Indiana clinches #1 seed, Bulls will likely stay in fourth

Indiana clinches #1 seed, Bulls will likely stay in fourth

If you're like me, and you think Paul George is overrated and the most important facet of the playoffs is to avoid Miami's half of the bracket, then the Bulls will likely succeed. Miami rested their guys and got destroyed by the Wizards to hand the #1 seed to the Pacers without Indiana having to win their final game. The Bulls and Raptors took care of business and remain knotted up with 48 wins a piece going into Wednesday's season finale.

The Bulls will be the four seed and in Indiana's bracket with a loss or a Raptors win. They will move up to the three seed with a win and a Raptors loss. The Raptors travel to NY on Wednesday while the Bulls travel to Charlotte.

Joakim Noah fell two assists shy of a triple double. His second near miss in as many days as he fell just one assist shy against the Knicks. Noah clearly doesn't seem to care about the accomplishment. He doesn't go out of his way to get them. It makes me wonder how many he'd have this season if he did.

There's this weird part of me that wishes he did care just to see him have around 15 this season, but then I'd never really want Noah to be that type of player.

D.J. Augustin missed the game due to his wife giving birth. Congratulations D.J. .

Jimmer time

I've been a proponent of playing Jimmer Fredette instead of Tony Snell for every minute Snell plays on the court for the last month. Tony Snell's a bust. I get where the Bulls were going with him and was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on draft day, but the man's a bust. Jimmer should take all of his minutes, because he can at least bring one skill to the table the Bulls can use. That's one more than Tony Snell.

That said, if we felt Jimmer was a third point guard, I think we might be disabused of that notion now. The Orlando Magic played active defense on him, and Jimmer looked really screwed. In order to play point in the NBA you need to be an elite ball handler or have some elite quickness.

Jimmer doesn't meet either criteria, and it showed. He shot the ball well though, doing most of his damage on opportunities created by his teammates where he wasn't asked to create off the dribble. In that role, the role that Tony Snell plays, Jimmer scores pretty well.

Of course, in that role, does he score better than Mike Dunleavy? Probably not. However, I still think he should get Snell's minutes.

I wouldn't be upset if the Bulls kept Fredette next season at the minimum, but he's definitely not an Augustin replacement.

Speaking of Snell, he played well last night too which tells you how much to trust the Magic's perimeter defense.

Bulls sign Greg Smith?

The Bulls came to terms with Greg Smith on a deal which is guaranteed for next season. What's interesting about the move is that Smith is out for the remainder of this season.

This is quite a bit different than the Bulls signing Mike James, Lou Amundsen, and Ronnie Brewer to end of year deals with non guaranteed second years. A move which gives the Bulls an extra three million or so flexibility to do something interesting on draft day or in the early part of free agency next season.

This is a move where the Bulls simply decided to lock up their 4th or 5th big man next season right now.

Smith sports a 62.3% FG% and gives you 13.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per 36 minutes with a career PER of 15.7. He's only 23 years old and looks like a guy with some pretty solid potential to be a fourth big. He's only played 1279 minutes in his career, but that's enough minutes that those numbers aren't complete junk.

He's not known for his defense, has no jumper, and is a pure inside player, but I think if we put him on the floor now while in a walking boot that he might be better than Nazr Mohammed. Locking him in at the veteran minimum probably removes around 3-400k in terms of cap space, but the signing of the other three guys indicates the Bulls are looking to trade their way to greatness next season first and foremost.

I'm somewhat indifferent about the signing. I think Smith's shown he's a vet minimum worthy player and a good guy to take a chance on when healthy. However, I don't know that I'm excited to lock in a guy who sprained his knee in January and isn't back on the court yet.

Maybe him and Derrick share the same recovery team .

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  • I only caught the 2nd half against Orlando and Jimmer looked a little more comfortable at the point by then. But agree he's better suited for off-guard who can give you some spot minutes at point if needed.

