Thursday, January 31, 2008

Stuff About Aaron Gray You May Not Have Known

Wow. Not only did DengDeng make a rare appearance by posting today, but as the point man for the TYI Collective's two 11-game season ticket packages, he also sent along a "Letter from Aaron Gray." Most of it is boilerplate PR hack babble, but I thought this was kinda interesting:

I didn't start playing basketball until the 9th grade (I was more of a football and baseball guy), and my career got off to a little bit of a rough start. In a preseason game my junior year, I hammered home an alley-oop and shattered the glass and broke the backboard. The next thing I knew I woke up in the hospital with 70 stitches in my face and a shattered ankle. My team lost 12 of our first 13 games, but when I got back healthy we ended up winning 17 straight. We upset the #1 team in the state in the first round of the playoffs. Luckily I haven't broken a backboard since.

There's probably a joke to be made here, but frankly, I don't think anybody on this team deserves the effort it would take for me to ridicule them.

The Mystery that is King Tyrus

After yesterday's reassuring thoughts from David Thorpe (thanks for the transcription, Matt), I came in to yesterday's game hoping to get a timely reminder of how the coaching staff is misusing Tyrus. But, as has happened many times this season, Tyrus had a frustrating game (yes, Noc was far worse and infuriating and I would be happy to see Red Bull(shit) get traded. But I digress.).

Tyrus passes the ball not just "poorly" but aggressively poorly. Does anyone else notice this? It's gotten to the point now where it looks like he's using passing opportunities, especially on fast breaks, to take out his aggression on his teammates. I've seen a lot of quick, one-handed passes from him this year that look almost like he's saying, "You want me to be a team player, Boylan/Skiles? I'll show you how much of a team player I can be." And then when his teammates don't catch his wild passes, he can say to Baggy-eyed Wonder "I'm just trying to help the team." Thorpe insists T double is happy as can be behind the scenes but I see it like this:

Ty knows he has way more raw talent than just about anyone on this team, save B Jizzle, and his emergence last season allowed his ego to inflate to its appropriate size. But this season, after he fell out of the rotation in such a profound way, I can't believe he's satisfied. And so his "passive" aggression becomes his subtle way of forcing the issue that either a)this team team needs to run more plays for him or b) he needs to be traded.

Gosh, Ya Think Jim Boylan Expects To Be Somewhere Else Next Season?

Who knew Boylan had a CDL? Shouldn't a coach at least try to spin the blame somewhere else? It seems like a good idea, and everyone will look, feel, and sound less dumb. Getting the occasional back rub from a columnist for holding the players accountable (and never blaming yourself for leaving Nocioni on the court for 28 shit-tastic minutes, or a 3 guard lineup when only 3 guards are healthy, and 1 of 'em is capable of scoring) doesn't mean you're a deft handler of the media.

I would feel just a little bit better about this season if the organization had the brains to pump up its players, and not have Skiles/Boylan frequently trashing the roster that they're too incompetent to manage effectively. The Bulls absolutely sucked last night, but it's pretty obvious motivating the team with a flamethrower isn't going to work.

Why was the over-compensated Ben Wallace the only notable free agent signed in the past 10 years, and why did extensions get turned down? Maybe Jerry Sloan's jersey is doing the coaching, and maybe Lake Michigan's salinity is higher than it used to be. Maybe.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's Not The First Time "FAT" And "Khalid El-Amin" Have Appeared In The Same Sentence

Waaaay over my head, but easily the easiest headline I've ever written. And easy jokes are always okay, just ask the fearless leader of "new media."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Remember the Name, Minnesota

That's Veektor, with a "k."

Meet Thabo.

Thabo leads an interesting life. Thabo plays better. Thabo has interesting profile written about him. Read it.

Destroy Your Gods! Become Your Own Idols!

Who needs Sam Smith, when you've got Matt dreaming up great deals like this one?

I think this makes a lot of sense.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Wojnarowski's Midway Mark Shockers

The long version.

The short version: Kobe Bryant is the MVP because he's due, Joakim Noah is a bust because he "deserves to be judged a little harsher," and Danny Ainge is the Executive of the Year because Po-Z was such a great pick-up.

