Archive for the ‘Chicago Bulls’ category

Did You Motherfuckers Just Lose to the Heat?

April 9, 2008

fuck_you

Dear Chicago Bulls,

Wow. Quite a game last night. Playing against an abortion of a shitfest of an abonination–a team with a starting five of Chris Quinn, Daequan Cook, Mark Blount, Ricky Davis, and Earl Barron–you lost by 7. Seriously…..you just lost to a team that boasted Kasib Powell as its leading scorer. A Kasib Powell that was named the Developmental League’s MVP a few weeks ago. A fucking D-League player dropped 20 on you. I mean, the Heat were losers of 7 in a row and 10 of 11, and hadn’t beaten a team other than Milwaukee since February. And you asswipes lost to them?

Kirk Hinrich, you just signed a multi-year deal in the offseason worth upwards of $11 million – $12 million per. You were a lottery pick. Matched up with Quinn, you went 2-for-5 from the field in 30 minutes of play, scoring 5 points and tossing 4 assists. Quinn slightly outplayed you to the tune of 16 points, 6 assists, and 2 steals in 30 minutes. By the way, Chris Quinn was an undrafted free agent from Notre Dame who averaged about 8 minutes per game–career–until the Heat gave up on the season a few months back.

Hey Ben Gordon: great effort. “They wanted it more and played a lot harder as a team,” Gordon said. “A lot of their guys are playing just to stay in the NBA, so they definitely had a higher level of intensity than we showed.” Read that quote. Its coming from a guy who is in a contract year, by the way. Oh, and his team needed this win to stay alive for the postseason.

As a team, you allow the Heat to shoot 48 percent from the field. You blew an 11-point lead late in the third quarter to a team that hasn’t come back from that large of a deficit all season. To be fair, Tyrus Thomas did outscore Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem combined. By four. But Thomas played 30 minutes, and I don’t think D-Wade and U-Has (?) were even in the building last night. So thats not as good as I originally thought.

John Paxson, I bought season tickets for this year’s team for two reasons–One, I believed that this team was ready to take that step to become one of the Eastern Conference’s elite. Two, I thought that there might be a chance you would acquire Kobe Bryant and give this team the edge it needed to compete with the league’s best. Neither happened, obviously. And I blame you. Your insistance that this core group of players–Hinrich, Thomas, Gordon, Luol Deng–was good enough to win a title has cost Bulls fans a chance to see something special. You could of traded any of these guys in a package for Kevin Garnett. Or Pau Gasol. Or Bryant. Instead, you stood pat, made a horrible Ben Wallace signing and draft blunders like Thomas over LaMarcus Aldridge. You got almost nothing for Tyson Chandler, who is thriving in New Orleans (albeit with the best point guard in the league, something he could have used in Chicago). You signed Captain Kirk to the aforementioned huge deal. To wrap it all up, you fired a good NBA coach–Scott Skiles–because a bunch of players didn’t like him. And you replaced him with an ineffective, powerless, borderline assistant, effectively throwing away the season.

I grew up in the 80s and followed the maturation of Michael Jordan and one of the greatest teams in NBA history. I saw my favorite team win 6 NBA titles. So maybe I was spoiled by that. But living through the 1998-99 through 2002-2003 seasons means I have a right to expect more. Watching this team lose to the Minnesota Timberwolves was bad enough; watching them get eliminated from playoff contention by a fucking D-League roster is an embarassment. Mr. Reinsdorf, make firing Paxson your first order of business. Send Jim Boylan with him, along with Gordon, Deng, and Chris Duhon. See if you can get anything for the others. Start over. I’d rather go through another 4 years of crap than watch a talented team not care for another season.

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Holy Shit….These Guys Are REALLY Done

March 4, 2008

Goofy_Noce 

So, I was listening to sports talk radio today, and my favorite afternoon team–Dan Bernstein and Terry Boers on WSCR 670 ‘The Score’–were discussing the Bulls’ inability to win three games in a row. They were looking over the Bulls’ remaining schedule to determine if it was going to happen in the final two months.

Folks, not only will this piece of shit team not win three in a row, they might struggle to win three total. OK, thats a bit of hyperbole, but check out this remaining schedule:

Memphis, Cleveland, at Boston, at Detroit, Utah, Philadelphia, at New Orleans, New Jersey, San Antonio, Indiana, Atlanta, at Philadelphia, at Atlanta, Milwaukee, Boston, at Cleveland, Washington, at Miami, at Orlando, Cleveland, Orlando, at Milwaukee, Toronto.

