Friday, November 30, 2007

You Appreciate Them, And They Appreciate You

I'd hate to see Red Kerr turn into that.

Called It

Sorta. It's Sam Smith's not tuff enuff thought that counts. Shouldn't "Skiles is too nice" translate into the Bulls having more fun? Big shocker alert: Skiles is not the wacky authoritarian as seen on blogger.

Be sure to tune in to TNT next Thursday to hear what Skiles says during the game, and gain absolutely no insight on the matter.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

For The Record...

...I would like to note that John Hollinger's extensive statistical analysis of the Bulls' woes uncovers nothing more tangible than my own somewhat more metaphysical meanderings on the topic. Or, as the more condensed version of that post might have it: We can say for certain that the Bulls are suffering, but we cannot explain that suffering.

Anyway, here's Hollinger, groping in the abyss:

The one move that would have the biggest impact is doing something -- anything -- to get Hinrich back on track. He's the one who is most off his game right now, and as the guy who has the ball in his hands on nearly every Chicago possession, that's a problem. Worse yet, I'm not sure what the solution would be, and it largely depends on whether you think the problems are physical or psychological.

It's poll-time, readers! What should the Bulls do to get Hinrich back on track?

A) His problems are physical: Feed him some steroids and put him on the rack.

B) His problems are psychological: Feed him some Prozac and send him to a hypnotist

C) It's his self-esteem: Skiles should try fondling Kirk's balls.

D) Other (Explain in Comments)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

82-0, Championship Still A Possibility

I'm sure Hoopinion will be added to the links section as soon as my request for the addition of You Go Live In Utah makes it past the miles of red tape guarding TYI's to die for thumb up. Until then, enjoy a better recap of Hawks at Bulls than I can write, and pity poor Acie Law's lack of "bonding time" with the Atlanta Zazas.

Scott Skiles, I know you weren't angry at Sam Smith (it's impossible). I thought it was another chapter in the dull, yet hard to ignore Tribune v. Sun-Times pinching contest. At least the coach claimed ignorance to Sam Smith's column, instead of hyperlinking without getting past the headline.

I know the whole Bulls sucking thing has put a few people around here into g-d fearin' mode, and it's my duty to balance it out for the sake of the readership.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

rising from purgatory

A great second quarter by Noah forced me to throw down for a $6 Bud Lite, and a great third quarter by Duhon had me up the ante with a $7 Stella; actually a thank you to BenGo for picking up the Stellas.

This W feels real good. I just wish all the haters would have cheered a bit more during that nice third quarter run. The team deserves some love tonite.

Holiday Spirit

It looks like it's going to be even harder to ask for a few victories this holiday season.

Bah Humbug.

Save The Date

Scottie Pippen will be suiting up for Sweden's Sundsvall Dragons on January 11, 2008.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Worse Than Hell, or, The Radical Meaning(lessness) of 2-10

Our more literary-minded readers may have noticed that TYI's latest tagline is taken from the inscription above the Gates of Hell. And while appropriating this phrase was my own conceit, I don't think it precisely fits the Bulls' current miserable situation at 2-10.

One of the salient features of Dante's Inferno is that each circle's punishment is a symbolic rendering of poetic justice for its denizens' sins. So, for example, the lustful reside in the Second Circle, where violent winds endlessly blow their souls back and forth---a fitting punishment for those whose wandering eyes never allowed them to be satisfied with what they had. (It seems to me that Kobe Bryant--and those who loudly demand that the Bulls trade for him--might well reside here.)

It probably goes without saying (but since I'm an insufferable pedant I'll spell it out for you), the idea of poetic justice has a consolatory effect. If our actions are rewarded or punished, it means that they have consequences; they matter and are thus important, and by extension, we matter and are thus important. It may seem counterintuitive, but, psychologically speaking, it's much more of a consolation to live in fear of casting a lascivious eye at the hottie waiting at the bus stop (because that leer might be profoundly meaningful) than it is to cast it guilt-free, yet with the horrible knowledge that we are but Straw Dogs to the Sage.

There's been a lot of talk lately about firing Scott Skiles, blaming him for the Bulls' miserable start. This isn't necessarily an admonition: I've engaged in it myself. And yet, I've started to wonder whether this blaming of Skiles is an act of false consolation, a vain attempt to locate a singular, precise reason that can fully explain the Bulls' suffering. After all, the last two games, Skiles played a tight rotation, banished A-Drain to the Land of DNP, and by most accounts, would have been willing to play Tyrus Thomas more, if the kid wasn't doing his damndest to outpace Hinrich's foul rate as soon as he hit the floor. It hasn't made a bit of fucking difference, and it's part of what makes the Bulls' failure this year absolutely confounding. By all rights and rationales, Hinrich, Deng, Gordon and Thomas should have improved this year. But frustratingly, nonsensically, they haven't. Indeed, inexplicably, they've regressed.

