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the discussion in bizkits' thread is mostly focused on why isn't ben playing over duhon in the 4th lately. (and it's a good discussion!!) but there is a bigger, team-wide issue that is not being talked about. specifically, where the hell has the mojo gone? why aren't the bulls playing with the same defensive intensity as last season? where the hell is the swagger?

this is the first time i can ever recall skiles saying the word "failed" and have it refer to himself.
i think the guys understand the effort message loud and clear frankly. i think the rotations and the willingness to play certain guys over others (which IS totally on the coach) is very much a cause for concern.

not good time for this to happen heading into seattle. i watched a little bit of the sonics/celtics game and the sonics have most decidedly gotten their mojo back.

how can the bulls get their mojo back?



'Basically, I'm failing right now,'' Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. ''We're playing virtually no defense, our effort's unacceptable, and that's my job to get the guys to understand that, and I'm not getting it done.''

The Blazers were 34-for-66 (51.6 percent) from the field and went to the free-throw line for 37 attempts. Hinrich, though, put the blame on the players.

''I don't think that's an accurate statement,'' Hinrich said when informed of Skiles' quote. ''I'm not saying he's lying to you or anything, but it's on us. It's his job to get us ready, and it's not because we haven't been ready.

''Defensively, we've been bad. We're labeled as a defensive team, and we've been awful.''


http://www.suntimes.com/output/sports/cst-spt-bull17.html
 

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Yeah, the mojo is missing definitely. We've lost 4 games. Two of those were on last second buzzer beaters, and another was in overtime. It's enough to make a Bulls fan sick. Last year, Ben Gordon was bail us out of these situations, but he's not asserting himself the same way late in games. It's depressing to think we could realistically be 6-1. But it's a long season...and on the bright side, we're light years ahead of where we were a year ago. And even more on the bright side, I'm loving Mike Sweetney more each game and the guy seems to be an excellent replacement for Curry's production.
 

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Several things seem to be happening from what I can see, in no particular order:

1. Like them or not, losing Eddy and AD hurt the team from a continuity and leadership standpoint, and it's set up Chandler for a really rough time in that he's the only true big man on the team.

2. (probably most importantly) We're not going to sneak up on anyone this year. Teams are going to be better prepared for what we bring, both in terms of gameplan and intensity. It can make a huge difference, especially at the margins (if last year we were the equivalent of a baseball team that wins lots of one-run games, Bill James would say that we're going to lose a lot of those games this year).

3. Whether we want to admit it or not, this offseason probably made it tough on the coaching staff in terms of not just getting the team ready to play this season, but to make improvements on problem areas from last year. We're still turning the ball over way too much and don't seem to have added many new offensive or defensive wrinkles from what I can tell. Offensively, guys are having trouble finding sweet spots and open shots, and defensively, we're just getting beat too damn much and giving up too many offensive rebounds.

4. The players probably don't want it as badly as they did last year. It's pretty much impossible to sustain playoff-level intensity through multiple regular seasons. Chandler got paid. Duhon got paid. Skiles got paid. And perhaps in light of the Curry trade, some of the other key guys are thinking they're Paxson's guys and thus probably likely to be here for the long haul. I don't think any of this is bad/unusual -- some of us saw it coming last year.
 

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Well, I got six kinds of **** back when I wrote:

So let's take stock of things. We made a trade that most noone likes from a talent perspective. The one guy we thought was coming back, the co-team captain and the hard-working president of the players union, appears set to turn his back on us, either staying with the Knicks or retiring, meaning we unexpectedly just lost both our starting bigs from last year. The players seem dispirited and unhappy to see the old guys go. The new guys don't appear especially happy to be coming. The GM is unhappy and emotional. Our new starting center, who just signed a huge contract extension, admits to coming into camp out of shape.

Suffice to say this isn't exactly an auspicious beginning to the 2006-2007 season. The big challenge for the Bulls is going to be to hang tight together and have younger guys step up. Ben Gordon was somewhat under pressure to take his game to the next level before, and now he absolutely has to. Tyson needs to stay healthy. Luol needs to be healthy. Internally, we need young guys to replace the chemistry dimensions we've seemed to lose, motivate guys to stick together, keep them loose, and have the authority, stature and knack for serving as a counterweight to Skiles, who is occasionally too antagonistic and tightly wound.

