Bulls Beat #174- Start the COY chant!

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Bulls Beat #174 - Start the COY chant!

Bulls complete another successful week even with the Boozer injury, Tom Thibodeau deserves coach of the year consideration, and where do you want the Bulls seeded in these playoffs?

  

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  • it all depends on where the celtics seed. If the celtics are #1 seed, i'd like to be a 4/5. If the celtics are the 2nd seed, i'd like to be 3. The goal is to avoid a trip to florida by facing either, orlando or miami.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    You have to beat won of those teams to get to the finals no matter what. I think to win the title the Bulls probably need to avoid Miami.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    i agree with you about avoiding miami. What i don't agree with you about is starting bogans. the great thing about an 8th man is that an 8th man might not play. Bogans is getting guaranteed minutes. Those minutes could go to a guy like watson/korver/brewer. Yeah he's played decently as of late, but he played terribly last night. You can't be satisfied with that kind of consistency.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    To be clear, I wasn't saying we should start Bogans. I'm just saying that at the level he's played recently, it's far less of an issue than it was earlier in the season.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    coaches of the year don't start a black hole for the entire season and don't run their 3rd best scorer into the ground before they playoffs even start. no chance,shouldn't even be considered.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    we'll see how you feel when Luol Deng can barely walk in March and April

  • In reply to sabixx:

    I think days off are more important than minutes off.

    Plus this guy is African. He could probably run a marathon right now.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    rofl. He's from Sudan, not Ethiopia.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    By the looks of the Jan 11th referendum, he's from Southern Sudan now. ;)

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Or 9th-15th referendum, shows what I know about the geopolitics of Africa.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    man those Sudanese do just as much running. How many of them have shoes let alone cars?

  • In reply to sabixx:

    If someone would have told you the Bulls this week were going to improve their winning percentage this week, beat the elite team on their schedule for the week, & do it all while missing their 2nd & 3rd best player for 3 games, and that same 2nd best player for the other 1 game, I think anyone would have gladly taken that, no matter how ugly that win was last night, and how heart breaking that down to the wire game against Charlotte was.

    Good week Bulls

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I agree. They won two tough games without both Boozer and Noah. It wasn't always pretty, but I can't complain.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Honestly, I like the win against Cleveland. Whatever we say, Cleveland has some NBA level players such as Jamison, Gibson, Hickson etc.. The Bulls almost took it easy and Boozer was rusty. But, they just flipped on the switch at the end and won. I hope they don't get into that habit but it shows they can win without much effort too which we wouldn't say about the 1999-2009 Bulls

  • In reply to sabixx:

    They should just rename the Coach of the Year Award, The Surprise Team of the Year Award. What crap that award is. How many times has a coach of the year been fired the next year, or soon after? Very few voters are actually judging true coaching performance. How the hell has Jerry Sloan never won this?

    Just like Most Improved Player, the NBA should ammend this award. Have an award in the mold of a coach who did the most through adversity, a coaching award for the team who was most surprising or for a young coach, and then a true Coach of the Year that is voted on only by coaches.

    Improved player could be broken up into 3 parts: greatest comeback, either from injury or drug rehab (oh the 70's & 80's were great. Chris "The Birdman" Anderson would be a perennial contender for this one, on both criteria. 2nd award, player who was not supposed to be great but improved to be a good starting/rotation level player. 3rd award, best player who was expected to be great, and made that elite level jump. Love & Rose would be contenders for that one this year.

  • In reply to sabixx:

    No doubt that the Bull's record is outstanding especially considering their injuries. The defense is one of the best no question. But recent trends with the Bulls are what they are.

    Ever since that road loss to Charlotte teams are doubling Rose either extended on the perimeter, or with a big leaving his man to guard the paint in conjunction with Rose's defender.

    Derrick is now below 45% FG's for the season(I know about the three point shots, but he was still well in the .460's until more recently). In recent games he's been @ Char. 5-17, Charl. @ home Bulls 39%, Dal. @ home team 37% and Derrick 9-28, Clev/last night's game team 41% and Rose 8-20 scoring 92 against a team that gives up 105 ppg.

    As I've said either you think the double teaming has been addressed as well as it could, or you think the play calling has been sub-par. Myself, the Bulls and Rose have been largely stymied recently due to doubling of Derrick and the poor team response or lack thereof from a playcalling standpoint.