I wonder if perhaps we should stop blaming Skiles (and, inversely, Skiles himself should stop blaming a lack of execution) and whether instead we should take a page out of the Book of Job, as interpreted by Slavoj Zizek:

[O]ne should precisely locate the true greatness of Job: contrary to the usual notion of Job, he is NOT a patient sufferer, enduring his ordeal with the firm faith in God—on the contrary, he complains all the time, rejecting his fate (like Oedipus at Colonus, who is also usually misperceived as a patient victim resigned to his fate). When the three theologians-friends visit him, their line of argumentation is the standard ideological sophistry (if you suffer, it is by definition that you MUST HAVE done something wrong, since God is just). However, their argumentation is not limited to the claim that Job must be somehow guilty: what is at stake at a more radical level is the meaning(lessness) of Job's suffering. Like Oedipus at Colonus, Job insists on the utter MEANINGLESSNESS of his suffering—as the title of Job 27 says: "Job Maintains His Integrity." As such, the Book of Job provides what is perhaps the first exemplary case of the critique of ideology in the human history, laying bare the basic discursive strategies of legitimizing suffering: Job's properly ethical dignity resides in the way he persistently denies the notion that his suffering can have any meaning, either punishment for his past sins or the trial of his faith, against the three theologians who bombard him with possible meanings—and, surprisingly, God takes his side at the end, claiming that every word that Job spoke was true, while every word of the three theologians was false.

It's quite possible that this horrible start is evidence of nothing at all and perhaps, even more horrifyingly, nothing itself (i.e., the whims of referees' whistles, the vicissitudes of shooting percentages, etc.). If we are in desperate need of consolation, perhaps we can take heart that, ultimately, God simply ended Job's suffering, on as much of a whim as He initially unleashed it. Seeing as I have a ticket for tomorrow's game against the Hawks, my hope (and consolation) is that this ending begins then.

TYI Wants To Know: Should Bald Men Really Be Fighting With Each Other?

An unnamed newspaper scribe writes an unnamed column with quotes from unnamed sources, sparking an unnamed beat writer from an unnamed competitor to take a potshot at the unnamed newspaper scribe.

When an NBA source says, "It seems only [Andres] Nocioni plays with fire and gusto," we should only be concerned with who exactly said that.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Playing Dumb

Scott Skiles keeps it simple for the Sun-Times' Brian Hanley.
Overall, the effort and the attention to the game plan was very good. We just couldn’t execute when it was on the line. We couldn’t make shots.
Sad thing is, that is the game plan. Effort, pass, shoot, pass to someone who can't shoot with 3 seconds left on the shot clock, and effort. The Bulls don't recognize mismatches, take advantage of poor defenders, and/or get to the foul line. Those problems aren't caused entirely by a lack of size or athleticism. The team just doesn't succeed in those areas, and it's up to the coaches to make adjustments. And by "adjustments," I don't mean "substitutions."

When the shots aren't falling, the Bulls don't feed their better foul drawers like Ben Gordon and Tyrus Thomas. Both have lower FT/FG this season, and there hasn't been a team-wide attempt to manufacture points. Luol Deng avoids contact like a Germaphobe who hasn't attended a meeting in 6 weeks.

It's not all about wildly driving the lane and hoping the ref bet on the Bulls. There are a variety of fakes, shimmies, and other one-on-one moves with odd names that can help draw fouls. But it starts at recognizing weaknesses in a defense.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It's Official

After Minnesota, we're the worst team in the NBA.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

When You Can't Handle Any More Cranberry Sauce

A-Drain's Minutes A Result Of Sleep Deprivation

Without a Bulls second half, I'll have to depend on tryptophan today. Oodly enuff, Firefox tells me "tryptophan" is spelled s-y-c-o-p-h-a-n-t, and that's exactly what Brian Hanley and the headline typers at the Sun-Times had in mind with "Skiles good soldier for bad-news Bulls." Skiles is finally feigning responsibility, and can't get any sleep (there's a cure).

"If any fan is calling up and criticizing a player, they ought to be criticizing me, too. I'm the leader. I would never run from that responsibility.''

K.C. Johnson describes Skiles' latest remarks to the media as "all over the map."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Other Things That Aren't Working Out So Great reports Joakim Noah has yet to receive a French passport. He became a French citizen in April.
"The qualifiers (for EuroBasket 2009) are in 10 months, but I have to talk to the coaches, continue my progress here (at Chicago) and continue to work hard.

"But it could happen quickly because I already have contacts with the French ambassador in New York. There are just some papers to fill in."
Can't say I'll be relieved when this situation gets cleared up. Deng's general lethargy, and his recent injury could be tied to not resting, and playing for Great Britain over the summer. I can't work in some sort of player development angle because Sefolosha can't play basketball properly, Veektor is still glued to the bench, and Hinrich quit after 1 1/2 wasted summers.

Scott Skiles: Sorry 2(00)4

K.C. Johnson sez Scott Skiles is sorry for saying all those bad things about Tyrus Thomas.
Skiles publicly apologized to Tyrus Thomas for making critical comments of the second-year forward at Tuesday morning's shootaround in Denver. Skiles said he also apologized to Thomas personally.
Expect a Sam Smith column about Tyrus Thomas being 'coddled' too much, and the general state of NBA players not being tough enough to become dried ink by Monday. Maybe a reference to Sam's favorite fucking cunt coach, Jerry Sloan, too!


