Tag Archives: chicago bulls
As we delve into the Eastern Conference the Central division has had a tough offseason. Starting from the top, defending champ Chicago will have a HUGE hole to fill next year as star Derrick Rose recovers from his disappointing playoff knee injury. We all saw what they looked like without Rose in the playoffs as they were knocked out by the 8th seeded Sixers, and it wasn’t pretty. The Pistons drafted this year’s biggest enigma, Andre Drummond, and another bust with a first round pick is the last thing Joe Dumars and the Pistons faithful can afford. The Cavs, which looked to be in a terrific position with multiple picks in this year’s draft, somehow came away with a very underwhelming haul. They even had to see nemesis LeBron win his first title. Young-star Kyrie Irving’s broken hand only adds injury to the insult. As Bill Simmons would say “the lesson as always, God hates Cleveland.” The winners for the offseason in the Central have to be the Pacers and Bucks. The Pacers have added to their youthful core and secured big-man Roy Hibbert after their impressive playoff performance and I fully expect them to be the team to beat in the Central in 2012-2013. The Bucks added the volume-scoring Monta Ellis at last year’s trade deadline, but the early returns from the trade last year were not great. However, I am a Monta-fan and with their few interesting offseason moves, I see the Bucks competing for a playoff spot this year.
Chicago Bulls (1st Place 2011-2012)
Players Added: Marquis Teague, Marco Belinelli, Kirk Hinrich, Nazr Mohammed, Vladimir Radmanovic
Players Lost: Omer Asik, Kyle Korver, John Lucas III, C.J. Watson, Mike James, Ronnie Brewer
The Dime: Basketball is a team game, and an injury to one player shouldn’t completely change the fortunes of a franchise. But in the Bull’s case, when that player is MVP Derrick Rose, this rule gets thrown out the window. Rose does everything for Chicago, he scores most of the points, sets up his teammates, and draws 100% of the opponent’s defensive attention. No one else on their roster (outside of Luol Deng) is capable of creating their own offense or offense for others. Without Rose, they look lost offensively. Yes, the Bulls are a defensive team and a damn good one at that. But in basketball, if you can’t score you can’t win, no matter how well you defend. I expect the Bulls to have a dramatic drop off next year until Rose’s return. If they can keep their head afloat until February/March when Rose is expected to return (IF he returns healthy, but most knee injuries of this magnitude take at least two years to really recover from) they could potentially make a late push for the playoffs. However, I don’t expect this will be the case. It’ll be interesting to see if Tom Thibodeau and Co. proves me wrong.
Indiana Pacers (2nd Place 2011-2012)
Players Added: D.J. Augustin, Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee,
Players Lost: Leandro Barbosa, Louis Amundson, Darren Collison, Jeff Foster, A.J. Price, Dahntay Jones, Larry Legend (GM)
The Dime: When the Pacers went up 2-1 on Miami in the playoffs, talking heads around the league fully expected the young upstarts to pull off the upset. Although they ultimately fell short, they can keep their heads held high and get really excited about the things to come. The Pacers will be the Central’s team to beat next year, and one of the East’s top teams. This offseason they took care of the largest priority, re-signing center Roy Hibbert (who had signed a qualifying offer from Portland). Although GM Larry Bird stepped away this summer, the Pacers still could not resist adding a token white-guy in the draft, selecting Duke big Miles Plumlee. Although the selection was pretty poor (no way Plumlee was a first round pick), it was a fitting way to end the Bird-era in Indiana. The Pacers also added a backup PG to fill in for the departed Darren Collison in D.J. Augustin, and another athletic swingman, Gerald Green, to go alongside Paul George, Danny Granger and Co. If the Pacers youth can continue to improve in 2012-13, expect to see Indiana competing for a top spot in the East. The player I will be watching closely is Paul George. George had a terrific year, but had an underwhelming playoff performance. If George can take a step forward in his overall development as a player, particularly on the offensive end, the Pacers are really in a good position moving forward.
