Basketball, Uncategorized

One Piece Away

Derrick Rose & Joachim Noah are just two of the reason why King James is considering Chicago.

In light of the big summer ahead of us, I just thought that I would take this time to pledge my allegiance to the Chicago Bulls. I’ve liked them for a few years now. I’m not sure exactly when I started liking them but by the time the curtain fell on that Boston series in 2009, it was official. Chicago is my Eastern Conference team. I’ve said it the entire year but I’m not sure who was paying attention. I just wanted to make it clear again before Lebron signs with Chicago and everyone accuses me of jumping on the bandwagon. You guys know me, I hate bandwagon jumpers.
As many of you know, and just as many may not know, I am a Derrick Rose fanatic. He’s been my favorite point guards since about March 2009 and now has catapulted into my overall “Fav Five”. Now, I would just like to remind you all that the words “favorite” and “best” are two totally different words with totally different meanings. I’m not even thinking of throwing Rose into a “best in the NBA” conversation, but as far as my favorite players are concerned he’s way up there.
Overall, the caliber of point guards in the NBA right now is at an all time high. Almost every team in the league has a good point, whether it be a wily veteran like Steve Nash or Jason Kidd, or a young stud like Tyreke Evans or Stephen Curry. Even New Jersey, the worst team in the NBA, has Devon Harris. Yes, last season he spent most of his time nursing injuries but in 2009 he made the all-star team. Some people were even questioning if the Jason Kidd trade was a good idea. In fact, the only team that played last season without an adequate PG was Washington, and next season they’ll have two. Gilbert Arenas will be back and they’ll more than likely draft John Wall later this month.
Still, D.Rose is my man!
Obviously he can use some maturing and developing, but that will come with experience. Other than that, Rose is one of the most physically gifted point guards in the league. He’s like the Lebron James of point guards. He’s big and strong but still small and quick. Of course, being that he has just completed his second season in the NBA and he is only 21 years old, his skills set could use some fine tuning before I can flat out call him the best point guard in the NBA. Hopefully taking part in the Olympic workouts during the summer will help expedite his development.
I also like Joakim Noah, a lot. Always have. I just like the package to be quite honest with you. He has length, agility, energy, work ethic and seems to be a genuinely good guy. The passion that he plays with is contagious. He has a great understanding of how to play defense be it zone, man-to-man or help/weak-side defense. He gets double digits points and rebounds, never falls asleep or skip plays and most importantly, you know that he is not going to get outworked. Add that with the things that you can teach or improve, things like footwork, rebound positioning, and a face up jump shot, and you have a very serviceable center for a decade. I’m also interested in seeing how bulky he gets this offseason, last summer he apparently became addicted to lifting wights.
In addition to that, you have Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich. Luol has been through two uneventful, injury plagued seasons, but he’s healthy now. In his last full season, he averaged 18.8 points per game and 7.1 rebounds. Last season he averaged 17.6ppg and 7.7rebs, he just didn’t play enough games. If he do that for a full season, Chicago will be very, very good. Hinrich, as much as I like him, I would assign to back up duties. He would still play a lot of minutes at both guard spots and depending on who is starting at shooting guard, may play a lot of fourth quarters and tight, pressure situations. I’d just prefer having a taller shooting guard. I liked it when they had Thabo Sefolosha at that spot and Kirk coming off of the bench, but Thabo has finally found his place in the NBA as OKC’s defensive specialist. Other than that, I think Hinrich is genius. He can shoot and defend, and he’s one of the grittiest and toughest guys in the entire league.
If I were a free agent, Chi would definitely be on my radar. They have a lot of young talent, too bad they don’t have a coach yet. That could be the deciding factor.

