Grading The Chicago Bulls Offseason
Checkout this article on the Chicago Bulls offseason by Luke Stanczyk of Bleacher Report. Kyle brings up some good points and this serves as quality reading for fans anticipating the season.
Going into the 2010 off-season, Chicago Bulls fans had visions of LeBron James running the floor with Chris Bosh and/or Dwayne Wade vividly present in their minds. With the big contracts of Brad Miller and Jerome James coming off the books at the end of the 2009-2010 season, and with the departures of John Salmons, Tyrus Thomas, and Kirk Hinrich via trade, Gar and Company further poised themselves to make a big splash. It seemed as if landing at least one of the “big three” in free agency was a no-brainer, considering New Jersey, New York, Cleveland, Miami, and the LA Clippers did not have a core with the likes of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Luol Deng.
All in all, I cannot give this off-season an “A” because they were unable to execute their “Plan A” of acquiring one or two of Bosh, Wade, and LeBron. However, Boozer, Korver, and Watson are all really nice fits, and Brewer is going to help the team vastly improve themselves on the defensive side of the ball. They effectively filled all of their needs; except for a backup Center. As a final grade, I would give John Paxson, Gar Forman, Jerry Reinsdorf, and new Head Coach Tom Thibodeau a solid “B”.
Unfortunately, that did not happen, and LeBron, Dwayne, and Chris decided to join forces on sunny South Beach instead of Chicago.
However, does that mean the Bulls off-season was a complete failure, or even a failure at all?
Acting fast, the Bulls inked Carlos Boozer to a lucrative five year deal worth around 75 million dollars just after Wade and Bosh announced that they would play in Miami. If you were to ask anyone who has followed the Bulls for the last ten or so seasons what the team’s most pressing need is, they would have most definitely told you low-post scoring. Carlos brings the Bulls just that, as he has posted a field goal percentage of over 50 percent in seven of his eight NBA seasons, and has averaged a double-double in five of those eight years, including each of the last four. He has also preformed real well in the post-season, as he averages 20.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game in 44 career post-season games. One of his biggest strengths is also running the pick-and-roll, which he made a living running in Utah with Deron Williams, which figures to be a big part of the Bulls offense this season this year as well with Derrick Rose holding the keys.
With the departures of Kirk Hinrich, Jannero Pargo, and Flip Murray, and with the exit of John Salmons in the middle of last season, the second need on the Bulls shopping list was to acquire some three point shooters. Gar Forman wasted no time acquiring a shooter, as he signed another former Jazz player in Kyle Korver. Korver has been known for lighting it up from downtown throught his career, as he has shot 41 percent from three-point land through seven NBA seasons, including a career-high 53.6 percent last season.
Not only did the Bulls acquire a three-point shooter in Korver, but yesterday they acquired CJ Watson in a sign-and-trade with the Golden State Warriors. CJ has averaged 35.1 percent from beyond the arc in his three NBA seasons, and he is a guy who can spell Derrick Rose and be the the backup Point Guard. He is a quick guard who can score (averaged 10.3 PPG last season coming off the bench), and can rack up some steals (13th in the NBA with 1.58 SPG last year).
Gar also added one more member in the backcourt in Ronnie Brewer. Brewer will likely be the team’s starting two guard this year opposite Derrick Rose, and he appeared to be the Chicago’s “Plan B” for this position after JJ Redick was retained by the Orlando Magic. Even though JJ would have been a better fit because of his ability to knock down the three, Brewer is a better defender and can guard the point guard, two guard, and small forward positions. Although he is not a great shooter, he is a great ball-handler who can score going toward the basket. Also, he is used to playing with Boozer and Korver, as he also is a former member of the Utah Jazz. Ronnie may not be the best fit for the Bulls, but he still brings a lot to the forefront.
There is one more need the Bulls have: a Center to backup Joakim Noah. Since the Bulls were unable to re-sign Brad Miller, that role currently appears to be occupied by Turkish League All-Star Omer Asik. The Bulls have held Omer’s rights since they acquired him from Portland during the 2008 NBA Draft, where he was selected in the second round (36th overall). He definitely has the body to play Center in the NBA (7’0, 255), but he appears to be a huge project. The word on him when he was selected in 2008 was that his offensive game needed a lot of polishing. He has had two years to further work on his game overseas, but the idea that he can step in and make an impact for the Bulls right away remains a mystery.
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