Bulls Beat #370 - Summer League

Bulls Beat #370 - Summer League

We get our first look at Bobby Portis and another look at Doug McDermott. I also discuss Hoiball and expectations for the next season.

Bulls Beat #370 - Summer League

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  • I am really excited about Portis still not sure how he fell to us. He probably won't do much this season as we are loaded with bigs and have a head coach who is used to running small ball lineups but his future looks very bright. A Niko Portis front court will be exciting if Portis can continue to develop his shot.

    Doug McDermott if he is going to have a NBA career has to be an elite three point marksman and he hasn't shown that he is even a good three point shooter yet. He is too slow to drive against NBA level guys as he did in Summer League he showed poor defense I just don't see any reason to be excited about this guy. Hopefully Niko and Snell can step up and be the floor spacers we need because I don't see McBust doing it.

  • In reply to Chad:

    We'll see what happens, but I'm not too excited about McDermott at the moment either.

  • Let's hope Doug M. is the real deal. I do feel Portis will be a big contributor in a year or two. Bulls need all hands on deck and healthy to have a shot at winning the East in 2015/2016. But if LeBron, Kyrie and Love are healthy, that will be a monumental task.

  • Portis looks, at minimum, to be a solid backup big. He could turn into an excellent starter, and Bulls fans will love his blue-collar work ethic.

    McDermott is a work in progress. The fact that he often hit 30 3-pointers in a row in practice last season shows he can shoot. Maybe Hoiberg can awaken the confidence he needs to bring it to the NBA game. Maybe not.

  • Doug once again thank you for another bluntly honest podcast. I generally see it all the same way you do. I'm also not very optimistic about this team this year because I've learned to keep my expectations realistic. I have my doubts about McDermott as well as Snell, Portis is a rookie, Hoiberg also is a rookie coach. Then there's the ever present Derrick Rose injury concerns, who knows what shape Noah will be in, and by the team being nearly identical to the same team as last year then also the same problems exist. Last season we struggled against younger athletic teams and I don't see any reason that would change this season. A trade obviously needs to happen in the front court because it's overloaded. I know some people think that's a good problem to have but on the contrary it's not as was the case last season.

    The only real change that took place is coaching and while that in itself is a big deal people tend to undermine the fact that Hoiberg has never coached in the NBA. It has a lot to do with the success of Steve Kerr as was the case when we 1st got Thibs after his success with the Celtics. Having said all that I don't blame the bulls for making the moves they did and under the circumstances it was all they could do without losing value. But some people dont seem to understand how mistakes the front office has made in the past directly and indirectly affects decisions being made today. I'm still not over giving up all those pics for McDermott. It seems like the FO never learns and as long as Gar/Pax is there the Bulls will remain in an endless cycle of mediocrity. At times seeming like we're ready to take a step forward only to take two steps back in the long run.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    The FO made a significant mistake last year when they gave the overpaying contract to Hinrich. Of course, it was magnified by Thibs being an idiot in how he overused Kirk and underutilized other guys like Snell and Moore. But it is also the reason why the Bulls did not have the space to pick up the decent backup PG from FAs this summer.

    In principle, trading #16 and #19 for a lottery pick might have been OK if they had used it well. Who would they have picked otherwise? Nurkic would have been good obviously, but a lot of the other guys fans wanted have not done anything, and Thibs was not going to play them anyway.

    Last season, I wanted to see a trade for a wing like Afflalo, but he was nothing special last year, and I doubt he would have helped much, if at all. At least the Bulls are stacked in the front court now and should be able to swing a trade for the wing near the deadline - if needed.

    Thibs was stubborn and overworked some guys, plus he played Mirotic out of position even after March showed he belonged at PF, not SF, and he also played Noah out of position. Simply terrible moves. And Snell showed he benefitted from more playing time.

    So, just fixing that stuff by the new coaches has the potential to bring the Bulls a few extra wins this season. Upgrading the schemes on O could bring a few more wins.

