Tuesday, 21 December 2010

No Crisis/2-guard Conundrum.

Don't hit the panic button just yet...

Joakim Noah is gone until at least the beginning of March. A long stretch that means he misses 30+ games. The meat of the season. Taj Gibson went out of the Clippers game with a concussion, and could now be out for Tuesday's game with the 76ers.

As it so happens, we lost to the Clippers. We should have won, Derrick Rose missed a Free-Throw with 0.8 seconds left. But if that's the situation, we deserved to lose. Many woke up Sunday morning in a bit of a funk, demanding the team sign another Big, that we are in a meltdown, a crisis, our season is over.

A painful sight for Bulls fans
It's not.

We won't beat teams like the Lakers or the Celtics without Joe, but even with him we struggled. We might struggle against teams we would have previously beaten, too. Joe was a huge inside presence, big on the boards at both ends and a key emotional leader too. His loss means that the Christmas Day game @ New York has probably become a more difficult proposition.

However, we don't need another Center. We have Taj, Omer Asik and Kurt Thomas. That's 3. Thomas only got in because of Noah's departure. Another Center would only be there to earn himself a DNP (Did Not Play) as a cheerleader on the bench. Besides, the chances of getting a starting-level or even 2nd unit center at short notice for a cut-down price are next to none. Taj can rebound. Taj can score (on his day) and Thomas, once he gets some minutes in him again, is a veteran player and he gave his all in defending Blake Griffin on Saturday. Ultimately he fouled out in 16 minutes, but he showed he still has it by taking a big charge off of Griffin and doing a much better job than any other Bulls player did all game.

Courtney Sims -
Possible replacementfor Joe?
Asik should probably be the starting Center. He lacks offensive scoring, yes, but his defensive play makes up for this. He is easily our best Help-Defender and is brilliant at screening for pick and rolls. I would love to see him given more minutes as he looks like he lacks confidence offensively and given minutes, this will be a problem that solves itself.

Relegate Gibson to the bench? Yes. He gives us a huge hit from the bench in rebounding and scoring when we need it most. He has good energy that can be crucial in cementing a run or stopping an opponent's run. Thomas is just rusty. Veterans never lose that instinct and he is as good a big man as we could pick up on a deal right now.

Another option now that Gibson is doutbful: Go get Courtney Sims. Consistently high rebounding numbers and scoring numbers with the Iowa Energy D-League team. A different option to Taj, Kurt and Omer at Center as he is a much more athletic player than the big, heavy style of the other 3. Definitely worth a shot if the worst comes to the worst and Thomas isn't up to the minutes or Taj goes out longer.


The 2 Guard Conundrum.

If the Bulls have serious designs on getting to the Eastern Conference Finals, Keith Bogans cannot be their starting Shooting Guard. He simply can't. He is good defensively, but so bad offensively that teams feel they can leave him wide open and use the extra man to double on Rose, Boozer or Joakim. When your starting 2 Guard is disrespected like this, you surely should get the message that he isn't good enough? Obviously not, as time after time Coach Thibs has started Bogans. And every time he does, it's like the Bulls are playing in a 4 on 5 situation offensively.

I admire his heart and defensive talents, stealing and disrupting plays. But really, we need a shooting guard who can shoot. Kyle Korver is not as skilled defensively, but he can shoot the 3-ball so well then it really doesn't matter. He is capable of stepping up defensively if Thibs coaches him to. Korver can also make Noah/Asik's screens look even more effective, as he can catch-and-shoot off these so sweetly. He is a player I would strongly consider starting at SG for a little while.

Ronnie Brewer. Anther option. Another better option than Bogans. His shot may look awkward, but it drops more often than not and he can defend too. I see him as a better version of Bogans already. I don't understand: Brewer plays starter's minutes from the bench, and Bogans playes bench-amount minutes as a starter. Why not put them in their place according to the number of minutes you actually give them?
Kyle Weaver: Hot property.

Option 3: EVERYONE! To the D-League!
Kyle Weaver: He's playing with the Bulls'/Suns' D-league Affiliate, The Iowa Energy, and has been touted to be signing deals with a couple of teams, Chicago and Washington are just two of them. Weaver has been consistent at that level and I don't really see why he's still down there. A welcome addition to the team and a deal could be reached with Iowa that could see James Johnson sent there as a replacement. JJ needs to either go there or be traded, DNP's are no use in the NBA and his space would then be taken by Weaver. John Lucas III might as well be sent there too. And bring up either Courtney Sims (see above) or Othyus Jeffers, another Iowa player setting the D-League alight. 21 points in the same game as Weaver/Sims' 50. The 3 combined for 71 points of the Energy's 104.

The Weaver-Sims partnership has been fundamental in Iowa's successes this season, a couple games back they combined to produce 50 points + 15 rebounds. The stats back up the theory here.

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