Have the Bulls met mid term expectations?

Have the Bulls met mid term expectations?

The Bulls head into all-star weekend with a record of 27-8, third in the NBA behind Oklahoma City and Miami based on having one more loss. There have been plenty of reasons to be happy with the Bulls present positioning or disappointed with it so far. Despite a glowing record, the season itself has had plenty of ups and downs.

The glass is 77.1% full

The Chicago Bulls have won 77.1% of their games, a pace that would equate out to a 63 win season. It's awfully hard to complain about their actual record right now. Moreover, the Bulls have largely avoided losing clunker games to lousy teams outside of a loss to the Nets without Derrick Rose and one to the Warriors early in the season.

Granted, beating bad teams is nothing special, but the Bulls consistency in doing it shows how prepared they come to play every night. They've also maintained a huge margin of victory and in the majority of these games they've put their foot down and crushed teams rather than letting them hang around all night.

Quite frankly, much of Bulls basketball this season has been boring and non competitive because Chicago has dominated around half of their games so thoroughly that the outcome felt decided by half time.

They've done it through significant injuries

Derrick Rose has missed 10 games so far and given how reliant the team is on Rose to create, a record of 7-3 without Rose feels pretty good. They have also missed seven games from Luol Deng, 24 games from Richard Hamilton, and one from Joakim Noah.

The injury plagued Carlos Boozer is the only starter to actually play through the whole season without a missed game so far.

The starters have collectively missed 42 games and the Bulls losses have been broken down like this:
@Golden State: Everyone healthy
@Atlanta: Hamilton out
@Memphis: Rose and Hamilton out
Indiana: Hamilton out
@Miami: Deng out
@Philly: Deng and Hamilton out
@Boston: Hamilton and Rose out
New Jersey: Hamilton and Rose out

Four loses missing two starters, three missing one starter, and one while fully healthy. That's a lot of caveats to throw on the losses.

Rip Hamilton looks really good if he can get healthy

Either the Bulls have decided to take a very cautious approach with Richard Hamilton, or we're going to really have to cross our fingers. I'm leaning towards the first. They saw him re-aggravate his groin twice after coming back too soon and are now being more cautious.

Hamilton hasn't been all positives when he's played. He uses up a lot of shots and has pedestrian offensive efficiency. However, he creates tons of openings for other players on the floor and the offense has generally run much smoother in games he's played than when he hasn't.

If Rip can stay healthy post all-star break, and the Bulls can integrate him into the offense then they have considerable upside to a season which already has them on a 63 win pace.

Boozer and Noah finally learned to play together

The two have never had much time together on the court given their alternating injuries, Boozer's missed training camp, and an abbreviated camp this summer. However, they've finally started to develop some strong chemistry with each other.

The Bulls interior passing between our big men has improved tremendously. Boozer and Noah both move have court vision and passing instincts beyond the typical big man and have started to consistently find each other for easy looks. This improvement gives the Bulls far more easy baskets than they've had in the past.

The Bulls have the statistical markers of an elite team

The Bulls are presently second in defensive efficiency and third in offensive efficiency. That's the stuff championship teams are made of. They have a massive point differential, and they've done it all given a more road heavy and injury plagued schedule. In short, things are going pretty well for Chicago on that front.

Unfortunately, it's not all sunshine and rainbows for Chicago, while plenty has gone right, there are still plenty of concerns....

Chicago has played the second easiest schedule in the NBA

Even with the home/road split taken into consideration, Jeff Sagarin ranks the Bulls as having played the second easiest schedule in the NBA. They've only played teams in his top 10 four times and are two and two against them.

While it's commendable the Bulls have had few let down games against weak opponents even when dealing with injuries, beating up the Bucks three times is part of the reason why the Bulls offensive and defensive efficiency numbers look so solid. It's why their record looks so much better.

Quite frankly, it's easier to hit those achievements when you've only played a dozen or so "real" games this season. The Bulls have played a whopping 13 games against teams that are .500 or better this season [at least if my quick math was right]. They're 8-5 against those teams which isn't awe inspiring.