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Bryant doesn't lead the league in any meaningful statistical category. In fact, he isn't even among the top 5 PER, and Win Shares leaders. The idea that he's due is irrelevant to an award based on 2007-08 alone, and Bryant never truly lost an MVP award anyway.

Noah's team plays better with him on the court. David Thorpe has a creepy fetish for things that happen on the court, and Noah is the rookie leader in PER. He seems to be performing just like an older, ready-to-contribute guy should. Shouldn't the other two-time NCAA champ who went to school with Noah (and was drafted higher) get the same amount of extra criticism? I guess Corey Brewer has played so poorly no one even remembers who he is anymore.

Though I think any award Danny Ainge receives should be sent to Kevin McHale, I'll still be fair and link to the web page that shows how many less points the Celtics give up when Po-Z rides the pine. Now that takes intensity.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mixed Reaction

Only got to watch the second half tonight, but while a home loss to the Bobcats is always distressing, I did think there were two bright spots tonight:

1) Pretty nice minutes for Noah, at least in the second half, and who knows, if not for some rrrrrrrreally ticky tack fouls, he might've even gotten more. Getting to the line eight times in only 24 minutes is pretty frickin' good as well. Now if he can just shoot better than 37.5 percent from there, we'll be rocking.

2) That one stretch in the third when Thabo was simply abusing Matt Carroll? That was awesome. Since he was only 6 of 16, he must've played pretty awful for most of the rest of the night, but that stretch was just a lot of fun, particularly when Noce tried to get post position alongside Thabo and Kirk furiously waved him away, as if to say, "Are you fucking kidding me? This kid is killing it--get the hell out of here!"

The negatives were the same as they always are: Do I really need to point out that, unless it's either a quintriple overtime game or he's just playing four minutes, there should never be a "4" in the first column of Ben Wallace's minutes. And, of course, that meant no Tyrus in the 2nd half, until the game was pretty much already decided. Gaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh! Although at this point, it's almost moronic to complain about it: With this coaching staff, it's like bitching about the sun rising in the east each morning.

Anyway, if you haven't seen it yet, read Matt's first half grades. They're a hoot.

The Liga(lize it) Nacional Not As Popular As I Thought

And that makes me sad, but not as sad as Kelly Dwyer and Henry Abbott canceling their used cooking oil fueled RV trip to the Chattahippie Music Festival this fall. Chill, squares, it's a performance enhancing drug. The level-headed philosopher kings at the BBWAA can figure this mess out for us.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

JamesOn To Be OperatedOn

Yoink. If you really think about it, a thumb is kind of phallic.

I'm going on hunger strike until the Wilco paraphrasery comes down from the blog header, or when Jeff Tweedy can finally afford to feed his family.

Case Closed

I hate to bang on about this like some single-minded bore, but read Yglesias.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Up Is Down! Black Is White!

Kirk Hinrich is good! Joakim Noah plays more than Ben Wallace! The T Double plays more than Ol' Man Griff!

Well, two out of three is a start...

The Terribly Torpid Wit Of Jim Boylan

Jimbo's K-9 Academy put a frown on my face, but that's not the only insight the Bulls' designated fall guy has running through his head. Brian Hanley helped Jim Boylan dig deep to find out how I (and you!) really feel.
''There's a sense we're breaking their hearts,'' he said. ''When someone breaks your heart, there's anger, there's frustration. It was probably the culmination of a lot of things. People look at the problems we had at the beginning of the season with contracts. Then all the trade rumors and the fact we couldn't get any kind of momentum going. Then Scott (Skiles) is dismissed, and people think highly of Scott and the job he did. It's just total frustration on their part. I understand how they feel."
Head coach, empath, DVRer of Dr. Phil. Speaking of heart, I'm all for dumping the overpaid heart of the Bulls for expiring contracts.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bad Coaching, Bad Managing, Bad Reporting

All wrapped up in one beat piece by the Sun-Times' Brian Hanley, still reeling from the loss of Scott Skiles, cozying up to the grittiest human being available.

There's so much stupid to address. John Paxson has "balked" at a trade package for Pau Gasol that would include Andres Nocioni, Tyrus Thomas, and Joakim Noah because Andres Nocioni is untouchable? I understand the Bulls are hellbent on making their past two lottery picks the least valuable youngsters in the NBA, despite solid (and superior to Nocioni) production in limited minutes, but both of them are considered throw-ins for a 27 year old power forward who doesn't rebound or defend well?