    There also seems to be some untapped potential in the players. If Mirotic, Snell, Moore and McDermott all develop, this team could be deadly. Can the new coaches help them along? We will see.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I agree none of the players we could have aquired through the draft with our original picks did any better than McDermott, but that's the nature of rookies. It's not wise to expect anything other than a learning process from year one players. It takes time for players to develop and some longer than others ( James Johnson springs to mind ) which is also why I have not given up on McDermott just yet but still feel giving up two picks for him was a mistake. Obviously if McD starts nailing some threes I could end up eating my own words but it's up to him to prove me wrong as well as other fans that has doubts. With an aging Dunleavy back the small forward position is once again McD's to lose so we'l just see what happens.

    As far as Afflalo goes you never know. Not every situation is ideal for players. Just look at JR Smith for example, people thought it was a mistake for Cleveland to trade for him. He was a terrible fit with the Knicks but became a key player on a Cavs team that was poised to win a championship. Even Nate Robinson was a God-send for the Bulls but until that point nobody wanted him. I think Afflalo would have fit with the Bulls like a glove and would have provided some much needed back-court depth off the bench. But whats done is done so now we must put our faith in Hinrich. ( I'm being sarcastic )

    I do think Hoiberg is going to make a difference by just doing the very basics: Distributing minutes evenly, giving guys rest when they need it, sitting players on the bench when their messing up regardless of their all star background, and running a more fluid offense. I'm also pretty high on Mirotic, Snell and Doug not so much, and I like Moore a lot. Etwuan Moore should be the 1st guard off the bench in my opinion.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I think that McDNP was the guy that everyone was not so secretly afraid that the Bulls would move up to draft. Then we all tried to talk ourselves into him based on his great college numbers and his world class shooting stroke.

    However, even without 20/20 hindsight, these guys could have been Bulls, and one of them would have been if I were in GarPax's shoes.

    Elfrid Payton had a very nice rookie year, especially for a PG. A number of NBA people see some Gary Payton in him. He has good size and excellent athleticism and looks like he can be a good/great maybe even elite defender. He has to improve his jump shot.

    Zack LaVine showed some signs that he could become an explosive scorer, not just an explosive athlete. He also needs to improve his shot.

    and then there is Dario Saric whose career highlights overseas kind of remind you of Mirotic even though they are different players stylistically.

    FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship MVP (2010)
    Euroleague Junior Tournament MVP (2011)
    FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship MVP (2012)
    Croatian League Finals MVP (2013)
    2× FIBA European Young Player of the Year (2013, 2014)
    Adriatic League MVP (2014)
    Adriatic League Finals MVP (2014)

    He will probably come to the NBA 3 years after he was drafted(2017) like Mirotic did, so he wouldn't have been any help last season or for the next 2, but would be coming onboard when it is very likely that 3 of our current big men will be gone, unless we resign Noah to a team friendly deal.

    To get Payton they would have had to have drafted Saric and traded him to Philly like the Magic did one pick after us. The Magic gave up a future first to move up just 2 spots to get Payton.

    Of course, had we stayed where we were, we could very likely have ended up with Nurkic(very raw, but talented and athletic for a big) and Rodney Hood, who played very well for Utah after they traded Kanter and revamped their lineup.

    If McDNP doesn't at least become an elite 3 point shooter in the league this deal might haunt us for a while, much like the Tyrus Thomas for LaMarcus Aldridge deal has, at least until we 1.7nd our way into Rose.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    I'll hope for the best, but I don't think the problem is really Gar/Pax, the team had very little flexibility to do much other than what they did IMO.

    There have, of course, been some mistakes made, but the biggest problem really has been Rose's injury. If Rose is never hurt then all the other moves Gar/Pax made were good enough to build a consistent title contending team around Rose.

  • Portis and Mcdermott were up and down during summerleague but both showed they can contribute as rotational players, I thought overall they both looked pretty good. I also liked Felicio, he doesn't have flashy numbers but he can defend, has good size at 6'10", is strong and runs the floor well. I like to see the Bulls make a trade for a wing or better backup point guard. The needs for the Bulls is backup point guard and a younger starting small forward that can score and defend while dunleavy takes a bench role. The perimeter depth outside of Rose and Butler doesn't look that great to me. This is where a trade probably has to happen. Snell and Mcdermott will have opportunities but can they make the jump?

