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Discussion Starter #1
One word: DEFENSE. Okay, this is probably stating the obvious here, but it cannot be understated. Reason being, no team expecting to make the playoffs can have as porous a defense as the Bulls and still have a chance at winning 42-45 games (to obtain a possible 8th seed).

If there's one thing I've learned by living in Chicago my whole life is that Chicago fans are eternal optimists. We all tasted glory in 6 championships and we feel that there is some sort of entitlement and that we will be back soon enough. Maybe. The team, as it is now, will not make the playoffs.

The Bulls do not have a defensive stopper on this team (ala Artest, Bowen, Jones, or the like). They do have a nice on-the-ball defender in Hassell and some good help D shot blockers in Curry and Chandler. Your 2k2 starting lineup:

Jay Williams - a good defender on the ball, quick, but still a rookie (and remember rookies get all sort of @#$% called against them)

Jamal Crawford - not shown much on D, gets clobbered in pick-and-roll, needs to improve

Jalen Rose - this guy is a pimp but he doesn't play defense, the Bulls best player is a very good offensive player, just not a good defensive presence

Tyson Chandler - I believe he is our best post defender; gets into foul trouble though and has trouble guarding wider 4's in the league; may turn out to be dominant in 2-3 years time

Eddy Curry - an enigma on D, good shot blocker and wide body, but soft at times and got into foul trouble in almost EVERY game he started; (backed up by Bagaric - yikes!!!)

I see lots of potential here, as does everyone else. But teams that play poor defense do not make the playoffs, even in the weak East. Many of the teams that made teh playoffs in the East had veteran guys who can scrum and play D. The Bulls are young, energetic, but 1-2 years away from tasting the postseason.

Your opinions, as always, are welcome.

VD
 

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I'm not going to argue the fact that the Bulls have a weak team defense, because they do. Futhermore, I agree that one would be ignorantly optimistic to expect the Bulls to make the playoffs without improving their team D. Having said that, I disagree with a few of your points.

First of all, Hassell is a much better defender that Artest. People forget that as much hype as Ron Artest gave himself, there were games when Artest would get abused. Sure, he'd put up great numbers defensively in some contests, but in other games the man he was guarding would go off. What made matters worse is that Artest gambled a lot on D, which boded well for him statisically (a lot of steals) but jeopardized his teammates in the process. Artest is a scrappy hard-working defender, but as soon as he got the notion that he had some sort of offensive game, he D would slip and so would the Bulls chances of winning. Lest not forget that Trenton, a rookie, made Ron Artest expendable. Hassell is an awesome defender ... without question.

As important as D is, you really only need two really good defenders to be successful. One in the back court and one in the front court. Sure certain teams like Dallas will give you fits, but for the most part all you need is a good defender to shut down the oppositions PG or SG (whoever is better) and one shot blocker in the post. Trenton is our man in the back court, Chandler will be the man in the front court.

Secondly, I expect JC's D to improve drastically this season. With him completely healthy, he has the speed and physical attributes (i.e. height and wingspan) to defender virtually any PG in the NBA. My expectation is not based on my hopes and dreams but what I've noticed from JC's play over the past two seasons.

Thirdly, let's not forget that Eddy Curry hsa the potential to develop into a solid defender. The Ty-Curry combo could be lethal.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Originally posted by MichaelOFAZ
I'm not going to argue the fact that the Bulls have a weak team defense, because they do. Futhermore, I agree that one would be ignorantly optimistic to expect the Bulls to make the playoffs without improving their team D. Having said that, I disagree with a few of your points.

First of all, Hassell is a much better defender that Artest. People forget that as much hype as Ron Artest gave himself, there were games when Artest would get abused. Sure, he'd put up great numbers defensively in some contests, but in other games the man he was guarding would go off. What made matters worse is that Artest gambled a lot on D, which boded well for him statisically (a lot of steals) but jeopardized his teammates in the process. Artest is a scrappy hard-working defender, but as soon as he got the notion that he had some sort of offensive game, he D would slip and so would the Bulls chances of winning. Lest not forget that Trenton, a rookie, made Ron Artest expendable. Hassell is an awesome defender ... without question.

As important as D is, you really only need two really good defenders to be successful. One in the back court and one in the front court. Sure certain teams like Dallas will give you fits, but for the most part all you need is a good defender to shut down the oppositions PG or SG (whoever is better) and one shot blocker in the post. Trenton is our man in the back court, Chandler will be the man in the front court.

Secondly, I expect JC's D to improve drastically this season. With him completely healthy, he has the speed and physical attributes (i.e. height and wingspan) to defender virtually any PG in the NBA. My expectation is not based on my hopes and dreams but what I've noticed from JC's play over the past two seasons.

Thirdly, let's not forget that Eddy Curry hsa the potential to develop into a solid defender. The Ty-Curry combo could be lethal.
Good points Mike.

On second thought, Hassell may turn out to be a better overall defender than Artest. Yes Artest is a headcase, but I've seen games when his stingy defense impacted to WHOLE game, almost Scottie Pippen-esque. I'm not comparing the two, but Artest, at times, can be that good. He just blows up a lot! Hassell can still improve in the area, but I don't believe he'll ever have the hands (steal-wise) that Artest has.

I believe Chandler and Curry WILL be good, if not great post defenders. I think there's more potential w/ Chandler who has shown flashes of dominance. I just don't think this will 'all come together' next season. I'd give them 1-2 more seasons and the playoffs can become a distinct possibility.

VD
 

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Artest got abused when he tried to go against much bigger guys.

Hassel got abused by Van Horn.

Artest is a much better on ball defender than Hassel. It really is not much of a contest.
 
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