Friday, October 31, 2008

Recede Wallace

Link dump!

Get the inside scoop on Gooden's locks, courtesy of SLAM.

A Halloween headline from Hell: Del Negro Gets Advice From Rivers

No Bulls on Hollinger's All-Decline team. Nowhere to go but up, I suppose.

RIP Studs. Four days too soon.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

About Last Night...

...I don't really have much to add to what Matt and KD said. I like that Ty played 41 minutes, and did a lot of nice things during them. (Some of his rebounds were kinda insane.) I like that Ben Gordon had a very nice 2nd half. I like that Deng, Hinrich, Noah, and even Nocioni (who was a team high +16!), all played very well. I like a nine-man rotation, with no Aaron Gray and as little Thabo as possible. (Does Scotter have the ear of VDN?) Derrick Rose joins Carlos Zambrano and Dan Marino in my personal troika of "Sports Figures I Would Take A Bullet For."

All in all, a nice win, but kinda expected against a weak Bucks team. After last year, I'm taking it in stride. But if they can knock off Boston on Friday, or Cleveland on the road next week, well...then I might start getting excited about the Bulls again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Bold Prediction

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that any model that suggests Derrick Rose will not be as productive an NBA player as Mario Chalmers has some faulty assumptions and probably needs to be chucked and rebuilt from scratch.

Time will tell, I guess, but come on. Statistical models are supposed to deepen (and, yes, even complicate) the more conventional knowledge that we receive from watching games, but not completely contradict what we see.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Your Hate Has Made You Powerful

Okay, if the starting lineup might really be fluid and flexible throughout the year, depending on teams, matchups, etc., I have a modest proposal for tomorrow night's opener: Start Ben Gordon and Tyrus Thomas, then sit back as they unleash years of furious, Skiles-and-Boylan-related resentment against the Bucks.

I'd say those two would have to get two of the slots on the starting lineup of the All-Star-Hating-Skiles/Boylan squad. I think I'd round out that squad with Jason Kidd at PG, Tim Thomas at PF (we'd have to slot Ty at the 3), and then Tyson Chandler at the 5, with Eddy Curry, Eddie Robinson, and Thabo Sefolosha coming off the bench. Are there some other contenders I'm forgetting?

Friday, October 24, 2008


Via a Fanshot at Blogabull, it appears Sam Smith will now be writing exclusively at

This is pretty frickin' bizarre, but then these are bizarre times in the media biz.

Now, on the one hand, the Bulls executive VP points out that "the Chicago Bulls will have no right of prior approval over the things Sam writes. He has been given complete independence by us, the same kind of independence he enjoyed while writing for the past 25 years at the Chicago Tribune.”

Okay, good for Sam (and his readers). But on the other hand, it seems to me that, even when you're granted complete independence by your employers, might not the fact that they're your employers affect, if only in a subconscious way, what you write?

This isn't a knock on Sam; he probably needs the money and God knows the Trib shouldn't have cut him loose. But it seems to me something like this could very much be the future of sports journalism, which I find a little unnerving.

(But of course, bloggers like me are the real problem with the media environment today, so what the hell do I know?)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Swear...

...sometimes reading K.C. Johnson is like watching a blind man struggling to find his keys. This piece is a hoot. It begins by explaining that, with Hughes' injury, the "organizational questions" over whether Hinrich or Hughes should start are now moot. Then--after giving us the specifics of Hughes' injury (it's 6 to 8 weeks)--K.C. frets about how poorly Hinrich is playing off the ball/Rose.

What's conspicuously missing from this picture? Only the Bulls' leading scorer over the past three seasons. It's written as if Ben Gordon doesn't exist. I understand he's injured, but come on. If the "organizational question" is seriously centered around whether Hughes or Hinrich should start at the two, I'm not sure what I'm doing investing any time or interest in this organization; it'd be like rooting for AIG.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Txt Msg 8:52:22 PM

Coach Skiles to BenGo07: "Please let his shoulder be separated."

Txt Msg 8:53:11 PM

BenGo07 to Coach Skiles: "I was guiltily thinking the same thing."

I'm not proud of it, but there it is. If our obscene desires come true, I'm thinking 6-8 weeks, although the ultimate TYI authority on this type of injury is indisputably Big Sweet.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Throwing Good PT at Larry Hughes After Ben Wallace

In this thread, Bullshooter left a comment that got me thinking. With regards to the playing time of Larry Hughes, Bullshooter writes:

They gave Hughes a few minutes to see if any miracles had occurred over the summer. At $13 million, you'd like the guy to at least practice hard, right? And you know he isn't going to do that if you bury him on the bench from the beginning of training camp.

Leaving aside the admittedly old-fashioned notion that being paid a salary of $13 mil. might require you to practice hard regardless of your playing time, there's another problem at work in the logic here. In fact, the problem has a specific name and a Wikipedia entry and everything: The Sunk Cost Fallacy.

Maybe everyone else is aware of it already, but an econophobe like me didn't know anything about this until about two years ago, when Nocioni (not the real one) was thinking about writing a piece about it with regards to the War in Iraq, only to find out that Slate had already done it. (Luckily, his own sunk costs into the story idea had not been considerable.)