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    McDoug can only be a rotation player if he consistently drills the 3. We didn't see it this summer and what we did see from him, he won't be able to do in the regular season. Shoot the 3, Doug, or get out of the league.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Are you suggesting that Gar/Pax screwed up in giving up multiple picks to get McDermott and Anthony Randolph?

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    It's too early to draw conclusions. If McDoug becomes nothing more than a 3-point specialist, I'd be satisfied. If he doesn't then he's a bust, plain and simple.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Agreed. With both sentences.

    It still boggles my mind that folks haven't learned not to judge a rookie on his first season - not when he plays for a contender, and certainly not when he plays for Thibs.

    As for the "contender" part, each and every expert I've heard thinks the Bulls are contenders, just like last season. So far, the only people who don't seem to thing the team are contenders are Bulls fans...

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I depends on how you define contender. I'd say that most Bulls fans just don't think that we have the talent to "contend" with Lebron and the Cav's, which means never getting out of the east until Lebron fades away.

    I'm also not sure how much of a contender we would be if we were in the West. We would likely be in a dog fight just to get into the playoffs.

    50 win(even 55 win) teams really aren't contenders. The Cav's were an exception last season only because they started out 19-20(including 9-10 losses in a row when Lebron went on vacation), after that(with Lebron's return and a couple of great mid season trades) they played like a 60+ win team.

    I suppose if everything broke perfectly for the Bulls this season, they could win 60 games. I'm happy to root for it, but I wouldn't bet on it.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You make some good points, but only 4 teams won more than 55 games last season (and LAC and HOU only won 56).

    The Bulls certainly won't be favored to win a title, but I think they are definitely contenders.

    Just looking at the top 4 results for Googling "2015-16 odds to win nba championship", the Bulls are 6th, 6th, 7th and t-4th. To me, that makes them contenders.

    Yes, everything would have to break perfectly (or almost perfectly) for the Bulls to win, but I think that's true for every team in every pro sport.

    How many wins will Kurt NOT playing 24.4 minutes per game add? How the hell did he play more minutes than Snell, Brooks and Moore?

    How many wins will Niko playing more than 20.2 minutes per game (and not playing much, if any SF) be worth? He was 3rd on the team last year in PER, TS%, and +/- per 48, and #1 in Def Rtg, but NINTH in minutes per game? And that all includes the fact that Thibs wasted 20% of his minutes by playing him at SF.

    Nobody knows for sure what Hoiball will bring us, but I have no doubt that he'll play the better players more minutes (the exact opposite of Thibs' theory). If he distributes minutes the exact same way Thibs did, this team won't be a contender, that's for sure.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Don, I basically agree with both you and BigWay. BigWay wrote, "I suppose if everything broke perfectly for the Bulls this season, they could win 60 games. I'm happy to root for it, but I wouldn't bet on it."

    I think 60 wins is possible, but not everything would have to break perfectly to see it. Between M, M, M and S, only 2 of the 4 would need jumps forward in their game to get the team to 60 wins. But I also would not wish to bet much on it.

    This assumes that the stupid Thibs moves are hatcheted, as you outlined very well, Don. And Portis and even Felicio should bring at least a few more wins.

    Plus, if the team is still shy the solid wing player in December, the FO certainly has some appealing bigs for a trade.

  • I am a bit more optimistic for a couple of reasons. Fred will likely keep the starters fresher for the playoffs and leverage the entire roster during the regular season. He already mentioned a couple times during interviews that this is his main goal. This will do wonders for Doug, Mitotic, Snell and Portis developments. I also think Fred will likely get more from the roster than what Thibs got last year, as it was obvious that Thib lost the players at the end of the season. The players will likely come back with more energy and hungriness than last year.
    Summer league is a very small sample size, but I did like the ball movement and the offensive flow the Bulls applied with scrub players. Doug was not given and room to feel comfortable shooting 3's and he was doubled almost all the time. One of the greatest positives of Doug was his offense skills beyond 3 points. I like his fade away and bunnies and mostly finish around the rim. Given he will likely play with other big shooters who will move away from the basked, I think he can still maintain the same plays against real NBA players.
    The biggest wildcard to me is Snell, where PR's are saying he has gained over 25 pounds of muscles on top of his 15 pounds gained last year. I think Snell is getting ready to help Butler with the assignments of defending the opponents best perimeter players. And finally, with Portis potential flashes, I think the Bulls are really loaded with talent.
    I know I am too optimistic, but I feel that the Bulls have a great chance if they reach their potential and stay healthy. And Fred can only help on these categories.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    I agree with you. There are quite a few reasons for optimism.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    I think people put a lot of eggs in the "Fred will do..." basket. There's a good chance Fred will do defense no where near as well as Thibodeau. There's a good chance he also won't do all the things people think he will.