A frontcourt with Gasol and Ben Wallace would be eerily similar to the Chandler and Curry days. Only without the hope that Gasol and Wallace will grow out of their flaws, and everyone is a lot smaller. And the highly talented youth on the team gets traded away to make it happen. Jerry Krause never left.

Monday, January 21, 2008

This Is The End

It's now (at least to me) an open-and-shut case: Ben Wallace's +/- against Memphis? -16. Joakim Noah's? 0.

I don't care if Wallace had a nice rebounding game. He absolutely kills us on the offensive end, not only with his inane shots, but with the way any of the team's offensive flow grinds to a total halt if one of the other four Bulls on the court is absent-headed enough to actually pass him the ball. And it's not just that we're losing; it's that we're losing in the most boring, unedifying, and least aesthetically pleasing way imaginable. An offensive explosion in the last quarter got us to 90 points, against the team that gives up the second most points per game in the league (105.5).

Vladimir Radmonivic and Kwame's $9 mil expiring deal for Wallace? At this point, I would do it in a heartbeat.

PS I haven't seen a team give up so many alley-oops since Vince Carter's UNC squad came to play the Richmond Spiders during my sophomore year. But at least the Spiders had some excuses since they were a) undersized; b) going up against a dude who, whatever knocks against him as a player, can jump out of the gym; and c) a frickin' college team. But lettin' Stromile Smith and Pau Gasol dunk all over you? Utterly shameful. The only way it could've been worse is if I had actually driven the 8 hours down to Memphis to watch this team shit the bed. Matt, you have my sympathies.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what-have-yous, a lot of strands to keep in my head, man

Some very good things happened tonight. I give Boylan some credit for benching Wallace, who had nothing after his first three makes and matches up terribly with the Warriors. Thabo is starting to look like the player we drafted. Gordon/Noce were deadly for the first 46 minutes. And that was one hell of a game.

But it was ultimately frustrating. Why? Duhon is not an effective NBA point guard. He was a -17 in his 34 minutes, mostly because Davis and Ellis just abused him off the dribble whenever they wanted. As for Tyrus, the man's tick is so inconsistent that he presses whenever he steps on the floor, picks up ticky fouls, and the gets yanked again. And down the stretch, at home, when the Bulls should be securing wins, our sets look disorganized or we can't hit big shots (see Noce's 18 footer and Smith's gimme that he had stripped away). Too bad too, as this would have been a good one to get on ESPN before Detroit comes rolling through.

Ben Wallace: "I just go out there and play the game, lead by example."

Slam? Dime? Drop? You really can't buy much for a dime today.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Oh Boise: JamesOn Curry Arrested

Peeing in public, and resisting arrest. Snooze. No littering or breaking curfew charges?

Jimmy's under the boards. Jimmy's in the open. Jimmy makes the shot.

Jim Boylan quoted in loathsome Trib poker reporter, and columnless columnist Steve Rosenbloom's slightly less painful to read than hear blog.
"All the decisions that were made in the last week or so were made by me, not by anybody else. Not by Ben Wallace or Adrian Griffin or anyone else. They were made by Jim Boylan. I'm the head coach of the Chicago Bulls and I run this team; I discipline these guys. They respect me and I try to respect them. This is my team right now and I'm the coach and I think people need to know that. It was ultimately my decision [to add a second game]. I had veto power. I thought about it for quite a while and I decided it was the best move for our team."
Votes, veto power, veni, vidi, Ventura.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Does Rodman Kiss Stone Gossard With That Anecdotal Evidence?

Mishief! Intrigue! Blowout Losses!

This season is more fun to watch than a Nick Cave penned Christmas dinner on the Australian Outback. (I'm sure you'll get an Anstey/NBL update this weekend.)

Regardless of when, or how a big of a deal Noah v. Wallace was, it sure isn't fun to read what others have to say about it. Joakim Noah has more than his fair share of bashers, and someone who actually uses "d-bag" descriptively is clearly ignorant to the unfortunate consequences of the law of whoever smelt it, dealt it.

To Noah's credit, he isn't afraid to speak to the media, at least to deny the story of the day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Can You Say 'Buyout'?

If the choice is between Wallace or Noah, I'll take the 23 year old up-and-coming player who can finish at the rim over the 33 year old has-been who can't.

