Sunday, September 30, 2007

John Paxson: What I Didn't Do This Summer

While Paul Ladewski was clearly making shit up, Brian Hanley sent in a much appreciated Deng/Gordon extension update straight from John Paxson's mouth.
"If we sign these guys to an extension, and this season they go out and have some catastrophic injury, they're still getting the money,'' Paxson said. ''I try to make it sound logical, but I don't know if it comes across that way. It's an extension; we feel like it's the one time in a contract negotiation that, for the security that they're going to get, we should get something in return. That doesn't mean that we're not going to talk about a great contract, because we are. But what I've found and learned through Kirk's deal last year is that we still have a month, which is a long time. When that deadline starts approaching, maybe something gets done.

''It's very easy for fans to sit back, even players, and say, 'Well, they should just do this.' I was a player. But I have great appreciation for this now being in this chair that it's a business.''

Gah! Sign them already. Oh, and Hanley sez a headband could possibly squeeze Ben Wallace's cranium in 2007-08, but that's "Scott's call" according to Pax. Keep 'em above your ears, gentlemen.

Hey Cubs Fans!

I'm supposed to be doing research for an editorial about these assholes, so, of course, I'm looking for any excuse whatsoever to procrastinate. And I think I found one when I came up with the idea of a "Who Should Fill The Final Slots of the Cubs 25-Man Playoff Roster?" blog post.

As I see it, 22 spots are locked: 9 by our normal starters, which includes Soto/Kendall. (I'm hoping the bench catcher is Kendall, particularly if the opponent is the D-Backs, who have some speed.) 4 starting pitchers (Z, Lilly, Hill, Marquis). 6 relievers are a sure thing (Dempster, Howry, Marmol, Wood, Eyre and Wuertz). Then on the bench, you got three OF specialists in Craig Monroe (who can hit lefties and has some serious power), Matt Murton (who, though better against lefites, is also semi-decent against righties and has shown some pop as of late) and Felix Pie (who can pinch run and play stellar, late-inning defense). I'm guessing that, for the backup infielder, Cedeno will probably get the nod over Fontenot, as his defense at mulitple infield positions (3B, SS and 2B) is steadier--Fontenot's a superior 2B, but he's not as good a SS and can't play 3B at all--and Ronny's had a hotter bat as of late. So that's 23, leaving two slots.

If Daryle Ward's healthy, you've gotta figure he's a lock. He's the type of situational, pinch-hitting stud who you can totally forsee being absolutely huge in a playoff game. Then that last spot would have to go to another reliever, which probably comes down to either Sean Marshall or Kevin Hart. The way Hart's pitched this last month, it would be hard to leave him off, and Marshall would really only be best effective when spelling for Z and Marquis, as he's a pretty similar pitcher to Lilly and Hill. That said, are you cool with only having one left-hander in the pen? (And that one left-hander being Scott "Stevie" Eyre?)

But what if Ward can't go? Do you go with both Hart and Marshall? Or do you throw the defensive specialist/speedster Sam Fuld in the mix? Sully says yes, but I'm not sure how I feel about that. The Greatest Catch I've Ever Seen notwithstanding, it seems to me that Fuld and Pie's skill sets overlap quite a bit, and I just don't know if you need two of that same type of player on such a limited roster. Personally, I think I'd rather have an extra reliever, just in case (God forbid) there's an injury in the pen or some mammoth, marathon, extra-inning game. Or would it be totally stupid to carry eight relievers and only five bench guys in a playoff series? To be honest, I have no idea, so if y'all have any thoughts, chime in.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cubs Don't Lose

Honestly? I would have trouble telling up from down after one and a half Old Fashioneds.

Monday, September 24, 2007

America's Cubbiest Home Videos

I'm convinced they're all staged now.

Is Her Name Frank Brickowski?

You can't allegedly spank people, Dennis!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Thabo Sefolosha: Another Boring Bull

Some Sunday puff from the Swiss Board of Tourism. Despite the surprisingly tough questions, it's obvious Suisse Mister has taken advantage of the Bulls public relations department. Sleeping pills and stock answers are available at the Berto Center from 11am-3pm.

Friday, September 21, 2007

West Philadelphia, born and schooled

Our namesake in a little one-on-one.