Basketball, Uncategorized

It All Started With Tyrus Thomas

Artest, Brand and Ruffin...1999 Draft

I was never a Bulls fan. I was never a Michael Jordan fan. In fact while most of the world was watching in awe as Michael Jordan rewrote the record books in the 90’s, I was angry and bitter. I hated the Bulls with every ounce of blue and yellow Pacer blood in my body. Some of my friends call me a hater but in reality, it’s just competitiveness. In my opinion, if you were a Pacers fan in the 90’s you were suppose to hate Chicago. I know that I’m not the only one that feels that way. I have a close friends from New York that hates the Bulls too, wonder why.

Tyson Chandler was drafted 2nd overall in 2001 by the LA Clippers and traded immediately to Chicago for Elton Brand. Eddy Curry was drafted by the Bulls with the 4th pick.

Even though I was not a fan of Jordan, I have no problem with giving M.J. his props. Oh, I’m very fair when it comes to who has game. I’ve said it 1 million times and I will say it again for the record. Wilt is #1 and Jordan is #2 of all times. I have a huge problem with putting anyone over Wilt. I don’t think anyone will ever pass him…in my mind anyway. I also believe that you can argue that Oscar Robertson is the greatest of all times. So, even though M.J is widely considered to be #1, I don’t see it as clear-cut as everyone else.

With that said, I love today’s Bulls. I’ve tried to like them in the past, when they drafted Elton Brand back in 1999. He won the rookie of the year award and it looked as if Chicago had someone to build around. In addition to Brand, Chicago drafted R0n Artest the same year and Jamal Crawford the next year. They also had Ron Mercer and Brad Miller, and a few years later they drafted Jay Williams from Duke, remember him? So I thought Chicago was basically set for the future, but the never made it to the future.

First they traded Brand for Curry and Chandler, both of them on

Jamal Crawford was drafted by Cleveland in 2000 and traded to Chicago for Chris Mihm on draft day.

the court together could never match the production that Elton Brand was putting out. Two years later they traded Crawford to New York and a year later Artest and Miller to Indiana. Two year later, Artest is the defensive player of the year, Miller makes the All-Star team in Sacramento and Crawford…well, is Crawford. He’s never made an All-Star team nor won any individual awards, but we are well aware that he can score with almost anybody in the league.

Fast forward to 2004-2005. Chicago Bulls add Ben Gordon, Chris Duhon and Luol Deng through the draft and trades. Kirk is already there and Scott Skiles is beginning his first full year after taking over as head coach in the middle of the 2003-2004 season. That year Ben Gordon become the first rookie in NBA history to win the 6th man of the year award and Chicago made the playoffs for the first time since Michael Jordan’s 6th championship in 1998. Even though they were eliminated in the first round by Washington, the season in considered successful ending a 7 year playoff drought in Chi-town.

Promising PG Jay Williams was drafted by Chicago 2nd overall in 2002 but only played one season before suffering a near fatal motorcycle accident.

The following season, same results. Chicago, again, was eliminated in the first round, but this time by the eventual champions, Miami Heat.

Even though Chicago made two consecutive first round exits, spirits were still high in Chi. The Bulls were confident that this team could become special. They still needed a few pieces though before they could be considered an elite team, size and athleticism was one of those pieces. Along came Tyrus Thomas. Being that I live in Germany, I don’t have the chance to watch a lot of college basketball so I had never seen Tyrus Thomas play. Wow, was I in for a treat. When he first checked into the game, I remember thinking to myself  “so this is the rookie, let me check him out”. The first thing that I noticed was his hustle, his energy. At that time he was only a rookie, so it was more hyper than hustle. He was like a 12-year-old on his third cup of coffee. He chased every loose ball, jumped for every rebound and contested every shot. I like those type of players anyway, but little did I know, Tyrus also had a flair for the spectacular. In the following weeks and months, Tyrus kept popping up in Top 10 dunks and Top 10 blocks and the bandwagon just rolled downhill from there. I started watching the Bulls play more often and I became attached to the others on the team. Then came Noah, I like everyone from that Florida team, and last but not least Mr.Rose. Now I’m hooked, I like the Bulls, and just like any true sports fan, I think I can run the team better than the

Tyrus Thomas was drafted 4th overall in 2006 by the Portland Trailblazers and traded to Chicago for LaMarcus Aldridge who Chicago drafted 2nd in the same draft.

people in charge.

