ESPN unveiled it's new start, real plus / minus, and Carlos Boozer ranked, predictably, as one of the worst players on the team as well as one of the worst PFs in the NBA. Want to know why we love Taj Gibson? He ends up being the best on the team.
I'm a little queasy on the nebulous way this stat was calculated as the description sounds great, but the stat isn't explained a whole lot. It kind of sounds like something you'd tell a little kid to make it sound important when they discuss how scientific it is without going into much detail.
That said, there were three fun things to take from this stat:
Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah are really good
They ranked 17th (4.12) and 24th (3.89) in the NBA overall, both with massive defensive numbers and positive offensive numbers. According to this, Taj is the better offensive player of the two and the best offensive player on the Bulls.
I find the debate over whether Taj's scoring is more valuable than Noah's passing/ball handling rather interesting right now.
There's no doubt that Taj has added plenty of moves to his arsenal on offense. He has a step back jumper now, a low post fade away, and he's shooting the open mid range shot from further than in the past. He does more to create looks than any previous year, and has played like a plus player on offense rather than a hustle player.
However, Noah's improvement has been similar. He's always been a good passer, but the improvement in his driving game and baby hook have forced defenses to play up on him closer which has given him more space. His tornado ball needs a lot of room to shoot, but when teams give it to him, he's consistently knocking it down out to about 20 feet not.
The pair combine to average as many points per 36 minutes as David West and Roy Hibbert, and their total per 36 accounts for more than 20% of the Bulls offense which means the Bulls interior is getting the job done scoring wise for Chicago.
D.J. Augustin is really bad
I'm curious if this stat overly penalizes D.J. for his minutes in Toronto or if some preseason expectation is built in to extend the sample size since RAPM (the stat it extends) does that. He has the worst number on the team outside of Snell, but the game rarely feels that it plays out that way when he's on the floor.
My gut feeling is that he's not getting nearly enough credit for his offense and maybe his defense is overly penalized. That said, D.J. ranks in at -4.66 and actually has a negative number on both ends of the court. The large negative defensive number isn't surprising but the offensive one is.
Now a zero represents league average, which means Augustin still rates as below average on offense in this system. I suppose given that the Bulls have one of the worst offenses in the league that isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility, but it doesn't pass the smell test.
Carlos Boozer is really, really bad
He ranks 79th out of 89 PFs in the survey with a -3.79, and I doubt that surprises anyone. What's shocking about this number is that it's made up of a -3.74 on offense and a -.05 on defense.
Now it's probably fair to note that if you are playing defense next to Joakim and Taj, both amongst the best defenders in the NBA then you'll look a bit worse on defense than you really are, but I can't truly believe that Boozer's defense is just a shade below average.
What I can believe is that his offense has been horrible this season. He no longer can score in isolation at all, though truth be told, he was never that good at it for Chicago anyway. He draws no fouls, hits no threes, and shoots mostly fade away jumpers at a pedestrian rate.
When Boozer can't score, he's dead weight on the floor because he sure isn't helping anyone defensively. That said, the Bulls need someone to chew up some minutes, and at least Boozer can do that better than Nazr Mohammed. Maybe.
Not sure what to think of this one
I don't know how much I'd rely on this stat. Much like the net +/- number on 82games.com, it backs up some things that make sense to me while flying in the face of other things I think are obviously true. I personally can't put too much faith in it without knowing more about how the stat is calculated though.
Chicago's finest Brew is back
Ronnie Brewer signed with the Chicago Bulls for the rest of the season squashing my thoughts that his workout may not have gone well enough for Chicago to bring him back.
The signing makes a world of sense for the Bulls since Brewer is familiar with much of the team and the system. He fills a defensive hole created when Luol Deng left that Tony Snell hasn't been able to step in and fill.
I don't know whether or not Brewer will see much court time, but I feel better having another guy in there for depth.
Some will argue the Bulls should have gone for more offense, but after signing Jimmer Fredette that's totally unnecessary. We have the other offensive guy on the bench, we just don't want to let him play.
The Bulls didn't actually have another quality defensive wing outside of Butler, and when they play Miami there will be times that they may need one more guy if Hinrich gets into foul trouble.
Overall, nice job by Chicago to get Utah to pick up Murphy and then add Brewer to the team.