Skiles on Tyrus:

"I understand the fans see one side of it. We see the other. We know what's supposed to be done out there. We ask him to sprint the floor. To my knowledge in his career he hasn't done it one time.

Not one time."

Uh-Huh. Okay. Let's go to the tape:

God knows, Tyrus makes some stupid mistakes out there at times, but come on. Why wouldn't you quit on this asshole?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

If This Team Doesn't Care...

...then, really, why should we?

Give me a nudge when our point guard doesn't have a 1:2 Assist/TO ratio and our coach realizes that Tyrus Thomas is better than Adrian Griffin.

I'm A Broken Record: Hey, Another Thing Scott Skiles Doesn't Do Well

From Brian Hanley's Corporate Handbook & Organizational Rhetoric Guide:
''Guys have to make shots,'' Skiles said. ''This is the highest level, the pros. To constantly be talking about it every day is not productive. Guys have to snap out of it. Pro shooters make shots. It's what they do. If you can't do it, you better get in the gym and figure it out and get your head screwed on or whatever the problem is and make shots.''
It's not your fault, champ. We all know. Lather, rinse, repeat. I mean, it's your job to make sure everyone blames the mentally weak, spoiled rotten players, right? Deflecting attention/blame would be crazy when none of the important fingers are pointing at you.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I Hope Skiles Has The 'Energy' For Some 'Spacing'

Because I'm already tired of Adrian Griffin starting, and mass substitutions finishing. This sounds like the promising start of a bloggy overreaction, but I'm not the guy who played Adrian Griffin and Thomas Gardner at the same time last night. In the second quarter to boot! I'm usually detached from the pitfalls of what the sports business crowd call a third party experience, but the embarrassment is starting to creep in, and it wouldn't be there if the Bulls could at least lose with their best players on the court.

If you thought Deng's injury would open up some minutes for Tyrus Thomas, you were wrong. 13 minutes and 43 seconds exclusively in the second half, after the Lakers had assumed complete control of the game.

The season looks like a wash. Whether the Bulls end up in the playoffs or not, Skiles' shenanigans will continue to turn too many games into exercises in futility. I'd prefer a coach who can be blamed for losing games differently.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

This Is Not Good

I wanted Tyrus Thomas back in the lineup, but not like this: Deng will miss (at least) the next two games with a back injury.

This team has enough of an uphill climb as it is. And it seems like back injuries always linger. But hey, Wallace played very well last night, Gordon looked good, Nocioni (particularly his rebounding) impressed me, and Skiles actually played a tight, professional rotation (which pleased me enough to overlook the lack of tick for Ty). So I'm going to stay positive, until that's shown to be madness.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Friday, November 16, 2007

Fuck the Bucks

That is all.

Someone Who Knows About Stuff Speaks

Thank you, Kelly Dwyer.

Players Chime In On Skiles' Crazy Lineups

Nocioni sells me his South of the Border Spicy Hustle Sauce (from Sam Smith).
"If I am in the starting lineup, [it] is not good," Nocioni said. "[It means] we lost too many games and the coach needs to change. It is not good. I want to play coming from the bench."
I'll take 10!

Ben Wallace was predictably surly, and offered Tracy Graven of Hoopsworld a quote the people in my Vocabuwiden class would probably hang an adjective like saturnine on. Via Matt Watson of the female blogger friendly Fanhouse (must be affirmative action that's screwing it up, next thing you know an icky disabled person from an impoverished area will be blogging over there).
"It's tough sitting on that sideline watching my teammates get beat up," lamented the former repeat Defensive Player of the Year. "If I can't go out there and help my team get stops down the stretch, then why am I here? Why don't we just go on to the house ... pack it up?"
Too bad Wallace has said that before in Detroit. Too bad he hasn't played well this season. Too bad his first double digit rebounding effort came against a team that doesn't rebound well. Too bad a guy who doesn't have a problem telling reporters he's considering giving up is signed through 2010.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

If We Lose This Game..

...and we're down by 10 now with 4 minutes left, it's because Scott Skiles couldn't come up with a decent 4th quarter rotation to save his life (and hopefully his job). Duhon plays the first eight minutes of the quarter. Gordon sits the first six minutes. Ty is in and out like a frickin' yo-yo. Nocioni plays center. If they beat us with our best players on the floor, fine. But with these freakin' lineups?

Fuck you, Skiles. Fuck you a thousand times.

Slow Motion Breakdown of Simmons' BS

I'll start with this gem, "Paxson should have kept Tyson Chandler instead of signing Wallace."

While we'd all like to take back the Wallace signing about now, here's a few reasons it made sense to get rid of Chandler-

1. Chandler was done in Chicago. Many times players need a new start, and the bad energy from Bulls fans towards Chandler was palpable. "We Want Kobe" is mild compared to what we could have heard if Chandler stuck around.