    For those who disagree, Noah's out, Booz out recently, Thibs has done fine offensively/responding to the doubling fine. But IMO this trend is hurting the Bulls, and if not for Derrick being such an excellent player right now regardless of recent poor shooting games this team would have several losses.

    With the overcoaching from the sidlines and the poor/non-response to the stepped up doubling of D-Rose, I can not purport Tom Thibodeau is the coach of the year, and I think the Bulls are trending toward being offensively stagnant/ineffective including hurting Derrick's FG%/offensive efficiency/game. Fine for those who disagree, but I'm seeing a team that is going to drop many upcoming games to any above .500 teams if opponents stick with the blueprint regardless of Bulls wins against a string of sub par teams(Miami not withstanding).

    Teams are smart enough to see Derrick's poor shooting games recently percentage wise, and the Bull's team field goal percentage down big time since these persistent/dedicated doubles have emerged.

    I know the Bull's record, excellent D, and Thibs past rep will make this an unpopular conclusion, and quite frankly I hope I am proven wrong.

    I think these upcoming games against Orlando and the Clips(who have one fo the best records since Dec. 17th including beating the Lakers and the Bulls in Chicago) will tell us a lot. I don't mean we have to win these games, but the offense/scoring not looking stagnant, Rose's shooting percentages/offensive game not being a struggle, and score wise us being competitive. We'll see hopefully I am overreacting, and the Bulls will rebound from their recent scoring and field goal percentage woes with D-Rose having 5-17, 9-28 games etc., and the Bulls 17th in the league in scoring.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    How do you respond to Derrick Rose being double teamed when no one else on the team is playing well offensively? I just don't see that as a Thibs problem.

    I think there are just limited options available.

    On the other hand, he has the team playing defense at an absolutely elite level. The sum total of what he's done as coach is to put this team on pace to win 56 games while missing Boozer for a combined 38 of 44 games (Plus Rose for a game).

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    1. I am guessing Thibs doesn't want to try the to do the breaking of double team without Noah. The best way for Rose to break the double team is to pass it to a ball handling, tall, athletic guy with passing skills which is Noah for this team.
    2. About the shooting percentage, obviously he is taking low percentage shots. The number of games and minutes played, lack of a good SG and loss of Boozer for a while is making him do this.
    3. The disturbing part about Rose(call it nitpicking)is he wants to have the ball all the time and he doesn't seem to trust his teammates. Even during the last possession of a game(and Bulls are probably winning by 10), he wants to control the ball. I know he is the PG but it looks like he is turning into a SG like Wade was at Miami the last few years ...which leads to first round exits and injuries.

  • In reply to sabixx:

    Deng played 33 min against Charlotte and he is around 40 mins/game. He is going to get the all-star week off and it looks like a lot of SFs play more min..Durant, Wallace, Wright,Igoudala, LeBron are all high in minutes played. I know Deng has been injured prone and it would be nice if JJ can get around 10-12 min. But until Noah gets back and Boozer being out half the time, Thibs has to play him at PF for a little while. I am sure Thibs is aware as well as Gar/Pax are about this. Remember this is Pax who went after VDN for playing Noah for more than the alloted time.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Miami doesn't scare me. They have had maybe 1-2 impressive wins on the year.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    they've been blowing out bad teams often. That might be more impressives stat than how many good wins they had.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Just an observation, but doesnt it seem that the UC seems dead even when its at full capacity. That may be affecting the Bulls energy. I've never been to the Center, but watching it on TV displays a lacks of energy. I never remember the Stadium during the winning years lack any energy no matter the oposition. Maybe the size of the UC makes the noise less, I dont Know?

  • In reply to argie2333:

    The size of the UC definitely makes it difficult to fill with noise, but the real problem are the fans.

    In the playoff games where it really counts, they stadium rocks, but in the regular season people just don't care that much.

    Still, the other day I was watching a Hawks game in Atlanta, and the 100 level was only 1/3rd full.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    exactly. I go to watch the bulls play in Orlando any chance I get. Its so easy to get good tickets there. I sit in the 100 level, and I can pretty much count on having the seats to the left & right of my group empty. The extra space is nice, and it makes you appreciate the loyal Chicago fans. Just wish they were more into the game.

  • In reply to argie2333:

    Man, I thought the same thing when I was at the UC this year. Glad you mentioned it! I thought it was just me. It was the Philly game none the less, a game they ended up winning by almost 50. All the time I hear about what a crazy atmosphere the "madhouse" is. I thought it was very,very flat.