    Not sure about your pronouncement on Tony Snell so soon. I'm hearing "he's a bust" from a lot of smart Bulls fans. I guess it's because he's been largely invisible post all-star break. But he's also been getting regular play putting up a stat line full of 0's for a coach who has no problem playing his top guys 50 min a game. So, I suspect he's not being asked to do much but work on the basics for now.

    Can't say I mind the Greg Smith signing. Good guy, great contract. I just hope the Bulls don't settle on him as 4th big. Jason Smith is probably the ideal guy for that role and he can definitely be had this off-season. There's nothing wrong with having Greg Smith in your back pocket though.

  • Not only is Snell a bust, but based on the comments I read here, we could have had Hardaway AND Dieng AND Plumlee instead. Or at least, considering how every good game each of them have get posted here, that's what I figure, we must have been able to get all 3.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I'm not necessarily sold on any of the three as great players, nor do I consider myself a super draft pundit (that's why every year someone else does the majority of the draft content here), but I think the consensus was that all three players were better than Snell, and right now, all three look better than Snell.

    I won't get too upset about it, I sure as hell wasn't happen when the Bulls picked Jimmy Butler or Taj Gibson, both taken well above expectations and both turned into great picks.

    I think the Bulls are a great drafting team, but I think Snell's a bust.

  • Not only is Snell a bust, but based on the comments I read here, we could have had Hardaway AND Dieng AND Plumlee instead. Or at least, considering how every good game each of them have get posted here, that's what I figure, we must have been able to get all 3.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Roman I think that you are being a little disingenuous. I am sure that you know everyone who complains about the Snell pick knows that we could have had any one of those 3 guys(not all 3) since they were all picked after Snell. I wanted a bigman(as I always do, welcome Greg Smith), and if someone had forced me to chose between Snell and Hardaway, I would likely have picked Hardaway, even though I thought that most people wanted him just because of his name.

    My biggest gripe with Snell(besides the fact that he wasn't a bigman) was that everyone basically knew that he was somewhat laconic at best, and I just don't like those kind of guys, they never change.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'm exaggerating for sure, and as I've stated before, I wanted Dieng. At this point though, I will hear about the big nights from all three of them, apparently for another eight years at least because we're still talking about Tyrus Thomas.

    It actually goes to show why a draft pick loses values after a player is selected. The possibility of Dieng or Plumlee or Hardaway is exciting every time any of them has a big night, more exciting than if you only get one of them.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Snell is not showing much his rookie year but let me see what one summer with thibodeau and the other coaches can do and what he brings in summerleague/preseason. He did try to go for an aggressive dunk last night but got blocked and did connect on some jimmies. The Bulls don't usually hold onto busts so if he's playing in the Dleague in december/january.....its showcase time, featuring past favorites Marquis Teague and James Johnson.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    Snell seems to have quickened up his shot release over the course of the season, which could account for his 3pt% getting worse as the year goes on.

    If he continues to suck, like you said the Bulls usually seem to come out of it OK. They got a first-rounder for JJ, a mid-first in a great draft this summer for Tyrus, and in a roundabout way they turned Teague into Greg Smith.

  • I am probably in the minority here, but I actually think Tony Snell will turn into a solid nba player. He needs to be more assertive and hit the weight room hard. He has a lot of potential skills to offer. I think his shooting will improve next year. He is already a decent defender with the chance to become a good defender. He also is very comfortable putting the ball on the floor driving right. I think by the middle of next season he will be a productive rotation player.

    On the other hand I don't see Jimmer ever becoming a good enough defender and ball handler to play point guard and he's too small to play shooting guard long term. I would definitely play Tony snell over Jimmer.

  • In reply to dperrozzi:

    The scary thing about me is that Snell is completely unassertive which he was in college as well. Just don't think he has the will.

    He also has a slow release and a very high arcing shot that's unlikely to be all that consistent combined with below average handles.

    He has a lot of improvements to make for a guy who played three years in college.

  • I would also say that Snell is not yet a bust. I remember Butler on his rookie year and he did not offer anything to the Bull's cause. Snell on the other hand already has a better 3 point shot than Butler. A year more on the weight training and a little bit of seasoning would render Snell a lot of good. However, I am also of the opinion that other players are better than Snell and that we could have drafted them. No use crying over spilled milk i guess.