While pundits pointed out after the last road trip that the Bulls had a really favorable schedule due to all the home games, the reverse could be said that they have an unfavorable remaining schedule due to all the tough opponents left.

The Bulls haven't solved their core problems from last season when playing quality opponents

The Bulls biggest problem last season is that teams with high levels of perimeter athleticism could trap Rose and minimize his impact on the game. Then when Chicago passed out of the trap, they struggled to create quality looks.

When we've gone up against Miami, Philly, and Indiana [three teams that can do that, three teams we might see in the playoffs], we ran into the same issue. The Bulls didn't have a fully healthy lineup in those three games, and we can only hope that a fully healthy lineup will make the difference.

Unfortunately, through half a season, you'd have hoped that you'd already see the difference rather than wishing on a star.

The Bulls have done it through injuries, but will they get any healthier?

Rose has suffered two injuries that could plague him the rest of the season. He says he has no pain in his toe or back, but he wore a back support in his last game which tells me something different.

Will the Bulls get Hamilton back for an extended period of time? He's been injury riddled the two seasons prior to this as well, and I don't know that Chicago can count on it.

Luol Deng has said his wrist can't get any worse in terms of aggravating the injury, but he has to play through pain every night and he could certainly get more swelling in the wrist as time goes on.

We've been fortunate not to have a Boozer injury yet, but given his career you have to have at least some concern that we'll see one before the end of the season, and the same can be said of Joakim Noah.

In short, the Bulls have three guys dealing with stuff that simply might not go away and two guys who more likely than a typical player to suffer an injury going forward.

And there's still Miami

Regardless of how good the Bulls have been, the rub will always be whether or not they've done enough to push ahead of the Miami Heat. The Heat run hot and cold, and they proved last year in the Finals that it isn't simply a matter of getting lazy. They just went cold for a whole series against Dallas.

However, when they're hot, they look completely unstoppable.

Chicago lost it's one game against the Heat, but Deng was out and Rip described the game as "playing on one leg" and hasn't played since [he looked like it in that game as well, so I don't think there's any bs there]. That said, Chicago was two clutch Rose free throws away from likely winning the game on the road.

In short, the Bulls seem like they're in Miami's ballpark in terms of talent, but it's hard to feel good about a match up against them yet. However, I think that regardless of what the Bulls do against Miami in the regular season that Bulls fans will (and should) feel that way.

Let's face it, Miami has the best player in the NBA, a player in the running for the second best, and another guy who might be in the top 10 (and at least top 15). There's no way that any team is going to out-talent Miami, so anyone going against them will always have a healthy dose of fear. Chicago will need to win based on depth, chemistry, and hustle on top of putting together a highly talented roster.

In the end, I'll feel good

The Bulls have already jumped to the "championship or bust" state for many fans. I understand that feeling, and if you are such a fan, then your odds of disappointment followed by ranting are high. I give the Bulls about a 20% chance of winning the title this year. It's a good chance for any single team. I think only the Thunder [easier path to the finals] and Heat [better team] can be argued to have better chances.

That said, it's not likely, and unfortunately, no trade the Bulls could reasonably make will notably improve their chances. The Bulls are going to need quite a bit of luck on their side in addition to all of the things they control to hang a new banner this season, but they're one of only three teams with a significant chance to do so.



Leave a comment
  • After watching yesterday's Knicks/Heat game....
    1. The Bulls need somebody like JR Smith who could give a few points here and there when Rose is cold. It doesn't have to be a star player but somebody better than Brewer. I wish Butler can be that guy but Thibs never gives him a chance to make mistakes.
    2. LeBron is intimidating to lesser talent. The one thing Bulls cannot do against the Heat is cower, lose focus. They score a lot of points from mistakes like how Brewer scores. Wade gets almost half or more of his points through steals, gambling on the ball. I think Hamilton is the best guy for him(if healthy) as Wade has to make jump-shot to counter Hamilton. That's where he is at his worst.
    3. I think Asik makes a big difference against the Heat in protecting the rim like Howard does.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I see absolutely no reason to think Butler could possibly be an offensive threat for Chicago. He's not a great shooter or ball handler and doesn't have an NBA level offensive game. He's a garbage man on offense right now who might take open jump shots or get offensive rebounds.