    I wouldn't blame the actual stadium or acustics. I have my own theory. Bulls tickets have become such a premium, I think there is a negative correlation b/t the people who can afford to go to games with the true die hard fan. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of people with money who are great fans. There are a lot of die-hards are the game making noise. But I think there is some relationship there. I remember bill Walton during the MJ years commenting on how quiet the crowd was during the Finals, he said"its so quit, you can hear the fans jewelry clanking together". I think that was a very telling comment, and a fair point.

    At that game I went to, I looked around, there was a group of indi-hipsters texing on their cell phones infront of me, a group of kids to the side focusing all their efforts on eating pretzels & hotdogs, walking around all game while the Dad sat around looking disinterested most of the time, when he wasn't critisizing the Bulls players (even though it was a 50 pt blowout). Just in general, it seems like not a lot of people are paying attention to the game anymore. Its seems like just a social event for some people. I thought the energy from the fans was definately lacking.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I think the money is definitely a factor. It means you are getting a far more corporate atmosphere, and even if those fans are die hard (though often times it's people entertaining clients), they aren't likely as loud as if you had $5 tickets and had a younger crowd in there.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I'm pretty much new to this blog meaning I have been just reading and not commenting but a lot of comments from some of the bloggers on here are turning a blind eye to the Bulls offensive problems. D Rose should not be leading this team in scoring while putting up 25 to .30 shots a game. I mean imo that's just not good basketball in the nba for a point guard to be leading the team in scoring. Rose is a point guard and need consistent scorers around him and about the only player that does that is Boozer when he's not hurt. I don't know if the bulls will make any trades this year even though they are right there in terms of contending but another consistent scorer wouldn't hurt for a strong playoff push. I have noticed the team plays very good defense but cannot keep up in scoring with the better offensive teams and come playoff time, Rose, the number one option on the Bulls will be double teamed thus having someone else will have to step up to score. Boozer is good but he's never been known to carry a team. I don't know but to me this team is on the brink but do they have enough offensively to get to the top? I hope that they can somehow.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Rose is a scoring point guard. He's of the Dwyane Wade mold moreso than of the Steve Nash mold. I think Rose is going to be the leading scorer of this team for the foreseeable future.

    As for the offense in general, I agree that the Bulls don't quite have enough to win a title. Can they get another offensive piece in order to win a title? It's going to be very difficult to get one good enough.

    I think it's more likely that they get internal improvements to push them over the edge moreso than another piece, though I don't think either are likely.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Have you seen D Rose play? I want him making & taking shots. Sure the team is incomplete, but Rose can score and fascilitate. He has the uncanny ability to know what to do when, based on what his team needs. I do not want to take anything away from him, or get in his way. Let him do what he does.
    His teammates need to step up, and the fron office needs to add some more, probably 1 more piece. I don't believe they should panic, or make a move just to make a move, but eventually 1 more shooter would look good here.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    On the Cavs, LeBron is awesome but this year they've had a ton of injuries. Apparently the reason they're so awful offensively is that all the D league type guys they've been forced to bring in don't even know the plays. On the other hand they're awful defensively after always being a good defensive team, I think LeBron is part of that (both his play and the motivation to play defense is there when you're good) but the coaching change has to take some blame too. I think LeBron is the best player in the game but his supporting cast wasn't as bad as the Cavs have looked this year.

    As far as giving too much respect to Miami goes, I think you give too much respect to the Celtics. I don't really see the Celtics as having that much better a chance against Miami than the Bulls do. Realistically if you want to win you have to plan to beat Miami, because if they're healthy come playoff time they're a good chance to win against whoever they play.

    As far as Miami goes, their defense has slipped since their big winning run, and I do wonder if some of the defense came from the "OMG we're playing Miami, got to prove something!" factor where perhaps players against them were forcing it a bit much.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Well, I think to win, we'll almost certainly have to beat Miami, but I don't think we can. I think Boston/Orlando have a better shot than we do at it.

    I don't think either will be successful, I pick Miami over the field to come out of the East.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I agree...Orlando has to get super hot on offense and they need somebody who can guard either Wade or Lebron more than what they have now.
    Boston is kind of a unknown. They might be like last year where they killed the heart of two teams(Cavs and Magic) with their mental toughness or they really can show their age and get run out by a quick and faster team like Miami or Orlando or even the Bulls.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I'm not sure about Orlando being a good matchup against the Heat. They've gone 1-1 against the Heat, in the game they lost Howard fouled out in 28 minutes, in the game they won he played 38 minutes with 0 fouls. I think the first game seems more like how a playoff match up would pan out.