Having the right mix of stuff like that hardly ever gets mentioned but it can be crucially important, perhaps just as important as having the right on court mix. It's really what we should be talking about when we talk about doing things "the right way". It's not just about having individuals that all buy into the same idea like they're pressed out of a cookie cutter, but about creating a good working environment where different folks fill different roles and make a smooth running team. Even though the "on court" turnover is lower in that respect than in years past, it seems like the "ecosystem" in which everything came together and operated smoothly last year is quite a bit different. It's going to be very important to get that squared away moving forward.
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but most of it still appears accurate to me (I'll grant that Sweetney is probably happy to be here... the rest seems right on the money).

The question is how to get going. I don't think there's any real way to do it but to have guys on the team working hard and making the environment a good one. Do we have someone who can be a counterweight to Skiles bad tendencies (not saying he's not got good ones, but...)? Do we have someone who's respected and keeps people happy and lose? Maybe not right now. Can someone on our team become that guy? I dunno. I hope so.
 

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Mikedc said:
Well, I got six kinds of **** back when I wrote:



but most of it still appears accurate to me (I'll grant that Sweetney is probably happy to be here... the rest seems right on the money).

The question is how to get going. I don't think there's any real way to do it but to have guys on the team working hard and making the environment a good one. Do we have someone who can be a counterweight to Skiles bad tendencies (not saying he's not got good ones, but...)? Do we have someone who's respected and keeps people happy and lose? Maybe not right now. Can someone on our team become that guy? I dunno. I hope so.
I just don't think the Bulls are that good. Last season, the East was weaker and the Bulls managed to catch lightning by playing with a level of effort above most teams. Now, players no longer have the burning desire to prove the belong and so our effort is returning to the pack a bit. Unfortunatly, the talent isn't there to compensate.
 

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Kirk Hinrich looks like our best player, not only now but for the future. That's not good. Gordon, Deng, and Chandler have not shown any improvement, which I would expect from young players. I know Tyson didn't exactly work out in the summer because of his free agency, and Deng had the wrist issue, so I'll wait to pass judgement on those guys. But Ben's defense and decision making still looks awful at times. Neither Gordon or Chandler have really done anything to dispute the notion that they're little more than situational offensive and defensive players (the way in which Skiles used them last year).

Now, I still think the Bulls will make the playoffs and have a good record at end the year, but to compete for a championship, they'll need some serious talent additions (as opposed to just player development).
 

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I believe all of the above observations are good ones. From my point of view, it is not so much lack of effort as lack of talent that is doing the Bulls in. I know that it is early in the season and other posters are going to criticize me for saying this but I think Paxson has done a very poor job in filling in the holes on this team. I know he is on record as saying that he wants to get in a position cap-wise to do big things next year but I don't see this happening. Next year is incredibly poor for FAs that can help this team. Even before he was injured I thought Nene was just a decent big without any big upside. Przybilla could help but he is no franchise player (assuming we can get him).

Although this was discussed ad nauseum on this board, I think Pax blundered pure and simple on the Curry deal. Curry may not have been a franchise player either, but I think he had much more impact on last year's success than people give him credit for. Curry is a good kid who I believe will be a solid center in this league. Yes he has his faults, but he will not be easily replaced at the 5 spot.

Yes, Gordon was a big reason for the team's success last year, but it is clear to me and many other posters that a Hinrich/Gordon backcourt will not work. Iggy clearly was the logical choice for one of the first round picks last year. Over the long haul he will help Philly a lot more than Gordon will help the Bulls.

The signing of Chandler to such a huge, long-term deal mystifies me. Pax was bidding against himself. The fact that Dalembert signed for the same amount is not the key here in that many teams were interested in him whereas few teams were interested in Chandler. Supply and demand should have determined Chandler's worth. Like Gordon, I don't see Chandler as a solid starter for the Bulls. Just decent complementary players who do not have complete skill sets.
 