    I agree with your point on LeBron though. I think you have to treat him with respect, but you can't cower. Also, ball control is absolutely critical against these guys as they have the most dominant fast break in the NBA IMO.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I thought the craze over Asik had died for good, but schumburgfan's a big fan of his, and people like me know why. Anything to put focus on another big man. It worked for a while, but people started to see holes in Asik's game and that sort of quieted things as far as schumburgfan love was concerned. But my friend keeps trying, and people like me are not fooled as to the reason why. He has supported all calls to put Noah in a trade package for Howard, but whenever Asik is mentioned as a trade possibility it gets his ire.

  • I was always in the "Bulls have enough to beat Miami" camp, but I really don't think so anymore. The Heat have been awfully impressive on this 8 game win streak, as they've been crushing good and bad teams alike. The Bulls ability to hang with Miami has been dependent on containing Wade. I don't know how long that will last. It kind of reminds me of how the Bears used to be able to limit Aaron Rodgers before he figured them out this year and started beasting them. Bosh and Lebron already do well against us. If Wade gets going too, it's game over.

    I'm kind of resigned to being the 90's Knicks or Pacers. The Bulls' best chance at a ring will be 1) when Miami gets old and 2) if Mirotic becomes Dirk 2.0 (or at least a healthy Bargnani) and the Charlotte pick pans out. In the meantime I'm going to enjoy the Bulls best player since MJ and let the chips fall.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    I agree with you 100%. No matter what happens, its still a great time to be a bulls fan. The only thing that frustrates me is that this organization and fan base, above all other should understand what it takes to be a champion. This bulls team is easy to fall in love with because they do and say all the right things. They play fundamentally sound defense and move the ball exceptionally well and thats all great. Some of the Bulls designed plays, when executed, are very impressive.

    All that said, with 1 minute to go in a tight game against Miami we just dont have what it takes. We will continue to lose close games to them and it will continue to frustrate the hell out of us. In close games, you have to have someone who can consistently knock down a 15-17 foot jumper with someone in your face. This is why MJ opted to shoot jumpers at the end of games bc you are simply not going to get the type of calls down the stretch when driving to the basket which is Derricks strength. Also he has difficulty shooting over LBJ as most people do because of his freakish size and speed.

    Lebron and Wade can BOTH make those shots. The playoffs are won and lost on close, end of game situations and who has the firepower to close the game. We simply do not have that.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    I agree 1000%. the bulls are a good team with 1 star and alot of good role players who play hard everynight. however thats not enough to win a champoinship, its been proven multiple times:

    Lebron in cleveland
    wade in miami
    garnett in minnesota
    etc. the list goes on.

    Dirk in dallas last year was the exception because lebron disapeared(especially in the 4th quarters), otherwise the heat beat dallas.

    The heat this year are a much better team than last year and are even better defensively with battier. also their pg position is better with the addition of norris cole. the bulls will compete with them like they always do but the talent of the heat will win out.

    Unless lebron doesnt show up to play(which he wont because he completely destroys luol deng everytime) or unless the bulls trade for dhoward, the bulls wont beat the heat.

    I hope im wrong, we'll see.

  • In reply to rob32:

    The Lakers won it twice recently with one star. Kobe did it in 2009 and 2010 with no other boan fide star. Deng, Noah and sometimes (rarely) Boozer can undoubeduly be compared to Gasol and Odom as highly effective support players. And our bench depth exceeds the lakers from those years.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    The Heat will be favorites over Chicago for the foreseeable future. However, the favorite doesn't always win, and Chicago can definitely hang with Miami. Miami's players have had a tendency to choke in close games as well, so Chicago will have a chance.