Expect another "players only" meeting, another suspension, and another blowout loss.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sam Smith Checks In From The Road

The second blog post from Sam, and as much as I wanted details on the oral altercation heard 'round the world, I appreciated Sam's rather apathetic position on the matter. I'm a little more concerned about a team whose players and coaches handled an internal spat publicly and poorly than whatever Noah said to Four-Eyed Fuck Adams, so consider me in agreement with Sam.

When is the playbook going to include a page on Ben Wallace making layups? Joakim Noah might be registered to vote by then.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Let's not give Boylan a pass ...

Duhon: 0 points, 0-5 shooting, 1 rebound, 5 assists
Gordon: 6 points, 3-13 shooting, 1 rebound, 2 assists

This experiment is working to perfection.

Gosh, It Sure Would Be Nice...

...if Bulls' players cared about winning games as much as they care about teaching young teammates "valuable lessons." Although I suppose with Griffin, it makes sense. Take away his "professionalism" (i.e., kissing the ass of coaches), and you have a dude who's struggling for playing time in the HEBA, much less the NBA.

As far as Wallace goes, see the post below.

Help, Readers!

I've been trying to come up with a list of "Slightly Less Edifying Things To Do With $60 Million Than Spend It On Ben Wallace." So far, all I've got is:

**Purchase a small atoll in the South Pacific, declare yourself autocrat, and legalize incest and necrophilia.

**Give it to Halliburton in a no-bid contract for Iraq reconstruction.

**Raze the Lincoln Memorial and replace it with a giant, solid-gold monument to George W. Bush.

**Buy as much skag with it as possible, then distribute it for free at your nearest grade school playground.

**Get change for it in $1 bills, roll them up individually, and shove each one up your ass, one by one. (Not sure about this one.)

Interim Wet Noodle

The Orlando Sentinel's Dave Curtis has some pre-game quotes from placeholder Jim Boylan on the fucking losers currently getting smoked by Atlanta team voting for Noah to sit another game. There's some expected nonsense about differences between the NBA and college, but I did appreciate Boylan showing his lame duck feathers.
Now, his emotions are probably a little raw. He’s disappointed, obviously. I had a discussion with him, and I said that if I was in that position, I would feel the same way.

Trading Wins For Lessons

Noah will sit... again! The laid back Boylan era sure does reek of the Skiles regime.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Why I Haven't Been Posting Much Lately

Question, readers: Which is worse?

That I thought the Bulls would be 55-27 this year, meaning that they'd now have to go 41-7 from here on out?


That I thought the Heat might go 41-41 this year, meaning they'd now have to go 33-13?

In other words, is it more unlikely that a .412 team will go .854, or that a .222 team will go .717?

Friday, January 11, 2008

2 Great Communicators, 1 Suspension

K.C. Johnson reports Joakim Noah will be inactive against the 76ers tonight because of an "oral altercation" (!) with assistant coach Ron Adams. We all know Noah is an outspoken, semi-interesting dude, but what about Ron Adams? Pax yack from 2003:
“He has a defensive background and the ability to communicate with players in this league, which are two attributes that I believe will help us tremendously.”

Thursday, January 10, 2008

How will I keep my feet dry and bouncy?

Do these signal ...

an end of an era?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sam's Mea Culpa

It's not clear if Smith thinks Tyrus is lazy or not.

From 'graph 7
"Former coach Scott Skiles offered the second-most trenchant observation of his tenure when he volunteered that Thomas never once sprinted the court."

From 'graph 15
"It's not because they had a star or a low-post presence or great overall talent. It was because they played hard all the time, they would defend and they could bring waves of young, long-limbed players into the game to defend, disrupt and frazzle opponents. Those guys were Thomas, Thabo Sefolosha and Joakim Noah, primarily."

But finally he crunches the numbers, and not even the tricky ones.
"But the Bulls were 25-5 last season when Thomas played at least 15 minutes, and though Boylan is working the veterans to get wins, which he hopes will lead to a return engagement next season, the real priority is to find out about players like Thomas."


