Do you remember when you were a kid sitting in the shopping cart and your mom promised to get your favorite cereal as long as you behaved? Sure, everything was fine for the first ten minutes. Mom breezes through the cereal aisle and plops your box of Fruit Loops into the cart. Next came the cookie aisle, than ice cream. You start grabbing at everything. Finally, your mom reaches down and slaps you on the hand.
“Can’t you leave well-enough alone?”
The Bulls, who’ve remained quiet this off-season, must have taken this advice to heart. With the addition of Richard Hamilton, many fans look at his as the parting gift to a free agency spree that tiptoed the line of chaos and nuclear meltdown. What happened to going after Caron Butler? Jason Richardson? Did we consider reuniting with Jamal Crawford? How about making a splash with a trade? Maybe O.J. Mayo or his teammate Rudy Gay? The Bulls front office traveled down these winding roads and made that conclusion – We’re leaving well enough alone.
On the surface, Hamilton’s addition is a welcomed one. A long time adversary, Hamilton is now expected to ease Derrick Rose’s burden on offense. Hopefully we’ll have fewer reckless drives per game and more kick outs for open 18-footers. Fans kept hearing the same thing, “We need a solid second scoring option.”
Uh, paging Carlos Boozer. Dr. Deng, are you in? I thought we already had our second and third scoring options. Although they would never admit it, the two-headed front office hydra of John Paxson and Gar Foreman realize that while both Boozer and Deng are fantastic complimentary players, both have shortcomings that truly hinder them from being second scoring options, whether it be Boozer’s frequent visits from the injury bug or Deng’s inability to create on offense.
Theoretically, Hamilton probably made the most sense. He’s a veteran who they could acquire without killing the cap. Plus, he wanted to be in Chicago and made that apparent for the last two seasons. Playoff experience? Check. Ability to move without the ball and remain effective? Check. Solid offensive efficiency? Check. A guy who won’t ruin your chemistry and take coaching and criticism? Check.
Sounds like a home run, right? Why are fans and analysts still antsy, then? While the addition of Hamilton certainly addresses the problem, does it fix it? Are we really comfortable enough to hand the keys on offense to a 33-year-old shooting guard for stretches amidst a hyper-competitive eastern conference?
Another thing many fans fail to realize is that our two main obstacles in the east, New York and Miami, both made large acquisitions. Tyson Chandler now anchors a Knicks’ defense that might as well been invisible over the last few seasons. Remember what his addition did to the Mavericks last year? If Chandler and Stoudemire can stay healthy, this team could cause fits down the stretch.
Miami, a team that already has two elite perimeter defenders, added another in Shane Battier. Our downfall against Miami was their knack to shift all of their focus defensively onto Rose, knowing full well that Boozer disappeared in the limelight and Deng simply lacked the ability to create his own shot. Much like our Hamilton addition, Battier is a veteran who adds several things to the table without taking anything off it. Now, Miami can go to its bench and not worry about Chicago clawing back into the game by riding a Rose hot streak.
Don’t get me wrong, barring a major injury, our squad is a lock for a top-four spot in the East. This is, after all, essentially the same squad that secured 62-wins just a year ago. A shortened season will further test the meddle of a squad that played beautifully together, even with Boozer and defensive anchor Joakim Noah missing extended time. I’m not saying we should’ve made a move simply to make a move (You know, like Mark Cuban seems to do every single year). I just feel like sometimes making a move that’s got a bit more oomph, it sends a message to your team like, “Look guys, I made this move because it was the only thing we needed. There’s no complaining, no excuses. Go out there and win.”
When it comes down to the playoffs, we can just hope that our front office made the right moves, or lack thereof. Remember, we left well-enough alone.