H/T Jeff Clark

Scott Skiles' Rotation Strategy Revealed

Yesterday's rotation fears left me feeling uneasy about how the Bulls lineup is going to shake out, so I drove to the Berto Center to snoop around for some inside info. Unable to speak with an Argentine accent, I couldn't pose as an LPGTV reporter to gain entrance into Jerry Krause's former stronghold. I had to settle on dumpster diving, something I had not done since trying to prove Greg Couch and Jay Mariotti are indeed the same person. The following image has been digitally reconstructed from a stained, burned, and torn notebook labeled "Scott Skiles' TOP SECRET 2007-08 Championship Plan".

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pass the brush

Johnny Bach knows more than defense.

"At age 83, Bach will have his artwork exhibited for the first time next week. The Sevan Gallery in Skokie will display 32 of his watercolor paintings, from landscapes to portraits to the World War II Navy vet's beloved seascapes."

Maybe he can share strategy with Ms. Beesley.

Sad For Scottie

Pip is rumored to be talking to the same Finnish team Dennis Rodman played for in 2005. Yikes. Ben Gordon is doing his best to avoid similar problems.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Let the Kids Play

Good stuff in the Blog-A-Bull diaries from sbulls9030 on the the importance of sitting Duhon and Joe Smith. Read the whole thing, but here's the money quote:

Tyrus, Thabo, and Noah are essentially a second core to that of Hinrich, Gordon, and Deng. They're the key to whether the Bulls go from very good to championship contender. If they develop in the same way that Hinrich, Gordon, and Deng have then it won't really matter if any of that six becomes a superstar. If Skiles uses Duhon and Smith to hold back their development, it will be a huge mistake, both for this season and the long term.

Barring injuries (knocking wood), dishing out minutes should be a serious problem for Skiles. Let's break it down by position:

PG: Kirk-35 min. That leaves 13 min to Thabo or Duhon.

SG Ben--35. He only averaged around 31 or so last year, but I'd like to see him get up to 35 this year. Again, 13 to split between Thabo and, perhaps, Jameson. sbulls makes a good argument that none of these should go to Kirk, much less Duhon.

SF: Deng--He averaged almost 38 last year. I would think you would want to get him even more minutes (right around 40), but let's just say 38. That leaves 10 for Noce.

PF: This is where things get tricky. Ideally, I'd be okay with giving Duhon about 10 min. at the point each game, and giving Thabo right around 15 each game. But a bunch of questions arise here at the 4: 1) Who starts? And 2) How many minutes does the starter get? PJ got 20 min. a game last year. Do we give those to Smith? That leaves 28 for Noce and Ty, which just isn't enough. Ty got 13 last year. It seems to me you'd want to bump Ty up to at least 20, possibly even 25. But either way, that leaves Noce with under 20 a game at both the 3 and the 4. I'd actually be fine with Noce playing 15-20 min. a game IF we weren't paying him around $8 mil. a year. Matt's absolutely right: Noce's contract is ridiculous. The position that most fits him--the 3--is the one where we want our starter to play as much as possible. He's undersized at the four, and yet this is where he's going to get about half of his minutes on this team, and what's worse, those minutes will cut into the playing time of a developing player (Ty) who is unquestionably our power forward of the future. The whole thing is absurd.

C: Wallace--averaged 35 min. last year. It would probably be nice to get those down to 30 or so, so as to rest him for the playoffs. That might also free up about 10 minutes for Smith at the 5, as well as give Noah a chance to play around 10 min.

So let's add these up:

Hinrich: 35
Gordon: 35
Thabo: 15
Duhon: 11
Deng: 38
Noce: 25 (10 at 3, 15 at 4)
Tyrus: 25
J. Smith: 17 (8 at 4, 9 at 5)
Wallace: 30
Noah: 9

I can live with this. Can Skiles?


Via Halos Heaven. Andrew Meyer, yes, this one, tried his hand at sports blogging in the Blog-A-Bull diary section. As far as comeuppances go, you be the judge.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Return trip to the United Center

So we're getting eleven game ticket packages again this year. I'm excited to see TyRise get nasty, Noce flop a bit, and an occasional drive into the lane, go under the basket and come out the other side for a turn-around jumper from Kirk. But, I must say the United Center is an awful environment for watching basketball (certainly our nosebleed seats don't help). The crowd gets more fired up following the donut/bagel/coffee race during a timeout than at almost any time during the game. Super lame.

Anyway, I'm excited about N.C. State being decent this year in hoops and thought back to hell hole of a barn (Reynolds) they played in when I went there.