    I hope he does though, but I just can't see why people jump both feet in to thinking that Fred Hoiberg is an upgrade over a guy who could have won coach of the year in maybe four of his five seasons here.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    " I just can't see why people jump both feet in to thinking that Fred Hoiberg is an upgrade."

    That's an easy one, Doug. Thibs was stubborn as a mule, and he refused to fix his blind spots! How many examples do you want? Because many fans have got a bunch.

    1) He overplayed Kirk. 0 points in 25 minutes? Quite a few games were close to that. Come on! More than 5 minutes in most games would have been too much. He deserved to be released for this one alone!

    2) As a result, Snell and Moore did not get the minutes they needed to develop. Or, if they couldn't progress, then they could have been traded.

    3) He overplayed Deng, stunting Butler's development. Butler only got decent minutes in his second year because of injuries.

    4) Ditto Mirotic. Then when Mirotic flashed solid potential at PF in March, his natural position, Thibs put him back at SF where he languished!

    5) Noah needed to play at C. Thibs should have known in the first few weeks that Noah playing out of position was hurting the player and the team.

    6) Long, tough practices wear players out. We saw that in the playoffs for years.

    So, Hoiberg will not make all of those mistakes. But will he make other errors that Thibs missed? We will soon know. Even if he does, the change needed to be made because the talent on the team was being stifled by Thibs.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    I'm not buyint those PRs. 40 lbs of muscle in 2 years, does that make him a tight end or a linebacker? Heck, at this rate, he may become a 4-3 defensive end.

  • I was hugely disappointed in McDermott. The kind of shots he was making in Summer League he'll never make against real NBA players. And he made those at a low percentage. And WTF happened to his outside shooting. It's obvious to me that McD was not worth all the draft picks the Bulls gave up for him. You don't trade 2 first round picks 2 seconds for a guy who MAY be a situational rotation player. Perhaps Paxson saw too much of himself when he drafted McD. But right now McD is not even as athletic or skilled as Kyle Korver. So yes, I am officially declaring McDermott a bust.

    Hopefully Portis gives the Bulls some flexibility in trading a big. But knowing our cowardly front office they won't pull the trigger. And I don't want see anyone else from the Summer League team in training camp, including Bairstow and Felicio.

    The Bulls don't have the personnel or athleticism to run Hoiberg's offense. Sadly, I think GarPax sits on their hands even though this team is screaming for some new blood. As of right now we're looking at a 45 win team and a first or second round exit.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    What new blood do you think they could really get? They don't have a bevy of trade assets except for the ones you'd want to be part of the "new blood" group.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Here's my take on this issue:

    Noah- old blood
    Gasol- old blood
    Dunleavy- old blood
    Muhammed- no blood
    Hinrich- bad blood
    Rose- sick blood
    Bairstow- slow blood
    Snell- tired blood
    Butler- rich blood

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I am not a GM or capologist, so I don't know what moves could have been made. But as I posted before, San Antonio made room for Aldridge by trading Splitter. Cleveland has been talking to everybody. Was it really necessary to rush to sign a mid 30s Dunleavy when Belinelli signed for virtually the same money? You re-sign Brooks when Jeremy Lin goes to Charlotte for next to nothing.

    Smart and aggressive teams figure out ways to make moves even when capped. Stupid and lazy ones just roll out the same crap, even when that crap quits in the playoffs.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Dunleavy - 11.6 PER, .573 TS%
    Belinelli - 12.4 PER, .553 TS%

    Brooks - 14.1 PER, .534 TS%
    Lin - 15.6 PER, .539 TS%

    Last season, these guys were almost identical.

    BTW, the Spurs DID NOT "make room for Aldridge by trading Splitter", they also let several other players walk AND GOT NOTHING IN RETURN FOR THEM (the all-time #1 favorite complaint of GarPaxDorf haters). Belinelli, Baynes, Splitter and Joseph are all gone to make room for Aldridge - who has never won a thing in his life.