  • In reply to Tamaraw:

    What do you mean "no use???" Crying over spilled milk is exactly what we do here. Three years later and I still read about Asik having a big night.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Hahahahaha. I respect that. Here's to hoping against all hope that the FO will get it right this upcoming draft and free agency...

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Thats because legitimate 7 footers, who can move their feet, play superior D, rebound and average a double double when starting don't just fall of the turnip truck. Guys like Snell regularly do, because they are sleepwalking thru life.

    Whats wrong you seem cranky today.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I don't like whining and there's been a lot of it today. I mean, people are still bringing up Tyrus Thomas for crying out loud.

  • Snell will be just fine next year. He appears to have the right mindset to work hard and fits well on Tib's system. His confidence will likely improve with playoff experience. I still think Snell will be a fine rotational player for the Bulls.

  • I definitely think it's too early to call Tony a bust, although Dieng and Hardaway clearly look better.

    Greg Smith is a good buy low option. His per minute numbers suggest he might end up being a steal for the Bulls. Depending on how much they value him, his signing allows them to trade up, throw the picks into a bigger trade, or draft BPA without worrying about position.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    Yes, the Greg Smith signing was a savvy move because Bulls acquired a young backup big without using a draft pick! It was a zero cost acquisition that could fill a definite need for Bulls, backup C.

    I believe Bulls are looking at using their draft picks to trade for an impact starter, not for bench players.

  • Well, I guess you can say it is too soon to call Snell a bust technically, but Doug is right. Why reach for a guy from a so/so program who had so/so statistics when there were guys out there who had much better production from big-time programs? The draft is a gamble, but you need to shorten the odds.

    Same mistake was made a few years back. Aldridge was clearly, yes clearly, the best big man in the draft. Consistently put up big numbers while being double-teamed. Bulls, however, traded him at draft-time for the player they wanted all along- Tyrus. Why? Pax often mentioned how he loved shotblockers. The Toronto GM drafted Bargnani when he could have had Aldridge. Why?He often mentioned how he loved Euro players. Pre-conceived desires often can cloud judgment. They didn't see the obvious talent before them. They reached and failed.

    My point simply is that in the draft process mistakes are made when you fail to see the value of players right before your eyes. Many posters here saw the plain value of Dieng and Plumlee. Sure, if Snell had the kind of scintillating athleticism or dominant skill that would compel you to choose him, then why not? But he doesn't. They reached for him. The odds were against them. I see that as a failure.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Excellent post! Your analysis is dead on. "The draft is a gamble, but you need to shorten the odds."

    What I do not get is this: The Bulls have done great at picking up low-cost FA guards -- Watson, Lucas, Belli, Nate, and now Augustine. In fact, each of these guys got bigger contracts on leaving the Bulls, where their careers were resurrected to a degree.

    So, how can the Bulls do so well at talent evaluation with these FA Gs, and yet make so many questionable draft choices? Not to mention the Wallace and Boozer signings. I do not get it!

  • In reply to rustyw:

    The answer to your question is: Drafting is an inexact science and no FO gets it right all the time. For every brilliant draft choice, there's a bust. Some of the biases that led to the Bulls finding Taj and Butler late in the draft are the same as the ones that led them to drafting Teague and Snell.

    Big FA signings typically don't work out well for the Bulls or any other team.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    "Drafting is an inexact science and no FO gets it right all the time." Apparently you are correct, Roman. However, I would think the science, inexact or not, would apply to both draft picks and FAs. Not with the Bulls, I guess.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    If you mean that they've consistently failed in signing big money FA's, you are correct that they haven't gotten it right. However, big money FA's rarely work out for any team.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I think this is a half analysis.

    The Bulls "reached" on Gibson/Butler. Those "reaches" got them great players that would be drafted much higher than their pick if the draft were redone and possibly much lower on draft day had they not taken them.