This video gives just a small glimpse of what it was like. No A/C, loud as hell and the students two feet away from the court - basketball at its finest.

Duke vs. N.C. State in '89. Totally awesome baby!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Thank You Math

Knickerblogger's conclusion is oh-so-sweet, but I won't be tempted to post it here. Read the whole thing. I've already moved on, but it's still nice to see the last whack of a hammer.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Surely This Has Been Documented Before

But Shaq's bus just might be the largest rolling tribute to fake gangsterism ever airbrushed. If Joe Spinell wasn't dead I'd start a rumor that he drives that thing.

I don't want to take away from Road Games' journey into the hearts and minds of people who don't have to work on Saturdays, by pointing out a single jpg. Trust me when I say I look forward to a post explaining why the Big House doesn't have public restrooms.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

More on Nicknames

Henry sez he wants accolades for Thabo's moniker, the Swiss Mister. What I want to know is, can he point to using the name before November 1? But either way, I don't think that's a particularly accolade-worthy nickname on anyone's part. The guy's Swiss, he's a man and everybody loves cocoa: That nickname was sitting around, just waiting for someone to pick it up.

"Ty Rise," on the other hand, is pretty good. Much better than T-Time and (it must be admitted) the T-1000, in that it easily lends itself to being primally screamed after a nasty block and/or dunk. The intelligentsia, however, might want to consider Tytian, in nod to the Renaissance painter who was recoginzed by his contemporaries as "the sun amidst small stars."

Finally, in a completely unrelated thought, did everyone see what David Thorpe said about Jo Noah in the other day's chat? (Too lazy to find a link). Something along the lines of: "His work ethic is really turning heads in Chicago." I think that sounds swell. But please forgive my tempered optimism until either the phrase "and his 10 to 15-foot jump shot" or "and his low post moves" is added to that sentence.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Practice makes mediocre

Fred Mitchell tells us that "[Tyrus] Thomas has added about 10 pounds of muscle over the off-season and reportedly has been taking 600 to 700 jump shots every day."

Let's just hope he can still do this.

Can The Season Start Already?

I said no bile, but there it was. Let the people have their Free Darko. Let Kelly Dwyer have everything but the 90's. I'll post again when there's something real in October. If The Cheat can take time off, so can I.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Another Post About Statistics

Nah, just kidding. The Cubbies are back in first, which makes me way too happy to care about moldy arguments about PER's blindspots.

In other non-Bulls-yet-Chicago-sports-related news, Mike Brown is out for the season. This is pretty devastating. Not only was he just playing exceptionally well in the first half against the Bolts, but Brown's always had a special place in my heart, since I moved to Chicago in October 2001, right when he was singlehandedly winning games left and right by returning INTs for touchdowns. Led by the QB tandem of Jim Miller and Shane Matthews, the receiving corps of Marty Booker, Dez White and David Terrall Terrell, and the punishing runs of the A-Train, that team had absolutely no business going 13-3--and they were rightfully crushed by the Eagles in their first postseason game--but they somehow kept winning games despite themselves, which made them a lot of fun to root for. And Mike Brown was a big part of that.

When I first heard the news, part of me almost hoped he would retire because it's just so spirit-crushing to see him play so tantalizingly well and then be laid low by injuries that really have nothing to do with him being "soft" or lacking "toughness," but which result from just freakish bad luck. But when I was trying to think of another player in sports who is as simultaneously awesome and injury-prone as Brown, Ken Griffey Jr. came to mind. And since Griff has had something of a renaissance this year, here's hoping Brown comes back (if he feels like it). I'll be rooting for him.

Oh, and since there's apparently a new policy here at TYI (that I was unaware of) which states that every post must contain at least one (some might say gratuitous) insult hurled at other sports bloggers, let me close by saying that Free Darko almost sucks as hard as David Petraeus. Now that is some cold, motherfuckin' shit.

People Hate Statistics Part II

It was bound to happen. The J.R. Smith jock sniffers at Free Darko hopped on board the "L.O.L." (thanks, Matt) movement. We are all aware that bench players don't play 40, or even 48 minutes. It doesn't mean that they don't play better than some starters when they do get some burn. Is there a pseudo-intellectual term for context?