2. Big Ben brought playoff experience to the Bulls. You've got to
mix in some tried and true vets with youngsters if you want to make a playoff run.

3. Shaq. At the time of the trade, everyone thought the Heat were going to be the team to beat.
Wallace can still play Shaq or other true centers much better than the foul-prone Chandler ever did.

4. Chandler's back problems may be a thing of the past now, but after missing most of the '03-'04 season they were still lingering at the time of the trade.

Please pile on.

Dangerously Unedited Sportswriter Rambles About Something

Nope, it's not Bill Simmons. Slam's Russ Bengston was just begging for a Jim Downey-esque (shout out to Joliet!) response to this sweet piece of nonsense.
Next plan. Enter fiery coach Scott Skiles, new GM John Paxson and a new approach to drafting. Out with the high schoolers, in with proven players from championship-level programs. Guys who were like, well, Elton Brand and Ron Artest. Guys like Jason Williams from Duke, Kirk Hinrich from Kansas, Ben Gordon from Connecticut, Luol Deng and Chris Duhon from Duke.

The young guys came in, bonded, grew up together. It was like a post-graduate program in basketball with Skiles as the crotchety old professor. When Williams crashed his motorcycle the summer following his rookie year, effectively ending his career, the Bulls selected Hinrich and plugged him right in. They were a young team, undoubtedly heading in the right direction. The city liked the team, the team all seemed to like one another.

Not that big of a deal, but this is a misleading time line. Paxson became the President of Basketball Operations in April, 2003. Jay Williams was involved in a motorcycle accident on June 19, 2003.
Not much growing, bonding, or playing happened for Williams and the Paxson Bulls. The Bulls were 2 picks short of Dwyane Wade in the 2003 Draft on June 26, 2003, and selected Kirk Hinrich. The "post-graduate program" label would have been out the window had Wade (not a graduate), the Bulls' primary target, dropped to 7. Scott Skiles was hired in late November, 2003.

Nitpicking completed, on to the stuff that's really wrong.

Chandler, the last holdover from the Jerry Krause era, was dealt to the New Orleans Hornets for scrap (J.R. Smith, the only true player the Bulls got back, was immediately waived), and the Bulls signed Pistons forward/center Ben Wallace, the lunchbucket centerpiece of Detroit’s championship team.
J.R. Smith was traded to the Nuggets for the immediately waived Howard Eisley, and 2 2nd round draft picks. It's speculation on my part, but J.R. Smith may have less trade value now.
The Bulls still have no reliable low-post scorer, and no single go-to guy. Meanwhile Pau Gasol is still in Memphis, Kobe Bryant is still in Los Angeles, and Kevin Garnett is posting his nightly double-doubles in Boston for the Atlantic Division-leading Celtics. You start to get the feeling this is by design.
No low-post scorer. Very true, although Memphis was reportedly demanding Deng while Nocioni was injured, leaving Adrian Griffin and a far from ready Sefolosha as the remaining small forwards on the depth chart. The Timberwolves reportedly turned down a trade including Chandler, Deng, and the pick that became Tyrus Thomas. Paxson admitted to speaking with the Lakers about Kobe, and even courted Bryant when he was a free agent. I'm not going to debate the merits of each trade scenario, but there doesn't seem to be an irrational plan in place to keep the 'stars' out of Chicago. Picks that just weren't high enough, and bad timing seem to be the culprits.
The secondary problem with the non-star system, as revealed this off-season, is that when you have no single star, EVERYONE assumes that they’re the star. Which means they all want to get paid like stars. Gordon and Deng allegedly turned down extensions totaling $107 million over five years. Wallace’s deal is for something over $60 million, Hinrich is getting somewhere in the neighborhood of $45 million. Oh yeah, and Nocioni just re-signed, too. That’s a lot of scratch for a bunch of guys who’ve never been All-Stars and never been to the conference finals (at least not in Chicago). Only Gordon has averaged 20+ ppg.
This doesn't make any sense. I hope Paxson doesn't think fan voting, and meaningless per game stats are the ultimate arbiters of contract size. Really, how often do players on their rookie contracts get to the conference finals? Deng and Gordon have gone deeper into the playoffs than Al Jefferson, and Dwight Howard. They've been just as far as Rashard Lewis (not on a rookie contract) has. That's like a total of $1,000,000,000!

KOBE. Oh, the hell with it. The name most connected with the Bulls this offseason (and preseason, and regular season) was Kobe Bryant. Dissatisfied with his situation in Los Angeles, Kobe has been alternately asking and not asking for a trade since the start of the summer, and the most plausible destination for him has always been Chicago. Various packages have been discussed, but nothing has happened. (Although, if anything, all the talk about POSSIBLY trading for Kobe may have irrevocably damaged the confidence of the Bulls players who WEREN’T traded.)

You know what?


