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Old 11-18-2014, 09:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Observations after 11 games into the season.

In an effort to not get Bulls fatigue this season, I have held back from commenting on the state of this team after every single game played. But, I do think a small enough of a sample size has presented itself where I can share some of my views about the state of the team so far.

1. Pau Gasol is without a doubt better in every facet of the game than Carlos Boozer ever was here in Chicago. His size and surprisingly good defense has kept the Bulls from losing a few games so far.

2. Joakim Noah has been hit or miss so far, defense has been poor at times and his production has dipped slightly, but I chalk it up to his usual early season struggles and I expect him to bounce back.

3. Derrick Rose.... Ugh were do I start with him. Again, this team will only go as far as Derrick Rose takes them and unfortunately we have no idea if the guy can even stay healthy this season. His commitment to the franchises goals are murky at best and he continues to just say flat out stupid things. He sits out games whenever he wants and for as long as he wants.

4. Butler - He said he wanted to bet on himself this season when talking about why he turned down a Bulls contract extension and so far hes winning the bet. Only time will tell if he can keep up this production but if he keeps getting played 40 minutes a night, I'm fairly confident that his production will dip. Jimmy surprises me with his ability to get fouled and score, I still don't think hes a very good shooter but early season production sure is proving me wrong. Small sample size but hes really out performing expectations. Still can't see the Bulls offering him big time money.

5. The Rookies - McDermott and Mirotic have at times looked like they don't belong in the NBA. Which is really disturbing because one of the big selling points in getting these guys was that they had a lot of high level experience, Mirotic with his Euroleague dominance and Doug with being a Senior College standout. What's even more disturbing is that even during a very soft stretch in the season, Coach Thibs hasn't given these guys much burn. Which takes me to my next subject.

6. Thibs - I love Thibs, but his obsession with winning every single game at the cost of playing guys heavy minutes and at the cost of developing some of the potentially important bench guys, is just maddening. Yes, Doug and Mirotic have sucked at times, BUT YOU GOT TO PLAY THEM! Sure, Tony Snell is garbage, but he can at least eat some minutes so you don't have to play Jimmy Butler frigging 40 minutes a night! In Butlers first game back from injury he plays 39 minutes! Thibs then plays the guy 41 minutes twice, 39 and 40 minutes vs soup-can teams like the Pistons, Bucks, Sixers and T-Wolves. He played Butler 45 minutes in a BLOW-Out win last night..

7. Taj Gibson - Producing off the bench where he belongs.

8. Kirk Hinrich - Ugh, hes just such a brutal player to watch. Nothing about his game brings any sort of excitement on the court. He drags down offensive possessions to a crawl and his shooting continues to be abysmal. Yet his presence is needed as evidenced by Rose's inability to stay healthy and Aaron Brooks flat out refusal to run an offense that doesn't involve him shooting.

All in all, its just more of the same until the playoffs start. The Bulls haven't shown that they can beat a Lebron James led team and they continue to prove that they can't stay healthy. The season is basically the easiest part, they will get a top 4 seed and who knows what will happen from then on.

I'm a bit worried about their inability to just blow out these garbage teams they have faced so far but some real tests will be coming up soon.
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Old 11-18-2014, 10:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Observations after 11 games into the season.

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Originally Posted by thebizkit69u View Post

1. Pau Gasol is without a doubt better in every facet of the game than Carlos Boozer ever was here in Chicago. His size and surprisingly good defense has kept the Bulls from losing a few games so far.
**** yes he is. I knew this was the case heading into the season and yet it still stands out to me. If he's playing at this level come playoff time I think he'll be a huge asset. He's just a different level of ballplayer than Boozer was.
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2. Joakim Noah has been hit or miss so far, defense has been poor at times and his production has dipped slightly, but I chalk it up to his usual early season struggles and I expect him to bounce back.
I think Jo is coming around. I think some of his decreased production is health related (shaking off the rust from the knee procedure) and some of it is related to the fact that we are asking him to do a lot less this year (at least when most of the team is suiting up). Having Joakim Noah as a guy who can facilitate the offense as opposed to a guy who has to facilitate the offense out of necessity is a big difference.
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3. Derrick Rose.... Ugh were do I start with him. Again, this team will only go as far as Derrick Rose takes them and unfortunately we have no idea if the guy can even stay healthy this season. His commitment to the franchises goals are murky at best and he continues to just say flat out stupid things. He sits out games whenever he wants and for as long as he wants.
Just get him healthy. I don't care about what he says to the press... ankles and hamstrings are injuries that only get better with rest. So rest. Be healthy in April-June, please... for the love of god... be healty in April-June!

He has looked anywhere from just decent-to-excellent when he's been playing.