    Just last summer, the Bulls were "capped", but they cut Boozer (and paid his salary, which some folks said they would never do) to make room for Gasol (2nd-Team All-NBA) and Mirotic (#2 ROY and 1st-Team All-Rookie).

    It's comical how when a fan doesn't agree with the team's moves, the FO is "stupid and lazy".

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    I believe that the trade ultimately cost us 3 second round picks, one went directly to Denver, and it cost us 2 to dump the Randolph contract, or was it the other way around.

    By the way, speaking of summer league, anyone remember a few years ago when Randolph looked like he was the first coming of Anthony Davis during his stint in summer league.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    True, but the Bulls only dumped Randolph to clear cap room, so you can't really add those picks to the McDermott trade.

    The McD trade was #16 and #19 plus a 2nd-rounder in the latest draft for #11 and Randolph. Still a crappy trade if McD turns out to be a bust, no doubt.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I have to agree with BigWay on this one. The Bulls did not want Randolph but had to take him to do the trade. Then they had to pay to dump him. It all became part of the package.

  • Vic, you could be right as to whether McDermott was worth all those draft picks but I disagree that Doug is not as "athletic or skilled as Kyle Korver." In Summer League play McDermott displayed a variety of ways to score including runners/floaters, step-back jumpers, post-ups, and several put-backs on the offensive boards. I don't recall Korver scoring in as many ways as McDermott. IMO, Korver is more of a shooter and McDermott is more of a scorer. Whether McDermott can display those skills in the regular season is open to question.

    Yes, other than McD and Portis I was singularly unimpressed by the SL team, including Bairslow and Fellatio. McGee was the only guy who could shoot it seemed in this assortment of re-treads and non-treads. Made me long for Malcolm Thomas and Andrew Goudelock.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    I was a big fan of Thomas and Goudelock. The NBA is screwy that way. Stiffs with guaranteed contracts get to be on rosters and non-guaranteed guys who bust ass and perform in Summer League, NBDL and training camps fall by the wayside.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Since Thomas and Goudelock played for the Bulls' SL team, literally hundreds of guys who didn't have guaranteed contracts have shown enough to land guaranteed contracts.

    Maybe Thomas and Goudelock aren't as good as you think they are?

    No offense, but "busting ass" and "performing in SL" don't mean nearly as much as "talent".

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Hundreds?

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Yeah, hundreds.

    How many guys are free agents each summer that either re-sign with their team or sign with a new team? Every July 1st, literally dozens and dozens and dozens of players become free agents, meaning they don't have a guaranteed contract (as they have no contract at all).

    I know that's an exaggeration, but look at all the players who have spent their rookie seasons in the NBA over the last 2-3 years who weren't 1st-round picks with guaranteed deals. (2nd round picks and undrafted players mostly, but also Euro FA who weren't drafted, D-League players...)

    How many of those players do you think have gotten NBA deals over the last 2-3 years? I'm guessing at least 30-40??

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    From what I saw, Thomas and Goudelaock deserved a legitimate shot at making the Bulls regular season roster based on how they performed for the Bulls during Summer League. How do justify letting them go based on what they showed in a setting made available to them by the team, yet keeping Nazr and Hinrich around?

    Not that any of this would have mattered because Thibs never would have played them anyway.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Your last paragraph sums it up perfectly.

    When you're trying to win a championship, for the most part teams would rather have "over the hill" veterans like Nazr and Kirk over guys like Goudelock and Thomas. In theory, these guys at least have been successful in the NBA at some point, so when they are needed in an emergency they'll know what to do instead of some rookie(ish) player.

    It's not like Thomas and Goudelock are in the NBA now, so apparently 29 other teams agree with the Bulls' assessment that they aren't quality NBA players.