    The Bulls, overall, have done excellent in the draft. Snell's a bust, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Doug, I agree they were excellent picks but I define a "reach" as someone picked higher than they should be. Taj was the PAC 10 defensive player of the year. He was picked somewhere in the 20s of the first round. I think the consensus was that he would have gone higher but for his advanced age for a rookie. He was 24 I believe.

    Butler was projected late first or second round pick. He was voted the most outstanding player in that pre-draft camp in the East prior to the draft. As most people know, Jimmy was the last pick of the first round.

    Both Taj and Jimmy were pleasant surprises. But they were not "reaches" as I would define them.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Reach is the best description of the Tony Snell pick.
    No other team was going to draft Snell near #20. As you say, so-so stats from a so-so program (New Mexico State). A program that Gar Forman has connections to as he was an assistant coach/recruiter for New Mexico State from 1988-1994. Adding insult to injury, the day after drafting Tony Snell, Gar Forman fired highly regarded assistant coach Ron Adams for questioning personnel decisions.

    Other New Mexico State ties: Gar Forman hired former Bull PG Randy Brown to Bulls front office. Brown is a New Mexico State grad whom Gar Forman recruited to NMS. Randy Brown is now the assistant GM for the Bulls alongside Gar Forman.

    Just sayin' the Snell pick has Gar Forman written all over it. That was a lonnggg reach to New Mexico State.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I heard a rumor that Sacramento had some interest in Snell but I found it hard to believe they would use a mid-lottery pick on him. Most draft boards had Tony pegged for a late first rounder or second rounder. I think that was about right, prospectively as well as retrospectively.

    The whole Gar Forman/Ron Adams thing was really bizarre and everybody has kept mum on the causes of the dismissal. I tend to agree with you, however, that it was related to personnel decisions by the FO. Btw, I believe Snell was a Lobo from New Mexico.

    Interesting factoids regarding the Plumlee/Dieng issue vis a vis the drafting of Snell. In today's Grantland, Zach Lowe rated Plumlee the third best rookie in the class and said he could have been first given greater minutes. Coincidentally, Jim Petersen (TWolves color man and NBA vet) on last nights TWolves/Warriors telecast rated Dieng the third best rookie in the class and said that Dieng could have been first had he played more. Of course, greater minutes could have exposed each players weaknesses but I thought these were interesting observations.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    And if Bulls were set on picking a SG (a reasonable assumption) I see Zach Lowe gives a mention to Hardaway in the rookie analysis.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    There were very clear reasons to take Tyrus. I was an Aldridge guy, don't get me wrong, but Tyrus scored more per minute than Aldridge on higher efficiency with much higher rebound, steal, and shot blocking rates.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    There is no doubt that Tyrus was an elite run-jump athlete. Ironically, another run-jump athlete from LSU, Stromile Swift, was picked second in the draft the year or two before. He was a bust from the get-go. Why didn't the Bulls learn someone else's painful lesson.

    That points per minute stat surprised me. Aldridge was a prolific scorer with an unstoppable, high release, jumpshot. He was also a good rebounder and shot-blocker. Tyrus was essentially a put-back type of scorer. He wanted to be a small forward for the Bulls. I remember Del Harris yanking him from summer league games for dribbling behind his back and playing out of control. Do you think Popovich would have drafted such a knucklehead?

  • Hindsight is 20/20 eh? Usually.

    I do notice that those who wanted Teague and Snell never mention it here! However, I do remember that there were plenty on this blog who wanted Dieng and Hardaway. Fewer wanted Plumlee, as I recall, but all of those were right while the FO was wrong. Good thing we were not working for the Bulls, we would have been canned with Adams.

    Misses by the FO two years in a row now. Time for a HR this draft!

  • Totally agree with your take on Snell vs Jimmer. While I am not prepared to call Snell a total bust yet(can the 20th pick really be a total bust), he is at least 50% of the way there. From the minute tha we picked him I was questioning how a guy who shot 42% from the field in a non major college conference could be called a great shooter, which most everybody described him as. I also agree with your analysis of his shot, it just doesn't look like something that you can build a career around.