Monday, January 07, 2008

While The Rest Of The Blogosphere Makes Fun Of Scottie Pippen

A (kinda) more relevant Bulls forward gets some digital ink from K.C. Johnson. Who will the laid back Boylan turn to if Luol Deng, and Andres Nocioni are unavailable on Tuesday?
With Andres Nocioni skipping practice with a fever, might it finally be Viktor Khryapa's time? Probably not, but it's nice to remind people that he's on the roster every once in awhile.
I'd love to see a Veektor and Sefolosha rotation at small forward, but I'll brace for Adrian Griffin and a sniffling Nocioni. It'd still be nice to get a short look at a cheap, somewhat productive player who made John Paxson look like a pretty smart guy for about 2 minutes.

WMVP Basketball Yack Never Sounds Forced

Dan McNeil on Ben Wallace's FT%:
"Maybe he doesn't work on it very much."

That Didn't Take Long

Tyrus Thomas: positive contributor.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Things You Probably Know About The Kings

They're 4th in the NBA in FT/FG, and add Spencer Hawes to the list of big softies who rebound better than LaMarcus Aldridge. Captain America's illegitimate spawn has only been clocking 9 MPG, but very little is going to stop me from mentioning a REB-r superior to Aldridge's going forward.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Remember Our Good Friend, Point Differential?

There's been a falling out since last season. By more than 10 points. Extra good per possession work by

The Last Thank You Note I Wanted To Write Today

But thanks anyway for all the nasty traffic from the Oregonian's website, Sean Meagher. It's always refreshing when MSM types loudly ignore, or poke fun at statistical analysis. So few do, if anything can't be considered a sports blogosphere cliche...

There were so many things wrong with my Aldridge isn't spectacular post; cherry-picking rebounds, not saying why Tyrus Thomas was an equal or better draft pick, making up a word, poor writing and argument creation in general, etc. I would have loved some constructive criticism from the Pacific Northwest. Shame that didn't happen. Hopefully Meagher reads the Basketball English To English Dictionary, or gets a prosthetic finger. I refuse to believe the man has 10 digits connected to his hands.

Luckily Walter Dubowec of RaptorTalk (h/t BaB) highlighted a few more flaws in Aldridge's game, so I don't have to go into detail about Aldridge camping out on the perimeter, or why the Aldridge-would-have-solved-the-lowpost-scoring-problem crowd is mistaken. Point is, the NBA has lots of jump-shooting bigs who can't rebound good, and they aren't very valuable. The rebounding usually doesn't get better, either. Aldridge could become one of the better Mikki Doleac Robinson Googs of the world, but that doesn't mean he's going to sniff the level of production and impact toolsier bigs like Elton Brand, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, and Tim Duncan make.

I like Tyrus Thomas' potential more because he has shown the ability, and production (when he plays) to affect more areas of the game than a limited guy like Aldrdge. Thomas is a better rebounder and defender than Aldridge. His offensive skills may not be as polished, but jumping over defenders, getting to the line, a baby hook, and a somewhat promising jumpshot are all a good start. If Thomas develops, he's going to be a very good player. A top 10 in the NBA player. Even if that doesn't happen, and heads remain firmly up asses, it beats burning a lottery pick on the type of big man who can be had for the mid-level exception every offseason.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Steady Pose Of Ron Adams

Aldridge Still Doesn't Impress Me As Much As A Fancy Veektor Interior Pass

I generally like bellyaching over John Paxson's decisions (the Nocioni 400 year contract in particular), but those who have made the Aldridge for Thomas/Khryapa trade out to be a mistake have always bothered me. Checking in on message board threads, bloggings, and internet columns that broach the subject is as much as fun as reading

Despite all the big scoring efforts, LaMarcus Aldridge hasn't been a very effective player in 2007-08. He has a negatory +/- rating this season, an awfully odd place for a big man who scores 20+ PTS/40 with a 19.76 PER. I'm not Dave Berri, but there's plenty of value in rebounding, something Aldridge could be conservatively labeled as sucky at. Notoriously not so good rebounders like Channing Frye, and Raef LaFrentz both have better REB-r than Aldridge this season. For the round number box score watchers (10 rebounds! 10!), Aldridge is averaging 8.7 REB/40. Eat your heart out, Eddy Curry, and Andres Nocioni.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Bulls Tune Out 2008-09 Head Coach

Ben Gordon switched the dial all the way to UHF. Am I imagining some kind of post-Skiles glasnost?