  • It's sort of sad how quickly this FO could get Chicago, who almost you might say revered Thibs for a few years there, to completely turn on him. This city thought he was the second or third best coach in the NBA and now a rookie head coach that never even truly proved himself coaching college ball is going to be the positive difference between last season and this season that nabs the Bulls a title. It's ridiculous. This team has neither the talent, health, courage, heart, or coaching, to go anywhere come playoff time but on a fishing boat with photoshop Obama and Oprah.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    Or maybe lots and lots of fans are like me - formerly huge Thibs fans who got sick of seeing him play Hinrich 25+ minutes many nights, who got tired of seeing him run guys into the ground without getting proper rest (both during games and practice), who got tired of seeing Mirotic on the bench when he's the most skilled big we have (yes, even moreso than Gasol)......

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Finally we agree on something Don.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Lots and lots of fans are like you, Don! We may not know all the Xs and Os of coaching, but we can see the obvious. Strange that a guy like Thibs couldn't.

    BTW, in defense of the FO, they did not pick Thibs - JR did!

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Perhaps Thibs played Hinrich major minutes because he knew it was impossible to run Klank "into the ground." You have to drive a stake through his heart while he is sleeping in a casket containing his native soil.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Hinrich is on the roster in the first place because the FO keeps bringing him back. They've missed out on adding a legit backup point for years now, most recently during this very offseason.

    I'm not a Thibs guy, in fact, I never really was. I wrote an article way back in 2012 on Bleacher that Thibs' stubbornness meant he probably wasn't a piece of the puzzle that would win the Bulls a championship. Everyone said these were small quirks and it was worth it to have one of the best coaches in basketball etc. The city turned on Thibs practically on command when the FO told them too. That's my gripe. Bulls fans have to stop eating up the shit the FO feeds them. The idea that people are touting now that Hoiberg will be a big improvement over Thibs day one (or maybe ever) is also preposterous.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    "The city turned on Thibs practically on command when the FO told them too."

    I'll say it again, there are many, many, many of us who 'turned on Thibs' before the FO ever 'told us to'.

    How many people do you know who did that? I don't know any (not just in person, but on the internet discussions), maybe you know lots of folks who did?

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I think a big part of it is that the local Chicago media is a big shill for the FO. They changed their long-held tune on Thibs as soon as the FO fed them their cue. Articles about how in demand Thibs would be as a head coach going into next season if the Bulls let him go turned to how much Hoiberg could improve the offense.

    I see Bulls fans, not here on this relatively small, informed forum, but many other places, say the same things. The same names I've seen defending Thibs now have this foolish notion that Hoiberg is the answer and this second round out team is all of the sudden going to awaken like a sleeping giant.

    Steve Kerr, someone with virtually nothing to do with Hoiberg, set the expectations too high. Now you'll get the Kerr answer if you ask when does it ever happen that a rookie head coach comes in and takes their team right to a championship. Kerr just did it last season! Reminds me of this exchange from King of the Hill:

    "What happens if my tee shot lands on a bird's back and he carries it out of bounds, but then is attacked by a larger bird who grabs the ball and drops it in the hole. Is that still a hole in one? Because that's how I'm gonna play it."

    "Dang it, Dale. It already happened once. What are the odds of it happening again?"

    Those things have to happen for this virtually identical team that embarrasses every year in the playoffs to win it all by losing Thibs and inserting Hoiberg.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    While I tend to think of KC Johnson as something of a shill, which media members changed their tune on Thibs? Name names. I've been hearing this narrative for some time but have seen no evidence so I must be missing something. Seriously, Jason Goff on The Score says the same thing you do, that the Bulls org manipulated the media to be anti-Thibs but again, I never heard or read one thing that was anti-Thibs.

    Certainly not KC, who defended Thibs to the end. Not Joe Cowley of the S-T, who never missed an opportunity to rip the FO and ownership and back Thibs. I think everyone on The Score supported Thibs except for Bernstein, who has never struck me as a shill for anyone. I just named 3 of Chicago's major media entities, so now, which ones changed their tune on Thibs? Which media members are shills for the FO? I don't understand how an article about how Thibs would be in demand is changing the tune on him -- it in fact means he's a coach who is highly valued around the league, doesn't it?

    Now, I do agree that the media has backed the hiring of Hoiberg, but what else do you expect them to do, say it was a bad hire? They backed the hiring of the terrible Marc Trestman too. It's not because they're shills but because coaching changes provide hope to fans, and fans would rather read about hope than doom and gloom. Which media members are predicting big things for the Bulls under Hoiberg? Who says they're going to beat LeBron now? Name one media member, please, before you go on trying to prove how smart you are by seeing through the supposed guise of alleged media shills.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Bra-freaking-vo.