Who are you? Jay "Go get him, boy" Mariotti? You write about the NBA for a living. Come up with something better than "DO IT." I'm supposed to feel informed.
Of course what they SHOULD have done was use P.J. Brown’s expiring contract and any other combination of salaries—I mean players—necessary to pry Kevin Garnett away from the Timberwolves.
Hey, I covered this already. McHale fancies himself an incompetent guy. He held on too long, and ended up with Danny Ainge's underachievers.
Good enough just isn’t good enough anymore.
That was very productive. Thanks for fixing the Bulls, Russ.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Internet Rumor O' The Day

Sam Smith to blog! That's my interpretation of how someone could interpret K.C. Johnson leaving "the coverage" to Sam during the upcoming Bulls road trip anyway.

Less exciting than Sam Smith chowing down on a Matador-sized piece of humble pie is the latest news (also from K.C.'s blog) that Andres Nocioni may start in place of Tyrus Thomas. If Ben Wallace isn't healthy (or 29 again) by Thursday, you can expect the Suns to own the paint, offensive glass, and just about anything else.

UPDATE: Did I mention Nocioni and a not-so-healthy Wallace would be one of the worst starting frontcourts in the NBA? Just so I'm clear.

Here Comes Sickness

Matt points out the huh-worthiness of the dumbest Skiles quote to date, and really, if Nocioni starts at the expense of Ben Gordon or Tyrus Thomas, it's time to worry about next season. Nocioni has never finished a season with a positive +/- rating, and this is nothing more than Skiles tinkering and praying to whatever basketball deity he prefers. I'm guessing it's Cliff Robinson.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday Sox blogging

Sox Machine points me to this little nugget from USA Today.

Center fielder Torri Hunter who listened two hours Sunday night to Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams' sales pitch — including a videotape with designated hitter Jim Thome and Chicago Bulls center Ben Wallace pleading for him to come — is now available.
Great. Now my basketball team will have an expensive 32-year old signee who can't play down the stretch, and my baseball team will have an expensive 32-year old outfielder who swings at everything and still thinks he can track down balls in the gaps. Bleh.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hell, If He Can An Open Three, Let's Sign Him Up

Our senator trying, kind of lamely, to tap into some of that '90s, Bulls magic:

A somewhat shocked hat tip to The Garance.

Deja Vu All Over Again

The inevitable arrives.

Scott Skiles searches for the answer to the Bulls' shoddy play. What does he find? The A-Drain, baby!

Unmentioned, but sure to follow, is moving Ben Gordon to the bench to cure his shooting woes. Maybe we can also see about luring Antonio Davis out of retirement. His veteran presence would really be a lot more steadying than Tyrus Thomas' electrifying play.

As for activating Thomas Gardner, hell, so long as he's taking Sefolosha's spot, I'm all for it.

Also, Henry needs to learn how to read a chart. Joakim Noah's plus/minus (11.6) is below Duhon (16.1) and Aaron Gray (13.7). But no, folks, the answer is not to sit Gordon in place of Duhon, and shepherd in a new Twin Towers Era with Noah and Gray in place of Wallace and Ty Thomas. It's early. Ben Gordon will shoot better. Luol Deng will shoot better. Assuming his knuckle is what's bothering him, Kirk Hinrich, if he can get healthy, will shoot better. Bad as Saturday was, those types of shit games will happen, particularly, as Sweets noted, if you empty your bench with 20 minutes to play. Let's all take a deep breath, and take heart in the fact that water seeks its own level.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Flawed logic

Skiles the logician.

"I never want to do that on a night when the boobirds are already out," Skiles said. "I don't like to embarrass the group like that. I thought I'd take a gamble right there to try to find a catalyst.

"Then it got so far out of hand so quickly that I would hate for somebody to come back in the game and get injured."
What the fuck did you think was going to happen? Magically, Victor, Noce and Thabo were going to throw down on Bosh and Co. and get us back in the game? Unbelievable.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Circus Comes Early...

...or at least the clowns.

Wow. I mean, just, wow.

Friday, November 09, 2007

File Under 'Miscellaneous'

Can I connect the video below with the Bulls or the NBA in any way, shape or form? No. No, I cannot.

Will you nevertheless be thankful for having seen it? Yes, reader. Yes, you will.

Toni Kukoc Channels His Inner Charley Rosen, Campaigns To Be Cranky Assistant Coach

That's how this translates to English via free internet translation anyway.
"When I see young people today in the NBA, I lose all desire to work as coach. Nevertheless, I think it would be a good technician basketball, but perhaps not as a coach Major."
Toni admitted he only attended 3 Bulls games last season.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Was that pretty? No. Will I take it? Hell yeah!

Just a couple thoughts:

1) Tyrus Thomas = Beast. Almost singlehandedly saved us tonight, on both ends of the court. It's funny saying that when Wallace went for 36, but for the most part, I thought he had to earn almost all of those, and none of them came when the game was on the line.

2) Until Ben Wallace can fully heal--charitably assuming he's still hurt--he should only play in the beginning of the game, a couple minutes in the 2nd, the start of the third, and that's it. The rest of the front court minutes have got to go to Ty, Joe Smith (yet another nice game), and Noah, who really played within himself and did a lot of nice things out there tonight, getting 5 offensive boards and 4 assists in just 12 minutes.

