Bulls Bolster Lineup With Two Key Additions

In the past few days, the Bulls have reinvigorated their roster. Last year, they miraculously managed to win 48 games without Derrick Rose. It might have been Tom Thibodeau’s best coaching job. The Eastern Conference was historically weak, but the Bulls were a team without a single player with a typical scoring mentality. Yet, they would grind out wins with defense and toughness, the staples of Thibodeau’s teams. After being eliminated in the playoffs by the Wizards, it was obvious that the Bulls had drastically overachieved in the regular season, and needed a major influx of talent, or at least a healthy Derrick Rose if they were to be taken seriously in the playoffs.

Gasol will probably spend most of his time at the high post, directing the Bulls offense.

Gasol will probably spend most of his time at the high post, directing the Bulls offense.

But in the offseason, the Bulls have made several moves to bolster their offensive fire power. Drafting Doug McDermott was the first significant move. He is a scorer first and will create space in their half-court sets, with his ability to hit 3’s and put the ball on the floor and hit mid-range jumpers. More recently though, the Bulls made two moves that should help even more.

First, the Bulls agreed to terms with Pau Gasol, who’d been deciding between the Bulls and Spurs. Gasol is the type of player that can fit into any team. His passing skills are unsurpassed by any big man in the league, and he is a great guy in the locker room. Unless he’s on Kobe’s team and Kobe is jacking up too many shots! But in all seriousness, he is a great fit on the Bulls. With Noah and Gasol, the Bulls will have arguably the best passing tandem of big men in the league. Playing Gasol at the high post will let Noah operate more under the basket. Gasol is not a shoot-first player, but he is a facilitator, and teams in need of scoring can always use facilitators to get guys open shots. That’s what Gasol will do. Continue reading

NBA Draft Losers

This year’s NBA draft didn’t see as many crazy picks as usual. The lottery went as scripted, for the most part. And then by the middle of the first round, things got interesting. The Raptors took some guy named Bruno, who no one had heard of. And he was called “the Brazilian Kevin Durant!” Then the Thunder took a big man, who hadn’t played in over a year due to back surgery–a guy that we only know about because of two or three games in the NCAA tournament two years ago! The Grizzlies then took a shooting guard who may or may not be able to dunk. That was just the beginning of the madness. Here are the players, fans, and teams that lost the NBA draft.

Toronto Raptors
That’s what you get for drafting a guy 20th overall that wasn’t even on one of Chad Ford’s ten big boards. Bruno Caboclo could be really good. In like four or five years! For a team that finally turned itself around, winning 48 games, you’d think the Raptors would be looking for a player that is NBA-ready and could be in their rotation next year. Caboclo might never make their team. Continue reading

NBA Rookie of the Year Power Rankings

Take a look at who has won Rookie of the Year. It’s a pretty incredible list. Winning Rookie of the Year is a pretty

Rookie of the Year winners are often franchise cornerstones.

Rookie of the Year winners are often franchise cornerstones.

good indicator of just how good a player may be. In the past 13 years, ten of the Rookie of the Year winners have made an All-Star game: Lillard, Kyrie, Blake, Rose, KD, Brandon Roy, CP3, LeBron Amare, and Pau. Those who didn’t make an All-Star game? Carter-Williams, who has only played one year, Tyreke Evans, and Emeka Okafor. Those guys are still good players. Eight of those players are legitimate franchise players: Lillard, Kyrie, Blake, Rose, Durant, CP3, LeBron, and Pau. Three of them would have been perennial All-Stars if not for devastating injuries: Rose, Roy, and Amare. The bottom line the Rookie of the Year list is pretty good company. This year has been called one of the deepest drafts in history. But the list of guys who could win Rookie of the Year isn’t quite as deep. Continue reading

The Trade for the #1 Pick The Cavs Need to Make

Yesterday, the rumor was Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, and the 5th overall pick for the #1 pick and Jarrett Jack. That is enticing, but pales in comparison to what the Magic supposedly offered. The Magic are offering Arron Afflalo, the 4th pick, and the 12th pick just for the #1 pick. If the Cavs are as desperate as we think–doing anything and everything they can to get LeBron’s attention–then this is the trade for them. This trade helps immediately and is also a move for the future. Pair Afflalo with Kyrie in the backcourt, and they have one of the best set of guards in the NBA. Then the #4 and #12 pick provide flexibility. The Cavs could do a couple things here. They could use the picks and a combination that could yield Julius Randle and Doug McDermott, for example. Or, they could trade both picks to move up, and try to get Joel Embiid, the prospect most experts think has the highest ceiling.Or they could use the two picks to make a trade for a veteran. Could they make a package around Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, the 4th, and 12 pick for Kevin Love. Continue reading

NBA Draft: Who is NBA-ready?

The issue of “NBA-ready” is always sort of a backhanded compliment when it comes to the NBA draft. It is sort like saying a player has already peaked. Or that he doesn’t have as much potential as other prospects in the draft. Usually, it’s a way of saying the player is one of the less sexy prospects. You know what you’re getting. As if that’s a bad thing. The rosy-red delusions about how good a prospect could be in 3 yearsin 5 years, in 10 years guide many teams’ drafts. But the most NBA-ready prospect is rarely also one of the best players in the class. Sure, this year Jabari Parker fits that description. Usually though, the most NBA-ready prospects are found at the end of the first round, or beginning of the second. They slip because their game is too predictable. Too translatable. Sometimes, NBA-ready simply correlates with age. The more seasoned prospects are more ready because they stayed in college longer and developed more. Think Taj Gibson (26th), Arron Afflalo (27th), Jimmy Butler (30th), and Draymond Green (35th). Everyone knew those guys would make it in the league. They contributed whenever they got on the court. But for some reason, they slipped. They’d never be the all-too-coveted superstar that would lead a franchise to the promise land. Those are guys though, that every good team has. Continue reading