    As you've pointed out on many occasions, both of us get called "FO shills" all the time, simply because we don't rip on the front office with raging generalities.

    Really, all Hunter is doing is insulting fans who change their opinions, as if they are all so stupid that they just fall for whatever the FO says.

    Yeah, I'd love to read some specifics about which media members have done a 180 on Thibs?

    As for Hoiberg, he was sought after by several teams for their head coaching position, including the aforementioned Warriors who wanted to hire him long before they ever talked to Kerr. Why shouldn't people be excited?

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I don't think it would be productive use of time to go through the archives and find specific names of writers who have changed their tune, to continue an internet discussion. From my point of view, it was the dominant view of the Chicago sports media for years that Thibs was a top two or three coach and I know I've seen it written that 25 teams in the NBA might drop their head coach to bring Thibs aboard if he were available. The FO downplayed their feud with Thibs for years and for the longest time the only reporters who would even mention it were national. Same for breaking the Luol Deng trade. One of the things this FO is good at (definitely not trading for useful players or correctly evaluating a player's market worth) is manipulating the local media.

    It's hard to believe virtually the exact same team that can't get it done year after year is back again for another shot. The vets are getting older and there aren't enough young guys, and we're already talking about a group that's all but proven with chance after chance that they can't get it done to begin with. Fans have been deluded by the FO and local media into thinking a coaching change is going to fix these problems instead of forcing this team to make necessary changes. It's another lost season.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Precisely!

  • In reply to Hunter:

    There is a narrative out there that the FO got Chicago to turn on Thibs but I think most of the fans here on this blog are pretty smart and most of us eventually turned on Thibs without any help from the FO. We saw the screwy rotations and long minutes for ourselves, we talked about it here, we said this has to stop, but it never did:

    - Bogans starting
    - Korver being mis-used and putting up some of the worst numbers of his career while with the Bulls
    - Boozer playing Qs 1 and 3 and Taj Qs 2 and 4, always without fail, without any player getting any rest in between
    - Deng playing 45+ minutes per night, but the team not really missing him once traded
    - Jimmy playing 45+ minutes per night
    - Noah playing 40+ minutes immediately after coming back from injury
    - Hinrich playing 25+ god awful minutes per night over more capable players like Snell and Moore
    - Niko playing out of position

    These are facts, not opinions, based on what happens on the court, in front of our eyes, not the FO spin on what happens in practice or behind the scenes or whatever.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Saw an article recently that noted that Noah played more minutes than any other center during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, which might have led to the issues that wrecked his 2014-15 season.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Dead on, Roman.

    And yet some fans believe the Bulls should have kept Thibs. That I will never get.

    Just several basics from the coaches should add about 7-8 wins this season. If the team looses a few more due to the D, it will still be a net plus. Then maybe they will turn their D up in the playoffs, like great teams do.

  • I share Doug's lack of optimism. The team should be more fun with a more offensive-minded coach, but they will almost for sure be worse defensively and it's not like they're going to beat the Cavs.

    Main reason for optimism to me is to see Niko continue to progress. I think he could develop into one of the best PF's in the league.

    I'd like to share KC Johnson's view that Rose will return to being an all-star, but I don't. If KC is right, though, that would be a huge reason for optimism.

    Otherwise, it's the same not-good-enough crew from past years. As Doug points out, there's no reason to think this injury prone group will all suddenly be healthy and effective this year.

    The Bulls can only hope for a single, lightning-in-a-bottle season like the Mavs had, and those odds are extremely long.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I agree with all this, but somehow I get the feeling the team will also be better defensively this season. I believe they brought in Hoiberg not only for his offensive schemes but to create a more player friendly environment. Thibs had the team hating life. You could tell the players were annoyed of Thibs given their body language on the court when he would scream on the sidelines and even in the post game interviews every once in a while it would reveal itself. The only player that ever looked happy was Butler and sometimes Noah. Given the reserved and timid nature of most of the players on this team, Thibs might have been a bit overwhelming for the bunch. So I have the hope that Hoiberg can at least create a better atmosphere and be a coach that players want to play for. If he can do that then maybe everything else will fall into place on it's own.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    As a fan, Thibs' pacing and yelling really drained me over time. You would have seen it in my body language while watching games. I can only imagine how the players felt.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    The Bulls needed a change and I'm hoping for a more free flowing offense. My only worries are the consistent effort on defense and I hope Hoiberg gets on Rose's case if he starts chucking away 3s and not going to his more effective midrange game, floaters,etc. He needs to channel more Tony Parker and less Stephen Curry.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with both you and Doug.