3) Great floor game from Kirk (14 assists, 3 TOs).

4) It's weird, but suddenly I feel pretty good about this team. Ben Gordon still continued to struggle and while Luol played decently tonight, I still believe he can get more aggressive as the season goes on. In other words, there's still a lot of room for improvement in regards to how they played tonight, and yet they still managed to eke past a good Pistons team. Now they gotta get two in a row before the Circus trip.

Noah, Skiles Cancel Date In Thunderdome


I just hope Mike McGraw gets more chances to write, "Joakim Noah's honesty and coach Scott Skiles' sarcasm collided". I find both very entertaining.

I noticed that Rookie v. Skiles already hit the intertrobe today, as I perused Ballhype for what not to talk about. K.C. Johnson snuck in a blog of cold water while I was declining a friendship request.

There is no problem with Skiles and Noah, as some e-mailers have suggested. In fact, once Skiles talked to Noah, as he said he would, I'm sure he'll discover what those who heard Noah make the comments already knew--that he wasn't pointing fingers, putting himself above the team or popping off.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Antonio McDyess questions quality control at the Ben Wallace Shoe Factory.

Thabo Sefolosha may be on the Michael Sweetney diet that absolutely kills a player's PER.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

0-4 Hatred: Special "Cat" Edition

(With apologies to The Weblog's Tuesday Institution.)

I hate Cuttino Mobley.

I hate Scott Skiles. Specifically, I hate how Scott Skiles deals with Tyrus Thomas. He makes one mistake on defense in the third quarter, failing to stay with a man after a switch, and Skiles decides to bench him for the rest of the game. I hate that the result of this decision is that he rode Joe Smith until he was out of gas at crunchtime, when the game was lost. But I'm sure it taught Tyrus a "valuable lesson." I hate valuable lessons.

I hate Scott Skiles' rotation at the start of the fourth. I hate that "rotation" doesn't describe it because, a minute in, I could forsee that it was set in stone and that Skiles was going to ride Noah, Smith, Deng, Thabo and Duhon as long as he could because they were doing just a little bit more than simply treading water. I hate how very few coaches but Skiles would keep three of the worse offensive guys on their team on the floor for the first six minutes of the final quarter, simply because they were "battling." I hate battling.

I don't hate Joakim Noah, but I do hate his jumpshot. If I don't see it again this year, it will still be too soon.

I hate Ben Wallace, although maybe I should just hate his injured ankle. Either way, I hate how he can't finish strong at the rim anymore. Really, the word "hate" isn't even strong enough to describe what I felt for him after that blown layup late in the second quarter. I hated that.

Tell me, readers: What do you hate?

Move Over, Derek Jeter

David Friedman really, really doesn't want to believe Chad Ford.
I have a rule of thumb: I distrust general conclusions made by people who cannot get their facts straight. Yes, anyone can make a mistake but if you have basic information wrong then I tend to suspect that you are either very sloppy or you have such an agenda that you won't allow facts to get in the way. Ford asserts that Bryant has played more regular season and playoff minutes than Allen Iverson; in fact, coming into this season Iverson has played 34,248 combined minutes, nearly 1000 more than Bryant.
I have a rule of dumb: I distrust general conclusions made by people who don't bother to figure out what someone else is trying to say, then write a reactionary blog post about it.

Ford's "'mileage'" comment was meant to point out that Kobe has played more minutes through age 28 than many players have played through age 28. Bryant played over 6000 more regular season minutes than Iverson through age 28. A man in love with an automobile reference should be able to distinguish "mileage" from "years old."

Who made the real factual error(s)? David Friedman did!
Ford's case: Ford relies largely on John Hollinger's PER and Roland Beech's adjusted plus/minus to make the argument that Bryant is not really the best player in the NBA.

Why Ford's case is not built Ford tough: Ford notes at the start of his piece that he talked to several "NBA sources" about Bryant and he acknowledges that Bryant is widely considered to be the best player in the NBA--then he completely disregards expert opinion in favor of relying exclusively on the verdict of some statistical systems. It should be noted that those same systems ranked two-time MVP Steve Nash lower than Bryant last season. Also, Beech says of adjusted plus/minus, "These ratings represent a player's value to a particular team and are not intended to be an accurate gauge of the ability and talent of the player away from the specific team." In other words, they are specifically not meant to be used the way that Ford is using them.
This is the quote Friedman is referring to:

I spoke to a number of NBA sources who have been engaged in or are familiar with the Bryant trade negotiations. Almost all evidence from these conversations points to this conclusion:

Bryant's trade value isn't nearly as high as he or the Lakers would like to think.

So the experts agree: David Friedman is talking out of his ass.

Back to the factual errors: Adjusted plus/minus compensates for strength of teammates and opponents, making it a useful tool for ranking and comparing players who aren't teammates. They're even ranked right here. Roland Beech is a nice guy and all, but I wouldn't credit him with something he didn't do, even if I jinxed myself with a comment about fact checking.