Unfortunately, my first move would be to trade T-Time. I really like him and I wish him a long prosperous career, but it’s the best move for the Bulls right now. Reason number one is because Chicago needs a change in personnel. It’s obvious the team that they have now is not going to succeed, and considering the way the East looks going into the future (Cleveland, Orlando, Miami,Atlanta) they’re not really any long-term expectations for this group either. And secondly, who else is Chicago going to trade? Or better yet, who else can Chicago give up and get something back? They have a lot of throw-in pieces but Chicago doesn’t want to throw-in…and I can’t say that I blame them. I wouldn’t want to give up Hinrich or Miller. We all know D.Rose is not going anywhere and Noah is probably pretty close to untradable as well.  I assume that they really like Taj Gibson and is banking on him as their future power forward which makes Tyrus Thomas expendable. I mean a 6’10” jumping bean. With long arms and great timing, passion and energy, an improving outside stroke and he’s only 23 years old. Now that sounds way better than, let’s say John Salmons. Can you possibly get anything back for John Salmons that is going to get you over the hump?

I’ve heard rumors that Chicago and New York is working on a deal to trade Tyrus Thomas and Al Harrington. That’s what I’m talking about! That’s a trade that would be good for everyone…including me. I’m already an Al Harringtom fan because of his Indian days, but over the last few years he’s really become a efficient scorer. I guess his time wasn’t wasted in Golden State and New York. I think he will open the floor up quite well in Chicago. He has league wide respect as a scorer, so he will not be left unguarded. He is older and more of a leader, more vocal than most people would think. He’s a professional.

T-Time, on the other hand will be able to run like the stallion that he is in D’Antoni’s free-for-all offense. He will step right into the starting line-up at PF in place of Jarred Jeffries and he will flourish. He will block shots, he will dunk on everyone and he will play a huge part in rebuilding the Knick’s pride and dignity and ultimately landing Lebron James.

Just when everyone thought I was turning on Tyrus Thomas, I’m doing him a favor and he will be thankful for it.


Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls, a Match Made in Heaven

2008 NBA 1st overall draft pick Derrick Rose is already looking good in this eary NBA season
2008 NBA 1st overall draft pick Derrick Rose is already looking good in the early part of this NBA season

     Hello and welcome to my first blog. Man, there’s so much to talk about, where do I start. Well, since I’m a rookie I guess that would be a fitting place to begin. I don’t know if you’ve read my bio so I will start by stating that I live in Germany. Before last year I was only able to see NBA basketball twice a week at 2:00am, needless to say I had a lot of sub-par days at the office due to lack of sleep. NCAA ball was just a dream, I only know most of these kids from magazines and So at the beginning of each year I go through this process of evaluating rookies, and I think I am pretty good at evaluating talent.

     With that said…Derrick Rose is a beast! He is the next elite point guard. Last year we had the great pleasure of watching Chris Paul and Deron Williams flourish and come into their own as elite PGs, bonafide leaders and flat-out superstars, over the next few years we will see Derrick Rose do it.  He will be in the talk of “who’s the best point guard in the NBA”. Both Jason Kidd and Steve Nash are on the downside of their careers and I would expect are no longer in the conversation. At this point it’s a 2-man race with Chris Paul leading (but it’s reeeeal close).  Rose is unquestionably more athletic than both Paul and Williams. He’s as tall and strong as Williams but almost as quick and tricky with ball as Paul. He can already shoot pretty well outside and can finish at the basketball. His team is still young and he is prepared to lead and direct. So far Chicago is responding to him and I don’t expect that to change. It’s not like Chicago is going to go all the way this year or anything. They have a new point guard and a new coach. This year will have a lot of ups and downs and they both have a lot to learn, but as long as Chicago keep it’s youth intact and find that scoring big man they’ve been missing for so many years now they should be a force to reckon with in the future.