    LeBron isn't Jordan. He'll gack up some end game situations. That said, it will be awfully tough for Chicago to pass Miami in the near future.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    The Heat can, and will be beaten by the Chicago Bulls. We had them beat and failed to pull the trigger the last time we met. Rose had a flashback at the freethrow line!

  • Usually when I think of Championship teams, I think of teams with at least two studs who can score with a quality field goal percentage at a prolific rate of 15 ppg or more. Quality field goals being 45% for wings and .500 or better for bigs(who generally score around the basket or paint i.e not jump shooters).

    The Bulls do have two guys who score 15 or more ppg on a quality field goal percentage. But Boozer it remains to be seen if he can average those kind of numbers in the playoffs. Or will it be RIP? Hard to see with his imjured status and physical limitations.

    We'll see. Also, more trivially perhaps, but in most years it seems like Championship teams have stars known for their dunking prowess or at least dunks as a notable part of their game. Dunks are a mark of dominance and a momentum energizer as evidenced by M.J. and Scottie along with Horace for example.

    This year especially I haven't seen Derrick dunking very much(due to his back and toe injury I know). But in the playoffs it sure didn't seem like he did much if at all. Maybe it will be different this year. Boozer I don't picture getting many dunks. Now Jo, Taj, and Omer yes.

    I realize most stat guys are going to refute that dunks matter at all or that Jo, Taj, and Ronnie etc. will supply the playoff dunks. But needless to say, someone is going to have to step up scoring wise be it Booz or RIP if the Bulls are going to vanquish Miami.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Actually, dunks (along with free throws and threes) are among the most efficient ways to score, so they are a helpful indicator. I would like the Bulls to get more athletic. Maybe draft Jeff Taylor.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Good point. I've seen the Bulls bigs miss some layups when they could have dunked. And bigs on other teams too. But I guess a dunk takes more energy.

    More concentration at the free throw line would help. Often a guy clanks the first free throw, then you can see him bear down mentally and make the second.

    It would also help if the zebras call a balanced game. Remember the Lebron flop in the playoffs and he ran down the court laughing at scamming the officials? If I were an official, he would never get a close call the rest of the series! Not much the players can do about that one, however.

  • When Miami plays the Bulls they are aggressive on the boards because they know that is our strength. Likewise to have any chance against the Heat, you have to severly limit the turnovers and transition Lebron and Wade dunks/layups. The one thing still missing from the Bulls is the inability to get to the FT line and heavy reliance on jumpshooting outside of Rose. When a strong defense tightens and no one else can create or draw contact, it spells doom for the Bulls.

  • 1) Bulls have played more games and more road games than any other team. Their starters have missed a lot of games, and so have some key backups. Given all that, they have exceeded expectations.

    2) Basketball is an intense physical sport, so there will always be injuries. The Bulls have several players that seem to be more susceptible to injuries than many (Boozer, Deng, Noah, Hamilton, all starters to boot!). Plus some injuries to the bench have hit. The big question: Will everyone stay healthy through the playoffs? Not likely. If they do, they might take the Heat, but at best it looks like Doug's 20% chance of that is generous.

    3) Mental focus can be another problem. That was the issue for the Knicks last night versus Miami -- too blasted many turnovers, too careless with the ball. The Bulls do that at times, especially when they get a lead. Too many big leads have slipped away. You can see the focus that Lebron and Wade and even Bosh can generate. No one can do it all the time, it's just too hard.

    Both Gibson and Asik seem to have fallen off from last year. Is it physical or mental? Bulls should trade one for an SG if they can, someone with focus.

    3) These are reasons why a trade for Howard makes a lot of sense. Deng, Noah, Asik, Mirotic, and the Charlotte pick might do it. Of course, Deng and Noah together on the court are better than Howard, but the real question is, are Deng and Noah better than, say, Howard and Gibson? Or Howard and Asik? Of course not.

    And Howard is less likely to miss games for injuries than Deng and Noah. How would the Heat defend against Howard, Boozer, and Gibson (or Asik)? Especially with Rose and Hamilton, or even CJ and Korver in the back court. It totally changes the dynamics. Plus Howard is a defensive beast. Howard has focus problems at times (everyone does), but in the playoffs on the Bulls HE WILL BRING IT!