TYI Wants To Know: Who Would You Like To See Foul Out Tonight?

Choose your sacrificial lamb wisely. I'm hoping Stu Jackson discovers the holes in Corey Maggette's front teeth that allow him to whistle his own calls inconspicuously.


Thomas' 32 PF/48 indicates a DQ tonight, but it is the smallest sample size (9 minutes, and I have no idea if he guarded Maggette). Skiles could get really crazy and throw A-Drain into the mix, so prepare yourself for another lineup letdown.

More On Free Throws: You Kinda Wanna Make Them, Too!

Good, interesting post over at Blog-a-Bull on the Bulls' giant free throw discrepancy.

The always-estimable sbulls makes the scene in the Comments, pointing out that, out of the four main factors of winning, FTs are the least important, behind effective FG%, turnovers, and rebounding (all of which, he notes, the Bulls have also boofed the pooch on thus far this year). In other words, shooting matters most.

There's a way to join these two camps together, however, with the observation that it's not only that the Bulls haven't been able to get to the line very much--or keep their opponent from getting there a shitload---but also that on the rare times they do manage to get there, everyone--with the exception of Gordon (and, less importantly, Joe Smith)--has been shooting like utter shite. Nocioni is shooting .667 from the line, Deng .625, Hinirich only .500 (!!!) and Tyrus, after a decent pre-season, has been with chilling with Wallace at .375. It's important to remember that, oustide of Wallace, the Bulls are really good at making FTs, seventh in FT% league-wide last year if Wallace is excluded. (To get a sense of just how bad Big Ben is, they were 23rd overall when he was included.)

So if you're looking for more reasons to be reassured that what we've seen from the Bulls this year is somewhat anomalous, keep in mind that it's pretty unlikely that Noce will continue to shoot 19 percentage points under his FT% from last year, much less that he'll do so along with Deng shooting 15 percentage points under his, Kirk 33.5 points under his and Tyrus 22 points under his.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Partial explanation

K.C. tells us that Wallace's ankle is the cause of our woes, and Skiles may sit him.

"If he's injured and can't get it done out there, we have to get somebody in there who can," Skiles said after Monday's two-hour practice at the Berto Center.

Who else kind of wishes we had that $60 mil back?

In the Mailbox

Two messages today, one from a guy who works for a show called HoopsTalk that I guess is produced by The Giant Shoe Empire That Will Not Be Named. Apparently Luol Deng's going to be on Wednesday. If people are interested, bitch in the Comments and I'll update it with a link, but I'd just assume not advertise for corporations unless they're paying me. (I'm a whore, not a slut.)

The other message was from one of the dudes from Bulls For The Win, the latest entry in the Bulls blogosphere. Is it any good? How the hell should I know? They got like two posts up. But he did recognzie the route to my heart and sent along this:

(I really like the "Oh Noes!")

Finally, in lieu of the promised Southwest Division preview, can I just say that I've been watching some of the Mavs-Rockets game tonight and have been thoroughly entertained. I think I'll go out on a limb and say both these teams filled with good players will be good this year. I think San Antonio, also loaded with good players, will also be good. I think the Hornets will be decent so long as Chris Paul remains healthy, and I think the Grizz would be good if they weren't stuck in a division with all these really good players.

Dove lavora?

Sham sez Jay Williams is going to play in Italy. A remote part of Italy that can only communicate with the outside world by ringing bells.

I Have All Sorts Of Ideas

After recommending Scott Skiles send his resume to schools in the IHSAA, I've decided another immovable object needs to go, and I have a replacement!

Boti Nagy can write some NBL amazing:
THE Crocs had 24 hours and a flight in between to get their sheets (and bedroll) together before another potential death-roll in Melbourne.
Our hero fluffed the pillows too, scoring 26 with 20 rebounds. Chris Anstey's Tigers remain undefeated, and play the 8-1 Sydney Kings on Saturday.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Where Is That Tree Coaches Grow On?

It's not easy to figure out when a relatively good coach is doing a bad job, but I'm having a hard time blaming the Bulls' 0-3 start on cold shooting, Ben Wallace's ankle, and bad calls. Easy and obvious excuses like that have been used by fans after many a Bulls loss, but I suspect poor coaching is the cause.

The Bulls have pulled out of slow to terrible starts before, and it's not because Skiles has come up with a new offense and defense every December. The players eventually start playing well. All the talk of offseason preparation has been a carryover from the days when Eddy Curry couldn't get in shape. It was important then, but now? Whatever the players reportedly are or aren't doing in the offseason has meant jackshit. I realize that conditioning isn't something that pays off for a player in November, but Deerfield parking sticker gossip is officially dead and buried.

