Monday, September 27, 2010

Groan, Head Slap, Etc.

From training camp's opening (yay!) KC tweets: "Gar Forman: 'There's a feeling in the building something special could be developing long-term.'"

God forbid the Bulls attempt to foster and nurture this "feeling" by slightly overpaying Joakim Noah.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Noah for Melo? Um, No.

As you've surely seen by now, there's been a report that the Bulls' front office has internally discussed moving Joakim Noah in order to pick up Carmelo Anthony. I don't mind that they're having such internal discussions---that being their job and all---but I do hope at the end of that discussion, they decide against it.

It's not often that I disagree with Doug Thonus (who I think is extremely sharp, and who I would put toward the top of the TYI-Approved blog roll if I wasn't such a lazy, insolent cur), but I think the sentiment expressed in this tweet ("Easier to find a center than a star") is, if not wrong in principle, wrong within the context of the current Bulls' squad.

Because in trying to replace Joakim Noah, the Bulls wouldn't just be trying to replace "a center," they'd be trying to replace one of the top 10 centers in the NBA. And given Arturo Galletti's research that suggests just how rare and valuable even "an average center" (and Noah is certainly above average) is over a "replacement level center" (which is exactly what Omer Asik and Kurt Thomas are), the Bulls should definitely think hard before giving Noah up, even for a "star."

Leaving aside whether Melo truly is a "star" (and there are some very smart people who believe he isn't), it's also worth considering just how much better he is than Deng in relation to how much better Noah is to Asik/Thomas. Certainly Melo is a significant offensive upgrade over Deng, a player able to get his own shot on almost any spot on the court at any time. That said, I don't think Melo is close to the defender that Deng is. And what's more, Melo, despite his inarguable offensive proficiency, still doesn't help the Bulls address the glaring weakness of their offense: efficient three-point shooting.

One last thing to consider about Melo with regards to Noah is whether he improves the Bulls' chances of beating Miami, and I don't see how he does. By shedding Noah, the Bulls are weakening themselves at one of the two positions where they inarguably have an edge over Miami (C and PG). Adding Melo would certainly lessen the talent gap at SF that the Bulls face with Miami, but that gap wouldn't close. (LeBron is clearly better than Melo). And adding Melo would undoubtedly help the Bulls offensively, but the idea that any three-man combo will be able to outscore Wade/James/Bosh seems ridiculous to me. Indeed, if there is any way to do it, it looks like one of the few ways to beat Miami will be to pound them inside on the boards and have some type of shotblocker at the rim who can, if not stop, then at least harass James and Wade on their drives inside. The Bulls have one player who fits both those criteria, and his name is Joakim Noah.