    Make this trade while Deng and Noah have strong trade value. Then pick up a halfway decent big and an NBA title.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Yeah I've been kinda disappointed in the development of Asik and Taj's games. Tal seems to have a better post move but his 15 footer has disappeared. Asik has totally regressed offensively. His free throws, his confidence under the basket and his defense hasn't been as good just giving it the eye teat. I think he was more muscular last season I don't know why he seems to have lost muscle mass.

  • I wonder what the Bulls record would be completely healthy like Miami has mostly been? I know it wouldn't be 27-8. With Rip and Rose healthy I doubt they lose to Boston and NJ. They probably should be 29-6 is healthy. They've had a ton of road games so I'm ok with their recored even though those two games were really disappointing efforts.

    As far as Miami I think this is their window now. I think the Bulls window will come when Miami starts to age some. Wade is getting up in age but he's playing at a really high level now. Also I think Bosh doesn't get enough credit for Miami he really does play well for them.

    Thats like the X-factor for Miami Chris Bosh. I'm not saying the Bulls couldn't beat Miami but I agree Doug it will take some big breaks to get past them specially if they have home court.

    I think in order for the Bulls to beat Miami a few things must happen..

    1. Rose must over come LeBron's hounding defense and mentally play better. To me I think LeBron is in Derrick's head right now.
    2. The Bulls need to defense Bosh better. I guess this is where Thibs and the Bulls front court need to earn their keep.
    Boozer/Noah need to defend him better. (yes thats hard)
    3. The Bulls shooters need to be clutch, Rose,Korver,Rip,Deng are going to have to have some clutch moments in order get past them.

    I'm not sure the Bulls have enough right now I personally would like to see the Bulls add another 3 point shooter to backup Rip because offensively Brewer doesn't cut it. He's no threat.

    I think right now I'd offer teams Brewer and Asik and see if anyone is interested. Maybe Boston for Ray Allen? The Bulls need someone to knock down clutch jumpers in big games.

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    You are right, the Bulls need cluth outside shooting to beat Miami. That was missing in the playoff series for the ECF, and I don't think it was all due to the Miami defense, even tho that was really good. Maybe the intimidation got into the head of the shooters.

    Ray Allen would be great, but I believe his salary is too high. Let's see if the Bulls can get Howard first. He will be traded, unless the Orlando management goes brain dead, and the Bulls can offer a strong package. If not, then trade for the SG. Or even Gasol.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I've kinda given up on the Howard to Bulls hope,if you will. I mean everything I've heard is he wants to be in Brooklyn with Williams.

    The Gasol thing to me... I don't know I mean he's an upgrade over Boozer but both struggle defensively and I kinda think bring him in this late might kill the Bulls title hopes.

    I don't think the Bulls will make a move now as much as people want these big names it's not going to happen.

    The Ray Allen thing if Boston would trade him would be the best deal for the Bulls because if they offer they could offer like Asik, Watson and Brewer for Allen and then Allen expires next season anyways and the Bulls can maybe try to bring him back on a cheaper deal...

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    Totally agree about Bosh. If they can continue to contain Wade, playing good D on Bosh may put them over the top. His jumper has become very reliable, which makes it that much harder. I would like the Bulls to stop cross-matching Noah onto him and tell Boozer to body him up outside and deny the jumper. He can beat Booz off the dribble all day, but he'll be driving into the teeth of the D and Jo will still be there to protect the rim. Pulling Jo out of the paint on him just leaves the lane open to the two best finishers in the game.

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    You are right about Bosh. They(Boozer, Noah, Taj, Asik) have to hound him. We have seen that Brewer, Rip and sometimes Rose can play good defense on Wade and make him struggle. LeBron is a different beast and Deng needs to pray that there are no big mistakes, easy shots for LeBron. There is no way to even contain LeBron other than mentally frustrating him which I hope Thibs has some idea about after watching all the tape during the lock-out.