Milwaukee Bucks (3rd Place 2011-2012)
Players Added: Samuel Dalembert, John Henson, Doron Lamb
Players Lost: Shaun Livingston, Jon Brockman, Carlos Delfino, Jon Leuer
The Dime: The Bucks are the team most in a position to benefit from the tough-luck of Derrick Rose. Last year they were a borderline playoff contender, and I believe they are poised to find themselves in the playoffs in 2013. With Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, the Bucks have a backcourt of scorers more than capable of getting them points in bunches, and they added this offseason two inside players, Samuel Dalembert and John Henson, that should bolster their paint defense and make up for the loss of oft-injured Aussie, Andrew Bogut. They also added Kentucky shooter Doron Lamb in the second round, an under-rated late selection. Additionally, they re-signed one of last season’s breakout performers, Ersan Ilyasova, meaning they should boast a more than decent front court. If the at-times selfish duo of Jennings and Ellis can gel together, and the team continues to defend at the level coach Scott Skiles expects, I believe the 2012-2013 Bucks should be a playoff team.
Detroit Pistons (4th Place 2011-2012)
Players Added: Andre Drummond, Kim English, Khris Middleton, Kyle Singler, Corey Maggette
Players Lost: Ben Gordon, Vernon Macklin, Jason Maxiell, Walker Russell, Ben Wallace, Damien Wilkins
The Dime: Joe Dumars took another gamble in the first round this year, selecting UCONN’s highly talented, but under-productive Andre Drummond. If he pans out in the way his talent suggests, this can be one of the biggest draft steals in a long while. But if he ends up as a bust, which his middling performances as a freshman at UCONN suggest is a very real possibility, this will continue to set the franchise back. Remember, Dumars is the same guy who took Darko before Melo, DWade, and Chris Bosh in 2006. I’m not suggesting the players selected around Drummond will be the league’s biggest stars in 3-4 years like that group, but there was plenty of talent in this year’s draft. The Pistons faithful are in desperate need of some good news, but unfortunately for them, this offseason did not produce much of it. The emergence of Greg Monroe last year was the lone bright-spot in another miserable season, but I do not expect the 2012-2013 version of the team to produce many more highlights. It seems like it’s been forever in Detroit since the Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, and Rip Hamilton led teams were NBA champs and perennial contenders, and this offseason did not move the proud franchise any closer to returning to that kind of glory.
Cleveland Cavaliers (5th Place 2011-2012)
Players Added: Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller, Jeremy Pargo, Jon Leuer
Players Lost: Christian Eyenga, Semeh Erden, Alonzo Gee, Antawn Jamison, DJ Kennedy
The Dime: The Cavs actively looked to put a package together that would entice His Airness to part with the number 2 pick in this year’s draft so they could select the top-rated SG, Bradley Beal. With the number 4, 24, 33, and 34 pick in the draft, the Cavs had a variety of picks and a talented player (Anderson Varejao) they thought would be enough for a deal. However, the trade did not pan out, MJ took MKG at 2 and Beal landed with the Wizards at 3. So with the number 4 selection, the Cavs took Syracuse 6th man Dion Waiters ahead of Harrison Barnes and Thomas Robinson among others. This selection certainly raised some eye brows. They then traded their remaining picks to Dallas for the rights to 17th selection, UNC big Tyler Zeller. So if you’re scoring at home, the Cavs turned 4 top 35 picks in one of the deepest drafts in memory into at best a decent 6th man (Waiters) and a backup center (Zeller). Not exactly the haul the Cleveland faithful were hoping for. On top of it all, enemy of the state numero-uno celebrated his first title in South Beach (what happened with the guarantee the Cavs would win one first, Mr. Gilbert?) and young star Kyrie Irving let out some frustration during the US Olympic team camp and broke his shooting hand. Although he is expected to make a smooth recovery after his surgery, he will miss the entire offseason preparation for next year, and will not be able to star in those awesome Uncle Drew commercials (the real travesty of it all). Overall, in my estimation, it’s been a pretty shitty offseason for Cleveland. I fully expect the Cavs to be in their familiar position in the cellar of the Central Division this season.