Quote:
4. Butler - He said he wanted to bet on himself this season when talking about why he turned down a Bulls contract extension and so far hes winning the bet. Only time will tell if he can keep up this production but if he keeps getting played 40 minutes a night, I'm fairly confident that his production will dip. Jimmy surprises me with his ability to get fouled and score, I still don't think hes a very good shooter but early season production sure is proving me wrong. Small sample size but hes really out performing expectations. Still can't see the Bulls offering him big time money.


Jimmy G Buckets! He's playing with confidence on both ends. Through 11 games I don't know that there's been a two guard that has effected the game as much as he has on both offense and defense. Just spend a quarter watching him play defense... he doesn't disappoint... he can guard 1-3 in a pinch... he's playing solidly both on ball and off of the ball.

The real question is, can he continue to get to the line at this clip... if he can, he's an elite 2 guard and you need to pay him what he's worth.

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5. The Rookies - McDermott and Mirotic have at times looked like they don't belong in the NBA. Which is really disturbing because one of the big selling points in getting these guys was that they had a lot of high level experience, Mirotic with his Euroleague dominance and Doug with being a Senior College standout. What's even more disturbing is that even during a very soft stretch in the season, Coach Thibs hasn't given these guys much burn. Which takes me to my next subject.
Mirotic is going to be good and seems to alternate between flashing that promise and looking lost. Played a great game last night when we needed him... I love the fact that he can shoot or put it on the floor. Defensively he's at least aggressive, if not a little bit sketchy for now.

McDermott... boy, I don't know. At first I was concerned that he would have a hard time getting open against competent defenders (even with all of the floppy action and multiple screen sets we run for our shooters). Now he's been struggling from the field. It may be that the inconsistent minutes have lead to a lack of rhythm for him offensively... but it is sort of hard to blame Thibs for playing Dunleavy, who is a smart and capable player with a similar skillset that is ready to contribute right away.

Quote:
6. Thibs - I love Thibs, but his obsession with winning every single game at the cost of playing guys heavy minutes and at the cost of developing some of the potentially important bench guys, is just maddening. Yes, Doug and Mirotic have sucked at times, BUT YOU GOT TO PLAY THEM! Sure, Tony Snell is garbage, but he can at least eat some minutes so you don't have to play Jimmy Butler frigging 40 minutes a night! In Butlers first game back from injury he plays 39 minutes! Thibs then plays the guy 41 minutes twice, 39 and 40 minutes vs soup-can teams like the Pistons, Bucks, Sixers and T-Wolves. He played Butler 45 minutes in a BLOW-Out win last night..
Jimmy Butler is 24 years old... he can play 38-40 minutes a night. To me, this is the biggest red herring out there right now (people are constantly bitching about this on realgm, on the radio, etc...). If someone has an injury that needs rest it is one thing... if the guy is 7 feet tall (or just generally more prone to foot and leg injuries), you sit them more... otherwise, what is the big deal? I don't remember people complaining about Scottie Pippen playing 38+ mpg for most his 20's... or MJ playing 38-40... or Lebron, or Kobe... (and I realize those guys are all HOFers, but still). Other than Butler I think everyone pretty much clocked in at 35 minutes and under last year. In Thibs I trust.

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7. Taj Gibson - Producing off the bench where he belongs.
Producing on both ends, and as a starter when he needs to (at least last night). I haven't noticed as much of a black-hole tendency on offense lately either, which is good.

Quote:
8. Kirk Hinrich - Ugh, hes just such a brutal player to watch. Nothing about his game brings any sort of excitement on the court. He drags down offensive possessions to a crawl and his shooting continues to be abysmal. Yet his presence is needed as evidenced by Rose's inability to stay healthy and Aaron Brooks flat out refusal to run an offense that doesn't involve him shooting.
Kirk Hinrich is ideally suited to be the first or second guard off the bench... pressing him into starting duty is asking a bit much. The thing is... Hinrich can't play much offense... but Aaron Brooks can't play much defense. You want an argument for Kirk Hinrich playing the minutes that he plays, just watch Aaron Brooks play defense for a while... watch him hang the bigs out to dry by not staying in front of his guy. Hinrich did serious work against Chris Paul last night and brings defensive intensity against 1's and 2's that really helps us... he's just maddening to watch on offense 75% of the time. The key, again, is getting Rose healthy... that way you bring in Hinrich to put out fires on defense and bring in Brooks to jump start the offense when needed.


Quote:
All in all, its just more of the same until the playoffs start. The Bulls haven't shown that they can beat a Lebron James led team and they continue to prove that they can't stay healthy. The season is basically the easiest part, they will get a top 4 seed and who knows what will happen from then on.