    The key is Bosh and he is stoppable if Noah doesn't have happy feet. I think Asik can do a better job on Bosh than Noah. Noah for all his mobility is still not mobile enough or big enough for Bosh. Asik is a fundamentally sound defender compared to Noah. If Bosh is contained, the Bulls have a chance. Like yesterday, Chandler was giving up the left side turns and shots for Bosh when he should know Bosh likes that. The defender has to be mentally prepared to stop that or be a big stuff offensive weapon to tire him out like Nowitzki did(which we know is not possible with the Bulls).

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I agree, Bosh is the key. I disagree however that Noah isn't mobile enough or big enough for Bosh. Noah can switch onto and stay in front of almost any player in the league, so I don't think not being mobile is the issue. Noah's problem is that he helps too much when matched up with Bosh, thus leaving him wide open for his 15-18 foot jumpers. He killed the Bulls last year in the ECF with his jumper. If Noah stays home on him and doesn't leave him, I think he's plenty big and mobile enough.

    You are right though that Asik might be the better matchup due to being a naturally better man to man defender. Noah's instincts are help and team defense, but that comes back to my original point.

  • In reply to NateTags:

    The problem with Noah's mobility is Bosh is quicker than Noah when he makes his moves and he(Noah) is not big enough like Asik to just disrupt with his body on Bosh. We know Boozer is useless against Bosh. Noah is big enough to defend a quicker but a smaller guy than Bosh like even LeBron or Melo and not big enough/strong enough to defend Howard/Hibbert.
    I do agree that Noah tries to help too much..that's what I mean by happy feet. He is so bent down and looking around to help that he is not quick enough to recover to stop Bosh. It feels like nitpicking but if Noah can take out Bosh and do less help, it might help the Bulls. The other problem with Bosh is he picks up when LeBron/Wade are struggling. I think Thibs has gambled that it is better to let Bosh go off than Wade.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Schaumburgfan, your Asik love in stinkingly embarrassing. But the key here is that this guy is trying to tell the world Asik is a better player than Noah. If I had the power, I'd arrest you schaumburgfan. Did Noah steal your girl from you?
    I'll tell readers to just do a search on this guy's posts and you'll see that he would take the devil over Noah. Real madness we're dealing with here.

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    I agree Bosh is Miami's X-Factor to an extent, the problem is the Bulls don't defend Bosh well because they cheat so much on the Bosh/Wade or Bosh/LeBron pick and roll that they're daring Bosh to beat them rather than having Wade/LeBron get a one on one off a pick.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    That and boozer won't even try to guard anyone, so the Bulls feel forced to switch Noah onto Bosh, wrecking the linchpin of our team defense.

    If it were me I would not do the crossmatch on Bosh, leave Noah on Anthony so that when he helps(which is on everyplay) he is not leaving an offensive threat.

    Thibs should be smart enough to see this and still devise a way to cover up for boozer.

  • I hate to post this here but I'm banned from every other blog for some odd reason, Joakim on the beach already.

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    Don't feel too bad SoulEater, it doesn't diminish you. I used to tell it like it is on a certain prominent Bulls blog and the owner or host banned me, especially since I had the temerity to take him on on issues dear to him. He didn't ask for a vote by the readers or fellow bloggers he just cut my head off!

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Ha! Yeah Matt is a douche.

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    you mean the NERF boy, not even remotely friendly.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    It's all good I never read his stuff anyways. I just liked the blog format.

  • Great wrap on the first half, Doug. I hate having this discussion in the beginning of the season, but I think we can really tackle it now.

    First, agree with everything above except that the Bulls' biggest problem is athletic teams trapping #1. I think it's athletic teams completely MURDERING the Bulls in transition. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but when Miami and Philly ran away with the game, they literally ran away with it. Thibs has the Bulls going all-or-nothing on the boards and I think that's an adjustment that needs to be made going into the second half.

    Second, glad you guys are talking about Bosh because even though Lebron finished it out for Miami last year, for 3 qtrs of 4 games the Bulls had no answer for Bosh. I think he should've been the MVP of the series, honestly.

