Saturday, January 31, 2009

Signs of Life

Okay, so blowing out two of the league's worst teams (even on the road) is no great shakes, but when your accomplishments have been as few and your failures as great as the Bulls' this season, this is a pretty decent-sized reed to hang your hat on.

It's been nice to see Deng once again begin to resemble the player who I was once so excited by. (Seems like eons ago.) And it's not just the increase in his scoring; He's been getting to the line almost five times a game this month; he'd previously only been getting there around 3. His rebounding this month has skyrocketed to 8 per game, up from a meager five. And he's been active in passing lanes defensively, nearly doubling his steals this month to almost 2 per game. (Although perhaps this is a mixed blessing; it seemed to me that, at least in the 2nd quarter of the Minnesota game, Rodney Carney was abusing Deng with back cuts to the rim; that stretch might've very well cost the Bulls that game.) Nevertheless, this is the player the Bulls were expecting when they shelled out $70-plus mil. this summer; If Deng can maintain this level of play for the rest of the season, I'll be feeling a lot better about that extension.

But the bigger treat during this recent stretch has been Joakim. Over the past six games, Noah is nearly averaging a double-double, with 9.5 ppg (on 62.5% shooting) and 9.3 rbg, while blocking more than 3 shots a game. (Although those blocks, too, can be a mixed blessing, as KD astutely pointed out the other day.) Take away the Toronto game (where Noah did most truly and profoundly shit the bed) and his numbers over this stretch would be even better.

What's the difference? Well, certainly he's probably finally in game shape at this point (and let's hope he's learned his lesson about staying in shape in the off-season). But the real difference is minutes. When Noah plays around 25 minutes or more (and he's been around 30 in this recent stretch), he is a perfectly adequate and productive NBA center. Period. Indeed, compare him against Drew Gooden at the position, and you find that Noah is almost as productive and that the opposing team's centers are considerably less so against Noah than Gooden. On that front, it'll be interesting to watch tonight's matchup with Shaq. For all the manhandling Noah might receive on the defensive end, he should be able to offset much of that if he runs the floor like he did against the Kings last night.

One last thing: I thought this quote from Orlando GM Otis Smith w/r/t Jameer Nelson was interesting: "I always said: 'Name me 10 guys that are better.'" Something to keep in mind with Ben Gordon. I'd say Kobe, Wade, Roy, Ginobli and Joe Johnson, for sure. Some older cats (Ray Allen, Vince, Rip) might be somewhat more productive, but they'll be declining soon. You've got some dudes who might be more productive, but have injury history (Monta, Kevin Martin, Michael Redd). Mayo might be, but he's not there yet. In any event, I'd say it's certainly arguable Gordon's one of the top 10 SGs in the NBA. As far as our position players go, you can say that about Rose and...anyone else?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Marx Was Right

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bulls #44 jerseys on sale now

Deuce city raise up!

Third coast rise up!

Second c ...

Oh hell no, we got this for a while now.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thrashing Via Proxy

I don't really have the time or energy to give this post the whipping it so richly deserves. (I mean, come on: Who is the two guard in the 2004 Draft they'd have preferred Paxson draft over Gordon (who is, by the way, leading that draft class in career points per game)? Or, for that matter, which small forward would they have preferred over Deng? Would Iggy be some massive improvement?) So for now, I will keep my powder dry, and just point you here.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Sorry for the light posting recently, but until the Bulls decide to stop sitting Tyrus Thomas in the 4th quarter in favor of Drew Gooden (who in the last four minutes of regulation last night committed two fouls (which led to 3 OKC points), had two TOs (one of which forced Noah to foul Jeff Green in transition, leading to two more OKC points, which means that every point that OKC scored in the last 4 minutes can be attributed to Drew Gooden), then I don't see much point to keep this up.

Though still intrigued by some of the players, as the Bulls are currently configured/run out on the floor, I have no interest in this team. None.

I would rather watch flies fuck.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Something to Chew On...