I knew this team wasn’t a contender; that was apparent by the end of November. But as a season ticket holder, I held out hope of a late run, resulting in the 7 or 8 seed and perhaps an entertaining playoff series against Boston or Detroit, in which the Bulls managed a win or two. But look at that schedule. There’s no way. Lets analyze this:

– Here are the “definite” wins (by no means are any of these wins guaranteed by NWMJ; however, I would be surprised if the Bulls didn’t beat these teams): Memphis, Indiana, Milwaukee, at Miami. So that is four wins.

– Here are the games they could win, but by no means do I expect the Bulls to prevail: Philadelphia, New Jersey, Atlanta, at Philadelphia, at Atlanta, Washington. There’s six games that the Bulls ‘could’ win, but will probably go 3-3 in (or worse).

– And here are the games that if the Bulls win, I’ll be shocked: Cleveland, at Boston, at Detroit, Utah, at New Orleans, San Antonio, Boston, at Cleveland, at Orlando, Cleveland, Orlando, and Toronto. Lets say that out of those 12 games, the Bulls miracously pull out 3. And thats stretching it, my friends.

So looking at this optimistically, the Bulls will garner another 10 wins. That will put the squad at 33-49, and even that is not good enough to make the 8 seed in the East.

A Night at the U.C.

February 23, 2008

United Center

As I’ve mentioned before, I have partial season tickets to the Bulls this year. My friend Neil and I purchased 11 games, and this is the 8th we have had tics for. So far this year, we are 0-5, and we sold the tickets to the two other games. So obviously, this investment was turned out terrific for the two of us. Neil had been prodding me to write an entry about a Bulls game, a sort of Simmons-esque running diary of the experience of watching a Bulls game this year. We figured that Friday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets would be as good game as any to write about.

