Tom Thibodeau uttered a phrase that scares the hell out of me.
"We were searching," Thibodeau said. "I was confident in Kurt's low post
defense. We wanted to give Griffin a different look. He was having his
way with us. We were so flat. We were looking for any kind of spark. I
thought Kirk did a good job for us."
Please be coach speak, please, please, please be coach speak. Let me just hope that Tom Thibodeau does not want to hurt Thomas's feelings in public. We wanted to give the Clippers a different look?
Kurt Thomas just fouled Blake Griffin 6 times in fifteen minutes, and for whatever reason, the Clippers decided to not feed him the ball in the post and had him stand around the perimeter a lot.
There was no defense.
That does bring up the question of who slides into the rotation now, especially if Gibson is out for any length of time, and while we desperately need him, dude shut it down for awhile if you have a concussion, that's serious life long stuff you are dealing with there.
So the choices of guys who can play more with a presumption that Omer Asik is basically an automatic to play more.
He gives us veteran-ness. No really, I'm not sure what Thomas brings to the table. Once upon a time he had a nice 17 foot jumper, was tough as nails (well I'm sure he's still tough as nails), a physical rebounder, and a very good player. During his prime, I'd have been happy with Kurt Thomas playing some minutes for my team.
However, Kurt Thomas has been abysmal so far. He's only played 29 minutes in the regular season, but this extends to preseason as well. He lost the last step a player needs to play successfully in the league. He's not quick enough to defend, he's not quick enough to get his shot off anymore, he can no longer leap for rebounds, and his interior defense now consists of just fouling anyone who touches the ball near him (9 fouls in 29 minutes played).
I liked the signing of Thomas, he did a solid job for Milwaukee last year, and I thought he could hang on for one more season and give us the same. However, in watching him that simply does not look like the case. The wheels finally fell off the bus.
Scalabrine doesn't have Thomas's strength and isn't someone who can play center at all, even if just told to foul guys everytime they touch the ball which is the equivalent of what Kurt Thomas is doing.
However, he does give the team passing and some shooting, but it's kind of like playing Keith Bogans without the defense at PF. He only shoots the most wide open of shots, isn't shooting off screens or pressuring the defense and still is just a 35% career three point shooter.
His volume is so low on his shots, and he needs to be so open to take them that he effectively does not space the floor or provide anything meaningful on offense. He tries hard on defense, but is physically way too overmatched to get anything done.
Johnson's the most likely of the three players to do something really amazing and useful for your team, which is the reason why I would have loved to seen him play when the Bulls needed a spark (Kurt Thomas/Brian Scalabrine aren't going to give you a spark, they're guys you hope don't get destroyed while you hope someone else gives you one).
He's also the most likely to try and play way above his head, take a guy through a five second cross over dribble tutorial and then turn the ball over. However, he can actually defend (real defense, the kind where he blocks shots, steals the ball, forces tough looks, and rotates to help), and he can get out on the break, pressure the opposing team on the offensive glass, shoot at least as well as Kurt Thomas, and take a player off the dribble occasionally.
All Johnson needs is a three dribble rule. Unless you're on a fast break and about to dunk, if whatever you're planning takes more than three dribbles forget about it and pass the ball.
I understand why you go with Thomas or Scalabrine. The idea is to hold the fort and let Derrick Rose/Carlos Boozer do all the magic. That a guy who sits in there and simply doesn't make mistakes even if he provides nothing positive for you will help more than a guy who makes mistakes but does provide positives.
However, in this case, from what we've seen of Thomas/Scalabrine they aren't guys who play while delivering few negatives. Scalabrine puts incredible pressure on your interior defenders and rebounders. Neither guy can rebound, neither guy can defend their position, and neither guy has any real offense either.
Johnson gives you something tangible out there, go with him, sit him down, tell him not to take more than three dribbles, and otherwise to pressure the hell out of the opposing team. It might not give you great play, but it will give you better than the alternatives.