...for all the Ben Gordon haters out there: The Bulls' two-guards are ranked 7th in the league in Positional PER at 17.8. (And I can assure you, Larry Hughes (14.6) is not helping matters.)** And for all the talk about how much of a detriment Gordon is as a defender, it's worth noting that they're sixth in net difference. So unless you think the Bulls are going to pick up D-Wade, Kobe, Joe Johnson, Brandon Roy, or Ray Allen, you might want to re-think your assumptions about how easy Gordon will be to replace.

Bulls are ranked 11th at PG (Yay, D. Rose!), 22nd at SF (You're worth every penny of that $70 plus mil., Luol!), 27th at PF (and second to last in Net), and 20th at C (and dead last in Net).

Helluva defensive frontcourt you've put together, Pax!

**Actually, I'm being unfair to Mr. Hughes. When he plays the 2-guard, his PER is nothing to sniff at. Not a giant sample, but still, fair's fair.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Rick Morrissey Is A Douchenozzle

It's ugly enough watching Vinny Del Negro try to coach a professional basketball team. (For some reason, the words "monkey," "fucking," and "a football" are coming to mind.) But as if to prove that ugly can stretch beyond the Bulls' recent suckitude (indeed, can tend toward the infinite), the Trib's Rick Morrissey has been roused from his armchair to edify his readers with with what he no doubt believes is sound advice: "Bulls Should Throw Joakim Noah Overboard."

This column makes only one argument, but it makes it absolutely brilliantly. The only problem is, it's not the argument that Morrissey believes he is so cleverly making. Indeed, Morrissey's lone argument doesn't proceed from logic or reason (or--heaven forbid!--evidence), and in fact it is not so much rhetorical as it is performative. That is to say, throughout his scribblings, Morrissey makes one thing perfectly, remarkably clear, over and over and over again: "I am a fucking moron. I am a fucking moron. I am a fucking moron." (Or, alternatively, "Pieces of shit columns like this are why the Trib's going bankrupt! Pieces of shit columns like this, etc...")

There are so many perfectly formed pebbles of turd to tweeze out of this stinker, but let's start with this:

Noah informed Andres Nocioni last week that he had missed a defensive assignment, leading to a verbal altercation. That's called being out of touch. Nocioni is to defensive effort what a tornado chaser is to bad hair.

Gee, Rick, bang-on analogy (seriously, dude: a tornado chaser to bad hair??? WTF?), but as Matt explained the other day, the only problem here is that Noah was correct in calling Nocioni out.

It gets even better. Here's my favorite. My Lord, is this perfect nonsense:

Noah, Tyrus Thomas and Larry Hughes were fined after reacting poorly to coach Vinny Del Negro's reminder that Bulls players are not allowed to eat in the locker room before games. The fine, of course, had nothing to do with food and everything to do with who is running the show.


The truth about professional sports is that if you can play, you can get away with just about anything. In that sense, Noah's problem is a complete lack of awareness. He thinks he can play. And because of it, he gets himself in all sorts of situations he should avoid if he wants to have an NBA career that lasts longer than a few seasons.

The difference between Hughes and the double-headed, inconsistent monster of Noah and Thomas is that Hughes can play a little bit. [Emphasis abso-fucking-lutely gobsmackingly mine]

I repeat: The man actually wrote "Hughes can play a little bit." The man bitching about the Bulls' play in their last three games is complimenting the guard who is 9 for 30 in those games, while averaging 3 assists and 1.67 turnovers. This, so that he can castigate the player shooting 10 of 21 over the same period, while grabbing almost 10 boards a game. Ooh, the stupidity! It burns!

And indeed, though they're obviously very different players, if you compare their two seasons this year, you find the still-developing second-year center outperforming the nine-year guard (who should be roughly in his prime) in just about every meaningful statistical category (PER, True Shooting, Effective FG%, Win Shares, etc.).

Ah, but I'm sorry; I was potty-mouthed during this post (while actually performing research and introducing objective evidence into my argument). Looks like it's off to a Blogger's Ethics Panel for me. And if there was any accountability in this world, while I was there, Rick Morrissey would be in the unemployment line.