According to Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports the Wizards are one of the teams that have shown interest in newly unrestricted free agent guard Courtney Lee.
Personally, I would love to see the Wizards go after Lee so that he could help shoulder some of the burden at SG from rookie Bradley Beal. Having Lee in DC would allow Beal to come off the bench in a 6th man role, a la James Harden in OKC, as he becomes acclimated to the NBA game.
Also, it would allow the Wizards to go small with a line up featuring Wall, Beal and Lee on the floor at the same time. Flanking two more than adequate shooters alongside a burner PG like John Wall would open up the lane for him to do what he does best; Penetrate the lane to score or find the open man after reading the defense.
While we may be interested in bringing Mr. Lee to Washington there has to be interest on his end as well for this rumor to evolve into a legitimate possibility. It was originally reported that the teams that would pursue Lee were the Clippers, Bulls, Pacers, Mavericks and of course our Washington Wizards. With the Clippers signing Chauncey Billups and Jamal Crawford today you have to assume they’re now out of the Courtney Lee sweepstakes.
That leaves us with the Bulls, Pacers and Mavericks as our top known competition. Realistically the Wizards could offer Lee their full MLE (Mid-Level Exception for those unfamiliar with the jargon of NBA Free Agency) which is roughly $5 million per year over the duration of the contract.
The Pacers just gave George Hill a contract worth $40 million. They also have a decision to make as to whether to max out Roy Hibbert. So it is not certain how much they would invest in a player who fills a similar role to Hill.
The Bulls and Mavericks are in the same boat. They are both legitimate contenders who could use a player like Lee but at what cost? I’m not convinced they would be able, or willing for that matter, to throw the full MLE at Lee like the Wizards could.
It is still far from a lock that Lee ends up with the Wizards. However, the odds got better today with the Clippers effectively dropping out of the race for the former Western Kentucky Hilltopper. Check back to The DC Dime for more coverage on the pursuit of Courtney Lee as well as other free agency news concerning the Wizards as it happens.
By: Bohlin & Willis
What are your thoughts on the move?
MB: While I don’t believe it was the right move, I can understand why it was made. Ted Leonsis wanted Grunfeld to overhaul the roster and build through the draft, in effect hit the reset button on the Washington Wizards franchise. Grunfeld has done exactly what his boss wanted him to do and that in it of itself would explain why Leonsis felt comfortable extending his contract. While that is all well and good, it doesn’t take into account the lack of major success in building a winner in D.C. in the seven years prior to Leonsis taking over the team. As fans we better hope our front office is making the right decision in retaining Grunfeld as our General Manager as his track record is far from earth shattering (Grunfeld History).
MW: I feel like I just got Grunfelted, again. It’s a rarity that this sort of thing happens twice in one season, but alas here it is again. I’m a big fan of Ted Leonsis and “The Plan,” as I’ve seen the success proper rebuilds have had with the Capitals, but this was his first slip up. I just don’t understand what constitutes a fireable offense at this point during Ernie’s tenure. Was it the league’s worst record last year? Nope. Was it the league’s second worst record this year? Nope. Was it putting together some “youth (Nick Young, JaVale McGee),” and then summarily trading all of those pieces because they were “toxic” and shutting down the last one (Andray Blatche) because he was unplayably bad? Nope: This is the problem with Washington, D.C.; when will we learn from our mistakes and move in another direction? As it stands, we’re treading water.
What are your thoughts on Ernie?
