.

  • Only when Bynum is healthy.

  • I hope the Bulls pick up Pops for a minimum contract or give him an invite to training camp as an insurance big man

  • I guarantee Taj will become a way better player both sides of the ball playing Booz everyday n practice n he will become. Better post player n a better shooter n exceed everyone's expectations just watch...n with k.Thomas there , we will see a tougher Taj who wont back down from the big boys n feel he will be a 13ppg 11rpg type player if he had to fill in for a injured Booz IMO (God forbid) n I guarentee we will not lose many games if taj was starting like so many ppl think we will if boozer goes down...( reg.season wise, I don't think we can go far in the playoffs wit booz injured n taj in his place, that's whole other story n atmosphere) wat y'all think?

  • And we do have very good length, athleticism, and versatility; all tools Thibs and the rest of the staff can use to cause the Lakers problems. I think Bulls/Lakers will be an excellent matchup for the next couple years, maybe the best high level, head to head matchup in the league. There's more talent on the Heat no doubt, but a Heat/Lakers game is going to be largely decided by imposing of pace and style. In our case, both we and LA can play to our strengths, at our best, all game long.

  • Well, looks like I missed that one. Kind of dissapointed Brewer didn't make it.

    The Rose ranking bothers me none. After his third year leap, playoff run, & continued national exposure, esp. from an impressive 27 national tv game slate, he will be #1.

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