    The Bulls at least have enough defensive depth that if Wade/LeBron/Bosh managed to foul out Noah it wouldn't be game over.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    I think it is better for the Bulls to face Miami and Boston in the beginning (2nd round). Miami will probably sweep whoever the 8/7th seed is and hopefully it is a team without a good PG/Center. This way they don't get to practice going against a good PG/Center in the 1st round. The only way to beat Miami is beat them before they gel and figure out things by ECF/Finals..
    Boston is a good match-up whenever we meet(2nd round or later)...I am just curious to see how Noah and Garnett play mental games. Garnett is the master and Noah is not a dumbo on this..
    The Bulls just don't do well against Orlando. But that said, they are the team which can take the foot of the pedal easily and mentally not tough as Boston.
    And the Bulls have never faced Orlando with Boozer and Noah healthy(better front line).

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I'd rather face Boston as late in the game as possible, they're old and will be more worn out the longer they go.

    If we have to face Miami, I agree our odds would be better in the second round most likely.

  • you forgot #5 Mitch!
    5) I the fan am smarter than, and know more about basketball than Thibodeau.

  • Is Thibs a better coach than Skiles? To add to Mitchell's comments above:
    1. It is basically too early to say if Thibs is a long term coach. Wil he get burnt out? Is he more like Jeff Van Gundy?
    2. Is he able to handle crisis? Like a losing streak or some player acting or doing something stupid?

  • Coaches always get second guessed. I think you have to throw out the small stuff that you can argue about with any coach and look at the big picture. Thibs is one of the few coaches who makes a difference, his defensive scheme and the buy in he's gotten from players is what's got the team where it is.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Agreed.

  • I think Noah getting injured should be given a lot of credit for Rose's defense. Until Noah went down I don't think Rose was giving full effort defensively, once he realised if his man got past him he was going to be burnt he's really worked hard.

    Otherwise Thibs seems to be getting more than you'd expect out of most players. Deng is having his best defensive season, Brewer/Korver/Boozer are all better than their reps from Utah (IMO the benching of Boozer worked), Watson has been a surprisingly good defender (although it seems common for GSW players to improve defensively once they leave ...), Asik is doing outstandingly well for a rookie, Noah's fouling was way down when he was healthy, and Gibson/Thomas/Bogans are who we thought they are. Basically everyone is playing at least to expectations, and in most cases above them.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I believe that the plan was to work on the defense then the offense.
    This Bulls team seems to play pretty good Defense even when they don't play their best.
    And they are going to become even better as they continue to work together. lot of new guys in a new system and they are already arguably the best in the NBA.
    Rose has improved far more than seemed possible. Hopefully, peer pressure will influence Boozer.
    Offensively, until they have consistent scoring from the 2 guard they are going to be challenged. When Bogans scores over 6 points, the Bulls are undefeated. In any case, they'll get better as the season goes on plus Noah gets his tip ins.

  • In reply to Waldock:

    obviously this is a Bulls Blog...but let me just say that the sake of optics, Cutler should have put crutches under his arms.

  • In reply to Waldock:

    Oh man, that game. So many things that could have happened to change the outcome, so many missed opportunities....

    I guess that's football

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    and the crutches would have been a nice touch, but I have a feeling they are going to find something on that MRI

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    The thing is, the Packers seemed to take it easy at the end of the game to let the Bears back into it. They went into prevent defense and figured that Haine wasn't going to beat them on slow methodical drives a few times.

    They were proven correct.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    thats why the timeout was terrible. You had the defense on their heels, and the coaches (same thing that happened week 17 with that huge momentum shift vs Packers) take a timeout, and let the D regroup. The play they looked to run seemed like a good call. Then we get that terrible end around.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I'n in the minority when I think Lovie is terrific at preparing his team and gameplanning, but once he gets in game, managing play to play, he is awful. The Patrick Mannely play, going for it on fourth down in the seahawks game, blowing timeouts early in games, the no-challenge after he had challenged the play before, ect. ect.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    Anyways, now people can focus on the Madhouse on Madison rather than the Monsters of the Midway.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    Triple post continuation, but I enjoy the fair-weather fans jumping in after Bears season is over. It'll be nice to see some excitement from the casual fans, I can't even get my dad and friends to watch games before the Bears are done for the season.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    I'M BLOWING THE WHISTLE HERE!TRAVELING!