Colloquially, the SCF is expressed by the phrase "throwing good money after bad." What this means for the Bulls is that they need to accept that signing Ben Wallace was a bad idea, and that there's no need to compound that error by giving playing time to Larry Hughes. That money that you used to sign Ben Wallace (and which is now basically going to Hughes)? It's gone, sunk, and there's nothing you can do about it.

What you can do about it, though, is not let the pain of that loss enter into your future decision-making, at your own detriment. And I think it's safe to say that when it comes to the Bulls' future, Larry Hughes has absolutely no place in it. Yeah, it might suck that he's getting paid all that money to sit on the bench; but it's better than getting paid all that money to be actively hurting your team on the court. A large part of the Bulls' success this season depends on whether they recognize this fact.

UPDATE: I'm reminded that the Bulls did recognize this back when they let Tim Thomas basically hang out for year. So maybe there's hope for this season.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In Which the Blogger Surprises Himself By (Kinda) Defending Nocioni

K.D.'s Season Preview of the Bulls is up, and--duh, people!--it's a must-read.

A couple quibbles, though:

1) To go off the preseason performance thus far, 41-41 seems pie-in-the-sky to me. Obvious caveats to this include essentially replacing "Bury" Larry Hughes' preseason's minutes with Ben Gordon's, a Noah who bears a closer resemblance to last year's player, and an improving Rose. Still, I'm a little worried.

2) Before watching last night's game, I would have largely agreed with this assessment from K.D.:

Nocioni keeps getting entitlement minutes because it seems as if that next low-percentage 20-footer is going in.

Now, however, I'm not so sure. It seems to me that one of the really vital things to surround Derrick Rose with is three-point shooting. I've noticed that when he drives to the lane and the defenders collapse (as they must, or Rose will break them), he is more than capable of kicking it outside to an open jumpshooter at the 3-pt. line. (It seemed to me that last night wide-open, top-of-the-key threes could be had at pretty much any time.) If I'm correct about this, then it seems to me Noce can play a pretty important role on this team. Say what you will about him---and this might be more of a knock against Pax, than a compliment to Noce---but he is still the second best 3-pt. shooter on this team. With a guard like Rose penetrating and kicking, that's a valuable asset, one that might somewhat offset all of the other stupid things Noce does that basically cause me to want to blow his brains out.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kind of an Anomaly These Days...

...but Bill Simmons' column on Elgin Baylor is really, really good. Read it.


So, I think it was pretty clearly the case last night against the Dallas Palin-McCains that Derrick Rose is ALREADY the best player on our team, and by a pretty wide margin. I don't know how good this team is going to be this year (my guess would be middling), but he's going to be A LOT of fun to watch.

I took some notes last night, kind of a credit/debit ledger of Rose's play. As you can see, he is clearly in the black.

Things to like about Rose:

--Oooh, nice alley-oop pass to Tyrus (Gotta finish that, Ty!)
--Pick and pop game with Gooden, speed draws both defenders
--Can really push the ball
--AN ALLEY-OOP! Crazy hops!
--Seems able to get past Kidd at will (maybe not a big deal these days) and find open man (If Tyrus and Gooden can hit open jumpers this year, they're going to feast.)
--Knows how to cut to the hoop w/o ball
--Nice pass from top of key to cutting Hughes (who, of course, missed the shot)
--Great drive-and-jump-stop to get defenders in the air (gotta hit the bunny after that, tho.)
--Nice steal and set-up of Thabo
--Really running the offense nicely to start 2nd half; great feel for each possession, when to push tempo, slow it down, attack, pass, etc.
--Explodes through creases
--Another great cut through the lane, but no one saw him

Things to not like:
--Some quick, ill-advised threes (in beginning; but not many after that).
--FT shooting?
--Ill-advised pass in crowded lane
--Dumb offensive foul at end of half (altho if it was Ben Gordon wide open at the three, instead of Thabo, wouldn't he have dished it?)
--Seems a little fatigued after about 9 min. straight.

Miscellaneous Observations:

--Whoa: Neil Funk looks disconcertingly like the love child of David Frum and the Mystery Man from Lost Highway
--Bulls forwards HAVE to find Rose immediately after rebounding. HE runs the break, THEY fill the lanes. (I'm looking at you, Drew Gooden; just because you can dribble the ball down the court, doesn't mean you should.)
--Larry Hughes needs to be shot
--Defense in general is horrible
--Even with Noah, this team will be awfully small and weak up front
--Tyrus looks active this year
--Ooh, Aaron Gray IS thin!
--Larry Hughes needs to be shot again
--Aaron Gray: passable offense, horrible defense
--Dear Ty: Please stop trying to go one-on-one. It's embarrassing for yourself, your fans, and I imagine even your defender feels a little shame in how easy you make his job against you.
--I've done it--the perfect Larry Hughes analogy: He is a lazy Kobe Bryant without talent
--Half-court offense REALLY stagnates w/o ball in Rose's hand
--It's almost as if our players have never had to fight through back picks before
--This whole notion of a guard glut? Don't see it: Until Thabo Sefolosha can start making 20-footers and Larry Hughes can stop shooting them endlessly, they shouldn't play.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Noah's Eye is Red

Breathe easy, people: He hasn't been (gasp!) smokin' a J. He got poked in it, and will miss five days.

Remember, Cubs Fans...'s always darkest before dawn.

(Unless you happen to die before dawn, in which case the last thing you see is the blackest, most despair-inducing sight imaginable.)