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Couple of points, though I do not believe this 100%, the fact needs to be said for discussion sake, we could be 6-1. The only we were really badly beaten is was GS @ GS. All games are close. So we are competing. But for some reason or the other we lost close games that we should have won. Games we would have won last season.

We really miss AD! We would miss curry if not for Sweetney. But AD was at the end of games last season and this allowed Chandler to do his magic against pfs! That worked. Early on, he is struggling against centers. The magic is not there through the first 7 games. We need a center. A true center. Maybe two.

And the rest of this post is directed at ScottMay:

1. Like them or not, losing Eddy and AD hurt the team from a continuity and leadership standpoint, and it's set up Chandler for a really rough time in that he's the only true big man on the team.
I agree as I said something similar above this quote.

2. (probably most importantly) We're not going to sneak up on anyone this year. Teams are going to be better prepared for what we bring, both in terms of gameplan and intensity. It can make a huge difference, especially at the margins (if last year we were the equivalent of a baseball team that wins lots of one-run games, Bill James would say that we're going to lose a lot of those games this year).
We may not be sneaking up on teams, but we could be 6-1 at this time. It is more a matter of missed opportunities. Now if we continue to lose close games then we may very well lose a lot of games. But as long as we have a chance to win at the end of games, the outcame can go either way. Some of our losses could turn into wins. I do not get the sense that we are going to lose a lot. How much us a lot, anyway? Just curious.

And last year, we won 47 games plus two in the playoffs. Thats a hell of a lot of games to sneak up on teams with, dont you think?

3. Whether we want to admit it or not, this offseason probably made it tough on the coaching staff in terms of not just getting the team ready to play this season, but to make improvements on problem areas from last year. We're still turning the ball over way too much and don't seem to have added many new offensive or defensive wrinkles from what I can tell. Offensively, guys are having trouble finding sweet spots and open shots, and defensively, we're just getting beat too damn much and giving up too many offensive rebounds.
I agree with every point. No arguement

4. The players probably don't want it as badly as they did last year. It's pretty much impossible to sustain playoff-level intensity through multiple regular seasons. Chandler got paid. Duhon got paid. Skiles got paid. And perhaps in light of the Curry trade, some of the other key guys are thinking they're Paxson's guys and thus probably likely to be here for the long haul. I don't think any of this is bad/unusual -- some of us saw it coming last year.
Pure speculation imo. Now if we were getting blown out? Maybe you would a point. Duhon got paid and had his first triple double. Chandler? I think he is out of position. Thats all. I would be satisifed with his money if he did what he did last year, but he did that at the pf spot. Clearly he is having a tough time at center. And as for Skiles being paid, again, we had chances to win more than we have lost. A person can look at this two ways.

<li>we lost because of Skiles. Someting he didnt do or something he did at the end of games.

<li> or we had chances to win the games because of Skiles and the fact he coached all the way onto the end of games. Some of those games coming back from becing behind to almost pull them out.

I dont think the loss at GS was Scott's fault. When your guards shoot as badly as ours did, there is not a lot a coach can do about that.
 

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I agree with pretty much most of the points, but i also have something minor to add. I believe everyone is just trying a bit too hard.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
step said:
I agree with pretty much most of the points, but i also have something minor to add. I believe everyone is just trying a bit too hard.

in a weird way, i think this is a valid point. guys aren't letting the game come to them and are forcing the issue. duhon is 0-7 from behind the arc last night? then why continue to force shots?
kirk took one shot the entire first half? what was the game plan there? he wasn't playing his game last night. yeah he was off cause of the early foul trouble, but something else was up like he was told to not look for his shot. tyson is the seven foot enigma. ben is totally confused as to his role on the team. case in point when he threw it away/passed to noch at the very end last night. noch was expecting him to take the shot, as he was WIDE OPEN, and instead he tosses it away into the stands. he's playing confused. and speaking of confused, deng's bball IQ varies from game to game, play to play. songailas' confidence is non-existant which is too bad, cause he has a nice touch around the basket. sweetney was simply outstanding last night, but he's not playing enough minutes.

i think they can and will get their mojo back. it's on the players as much as it's on the coaching staff. it's going to be very hard to win in seattle on friday. let's just hope they can make a game of it. i want to see swagger and confidence, not confusion. skiles has them playing scared.


and yes, mike, you were like miss cleo with that post about chemistry.
 