    You just took the blog equivalent of 3 steps

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    I just don't understand why there no refs in the booth who can overturn calls and not depend on a 60 year old ref to make that decision of a play which happens in less than a sec.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    I totally agree with that assessment of Lovie.

    He is the Bears' equivalent of Doug Collins. Can get you from A-->B, but never to C(hampionship).

    I hope that the Bears' brain trust realizes this; however, I suspect Lovie gets extended, and thus, the hopes of another ring get put on hold for a few more seasons.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    Overall, I'd have to say that Thibs for COY has some merit. The team defense speaks for itself, as does the team record; despite missing either Noah or Boozer for large stretches.

    Thibs hasn't been perfect, but the next time I see any other coach walk on water will be the first time. For a first year coach, I think he's done a strong job.

    I'd still like a real answer for 'Why Bogans', but I won't hold my breath.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    That said about Thibs, I think D'Antoni out in NYC will probably win the award. Knicks being relevant again probably means more to the league than the Bulls winning +15 or so more games than last year.

    Not saying it is the right thing, just where I think the vote may go.

    They don't call it the Eastern Seaboard Programming Network without reason!

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    It's tough to get a handle on the Bulls because they haven't been whole for most of the season. I see what they've done while missing their two best bigs for so many games and can't help but think that when healthy they might be closer to title contention than it seems. When Jordan, Pip, and Phil dominated the NBA, PG and C were supposed to be weaknesses. Team defense, the genius of MJ and Pip, and subtle moves by Krause more than compensated for those shortcomings. LA and Boston won rings while being average (or less than) at 3pt range (LA) and rebounding (Celtics) because they were so strong in the other areas.

    If the Bulls can hit a home run with an all-star caliber player without giving up so much that the net improvement is negligible, then cool. But they shouldn't ignore more subtle improvements that could propel them higher even though they might not look like much on the surface.

    With elite team defense, Rose only just beginning to show his greatness, and the combined scoring and rebounding of Noah and Boozer on the front line, the Bulls have most of the pieces. More scoring at SG and better 3pt shooting would help but the answer may be even simpler: A wing, and not necessarily a star, that can defend the SG and SF and handle well enough to let Rose play off the ball a little more might be all the Bulls need.

    Rose is already impossible to guard with the ball in his hands. How much tougher would he be coming off screens from time to time? It'd be harder to double him. He'd get better looks from long range and wider lanes for dribble penetration to finish at the rim or find the open man. For example, on paper a guy like Shaun Livingston may not look like much but sometimes it's that type of guy (more so than big names that can be chemistry killers) that make the difference.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    I think the coach of whichever team has the best record between Chicago and New York should be the COY. But if San Antonio wins in the mid to high 60's which it seems they should do easily as long as they don't suffer any key injuries, Popovich will get a good long look, too.

  • I think it says something about the award that Sloan has never won coach of the year yet is still in a job even though the vast majority of winners get fired within a few years of winning it.

    To me guys like Pops or Sloan are coach of the year every year, we just don't see them exceeding expectations because they don't have bad years to make a jump from.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Spoelstra is not a good coach. Write it down. Hold me to this. He is just not a good NBA coach. Pedestrian at best. Cannot develop players.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    It depends on how you view things. It is more impressive to oversee a large turn around than it is to watch a team do the same thing every year.

    Pops and Sloan don't have much opportunity due to not having down years to win the award, but the same thing is true in life.

    At my present job, as an example, I fixed craploads of things when I first started. This year I was rated as an elite performer. However, next year, there won't be low lying fruit and the expectations will be higher.

    As such, my bonus, even if i work just as hard isn't likely to be as good.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Yeah, I know it's about who makes the best story, but it's pretty silly when the only way Phil Jackson even won it was because MJ retired so it gave the team room to make the jump that impresses voters.

  • Good stuff. Will def go with Thibs for COY and Monty Williams as runner-up. They have been lucky this year at NO with no relevant injuries to their main guys. Not the case with the Bulls...
    Bulls #1 defense with Thomas and Bogans at the starting lineup. That has to count for something !