**-Upon waiting for Neil to show up at Gate 2 prior to the game, I watch the people enter the U.C. I then see a guy wearing the greatest jersey of the season so far, even better than the dude wearing an authentic Bears Kordell Stewart jersey a few months ago: this cat had a Trent Tucker jersey. Yeah, thats right. Trent. Tucker.
**-Neil shows up and we make our way up to the 300 level about 15 minutes prior to game time. We get our beers and then spend the next fifteen minutes before tip walking up the stairs to our seats, intermittedly stopping to get oxygen and check our heart monitors. Our seats aren’t that bad; we’re just out of shape and somewhat fat.
**-Finally, the game is about to start. Before the game, like at many sporting events now, the Bulls show a two or three minute highlight film which showcases past great Bulls and then eventually transitions to the key players of today. This year this film has been more comedic than anything for Neil and I. It starts out great…….the movie shows some of the underrated good players of the early 70s like Norm van Lier, Bob Love, and Jerry Sloan, and then shows the guys that we all grew up idolizing (Michael, Scottie, etc.). Then, when it comes time to show the “stars” of today, the names like Duhon, Hinrich, and Sefolosha seem pretty anti-climatic.
*–The game begins, and its already obvious to Neil and I that the 15 year old kid sitting behind us is going to provide us with an immense amount of entertainment. He’s probably watched about 6 NBA games in his life, yet he’s discussing strategies like he’s James Naismith. At one point, the Bulls get a technical foul for illegal defense, and the Nugs send Carmelo Anthony to the line to shoot the free throw. Probably a good call; he’s shooting 81 percent from the line this year. “Why do they have Carmelo shooting the free throw? A.I. is a much better shooter,” proclaims little Naismith. (By the way, Iverson is also shooting 81 percent–but is a career 76 percent free throw shooter compared to Anthony’s 82 percent).
**-A very entertaining first quarter is highlighted by the Bulls opening up a 33-21 lead, a few nice dunks, some very athletic blocked shots by Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah, and the teenage white trash couple in the two seats in front of us realizing they have made a grave mistake. By about the 4 minute mark of the 1st quarter, they realize our stupid heckling and inane comments, peppered with ‘fuck’ and ‘cocksucker’, don’t make for the best date atmosphere. The girl was pretty hot though.
**-Which brings me to another point: I never knew that Bulls games were such an attraction for underage ass. You would think Cubs games would be the go-to sporting events for jailbait in this town, and you’re probably right. But considering the U.C. isn’t exactly on the best side of town, Neil and I have both been really surprised at how many young girls go to these games by themselves. Honestly, the only thing that surprises us more is how drunk they get when we buy them one beer. Great investment for $5.50 guys.
**-By the mid-second quarter, Neil and I are discussing–loudly–our friend’s habit of letting his parents run his life despite being 31 years old. “Why’s John being such a pussy?”, I ask. “I don’t know, motherfucker…..he’s being a bitch.” Meanwhile, little James Naismith watches as Ben Gordon penetrates and puts up a wild layup attempt, missing badly. “He should of kicked it out to Noah!”, he says. “He was wide open from 22 feet!” Yes…..thats what the Bulls need. More perimeter opportunities for Joakim Noah.
**-Speaking of Noah, during a timeout, the Bulls do a ‘get-to-know-you’ thing with Joakim on the scoreboard. One of the questions is ‘Whats your dream job?’ Noah answers, ‘I’d like to run a fruit stand.’ Really? You’re making millions of dollars a year at age 22 playing a sport for a living, and your dream job is selling peaches to tourists for 20 dollars a day? Neil and I are stunned into silence by this.
**-The half ends with a crazy Bulls run, and suddenly the potent Chitown hoops club is up 68-55 at the intermission. The crowd is stunned, as are Neil and I. Little Naismith proclaims that this is what the Bulls should of been doing all along, “Just shooting.” What an offensive mastermind. “It also helps that they’re shooting 64 percent,” I say to Neil. Little Naismith seems upset, but Neil and I are too determined to get more beer.
**-While walking around the concourse during the half, a Bulls fan gets to really enjoy the wide variety of legal ass in the building. It must be the high-priced seats, but the hot soccer moms are out in full force during Friday and Saturday night games.
**-Neil decides to get in the Sweet Treats line for some halftime ice cream. “You’re gay,” I proclaim, and I leave him there to go back to our seats. As the third quarter starts, the Bulls are on fire, opening up a 20-point lead. Meanwhile, the couple sitting in front of us AND little Naismith and his family are all gone. Neil and I must have really been on our game.
**-By the time Neil comes back, the third quarter is almost over. With room to stretch out and only our friends, the fellow season ticket holders, around us, Neil and I get comfortable and loud. “This wouldn’t be happening if Fat Lever were still here,” I deadpan, loudly. “Where’s Alex English? I wanted to talk to him about his groundbreaking role in ‘Amazing Grace and Chuck!”, Neil says, exasperated. The NBA junkies sitting around us love it; others, not so much.
**-Meanwhile, the game has become the most exciting Bulls game Neil and I have been to since 1997. The Bulls are up 101-87 after three, and both teams are just running up and down the court, shooting and dunking. The guys a few rows behind us are good and drunk, and are thrilled because the Bulls have scored 100 and we now get free Big Macs. “I’m trying to get fed, fool!” and “I haven’t had a free Big Mac since that chickenhead I used to fuck was working the fryer back in 92!” are among the statements made. There really is nothing like the 300 level at a Bulls game. Neil and I are very excited that someone used the word ‘chickenhead’. Its about time that word came back.

(A “quick” story about that game in 97: the Bulls were playing the Sonics the year after they met in the Finals. The Bulls won in overtime as Michael hit two free throws after a, shall we say, suspicious foul call on Gary Payton with about a second left. It was a great game, but what made it really great were the other things that happened that night. We went with two girls, one of whom got the tickets from her dad’s work. The seats were awesome, in the 100 level just in front of the private suites. In fact, our seats were just in front of the suite used by Michael’s family, and we even got to talk to his mother. I think I thanked her for having her son. She was nice, saying “Ahhh…you’re welcome, sweetie,” and then I’m sure she called security. Also, the two girls we went with got on the big screenb during two seperate timeouts, mostly because one of them had blond hair and a huge rack. Then, after the game, Neil’s friend–who worked as a ballboy–asked us if we wanted to stand just outside the locker room and meet the players as they came out.