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and one more thing. it's hard for a player to find confidence and rhythm when they're being put thru the revolving door of skiles' rotations. yeah foul trouble contributes to this. but pargo playing for ben in the third last nite? what was that about?

and skiles shouldn't say anything to the press about changing the starting lineup and then not do it. i thought that was kinda bogus, frankly.
 

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Part of what we're missing isn't replaceable by anything except time. Curry and AD were guys who had pretty well defined roles in what they did, both on and off the court.

Even if we brought in a guy like PJ Brown, who's probably on par with AD as far as the kind of respect he commands, he'd still be a newcomer walking into the situation. That's similar for someone who would replace Curry as a good-natured guy who reportedly kept people happy and having fun on the team.

Comeraderie is something you can't replace overnight.

On the brighter side, it will develop over time as people get used to their new situations. One thing that can facilitate that is making sure guys have pretty well defined rolls. That's something we seem to be lacking from last year that can be rectified.

It's kind of ironic that Skiles is being so crazy with doling out the PT, because he's said on a number of occasions that he's always found players don't react very well to such things. He's got a couple of guys he knows can handle it (Harrington, Pike, Pargo), but he seems to be doing it more with Sweetney, Gordon, Deng, Songaila and Thomas, and that's not necessarily the way to go about it.

I know part of the problem is figuring out what the new guys are capable of, but it seems like we need to settle down and establish some consistency in how we play them. That stability, in turn, will allow people to step up in the off-court chemistry and leadership departments.
 

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Skiles can't stand players that make stupid decisions while on the court. (i.e. pass sailing over wide open nocioni head)

Also, Skiles can't stand players that are not busting their tail on D.

Jack 3-5 shooting, Dixon 5-10 shooting, Telfair basically high-stepping sweetness style into our lane whenever he wants.

0 assists, 2 turnovers and 3 fouls for Gordon in 21 minutes last night. These types of things will keep him on the bench.

BTW, I think we lost our MOJO magic when we lost 4 of 6 to the Wizards last spring.
 

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mizenkay said:
and one more thing. it's hard for a player to find confidence and rhythm when they're being put thru the revolving door of skiles' rotations. yeah foul trouble contributes to this. but pargo playing for ben in the third last nite? what was that about?

and skiles shouldn't say anything to the press about changing the starting lineup and then not do it. i thought that was kinda bogus, frankly.
I think Skiles was assuming TT might be the reserve SF playing Noc at PF and starting Deng. His back injury may have "forced" Skiles to change his mind.
 

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Rhyder said:
I think Skiles was assuming TT might be the reserve SF playing Noc at PF and starting Deng. His back injury may have "forced" Skiles to change his mind.
Good point, I guess if they end up playing Noc and Lou at the same time, TT's more likely than not going to have to get some burn.

Unless he gets "injured" again. Wonder if he's been hanging out with Olin Kreutz and various FBI agents?
 

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I think the biggest problem the Bulls have had thus far has been the very poor play of Songaila. He's guven us nada since the end of the first game. That in turn puts Othella in a position of having to do his thing every night, which he hasn't proven capable of. Everything else, from Duhon's poor shooting, Kirk's up and down shooting and sometimes foul trouble, and Ben's struggles both with shooting and with the rotation, are things that were forseeable and that we can overcome. Deng and Noconi have struggled at times, but they've shown some signs. Tyson isn't where I'd like him to be, but he hasn't been as horrible as he's been made out to be. I don't understand what he did was so horrible that resulted in him only playing 18 minutes, since he only had 2 fouls during that time and managed to get 7 rebounds.
 

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mizenkay said:
and one more thing. it's hard for a player to find confidence and rhythm when they're being put thru the revolving door of skiles' rotations. yeah foul trouble contributes to this. but pargo playing for ben in the third last nite? what was that about?

and skiles shouldn't say anything to the press about changing the starting lineup and then not do it. i thought that was kinda bogus, frankly.
Here, here.