  • +1

  • I think the minutes thing is somewhat of an issue, but in reality, what is say 5 minutes over 82 games. 410 minutes? We're talking about 7 hours of basketball stretched out over 6 months or so?

    I do think the minutes are an issue to some extent, but I agree that it's not as big as people make it out. The fear is just that Deng will get a 'wear' injury, but really it's not that much wear spread out over a really long time.

  • I disagree. Mo Williams is a guy who could play any role. He's not a spot up shooter, he can penetrate and run an offense and earned his contract doing that.

    Antawn Jamison has spent his whole career as a guy who can be a spot up shooter, stretch 4, low post guy, or create his own shot for his team.

    Varejao is a guy who's your typically hustle rebounder/defender that every team needs.

    Those were their most talented players outside of LeBron and none of them are guys who's value is really enhanced all that much due to LeBron IMO. The role players might be guys who are more shooting oriented, but their most talented guys are still both isolation oriented players.

  • I think what sells me most on Thibodeau is that the preseason predictions, before any injuries, for this team were win totals typically around 48-49 games.

    With the injuries, he still has this team on pace to win 56.

  • Last year's team was Rose/Noah/Deng plus some conveniently ending contracts. The fact the team this year has actually been put together with a purpose and all want to be here has to be a factor too.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    The team started out with Tyrus, Salmons, and Hinrich as well. They did shake things up at the deadline to make sure their salary was in the right spot though.

  • Yeah you're probably right. As an individual I think Deng is built for endurance however. He definately is not of the explosive variety. Probably has more of the long, slow twitch muscle fibers. I haven't reall noticed him tiring, and I agree with you, I think 1-2 extra minutes a game are definately over-blown. I belive getting full days off is much more valuable to detering wear n' tear. From what I have heard about Thibs, he believes in giving guys their days off.

  • I'm not sure about Salmons last year. He was terrible with the Bulls as was Warrick. I agree Boozer is a stud compared to what we have had for the last decade. Probably, the best player we have had in his prime..I am leaving out Rose.
    And Hinrich probably did a lot of good things but he was more over-rated than anyone for a long time with the Bulls. Unfortunately, we couldn't use his over-rated status in a good trade for a pick or some young player like Nick Young/McGee or somebody like that.

  • Do you really think we'd have handled the loss of Noah if we still had Miller/Richard instead of Thomas/Asik? I think the upgrade at backup center has been huge. Likewise the jump you get swapping in Korver and Watson as backups instead of JJ and Pargo is pretty big.

    IMO every player in the rotation this year is better than last year's version except Bogans for Hinrich. I guess some might say Salmons is better than Brewer too, but I think the ending the year with Flip Murray in Salmons spot makes Brewer on the whole an upgrade.

  • I'm giving Thibs credit but the fact is after Noah went out last year the defense went from good to awful. After Noah went out this year the defense has actually gotten better. Thomas and Asik deserve a heap of credit for doing what Miller and Richard couldn't.

    Obviously Rose's improvement with the addition of Boozer and the coaching change are what has pushed this team to semi-contender status. But it's the upgrades at all the other positions that has kept the team on track for 55 wins rather than collapsing to being a 45 win team.

  • rotfl! Thats what I usually do with the Bears, just burry it deep inside

  • Hey Doug do not count the Bulls out from getting the 1st seed. They are currently 3.5 games back of the Celtics. Remember last year the Celtics struggled in the second part of the season. If the Bulls can get home court for the full duration of Eastern Conference playoffs. They probably get to the Finals.

  • Also, an add on to your point about DRose's defense, he is the first player his size to have at least 1 block in seven straight games at his size since 1987. It might be 8 now after he blocked Gibson in the Cleveland game.

  • Thomas/Asik with VDN, assuming we can have Thibs back along with Noah for the playoffs!

  • The big problem I have with the "it's not the players, it's the coach" argument is that it implies we should trade all our players for pure offensive players because with the right coach and system they'll be good defenders anyway. I don't think the league works like that. Does anyone really believe if the Lakers hired Thibs to run the defense that they'd have the Bulls defensive numbers? That would make them better than the '96 Bulls in point differential ...

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Hmm, or maybe not quite better, shows how good the '96 Bulls were ... Thibs would only make the current Lakers the second best team ever. ;)

  • Bogans plays close to 18 minutes per game, and not just 15.

    I'm not saying it is a reason to discount Thibs as a COY candidate, I'm just saying that people always seem to discount how much Bogans actually plays.

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