So we got down there, and we saw all the great players in that game come out, one by one. Payton, Shawn Kemp, Scottie, Rodman…..all of them. I shook hands with the great Luc Longley and told him ‘Great game Luc.’ I think he had about 6 points. He said “Thanks mate.” Yeah…..’mate.’ My girlfriend at the time, who we shall call ‘Hungry’, got a picture with George Karl. We saw Scottie’s woman go into the locker room and later come out with him, and needless to say she was ridiclously hot. But finally, the moment we had been waiting for…….Michael came out. My hero, three feet away. I don’t know if you’ve ever been around someone that famous, but if you’re not prepared for the experience, you swallow your tongue. You can’t say anything. Eventually, the big breasted blond yells out, in her whiter than white suburban girl voice, “Great game, buddy!” to Michael. Easily the funniest shit ever, as about 25 people then laughed and mocked her. Then, as we were leaving, we had to walk past G.P. and his family and friends, and I actually bumped into him. Remember, he was called for a bullshit foul that cost his team the game about an hour earlier. He gave me a look, and I honestly thought I was going to be on the news. ‘Idiot bumps into the Glove; gets knocked the fuck out….story at 10’. But I said “Sorry,” avoided eye contact, and just kept moving. All in all, a solid experience.)

**-Back to the Bulls-Nugs game. Even as Denver’s J.R. Smith continues to hit crazy shot after crazy shot, the Nuggets can’t get any closer than 6 down the stretch. The Bulls score over 30 in every quarter, winning 135-121. Its their highest total in a regulation game since 1998. Ben Gordon scored 37, while Thomas and Noah combined for 31 points, 21 rebounds, 5 blocks, and about 10 dunks. Melo and A.I both played well also. Easily the best game of the year for the Bulls. Good times.

BREAKING NEWS: Bulls trade one albatross for another

February 21, 2008

Just beating the trade deadline, the Bulls dealt Ben Wallace and Joe Smith to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes, Cedric Simmons, and Shannon Brown.

Seattle also dealt Wally Szerbiak and Delonte West to the Cavs for Adrian Griffin, Ira Newble, and Donyell Marshall as the third team in the deal.

Ben Wallace

Its truly a happy day in Chicago. Yes, I know that Larry Hughes is also an expensive piece of crap who shoots under 37 percent and doesn’t like to, well, pass the ball. And Drew Gooden is nothing special. But getting rid of the piece of absolute crap that is Ben Wallace is a great move in of itself.

Wallace was signed as a team leader, defensive beast and rebounding monster. Instead, in just under two seasons as a Bull, Wallace continuously clashed with management, threw teammates under the bus, and averaged 5.7 ppg and 9.5 rpg. Oh, and he was making nearly $15 million per year.

What do the Bulls do now? Eh, I don’t think it matters. Assuming Luol Deng and Ben Gordon are now healthy (which doesn’t seem likely considering both looked very uninterested and eager to get ‘re-injured’ last night), the Bulls rotation will include Deng, Gordon, Hinrich, Sefolosha, Nocioni, Gooden, Hughes, Noah, Duhon, and Tyrus Thomas, with a little bit of Aaron Gray and Cedric Simmons thrown in for good measure. Thats a whole lot of crap.

But at least Big Ben will no longer be clogging up the middle, doing absolutely nothing but missing wide open shots and tapping out totally grabbable rebounds to the opposing team. Now we get to watch Larry take 24 shitty shots before missing three weeks due to an injury. More entertaining, I think.

Random Observations

February 20, 2008

Some of my thoughts on whats been going on in the Chicago sports world lately:

*–The changes the Bears made this week, including the releases of Muhsin Muhammed and Fred Miller and the re-signing of Alex Brown, were all great moves. Muhammed was my most hated Bear the last two seasons. He came here on a big contract, which is fine. I don’t begrudge any athlete getting his money, especially after the great season Moose had in Carolina before he signed with the Bears. But what wasn’t fine was that when he first came here, he talked big about being a leader and a difference-maker. By the time the first half of his first season in Chicago was done, it was apparent that he was only as good as the guys around him. Not only that, but he didn’t hesitate to throw his quarterbacks under the bus whenever given the opportunity. Oh, and he dropped a shitload of passes. So good riddance, Moose.

But was he the main problem with the Bears? Absolutely not. The Bears don’t have a clear cut number one quarterback. I think they can contend for a playoff spot with Kyle Orton, but thats not saying much. I’m a Rex backer, but there is no way that this team can pencil him in as the clear cut number one if he is re-signed. The Bears’ running game is an absolute mess. They need at least 2, if not 3, new offensive linemen. Cedric Benson and Adrian Peterson are both second-rate players who shouldn’t be the feature back. Meanwhile, the Bears’ receiving corps is stocked with number two, three, and four receivers. Like it has been, pretty much, forever. Unfortunately, these problems aren’t going to fix themselves in one offseason. Unless the Bears find gold in the draft this year, expect at least one more putrid year.