I'm a bit worried about their inability to just blow out these garbage teams they have faced so far but some real tests will be coming up soon.
I think it is too early to tell what we've got at this point... we won't really know until we get the starting 5 out there consistently (assuming that happens at some point) and see how they develop together as a unit. I'm optimistic, but not convinced, that we can be serious contenders.
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Old 11-19-2014, 04:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Observations after 11 games into the season.

A few of my major observations:

1) Rose looks great when he's playing which is GREAT to see, however I still think we are overplaying him at this stage. This was my complaint last year too prior to the meniscus injury (last year's 10 games he was 30 min/game...this year he's around 28 min/game). The problem is not wear and tear per say, rather I just don't think he's in game condition for those minutes yet. He hasn't played large NBA intensity minutes in a very long time. I don't think it's a good idea to expect him to jump right into high 20's or early 30's minutes. I don't think it was coincidence that his injuries keep happening later in games. Every time it's like his leg muscles give out on him for a brief moment and I suspect that is fatigue related. He needs more in-game rest IMO and let him work his way back up to big minutes. I'd rather have Rose at 15-20 min/game for a full season than a banged up or lost for the season Rose for 30+ min/game.

2) Jimmy Butler -- holy crap, he is playing like a legit all-star. Man is going to get paid but he is earning it. Still my favorite player...has been for the past 2 seasons.

3) Mirotic -- gotta get this guy some regular burn and work him into the offense better. He is flashing some big-time talent. Inconsistent, yes...but what a package of skills and he plays his @## off too. The Bulls need game-changing players, well we have one right here. I think he's gonna be an awesome player if he hits the weight room hard over the next few years, as strength is his only real flaw right now (aside from learning the NBA game of course). For those who say he looks lost sometimes, I agree, BUT like I have said in other threads, I despise when Thibs puts him in the game with McDermott, Brooks, Taj, and/or Snell (or some combo of that unit). That is a terrible set of players to maximize Mirotic's talents...how can we expect him to thrive when he's playing with 2 other players who are equally learning the league, a shoot-first PG, and a solid player in Taj who has a bit of black hole syndrome. Mirotic fits soooo much better playing with Rose, Jimmy, Noah, Gasol, Dunleavy, or Hinrich -- these guys all have something in common, they know how to share the ball.

4) Overall -- our roster has all the pieces to win a title, IMO...However we need alot of luck and hard work for it to actually happen. #1 is health...the same broken record as always. #2 is our starters need to build their chemistry. #3 is our bench needs to quickly get acclimated to the NBA game (namely Mirotic, McDermott, and lesser extent Snell). Also Cleveland is a real X-factor for our title hopes...Lebron-Love-Irving is ridiculously talented, but they are a pretty shallow team at the moment. If they get it together that makes our playoff path about 10x more difficult.
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Old 11-19-2014, 05:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Observations after 11 games into the season.

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4. Butler - He said he wanted to bet on himself this season when talking about why he turned down a Bulls contract extension and so far hes winning the bet. Only time will tell if he can keep up this production but if he keeps getting played 40 minutes a night, I'm fairly confident that his production will dip. Jimmy surprises me with his ability to get fouled and score, I still don't think hes a very good shooter but early season production sure is proving me wrong. Small sample size but hes really out performing expectations. Still can't see the Bulls offering him big time money.
Doesn't really matter what the Bulls offer him...Butler is a restricted free agent. If Butler gets a max offer, the Bulls will be forced to match. I am not concerned at all about the Bulls matching. Say what you will about the Bulls wanting to pay players, but they have always been willing to pay big dollars for top caliber players...and that is what Jimmy has become. Also take a close look at the Bulls salary structure over the next few years, I believe they can absorb a max contract for Jimmy without any problem (thank you Pau & Taj for the discount contracts!). Plus you have these rumors of the salary cap going up over the next few years. At worst we might run into a situation where we can't resign Mike Dunleavy, I'm sure we can live with that.
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Old 11-20-2014, 07:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Observations after 11 games into the season.

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Doesn't really matter what the Bulls offer him...Butler is a restricted free agent. If Butler gets a max offer, the Bulls will be forced to match. I am not concerned at all about the Bulls matching. Say what you will about the Bulls wanting to pay players, but they have always been willing to pay big dollars for top caliber players...and that is what Jimmy has become. Also take a close look at the Bulls salary structure over the next few years, I believe they can absorb a max contract for Jimmy without any problem (thank you Pau & Taj for the discount contracts!). Plus you have these rumors of the salary cap going up over the next few years. At worst we might run into a situation where we can't resign Mike Dunleavy, I'm sure we can live with that.
By saying that I don't see them offering him big time money, I'm also including matching a big time offer. I have a couple of reasons why I don't see Jimmy coming back to the Bulls if hes offered a max deal.