MB: The numbers speak for themselves. Since taking over in June of 2003, Grunfeld is 155 games under .500 as General Manager. One second round playoff run, and three other first round exits courtesy of LeBron are his postseason accomplishments. He also gave Gilbert Arenas just short of a max contract coming off of major knee surgery. His draft record is questionable and we all are aware of his affinity for the European player. For the last nine years we have seen the same thing from Grunfeld and I have no reason to believe that will change with the youth movement in the Nations Capital.
MW: Ibid. He might be a nice guy off the court, but Ernie Grunfeld is a bad GM. How many of his drat choices have been hits? That Mike Miller and Randy Foye trade for Ricky Rubio (the draft pick we traded for those two players) turned out awesome. In fact, of all the players that Ernie has drafted, only five of them are even on the roster at this point. That’s 5 out of 16 players drafted that remain on the roster, and three of those five are from one draft class (Vesely, Mack, and Singleton). Neither one of those players are starters in the NBA at this point, and only John Wall can be even remotely in consideration for a franchise player (or a non-tradeable asset). That’s not a rebuild, that’s a joke. Grunfeld has fumbled through countless picks, and it doesn’t seem like he has the ability to lead the Wizards to the promised land. Even if, at some point, these lottery picks in Vesely, Wall, and whoever we get this year turn the Wizards into a good team, that’s not a testament to Ernie Grunfeld’s ability to form a unit; it’s a testament to what happens when tons and tons of talent plays on the same team. We may not even get that talent if Ernie decides to trade it away anyhow, since he’s already gotten rid of two Top 5 picks during his tenure.
Was this the best Washington could do?
MB: If we have plans on becoming a contender for the playoffs in the next two years then no, we did not. If “The Plan” entails another couple of seasons similar to what we’ve been watching in order to get high lottery picks to continue to build around, then we could have done worse. Let’s face it, D.C. loves a winner and while the Skins may be the biggest draw, the district is a basketball city. When this team was competitive, the Verizon Center was a great place to watch a game. This move to keep Grunfeld is going to leave a sour taste in the mouths of many Wizards fans. Personally, I believe this summers NBA Draft is the most important pick the Wizards will make in quite some time and I cannot say I have confidence that Ernie won’t screw it up if we don’t land the #1 pick.
MW: Stability is an important thing for every franchise, and in a weird way, I get the message that Ted Leonsis is trying to send with this one. Ernie doesn’t have to make any desperate moves in trying to save his hide, which could potentially have cripple the franchise in the long term. And since every single one of the players on the roster are Ernie’s, if he does have some type of plan for the Wizards to be successful, it’s best he holds the reigns. Another GM might want to take over, clean house (again), and install some of his players. I’m not sure how much more power and control we want to give to Overlord Grunfeld, though, since we’re the laughingstock of the NBA. There were much better GM options out there, however, in Billy Knight (former GM of the Atlanta Hawks), Donnie Walsh, and Mark Warkentien.
It’s only 2 years, what’s the worst that could that happen?
MB: Remaining stagnant and losing more of a fan base that has already lost interest in the product on the floor. That’s exactly what will happen if the backlash from this wildly unpopular decision is as bad as it could potentially be. People were outraged when it came out that Grunfeld allegedly turned down an extension offer we made to him a month ago. The fact that he is officially signed up for the next couple of seasons is not going to sit well with many fans, including this one.
MW: Again, ibid. There’s a good chance that next season, the Wizards could find themselves treading water at the bottom cellar of the NBA again. Look no further than the Sacramento Kings if you want an example of how stockpiling youth with a bad GM doesn’t work at all. Because for all the young players we have, not one of them has been capable of changing the game up for us. In two years, Ernie could easily trade away talented players, draft bad ones, and saddle the Wizards with another big contract to a so-so player. Believe me, in two years Ernie Grunfeld could leave this franchise in a world of hurt and a prime candidate for contraction.
Tags: atlanta hawks, basketball, chicago bulls, dc, ernie, GM, grunfeld, jan vesely, John Wall, knicks, kwame brown, leonsis, nba, new york, sports, ted leonsis, washington, Washington Wizards, Wizards