*–As baseball approaches, I don’t know what to think about my White Sox. My brain tells me that they are going to suck, royally. But my heart is trying to believe they can contend in this division. Maybe one of the following starting pitchers–Gavin Floyd, Jose Contreras, Jon Danks–has a breakout campaign. Maybe the Sox trade Joe Crede for another arm (Noah Lowry), and that solidifies the rotation. Maybe all of the bullpen arms stay healthy and produce, and the Sox have arguably the best bullpen in the American League. Maybe Jay Mariotti gets bitten by a rat and contracts the Black Death. I can dream.

*–Starting today, the Bulls begin the second half of the season. They open against the New Jersey Nets, a team that recently traded its number one star and might only dress 8 or 9 guys. The Bulls should be getting back Ben Gordon and/or Luol Deng tonight or Friday against the Nuggets. If this squad was ever going to show that the first half of the season was a fluke, its time to show it now. Listen, I know nothing we have seen in the first half should provide us with any hope for the last 30 games. But maybe they make a little run in the second half, finish with the 6 seed or better, and actually play some interesting games in late April and May. I’m not asking for much. Either make the playoffs, or suck so badly that we get a top 5-7 pick.

*–After talking about my love for the Tennessee squad a couple weeks ago, they have climbed from number 7 in the nation to number 2, and they are traveling to Memphis Saturday night for a battle with the top-ranked Tigers. See, now I don’t want to pick them anymore. I think they are the best team in the country right now, but its like my love for Scarlett Johannson. I first started telling people about her in like 2002, after ‘Ghost World’. Then she started popping up as the hot chick in some bad movies, like ‘Lost in Translation’ (yes, that movie sucked), ‘The Perfect Score’, and ‘The Island’. Then she was rumored to have been given the backdoor business by Benecio del Toro (Bennie the Bull, as I like to call him) in an elevator after the Oscars, and now everyone loves her. Same with the Vols. I like their style of play, they look like a great team in December, I start talking about them, then two months later they’re on the verge of being number one in the country. Everyone loves them. Its bullshit. Its not special anymore.

I’m running out of ideas for the Friday Hot Chick, so if you have any thoughts/requests, let me know in the comments. And to the first commenter that suggests ‘Yo momma’: Fuck you.

Rex of the East Coast

February 4, 2008

Eli Manning v.s. Rex Grossman

He is no longer. Like my counterpart, HHY, I too feel for quarterbacks like young Eli Manning and Rex Grossman for the scrutiny and criticism they go through trying to lead there teams through an NFL season. Both Eli and Rex exhibited similar traits – huge games one week with people comparing them to Hall of Famers, then horrendous games the next with people wishing they never uttered the word “Hall of Fame” in the same sentence.

Eli just shook that monkey off his back last night. And, as with all stories that feature monkeys, you liked every damn minute of it. Superbowl XLII, not to be confused with what some people call my massive head , was one of the greatest football games I have ever seen in my life. I’ll admit – I went into the game wanting to see the Patriots pull it off. I wanted to see the perfect season and not just to shut the Dolphin’s up. It felt like basketball in Chicago during 90’s all over again. The Bulls were the most dominant team I’ve ever watched and I can remember how exciting it was to experience that. That is a sports story that I can relive with my kids, just like how my dad shares his Bears stories with me each year. And to say that I watched the Patriots win all 18 games and then take Superbowl XLII into the records books would have been fun.

But then the Giants win. And honestly, I’m not a Patriots fan. Now I can tell my kids how the New York Giants beat the unbeatable team during their “perfect” season (which will now forever be put in quotes on this blog). Underdogs, going into the playoffs as a wild card team. First NFC wild card team to win the Superbowl. With the line being 12 points against them. Rolling off two TD’s in the second half and rattling Brady so much with their D-line attack that even he’s still trying to figure it out.

So I guess what I’m trying to get to is this: Why the hell are the Giants so lucky with their “Rex of the East Coast” and we lost so badly last year with the Real Rex? And if he actually comes back as our starter next year then he better have been taking notes last night. That and he needs an O-line. And a defense that played like the G-Men did.

I know. Wishful thinking. At least I have a great underdog story to tell to my kids. 

I’m fucking done with these assholes

January 31, 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008. The Chicago Bulls enter the Target Center in Minnesota a 18-26 team, 1 game out of the 7 seed in a horrid Eastern Conference.