    As for Jimmer, I never looked at him as a backup point guard ala DJ. If he fits anywhere, it would be as a spot up shooter/scorer next to a legitimate point guard(Rose), or in a Steve Kerr role next to a Jordan like player(a healthy Rose?). I would like to see him with the Bulls next season, but not instead of DJ, but in addition to DJ. The question will always be can he defend well enough to earn enough minutes to be valuable on offense. I also wonder who is the better shooter, Jimmer or Dunleavy, but I think that you need more than one guy anyway.

    As for Greg Smith, I actually like the signing quite a bit(depending on the severity of his injury). I inadvertently followed him(or at least his stats) last season, because I was always checking Asiks box score(apparently crying over spilled milk). He actually put up some nice numbers primarily as Asiks backup. There were a number of games where he got as many if not more minutes than Asik. At times it almost seemed like McHale favored him over Asik. Smith will instantly be our most physical bigman, and probably our most physical player period(along with Jimmy). If you ask me, physicality is something that we definitely need more of.

    Not sure if anyone else sees it this way, but does the Smith signing(and guarantee for next season) increase the likelihood that the Bulls have already decided to amnestitize the Hole and bring over Mirotic. I kind of think that it does. Too bad that he isn't ready to go for the playoffs.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    To me, the Smith signing signifies that the Bulls front office already knows whether or not Mirotic is coming over next season. If Mirotic comes, Boozer goes. If Mirotic stays put, Boozer stays. I can no longer see any reason to have both of them on the roster with the signing of Smith and the possibility of adding another big man with one of our draft picks. Boozer would no longer be a good use of a roster spot even if used as salary filler for a trade. Thibs has shown that he rarely uses his 4th big (let alone a 5th or 6th), so the writing is on the wall for Boozer's departure IMO.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Glad to read your opinion of Greg Smith after you followed him last season. I think its an excellent signing at zero cost (no draft pick).

    But I don't think his signing has anything to do with, nor signals anything about, Boozer or Mirotic. Rather, I think Greg Smith will simply be a backup center like he was in Houston and replace Nazr.

    If anything, I think the Greg Smith signing signals Bulls are prepared to trade their draft picks for an established veteran and if such a trade transpires realize they wouldn't have a draft pick available in 2014 to use on a center prospect.

    I also don't think Bulls want to add 4 rookies this summer. And Greg Smith has already shown he can play in the NBA, so if he recovers from his surgery (which I'm sure Bulls have researched very thoroughly) its a fairly safe signing of a backup center.

  • Bust you say? While Snell is averaging nearly double the minutes that either Butler or Teague saw their rookie years, I still think it is way too early to label him a bust (if there even is such thing for a #20 pick). Yes he plays in a way that not even the word 'passive' can accurately describe, but he HAS shown glimpses of potential to be a solid role player down the road. Nobody should expect a late first-rounder to come in and immediately be a stud or look like a starter. Heck, Butler was the same way his rookie year- showed some solid glimpses of potential on the defensive end while not being able to hit the broad side of a barn on offense. Lets give Snell another season of learning and bulking up to see if he can take a 'Butler Leap' before prematurely lumping him into the 'Teague Bust' category.

    The worst part of this bust talk is that the past draft was full of so many underachieving players, that the guys we could/should have picked (Plumlee, Dieng, Hardaway) would all likely be top ten picks in a redraft. I think most of the people labeling Snell a bust are more so saying that because of who the Bulls passed on rather than Snell's performance alone.

  • In reply to Motoman:

    Plumlee, Dieng, Hardaway.... I wonder which rookie assistant coach Ron Adams wanted to draft???

  • In reply to Edward:

    Probably all of them over Snell. Adams clearly has a passion for the game, wanted the Bulls to be successful, and was a better talent evaluator than the FO.

  • A couple interesting articles on Greg Smith, the second one including an in-depth interview. The more I read, the more I like.

  • In reply to Edward:

  • Snell's salary can be part of a that impending Bulls offseason move

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