1. I don't think he will carry this amount of production for an entire season. I do think there will be some regression to the mean in his stats. He was a sub 40 shooter last season with heavy minutes and I just don't believe that Jimmy can continue his high FG% for the majority of the season.

2. If the Bulls don't make it to the finals and especially if they get bounced in the second round, I just don't see the Bulls putting up a ton of money to bring back the same team again.

Obviously all this will be moot if Jimmy has himself a great season. If he ends the season averaging 21 4 and 6 on 45%+shooting, its a no brainer to offer him something close to max.
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Old 11-22-2014, 04:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Observations after 11 games into the season.

Even if Jimmy doesn't keep this up and ends the season at 17 ppg, 45% FG, 35% on 3's, 5 reb, 3 assists...he still gets a max offer and IMO the Bulls will match. Reason being his elite defense makes it worth it. This isn't like Jamal Crawford who put up those offensive #'s but with crap defense. Though I get your point...if Jimmy falls off a cliff and ends up around 14-15 ppg, 41% FG, 30% 3's...now you start to wonder if he just had a Flip Murray style hot streak to start the season. Though if that happens, it's debatable he gets a max offer sheet from anyone. Parsons & Hayward got those offers b/c they are both offensive marvels who can dribble, shoot, pass at a high level for 82 games.

BTW, how about our boy Mirotic against Portland last night? 24 pts, 11 rebounds...I don't even care about the loss, we won't even remember this game come April, it's way more important to get Mirotic's confidence up. I'm telling you, this guy is an impact player and just needs to get acclimated to the NBA game, and Thibs needs to get him burn with the right players around him.
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Observations after 11 games into the season.

mirotic and mcd are solid, niko probably more than doug because of his pro experience in europe.
all they need is playing time. you cant expect a player to be on fire straight of the bench in a league they have never played before with dnp-10 min per game they got/get from coach.

with taj and gasol out miro gets extended playing time to get acclimated which is a silver lining. one problem he has he picks up stupid fouls/refs call stupid fouls on him respectivly.
once he gets it, how the whistles in the nba work he'll get more trust from coach.

from watching him, one can tell, his post moves a beautiful, he has great vision for the open man and has a sweet shooting stroke. what a gem to have.


sooner than later dougs mins will rise, will mdj will likely drop.
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Old 11-23-2014, 10:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Observations after 11 games into the season.

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mirotic and mcd are solid, niko probably more than doug because of his pro experience in europe.
all they need is playing time. you cant expect a player to be on fire straight of the bench in a league they have never played before with dnp-10 min per game they got/get from coach.

with taj and gasol out miro gets extended playing time to get acclimated which is a silver lining. one problem he has he picks up stupid fouls/refs call stupid fouls on him respectivly.
once he gets it, how the whistles in the nba work he'll get more trust from coach.

from watching him, one can tell, his post moves a beautiful, he has great vision for the open man and has a sweet shooting stroke. what a gem to have.


sooner than later dougs mins will rise, will mdj will likely drop.
I think saying MCD is "solid" at this point is more wishful thinking at this point, not a proven fact. His defense is suspect (as expected) and shot has been off for a while now. He needs consistent minutes which Thibodeau has not done thus far.

I do agree on Mirotic. Both he and Gasol have been exceeding my expectations. Now that Gibson may be out, it will be interesting to see what happens. Bairstow may even get to play a bit.

Also, the Bulls are rumored to be looking for another point guard, if Hinrich and Rose are unable to play for any significant time. Our old friend, Mike James is supposed to be available.
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Old 11-24-2014, 11:04 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Observations after 11 games into the season.

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By saying that I don't see them offering him big time money, I'm also including matching a big time offer. I have a couple of reasons why I don't see Jimmy coming back to the Bulls if hes offered a max deal.

1. I don't think he will carry this amount of production for an entire season. I do think there will be some regression to the mean in his stats. He was a sub 40 shooter last season with heavy minutes and I just don't believe that Jimmy can continue his high FG% for the majority of the season.

2. If the Bulls don't make it to the finals and especially if they get bounced in the second round, I just don't see the Bulls putting up a ton of money to bring back the same team again.

Obviously all this will be moot if Jimmy has himself a great season. If he ends the season averaging 21 4 and 6 on 45%+shooting, its a no brainer to offer him something close to max.

While acknowledging it is indeed the Bulls, it is basically inconceivable that they won't match Jimmy for whatever he's offered. The new deal is kicking in soon and the Bulls will be flush with cash. However, letting him walk frees up exactly zero cap room, so it's not like they can go get a guy off the street. They also have zero other great wing defenders. They have to match.
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