I'm stealing a line from an old Fire Joe Morgan post, but people need to understand that it is impossible to quantify the contributions of an athlete over the course of a season (or even a game) in your head. PER doesn't, and shouldn't jibe with your opinions of every player in the NBA. If it did, you would be the greatest basketball mind of all time. The lunkheads at Free Darko aren't that.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

People Hate Statistics

And I'll probably never figure out why. Tom Ziller shouldn't have to defend PER at Ballhype, but he does anyway. Baseball has been numerically sliced and diced to the point that refuting SABRmetric evidence as nonsense will earn you a significant internet pounding. Why are APBRmetrics constantly open to ridicule? The beauty of PER is that it defines average production, and allows one to compare players with a shorthand number. It has a utility similar to baseball's OPS+.

Owning an Odom jersey doesn't make you right, and goofy statements like "a player's height should be considered when looking at rebounds" aren't going to lead to rational conclusions. You know what we should look at when considering a player's ability to rebound? REB-r.

The trick is using statistics the right way, not questioning and criticizing a statistic because it doesn't do everything you think it should.

Phil Jackson Is In The Basketball Hall Of Fame

It's been so long, I don't remember what he looks like. The only thing I can remember him saying is "Michael!" Congratulations, Phil. Bill Wennington beat you to a hall of fame, but this is still an accomplishment of sorts. Legacy, legacy, legacy, cliche, etc. :)

Friday, September 07, 2007

TGIF! Get Out Yer Slide Rule

Malik Allen will be signing a 1 year, non-guaranteed contract with the Nets (Link from Blogabull). Allen's production, size, and jump shooting ways are comparable to Mikki Moore. The only glaring difference is TS%, but Kidd, Carter, and Jefferson should give Allen plenty of good looks. He might even be the next Mikki Moore. Allen isn't a foul machine like Mikki either.

I doubt Sacramento fans (or any fans) will lament 'missing out' on Malik, but his non-guaranteed contract should make them question what Moore is doing on the Kings when a similar, younger player could have sat on the bench for a fraction of the price.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Rodstralia A No Go

Word is there were "logistical hurdles." Shame, there was a possibility of a Rodman v. Anstey NBL preseason showdown.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I'm not positive, but I believe I'm the first genius to come up with this:

And of course:

This post, of course, pales in comparison to the Greatest Lolcat Post of All Time. And these guys are always fun, too.

'Captain' Kirk, 'A-Drain', And The Rest Are Lame

Fred Mitchell brought up a good point about the lack of creativity in Chicago's nickname industry. I've never been fond of old-timey baseball players, nostalgia, or Steve McMichael, but I agree that it's been a boring run of nicknames the past few years. Mitchell doesn't mention the past or present Bulls, but that's the alleged subject matter at TYI.

I like 'Captain' Kirk Hinrich. It's his formal role on the team, and a reference to a sci-fi tv/film franchise no one not wearing rubber ears will cop to watching. It's been rumored that Matt at Blogabull writes some sweet Star Trek fan fiction.

Adrian 'A-Drain' Griffin has similar origins to loathsome internet garbage like "teh," but it's acceptable because it would be impossible to come up with a more fitting nickname.

Ben 'The Body' Wallace is never going to catch on. I'm usually against nicknames following a player to different teams, but 'Big' Ben is indisputable at the moment.

Ben 'BG7' Gordon is a big no-no. Initials and jersey numbers should never, ever be mixed. The association with a tough to find energy drink isn't worth it.

Andres 'Chapu'/'Noc' Nocioni is borderline. I don't like the cartoon angle with 'Chapu', plus it's from his pre-Bulls days. Rules are rules, unless I bend them. It's like Toni 'The Waiter' Kukoc, another pre-Bulls nickname. 'The Croatian Sensation' had a ring to it. 'Noc' (rhymes with coach) is a mispronunciation, and only acceptable in 'The Noc' form.

It pretty much ends there. There's 'Duh' (rhymes with flu) Duhon, but that's more of a pet name Scott Skiles uses. There were plenty of ideas floating around the internet for former Bull, Michael Sweetney, but they were all crass and stupid. Nicknames are impossible to force, and the organic development of a good one is the best way to go. Of course, I'll bend the rules for Scott 'Paul McCrane' Skiles.

UPDATE: Matt Watson sez 'The Body' was around at least as far back as Wallace's days with the NBA team in Auburn Hills. 'The Broody', however, is original. I need to gulp down some BG7 to get my brain working right again.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Fanhouse Phony