    Finally, the best answer to this question came from Joakim Noah after his triple-double:

    "All I know," said Noah, "is with what we have this year, I don't feel we've peaked yet, and we have to take it up another notch if we want to be a championship-caliber team." http://espn.go.com/chicago/nba/story/_/id/7605293/chicago-bulls-better-last-year-good-enough

    Jo's 100% right. They have who & what they need. Now it's all about execution. Go Bulls!

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    Offensive rebounding is a catch-22 for the Bulls. They need to get back in transition, but they also need to hit the offensive boards to score against good defenses. In Game 1 of the ECF, they scored a bunch of 2nd chance points. In game 2, when they couldn't hit anything Kerr said they should just throw the ball at the rim and try to score on the put back. Haslem helped keep the Bulls off the offensive glass and they were done.

    I think Deng, Rip, and Korver have to be on for the Bulls to beat good defensive teams in a series.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    It's definitely a catch-22. And what's even more frustrating is that against Miami the Bulls don't score in transition. The Heat were constantly able to force the Bulls to pull the ball back and set up half-court after a breakaway.

    I don't mean to sound hopeless. Even with all that, it always comes down to the last minute with these teams. When Thibs puts that big Harvard brain to work on this stuff it'll be great see what he comes up with.

  • A lot of the having an easy schedule comes down to being in the East, I don't really think the remaining schedule is much harder for the Bulls.

    I think the Bulls season so far ranks as a fail because there's only two things I wanted to see from them: stay healthy and win home court. Obviously you can't control the stay healthy bit, and luck hasn't been with them there. That's had the flow on effect that right now the Bulls look like they're going to lose home court to the Heat.

    Other than that this season doesn't tell us much we didn't know before we started: the Bulls are a good team, Miami is probably a better team, there are no easy answers to that problem, just have to hope luck goes the Bulls way come playoff time.

    Last season was a new team and it was fun. This season really feels pretty boring to me, there's no mystery, it's just waiting for the inevitable contest in the playoffs.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    You, Shakes, sound like a lunatic!

  • I thought Doug said at one time he did work for DraftExpress, and was part owner. Thus, if he thinks the conventional wisdom is correct or what he's seen so far from Jimmy Butler is that he has no ofensive game then so be it.

    I liked the blanketing of Carmelo, and he hit a big shot as well in that game. Yes, one game. I don't know, I just think he has some offensive instincts, and maybe not an iso game, but he might be effective off of curls or screens attacking. In the Indy game he did show a feel for scoring around the basket.

    If you can have a defensive stopper on guards and slighter wings(not bigs like BronBron leave that to Deng), but that is a value. And he did shoot 50% from three albeit on albeit bascially on one attempt per game. And 77 and 78% from the line two of his three years at Marquette. I wouldn't be shocked if he could be a rotation guy at some point if not with the Bulls then someone else. But if he doesn't get the chance maybe it isn't meant to be.

    At No. 30 in a weak draft Butler was a decent shot. I personally wanted JuJuan Johnson, and was excited when it looked like the Bulls had drafted Norris Cole(though as I've said I have questions about him as stable, steady pro).

    No. 30 is a poor place to be for any significant talent addition, but in a very strong draft(of depth not stars), it's more of a possibility to get a rotation guy with some offense. I'm afraid all the quality bigs will be gone, but guys like Darius Johnson Odom and Marcus Denmon might be available.

    Jeffery Taylor would be my first choice if he were available and also his teammate John Jenkins I think is underrated overall athletically though his defense needs work to say the least. But he can flat out can threes. Quincy Miller looks like an NBA player with offense, but he will be gone. If Odom or Denmon are there(which they should be), I'd snatch one of them up. Undersized yes, but both have NBA athleticism and can shoot the three quite well.

    In fact, this year with Doron Lamb, John Jenkins, Denmon etc. there are some high percentage three bombers to be sure. Of course the Bulls probably would have to hit lightning in a bottle i.e hit on a true and immediate offensive talent for him to get any burn.

Leave a comment