I like Pargo way less than some around here do. Pargo is an extremely poor man's Ben Gordon. I don't understand a) why he's on the roster and b) why Skiles ever plays him over Ben. I would rather see Eddie Basden active than Pargo, at least he brings something different to the table. Pargo's skills are not that impressive to begin with and totally redundant on this team.
 

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I'll expand on my point a little bit as i was a bit rushed earlier on.
It seems the majority are grasping for straws trying to figure out their roles and are being asked to do alot more than they should and probably can do. And the one player who actually has a defined role, Sweets, is flourishing... well getting there. This is where i believe we ought to push for a trade for Pierce, though you's might be sick of me reiterating this part so often, but i'll come back to it later.
Some of the highlights:-
Rather than executing the offense, Duhon seems to be shooting it alot more. Sure when he's hot, he's up there, but he really isn't that type of player and really should stick to being the "floor general".
Gordon went from our go to guy to a 3 point specialist, and seems to be given no leniency from Skiles, who seems to forget he's only a sophomore.
As everyone has said, Chandler is just really playing out of position. I won't bother reiterating that point, as i agree with it whole-heartedly. If Sweets can sort of emulate the Chandler Curry success of before, it could work out for the better.

This is where i believe getting a player like Pierce will help alot. He can be the main focal point of the offense whenever we're not targeting Sweets. Though he wouldn't come cheap, i'd believe something along the lines of Gordon, TT, our pick would probably be sufficient enough to get him.

Our roles from then onwards for the rest of the season would be pretty well defined. I believe our success will lie in having our rock - Hinrich as our PG. The ability of him being a combo guard will help him alot. Duhon i feel would be a great PG to come off the bench, especially if he can find his confidence and improve his 3 point shot.
And for Deng, though i never shared the same optimism about him, i believe he could make a solid role player. I believe a Tayshaun Prince role would suit him well. This would mean not much on the offensive end will be asked of him, other than to hit the open jumper or sometimes slash & penetrate which i hear he's good at. Though this means him finding that same defensive niche that Prince has, i believe it would be possible, if not, there is always Noc eager to fill the void.
As for the bigs, the only solution that i see is a FA signing (or magically a draft pick). We could push for Al Harrington and even play him on the wing is Sweets finds his touch to play alot longer.
If Sweets does find his touch, we could even push for Peja who in the end could combine a lethal duo with Pierce on the wing.

So basically the highlight would be trade for Pierce, sign Harrington/Peja for the rest of our salary cap (was at around 21ish, so basically would be around $7mill) and try to sign a backup big guy for the MLE (hopefully the likes of AD for the short term, even combined with cheap servicable big man could probably work - Reggie Evans, Jarred Jeffries (if he's able to bulk up, he has the height), Chris Taft (believe he only has a 1yr contract from the 2nd round)).
I had the idea of trading Deng + fillers for PJ Brown, but since they have Mason, that sort of died. Maybe we could try to pry away Wilcox with Deng.

PG - Hinrich, Duhon,
SG - Pierce, Badsen,
SF - Harrington/Peja, Nocioni,
PF - Chandler, Noc/Harrington, Reggie Evans?
C - A servicable big to start off the game till Sweets comes in (eg AD next year, possibly Wilcox), Sweets, Jarred Jeffries
The rest to be filled by cheap role players.

I've sought of detoured but i feel the Bulls haven't lost their mojo. While the core of last years successful team is basically there, Skiles just seems to be playing it differently. Anyways i've probably combined my repsone that should probably be split over two or so threads, but i use the its 6am excuse here... and i'm off to sleep.

I would rather see Eddie Basden active than Pargo
Ooo luckily i caught that in my refresh. I agree and i believe our token roster spot next year should go to Kukoc. He so should finish his career with the Bulls.
 

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How the Bulls will get there MOJO back: lottery picks from NY.

The Curry will trade will work out well for the Bulls in the long run. Don't fret too much about this season like the Cavs fans didn't care nearly as much about last season as the offseason that was going to happen after it. The Bulls have a nice base set up add a piece or two and they will be right there. Right now talent wise I just don't think Chicago have the guns to run with the top teams but everything seems to be set for them take off with the right additions. For example, a guy like Pierce on the Bulls would make u guys very scary
 
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