The Chicago Bulls will stroll into Charlotte to play the hapless Bobcats, who will certainly finish bad enough to keep their draft pick for at least one more season. Meanwhile, the big news in Chicago is Luol Deng gets his first all-star nod.
It's interesting, because I look at Luol Deng's game, and I think this guy is not an all-star. I struggle to put any perimeter player who doesn't create their own shot into the game.
However, a look at the competition stops me cold in my tracks. Ryan Anderson, Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Kyrie Irving, Danny Granger, and Tyson Chandler make up the list of potential all-star snubs listed on ESPN's snub article from the East.
The only player I'd even consider ahead of Deng is Granger, and quite frankly, I'd pull Paul Pierce before Deng. Pierce and Granger both have better statistical output, but it can't be ignored how Deng destroys them both on the defensive end of the court.
In the end, I think Deng made the team, and I think he deserved to make the team this season.
Will Deng's all-star appearance cost the Bulls?
When Luol Deng signed his extension years ago, he had incentives in the contract which could raise the total value to 80 million. While I don't believe those incentives have ever been spelled out, one of them was likely an all-star appearance.
It's quite possible this all-star appearance will cost the Bulls and put them into or near the luxury tax [also quite possible it will cost them nothing as I'm only guessing since the information hasn't been reported]. My belief is that if the Bulls were a Deng all-star appearance away from hitting the tax that they would have taken appropriate steps to waive Scalabrine/Lucas in order to get under it though as they're pretty thorough.
Not just because the tax is punitive, but if they plan to pay it in future years then they'd really want to avoid going into it by a few hundred thousand only to be hit with the multi-payer rate later on.
It's also worth noting that if he has an all-star incentive the fact that he made it this year means the incentive will officially be "likely" next season and therefore his cap number next year will start off higher.
Onto the game
Rest Derrick Rose for the love of whatever entity you pray to Part II
Derrick Rose looked hurt on the court against the Hornets. He did not look like someone who should be playing basketball. I don't think that the minutes Rose plays are that big a deal. Superstars frequently average around 40 minutes a game at Derrick's age, and Derrick's numbers really aren't that large.
That said, when the guy looks physically injured and is dealing with multiple nagging injuries, give him some rest. We're going up against a complete patsy here. Any risk model you come up with would note that this is the right thing to do.
I get why Thibs plays the hell out of his best players. It's what coaches do, and I don't fault him for that when they are healthy. Derrick Rose did not look healthy last game.
Prepare for a blowout Part II
The most exciting thing we're likely to get out of this game is frequent shots of Michael Jordan on the sidelines. Really, the Bobcats are terrible. Not only are they terrible, but much like the Hornets, they're missing half of their good players. Maggette, Henderson, and Augustine are all going to miss the game. Tyrus Thomas is probable.
The three best players left are probably Kemba Walker, Tyrus Thomas, and Byron [still feels weird not to say BJ] Mullens. The Bulls are going to annihilate this group as long as they come out there with a pulse and don't take the win for granted.