To tell you the truth I wasn't expecting much this year. I thought, ".500 would be nice. Maybe another lottery pick." Now with the Bulls playing somewhat decent basketball, I find myself thinking playoffs (not that we would do any damage; I'd just like to be there again).
So, here we are at the quarter pole. It's time for an evaluation for Coach Vinny Del Negro and Bulls.
Del Negro has impressed me so far, sans the embarrassing shout-in-the-ear of Quentin Richardson. I like his emphasis on defense, although we have struggled to execute. And the work he has done, with the help of General Manager John Paxson, has been productive. We have a lot of young talent on this team, but let us not forget that with youth comes an abundance of mistakes.
Let's take a look at The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:
Derrick Rose: I will be the first to admit, I thought we should have taken Michael Beasley with the first pick in the draft. Boy, was I wrong. Rose has quickly established himself as one of the premiere point guards in the league, and is only going to get better. As he understands the NBA game more his defense will improve, as right now his on the ball defense is sub-par.
But, other than that, Rose has lived up to the hype. His physical and mental maturity is beyond his years; he continues to show an increased understanding of the offense; he is patient; he is developing a solid mid-range game; and he is already one of the best finishers in the NBA. This kid is the real deal.
Ben Gordon: We all know the guy can score in bunches. He can be virtually impossible to guard at times, dropping shots from all over the court. I like his chemistry with Rose, and his defense has actually improved.
Kirk Hinrich's thumb: Gotta love Captain Kirk, but I'm kind of glad he's out. This has given Rose and Gordon more playtime together and accelerated the learning process for Rose. I still think he will be traded before the deadline, hopefully for a veteran big man with some post presence.
Everyone over 6'9'':Our big men have been non-existent on both ends of the court. We are consistently out rebounded and out hustled. It's one thing if you are playing your butt off and you just get beat. But when you don't hustle back down the court after a turnover on offense, you need to find a seat court side. I'm tired of watching Noah turn the ball over then mozy back down court.
Tyrus Thomas: I want so much for this guy to realize his potential. He is an amazing athlete who can finish above the rim and make incredible plays on the defensive end. But Tyrus, stop shooting 15 footers until you can make at least half of them. The bad thing about it is that guys have stopped even contesting his jumpers at all. No one believes he can make a jumper and Thomas continues to prove them right every chance he gets. He must hit these jumpers in practice, otherwise why the hell would he think he could make them in a game?
Inconsistency: Everyone gets a piece of the blame on this one. We haven't beat a quality basketball team all year (Dallas isn't that good), and that can primarily attributed to our lack of consistency on both ends. We go through stretches where we look like we can be a pretty darn good team, other times we look so bad it makes you wonder if we shouldn't just blow this whole thing up and start over again...again.
Joakim Noah: He is the definition of ugly. Look it up. From his hair to his free throws, his shot is so bad it makes Shawn Marion's jumper look like Craig Hodges. Ughh!