Wednesday, February 02, 2005

A Bunch of Bulls

Note to Grizzlies that I suggest might be worth using: Be careful. You will get hurt. It happened with James Posey. It happened with Earl Watson. Who’s next? Dahntay Jones, I still hate you because you went to Duke…

Anyway, today let’s take a look at the Bulls. Scott Skiles is threatening to shake things up, as he feels the Bulls may have gotten a little too complacent after they made it over .500. Back-to-back losses to the Celtics and Nets isn’t the end of the world, and Skiles is probably just bluffing, but his four non-Kirk Hinrich starters played a combined 65 minutes last night, so something might be afoot.

First off, if anyone appears safe, it’s Hinrich, and thank the lord for that because he’s now my healthy player. In the last four games of January he averaged just 30.8 mpg, down from his season average of 36.9, but he should be fine, and were it not for his absolutely brutal 39.3% FG, he’d be a stud. As is, he’s a very solid contributor, especially in the big three PG cats, not to mention a nice 4.2 rpg. So don’t worry about Kirk, he’s fine.

Do worry about Eddy Curry. You’ve seen him. The dude is huge. Nearly 7 feet tall, almost 300 pounds. You see how effectively he uses his size on offense, where he’s just about unstoppable on the blocks when he wants to be. But when you have that size and talent, and you average just 4.6 rpg in 30 mpg (which he did in January), it’s easy to see why Skiles is upset. Eddy had a great stretch from Jan. 15 to Jan. 22 where he saw at least 32 minutes in each game, but in the five games since he’s averaged just 23 minutes. That’s not going to cut it. We might be seeing all that Curry has to offer. He’s a top-10 asset in FG%, even when getting only 25-30 mpg. If he gets up to 35 mpg, make that top-3, with only Shaq and Amare clearly better. But if he can’t stay on the court, he’s not a positive anywhere else. On the Rater right now, he’s a negative in every category except blocks, where he’s below average for a center. It’s hard to have him in your lineup right now, but you might not have many other options.

The best thing working in his favor may be Tyson Chandler’s cranky back. It’s always been a problem and is reportedly acting up again, even it hasn’t caused him to miss any time. In those last 5 games that Curry has averaged just 23 minutes, Chandler has averaged 27.2 minutes. Chandler is no offensive force (he’s attempted more than 10 shots only twice all year), but he has his uses. The Marcus Camby comparison has been used before and it’s quite appropriate, given their fragility and blocks/boards prowess. Chandler is 6th in the league in rebounds per 48 and 14th in blocks. He finds himself just outside the top 50 on the 15-Day Rater, so he obviously has value. If his back problems keep him from getting over the 30 minute mark it’ll be too bad. Compared to Curry, he’s a far less frustrating option, because you know he’ll usually give you at least 7-8 boards and 2 blocks each game. If he’s available, he shouldn’t be, and you should grab him. But he’s a tough guy to trade for because of his back issues. I don’t like playing non-starters, but he’s one I’d make an exception for at this point. His minutes are more assured than Curry’s, and those blocks are valuable.

Luol Deng is yesterday’s news. He just hasn’t been productive lately and doesn’t help out that much even when he’s going well. He shoots in the low-40s, doesn’t average a 3 or a steal or a block and doesn’t do all that much scoring or rebounding. Then again, you could say the same about the person who might replace him, Andres Nocioni. Average his stats out to 33 mpg (the minimum he could play while being an option) and you’d get the following line: 12.0/6.2/1.8 with .6 3s, .9 steals and .6 blocks. There’s just not that much value in that, so it would be best to stay away from both of them unless one of them completely gets eliminated from the rotation.

How about the Eastern Conference rookie of the month, Ben Gordon? He’s a perfect example of the dangers of owning a bench player. On Jan. 25 he had a very nice 18/3/6 in 30 minutes and the next game he played just 7 minutes. That’s a lot of frustration to put up with, especially for someone who really only helps you in 3s. His scoring is nice, but at not even 15 ppg, he’s below what you need.

So what’s the verdict? Well, pay close attention. That’s always the verdict. I’m not in Scott Skiles head, I don’t know what he has planned. I’m pretty sure he’s not going to give any of the old dudes (Antonio Davis, Othella Harrington, Eric Piatkowski, Adrian Griffin, etc.) enough time to do any damage, but he may give them enough to make sure the young guys are near-worthless. It’s all about who gets the minutes. That said, assuming a completely level playing field (if they all get time, that is), here’s how I’d rank the Bulls right now: Hinrich, Chandler, Curry, Gordon, Nocioni, Deng, Bill Cartwright, Duhon. Stupid Duhon.


Blogger Nels said...

I can't believe you put Duhon below Deng and Nocioni. Right now he's got more value than either of them. He's at least averaging a 3 and a steal per game over the last 5. Add that to his 8 pts, 3 rebs and 5 asts and he's not all that bad. He's even shooting 45% in the last 5, and he doesn't really take enough shots or free throws to hurt you too much in either of those categories.

11:58 PM  
Blogger DM said...

Duhon does have more value than either of them right now. But us Terps over at FBB have a big thing against Duhon. We wouldn't throw bottles at his mom or anything like that (we're native Terps, not New Jersey Terps), but still. We hate him and his compressed face and big ears. I also wonder how much longer Skiles can go with such a small backcourt, but I guess unless he goes with Piatkowski, which is highly unlikely, he doesn't have many other options, since Gordon ain't exactly a giant. And I like Nocioni. I don't see the Bulls much, but I saw that MLK day game against the Knicks and he impressed me. I don't think it gets any better for Duhon, not necessarily the case for the others.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Tim said...


10:49 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home