Although the season has been a major disappointment, there was still a glimmer of hope that this notoriously slow starting team would turn it on in February, March, and April, and provide some excitement heading into the playoffs. Maybe the healthy return of Luol Deng and Ben Gordon would come soon, and the Bulls would gel into a team which could scare Boston or Detroit a bit in the first round. It wasn’t likely…..at all……but at least it was something. 

Again, I wasn’t expecting much. My hopes for this team have been dashed for quite a while. In October, I bought an 11-game season ticket package because I thought one of two things were sure to happen: One, the Bulls would remain intact as they were and would contend for the top spot in the conference. This would ensure me of seeing at least 3 or 4 playoff games, and perhaps even allow me to see a NBA Finals game, should it go that far. Two, the early season rumors of a trade with the L.A. Lakers to bring Kobe Bryant to Chicago would be reason enough to go to the United Center 11 times this winter.

Well, neither of those things happened. The team has stuggled all season, highlighted by the firing of coach Scott Skiles and the injuries to just about everyone on the team. Kirk Hinrich is being exposed as severely overrated during his first few seasons. The players voted to extend the suspension of first round pick Joakim Noah last month for an outburst against his assistant coach, showing that neither the interim coach, Jim Boylan, or John Paxson, general manager, had any control over this team. Ben Wallace has turned out to be one of the worst free agent signings in Chicago sports history. Tyrus Thomas continues to show bursts of awesome athletic ability and little else, especially in the areas of effort and basketball intelligence. Without the injured Deng and Gordon, the team has lacked offensive firepower and shown little heart.

Then came Wednesday night. The Minnesota Timberwolves were 8-36, and outside of beast Al Jefferson, had easily the worst roster in the league. Sebastian Telfair and Rashad McCants are the starting guards. A very young team, the Wolves are in the bottom five in the league of every category. In other words, there is no reason the Bulls should lose to this team.

The Bulls led 14-8 after the first quarter. 22 total points in the quarter, and only 8 by the Wolves. Then the potent Wolves blew up. 25 points in the 2nd quarter. 30 points in the third. At the end of the third quarter, the worst team in basketball led the Bulls 63-52. Did the Bulls get fired up and lead a charge in the last 12 minutes? Did they wake up and realize they were about to blow a great opportunity at a victory and play inspired basketball in the last quarter?

No. They scored 15 points in the final 12 minutes. They shot 4-of-17 in the quarter from the field. The Bulls turned it over 6 times in the quarter, giving them a season-high 23 for the game. By the way, coming into the game, Minnesota averaged about 14 forced turnovers a game, good for 20th in the league. Their opponents field goal percentage was near 49 percent, good for 28th in the NBA. So we’re looking at one of the five worst defensive teams in the league, as well. And the Bulls scored 67 points on them, losing by 15.

So, I’ve officially had it. I’ll still go to the games I have tickets for, but only because the money is already spent and its a good way to see decent players and teams from outside Chicago. But I no longer have hope. Not just for this season, but for this regime. John Paxson has proven to me that he is not a strong general manager. Whether he could of made the trade for Kobe is debatable; however, Paxson himself has admitted the Bulls were a major player for both Kevin Garnett and Pau Gasol, but for one reason or another, the deals were not made. Many feel its because Paxson didn’t want to deal ‘his guys’, the players like Gordon and Deng who he scouted and eventually, overvalued. The nucleus of this team has already peaked. Luol Deng, when healthy, is a solid player. But he’ll never be the number one option on a great team. Ben Gordon is a nice player to have. You can bring him off the bench to fill up the scoresheet or if your team needs an offensive boost. But he can’t handle the ball or play defense, so he’s very limited. Hinrich is a mediocre NBA point guard, at best.

There have been a few brightspots this year. Thabo Sefolosha has come on of late and could be the big guard the team has needed. Joakim Noah has had some off-court issues, but his play on-court has been a surprise, as he has provided energy and effort. And veteran Joe Smith is having a career year. But none of these players will ever be the impact guy an NBA team needs to make a serious title run. They are bit players on a championship team.

Its time to blow it up, kids. From the general manager on down, I’d be happy if the only remnants left from this year’s team going into the 2008-09 season were Deng, Noah, Sefolosha, and possibly Gordon and bit players like rookie Aaron Gray. But for a lot of reasons, that isn’t very likely. I guess we’ll just have to struggle through.