The offense is as deliberate and predictable as Othella Harrington in the post. The only player who can succeed in isolation is Ben Gordon, and that ability came in the box. The set plays and the drive and kick offense have to be burned into the memory of opposing coaching staffs and players by now. Why are Deng and Hinrich without any one on one skills? Strategy can only take a team so far, and it's obvious Skiles' answer to every woe is substituting a player who will (in theory) play within the system better. Too bad the system has failed the team when teaching pump fakes could have made the offense more dynamic, and less dependent on open jump shots.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight

Take away Ben Wallace--who I will soon get to--and the starters shot 13 of 44. Add in Noce, and that's 17 of 57. It's pretty shocking the game was as close as it was.

As for Wallace, he has 11 three games! His ppg (4.3) are higher than his rpg (3.7)!!!

I know it's way too early to panic, but come on. Luol has looked terrible--soft, tentative and nervous. Kirk managed to stay on the court for more than 30 min., but with 6 TOs, who needed him? Tonight, the best player on our team was Joe Smith and, then, probably, Duhon. This is ridiculous.

The Joe Green Can Shoot Recap

PopcornMachine, cruel mistress of game flow data, why ruin my day with a record of this game?

I think I'm starting to understand why the Bulls are winless through 2 games. Saving up victories for the upcoming circus trip is an excellent strategy, and why not show some generosity to bottom feeding teams like the Sixers while it's still early in the season?

There's also the possibility that the Bulls forgot how to play basketball over the summer. Again. For the fourth consecutive season. Tyrus Thomas agreed with this theory (twice!) in Hanley's column.
"But we have to play 48 minutes together.''
"I'll say it again: We have to come out (tonight) and put 48 minutes (together)."
Yessir, another 'gelling' period on the way, with few new faces to blame for it. Maybe you can blame Skiles, who yelled for Antonio Davis, Jerome Williams, Linton Johnson III, and Jannero Pargo to come off the bench late in the first. Joe Smith, Andres Nocioni, Aaron Gray, and Chris Duhon reminded Skiles they were the group of limited players who will make up the majority of inexplicable mass substitutions this season, and promptly entered the game.

The overblown doghouse theory went further into the crapper as Tyrus Thomas played 42 minutes and 38 seconds of prolific, protean basketball. Of course Tom Dore and Red Kerr were way more impressed with some Andres Nocioni fist pumpery in the second half, and things even became a mite chippy when Stace criticized the man with the lowest basketball IQ on the planet for watching a Tyrus Thomas pass sail in front of him. Nocioni followed that up with a 15 foot pull up brick on the next fast break. Good thing he's signed through 2027.

Hopefully the Bango Bunch are more out of sorts tonight than the Bulls will be.

Friday, November 02, 2007

How 'bout a little hustle?

Who'd have thought that a Sixers team without Iverson would outwork us that badly? The Bulls started flat, got outrebounded by 19, shot 15 less free throws, and lost way too many buckets in transition. While Tyrus was a beast (has he ever played more minutes in a game before?), Hinrich, Deng and Wallace (1 and 4) were nowhere to be seen. Not much to it, just plain effort. Hopefully, they can pull it together on the second leg of the back-to-back.

Bring Me Your Poor, Your Tired, Your Huddled LuOLcats!

Duly inspired by Hot Shit's reminder of my inspired creation, Reader Eddie Greens sent the following to TYI HQ:

This, I would say, is a self-evident improvement over my own, which is how it should be. Giants such as myself exist so that others can stand on our shoulders, expanding upon and deepening that initial stroke of genius for the betterment of all mankind. If any readers out there believe they too can improve upon our understanding and enjoyment of the LuOLcat, I cordially invite them to try.

Let us hope Deng himself is similarly inspired and dunks all over Iguodala tonight.


TYI, fully LOLcatted.

I'm more of a junkyard dog person, though.

Paging Someone Who Knows About Stuff

Why is Kirk Hinrich's foul rate so high? I know there isn't a secret plot against the Bulls because the evil cabal within the NBA focuses all of its wickedness on Pat Riley. Wait 'til Pat finds out his hip was replaced with an empty Diet Dr. Pepper can and some duct tape.

Skiles is saying Hinrich has to do something about all the whistles, and the increase in the Captain's foul rate since 2004-05 indicates he may not know how to limit foul calls. 3.5, 3.4, and 3.9 PF/40 haven't just hurt Hinrich over the past 3 seasons, it's meant more playing time for Duhon (ugh), and has been a major factor in the free throw disparity that's often involved in Bulls losses.

This is a nuance of the game that I can't offer any insight on, and Hinrich isn't clobbering anyone. What's he doing wrong?

KOBEEE! - Chappelle

As KC reports in his blog yesterday, it looks to be no dice on any Kobe deal. Can this really even be considered news?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

TYI Named Most Influential NBA Blog In The World

That's as accurate as Kobe Bryant's mega-hyperbolic status anyway. The 'Experts' Fantasy League has a team named "LUOLcats" (Henry mentioned the league yesterday). If I read the draft order correctly, writer and fellow worshipper of basketball saints Tommy Craggs is the team owner. That it's the most creative team name in the league is no surprise. BenGo07 invented Luolcats way back in September. Consider yourself on the cutting edge of NBA exegesis.