    Although, with last season being by far the worst of the Thibs era defensively, there might actually be room for improvement, so maybe we won't be any worse this year.

    All we can do is hope against hope that Rose returns from his first healthy summer since 2011 with a renewed passion for the game in the same way that Michael did after the summer of 1995 and his humiliating return from retirement in the 1995 playoffs.

  • While Hoiberg isn't known as a defensive mastermind like Thibs was, sometimes the best defense is a good offense.

    I'm sure everyone here already realizes this, but it's harder for the opponent to score when he's taking the ball out of the basket instead of rebounding a missed shot or going off a (live-ball) turnover.

    I am confident that Hoiberg will play a more offensive-minded player over a more defensive-minded player, all other things being equal. JMSO, but it's easier to get a skilled player to play defense than it is to get a non-skilled "defensive stud" to play offense.

    I guess the example would be that I'd expect Hoiberg to play Niko more than Noah, and Gasol more than Taj. Brooks more than Hinrich would fit as well.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    "JMSO, but it's easier to get a skilled player to play defense than it is to get a non-skilled "defensive stud" to play offense".

    While that statement is certainly true, it often seems that the worst offenders as defensive dogs are usually guys that have proven offensive talent(I can think of at least 2 such guys that have played for the Bulls over the past 5 years). This is precisely the reason that I cannot stand watching those guys play. They have the natural talent to excel on the more difficult end of the court(offense), but lack the character to perform as well on the easier end of the court(defense).

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Great point.

    Hopefully, FH's system will allow the team to have enough on offense that he can bench anyone who isn't giving 100% effort on defense. I don't think we have any choice but to give him the benefit of the doubt that he'll have the balls to do just that, until he shows us otherwise.

  • As Doug stressed, McDNP was brought in to and needs to hit threes period. So far he hasn't. Niko was supposed to bring outside shooting as well..? And Hoiberg is an unproven rookie NBA coach. 2015-16 is a huge question mark. Late October will begin to tell the tale.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Late October will begin to tell the tale, no doubt. But the tale won't be told for another 2-3 seasons at least, no matter how impatient some fans are.

    How many people gave up on Jimmy after 2013-14?

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I predict more wins this season over last.

    I also predict happier players having more fun. And more rested players. And at least one of the M, M, M and Snell take a big leap forward in their play - probably more than one.

    Guess what? That should get the team to the ECF.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Adding Portis and another big PF won't hurt.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    It certainly seems that the addition of Portis and now Felicio portends the trade of one of the big men, most likely Gibson since both those guys are PF types more than centers.

    By the way does anyone know if Felicio's contract is guaranteed, or is it just a training camp invite. First blush the guy reminds me of a Kevin Seraphin type, who the Wiz got with the first round pick that we gave up to them to dump Hangdog. It's too bad that he couldn't have stayed dumped, as he is still torturing us 5 years later.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Totally agree that we should see a happier team this season, which should lead to more wins, since we underperformed our talent level last season likely due to the team tuning out Thibs.

    Not sure that necessarily gets us to the ECF. We could end up in the Lebron bracket again and face them in the second round. Some team is likely to take a leap(Miami seems like the obvious choice) and we could face them in the second round.

    I agree with you that this season feels like ECF or bust, just like last season.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I think the #1 hope we have to beat CLE is that come playoff time, Love's complete indifference on the defensive end might come back to haunt the Cavs. Thompson is a much better defender and offensive rebounder, which is where he killed the Bulls last post-season, while Love hangs out more often at the 3-point line.

    Just like 25 years ago, when MJ and Pip and the boys had to finally beat the Bad Boys at their own game (defense), it might just be that this time around the Bulls will have to beat LeBron at his own game (offense).

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